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    Aug 2002

    Article on HST Training

    Setting up a Hypertrophy-Specific Training Cycle

    by Charles T. Ridgely

    Introduction to Hypertrophy-Specific Training (HST)

    To be certain, there are a mind-boggling number of lifting programs available,
    all claiming to be universal in their ability to produce bigger and stronger
    lifters. Some programs rely on muscle fatigue, or working to muscular failure,
    to produce results. With these programs, a weight is lifted until it cannot be
    lifted even one more time. Other programs rely on increasing volume. These
    programs may call for adding more sets or repetitions of each exercise over
    time. Still other programs call for a combination of working to failure and
    increasing volume to produce results.

    Unfortunately, a large percentage of these programs are based not on scientific
    evidence, or research, but rather on the basis of observations of a few elite
    lifters. One program that is based on scientific research is
    Hypertrophy-Specific Training (HST), developed by Brian Haycock. HST is
    helping many ordinary people make wonderful gains on an every-day basis, and
    many exceptional lifters are experiencing renewed, plateau-free growth, as well.

    It should be noted that the objective here is not to provide the scientific
    evidence behind HST, but rather to briefly explain the principles of HST and
    demonstrate how to set up your own HST cycle. A more detailed account of the
    science behind HST can be found at the Hypertrophy-Specific Training website,
    located at

    Key Principles of HST

    An important thing to understand about HST is that it is not a rigid program
    which is applied to all lifters in the same way. Rather, HST is a group of
    principles, which, when understood intuitively, can direct your lifting efforts
    toward new growth without hitting the plateaus that inevitably plague lifters
    using other, generalized programs. In the simplest of terms, the primary
    principles of HST are frequency, mechanical load, progression, and strategic
    deconditioning. Each of these principles is briefly discussed below.

    Frequency: In the HST protocol, muscles are loaded three times a week rather
    than the usual once per week suggested by other programs. The greater frequency
    of workouts provides the muscles with an environment of chronic loading. This
    contrasts the acute loading (i.e., high intensity once a week) of other

    Let鈥檚 consider an example that illustrates the difference between acute and
    chronic loading. Say you get a new job that occasionally requires you to lift
    and move several boxes, each weighing 50 lbs. Naturally, the first time you do
    this, the next day you will be sore. The soreness occurs because your muscles
    are not conditioned to this particular form of exercise. Suppose that you only
    have to lift the boxes once every two weeks. Think you鈥檒l be sore after the
    next time? Probably, even if a bit less than the first time. This occurs
    because your muscles adapt to the load provided by the boxes during the first
    lifting session, but then decondition during the several days before the next
    box-lifting session. As a consequence of this acute loading, your
    muscle-building efforts are slowed at best.

    On the other hand, suppose that you have to lift the boxes every day. Think you
    will continue to get sore as the days go by? Yes, but not for long. Lifting
    the boxes every day will quickly condition your muscles to the load provided by
    the boxes. Likely, by the end of the first week of lifting, you will no longer
    get sore. Your muscles will have become conditioned to a new environment
    wherein lifting 50 lbs-boxes occurs very frequently, or chronically. Once this
    conditioning has occurred to a sufficient level, you will plateau and no further
    adaptation will take place. That is, unless there is some sort of progression
    to your box-lifting efforts.

    The take home point is: we want to keep the muscles in a state of adaptation
    with as little deconditioning as possible taking place between workout sessions.

    Mechanical loading: Traditionally, muscle fatigue has been relied upon as a
    gauge for the effectiveness of a particular program to produce growth.
    According to this reasoning, one must work the muscles to momentary muscular
    failure so as to cause as many muscle fibers as possible to receive a growth
    stimulus. Often it is suggested that the fast twitch, or white, muscle fibers
    are not even called into action until the last few repetitions of a set. As
    pointed out in support of HST, however, a great deal of research suggests that
    all types of muscle fibers are called into action when the muscles are exposed
    to heavy enough loads. Because of this, HST emphasizes heavy mechanical loading
    of the muscles. In other words, we want to spend some time using heavy weights,
    and not just stay with the lighter weights suggested by many other programs.

    Progression: As pointed out above in the 50 lbs-box example, your muscles will
    eventually become conditioned to lifting the 50 lbs-boxes. Certainly, the level
    of conditioning depends on several factors, including how frequently you engage
    in box lifting, how many boxes you lift in each bout of box lifting, and how
    fast you lift and move the boxes in each bout. Assuming that all of these
    factors remain constant, your muscles will become conditioned and no further
    conditioning will take place unless there is some sort of progression. In our
    box example, progression can take the form of lifting the boxes more often,
    lifting the boxes more quickly during each bout, or lifting more boxes in each
    bout, or even a combination of these. Of course, another type of progression
    can be achieved simply by lifting heavier boxes. This is the preferred method
    of progression in HST; namely, the mechanical loading on the muscles is
    progressively increased in a steady manner.

    Strategic Deconditioning (SD): As you steadily increase the mechanical load on
    your muscles, you will eventually reach a point where you cannot add any more
    weight. At this point, you will have reached your maximum lifts. Because of
    this, there is a natural limit to the length of time during which you can
    increase the mechanical loading on your muscles. And to confound things even
    more, you will eventually become conditioned to these maximal weights meaning,
    they will lose their effect on your muscle growth mechanisms. When that
    happens, any further progress will be phenomenally difficult at best. So, we
    can either beat ourselves to a pulp lifting heavy weights day-in and day-out,
    hoping for some sort of progress, or we can find a way to make renewed
    progression possible. With HST this is where Strategic Deconditioning (SD)
    comes into play.

    Strategic Deconditioning comprises between 9 to 16 days of no lifting to allow
    the muscles to become deconditioned to the heavy weights you've been
    lifting for the previous 6 to 8 weeks. After about 7 days of SD, your muscles
    will be essentially completely repaired from the damage you've inflicted on
    them up until your final workout. From about the 7th day onward, your muscles
    will then become unaccustomed to these weights. Therefore, if you do a good job
    of not doing anything at all, when you return to the weights between 9 to 16
    days later, progression of those submaximal weights will produce further growth
    all over again. Hence, by 鈥淪Ding鈥 you'll avoid the plateau that would
    have otherwise been inevitable.

    Basic Layout of a HST Cycle

    A HST cycle is typically an eight-week, mass-building macrocycle which is
    comprised of at least three mesocycles. Each mesocycle provides a repetition
    range which specifies a number of repetitions you will perform with each
    exercise. The recommended repetition ranges are a 15-rep range, a 10-rep range,
    and a 5-rep range, although other rep-ranges are certainly acceptable. These
    rep-ranges are generally referred to as the 15s, 10s, and 5s, respectively. It
    should be stated up front that the secret of HST's ability to produce renewed
    muscle growth is not to be found in the rep-ranges. Rather, the principles of
    HST discussed above hold the secret to renewed growth. The purpose of the
    rep-ranges is to guide you in choosing effective weights that progress
    throughout the HST cycle. It is straightforward to see that during the 15s, the
    weights will be much lighter than the weights used during the 5s.

    A fourth mesocycle may include negatives (i.e., eccentric repetitions) and/or a
    continuation of the 5s or even the addition of drop sets. SD can be considered
    to be a fifth, or final mesocycle. The following table summarizes the primary
    mesocycles in a HST cycle.

    One HST Cycle
    Weeks 1-2 15s
    Weeks 3-4 10s
    Weeks 5-6 5s
    Weeks 7-8 Negatives, More 5s, or Drops
    Weeks 9-10 SD

    Each mesocycle comprises at least six individual workouts. The weights you use
    should progress from workout to workout as you work through each mesocycle. The
    lighter weights you use for the 15s develop tendon strength, prepare the body
    for future heavy loads, and encourage the body to heal any old injuries. The
    weights used for the 10s are great for hypertrophy, but also serve as a
    transition from the light weights of the 15s to the heavier weights used in the
    5s. The weights used for the 5s are great for developing strength and
    hypertrophy. Negatives enable you to use even heavier weights than in the 5s,
    and develop hypertrophy via loaded stretching of the muscles. SD allows time
    for your muscles to forget their conditioning, so that the submaximal weights
    used in your next HST cycle will be effective for producing further growth.

    Selecting Exercises

    As discussed above, a key principle of HST is working the muscles with a high
    frequency each week. While most modern-day programs suggest hitting each muscle
    group once each week, in HST we want to hit the whole body two or three times
    each week. Of course, working each muscle group three times per week is more
    preferable if you can handle that level of frequency. One example of a
    full-body routine that can be used three times each week is:

    Stiff-Leg Deadlift
    Inclined Bench Press
    Chins (Wide Grip, Narrow Grip)
    Rows (Wide Grip, Narrow Grip)
    Shoulder Press
    Lateral Raise
    Rear Delts
    Dumbbell Curls
    Lying Triceps Extensions
    Calf Raise
    Abdominal Crunches

    Another example of a full-body routine that can be used three times each week

    Leg Curl
    Inclined Bench Press
    Wide Grip Pulldowns
    One-Arm Rows
    Inclined Hammer Curls
    Lying Triceps Extensions
    Abdominal Crunches

    Alternatively, an abbreviated version of this routine might be:

    Leg Curl
    Inclined Bench Press
    Seated Rows

    Another popular approach is to select alternating exercises that are performed
    every other workout day. For example, one might choose the following
    alternatives for working the legs.

    Leg Curl

    Stiff-Leg Deadlift

    With these exercises, A is performed on Monday, B is performed on Wednesday, and
    A is performed on Friday. On the following Monday B is performed, A is
    performed on Wednesday, and B is performed on Friday. This is shown more
    clearly in the following table.

    M W F M W F
    A B A B A B

    One example of a full-body routine that includes alternating exercises is:

    Leg Curl
    Inc. Bench Press
    Rear Delts
    Triceps Extensions
    Calf Raise

    Leg Press
    Leg Curl
    Rear Delts
    Triceps Extensions
    Calf Raise

    In this routine, Squats are alternated with Leg Presses while Inclined Bench
    Presses are alternated with Dips, and Chins are alternated with Rows.

    Exercises can be performed with an Upper/Lower body split two or three times
    each week. Using the full-body routine given above, one might split the upper-
    and lower-body exercises as follows:

    Upper Body:
    Inc. Bench Press
    Wide Grip Pulls
    One-Arm Rows
    Inc. Hammer Curls
    Lying Triceps Ext.

    Lower Body:
    Leg Curl
    Leg Extensions
    Ab Crunches

    The Upper routine is performed every other day, and the Lower routine is
    performed on the intervening days, as shown in the following table.

    M T W TH F S
    U L U L U L

    Another very popular technique is the AM/PM routine. With the AM/PM routine,
    you workout both in the morning and in the evening. This enables you to either
    split up your upper- and lower-body work or double your volume by doing
    full-body work twice. The following table illustrates a typical Upper/Lower
    body split performed on an AM/PM routine.

    M T W TH F
    AM Upper OFF Upper OFF Upper
    PM Lower Lower Lower

    Of course, other types of routines and splits are entirely possible. For
    instance, some may prefer to use a four day split routine, while others may
    prefer using a six day split routine. These more traditional split routines are
    certainly an option so long as one keeps in mind that higher frequency is a
    fundamental principle of HST. Optimally, the whole body is worked 2-3 times each

    When you choose your exercises, remember to keep things simple. There's no
    need to go crazy and then burn out. Try to avoid choosing so many isolation
    exercises that you're in the gym for two hours every workout. The objective
    is to hit the entire body with a reasonable volume without taking much longer
    than about 45-60 minutes per workout.

    Finding Your Rep-Maxes

    Once you have chosen your exercises, you'll need to find your 15, 10, and 5
    rep-max (RM) weights for those exercises. For those readers that are new to the
    iron game, a RM specifies the maximum number of times you can lift a weight
    before hitting muscular failure. With HST, the RMs guide us in determining how
    much weight to use for our exercises. For instance, what is the maximum weight
    that you can squat 15 reps with? Once you know this weight, it becomes your
    15RM weight.

    One way to determine your RMs is to perform the exercises to find your 15RM,
    10RM, and 5RM. You can test your 15RM on Monday, your 10RM on Wednesday, and
    your 5RM on Friday. A good thing about this method is that it's very accurate
    on an individual basis. One drawback is that it takes an extra week to test all
    of your RMs, and the amounts of weight may vary depending on a variety of
    factors, such as sleep, nutrition, stress, recent illness, overtraining, and the
    like. It should be understood that after you test your RMs, you need to take a
    9-16 day SD in order to prepare your muscles for the upcoming HST cycle.

    Estimation is a far less time consuming way of finding your RMs. With the
    estimation method, you use online calculators or some other similar device to
    estimate your 15RM, 10RM, and 5RM based on other RMs that you already know, such
    as, for instance, your 12RM or 8RM. A good thing about estimating your RMs is
    that it's easy and takes very little time. A drawback is that it's
    generalized and thus may not be very accurate on an individual basis.

    A more accurate approach is to use a theoretical method to determine your
    current RMs. For example, you can use linear regression to determine your
    theoretical 15RM, 10RM, and 5RM based on your latest RMs from your other workout
    programs. A great thing about this approach is that it's very accurate on an
    individual basis. Of course, the main drawback is that it's mathematically
    intensive, and not everyone has the math skills to use this method.

    Setting up a Workout Log

    Setting up and maintaining a workout log or journal is essential. Not only does
    a workout log enable you to carefully plan your HST cycles, but it also gives
    you a direct means by which to monitor your progress, as well as any problems
    that might arise in your training over time.

    Once you know your 15RM, 10RM, and 5RM weights for all of the exercises you have
    chosen, you can enter them into your workout log. Your 15RM weights are the
    weights you will use on the last workout day of the 15RM mesocycle (i.e., the
    15s). Your 10RM weights are the weights you will use on the last workout day of
    the 10s, and your 5RM weights are the weights you will use on the last workout
    day of the 5s.

    Next, you must subtract weight from your 15RM, 10RM, and 5RM to determine the
    weights you鈥檒l use as you work up to your RMs. Before you can do this,
    however, you must determine a decrement value for each exercise. The decrement
    value is the amount of weight you subtract from your RM weights for each workout
    day preceding the workout on which you use your RM weights. This is explained
    more clearly below. The decrement value typically is about 5% of your 5RM
    weight. For example, if your 5RM weight for a particular exercise is 160 lbs
    (kg), then your decrement value for this exercise is 0.05 x 160 lbs (kg), or 8
    lbs (kg).

    Once you know the decrement value for each of your exercises, you are ready to
    determine the weights you'll use throughout the cycle. To do this, you work
    backwards from the RM weight, subtracting the decrement value from the weight
    for each workout day to determine the weight for the preceding workout day. For
    example, suppose your 15RM for a particular exercise is 120 lbs (kg) and that
    your decrement value is 8 lbs (kg). The weight you will use on the 6th workout
    day of the 15s is 120 lbs (kg). On the 5th workout day, you will use 120 lbs
    (kg) 8 lbs (kg), which equals 112 lbs (kg). On the 4th workout day, you
    will use 112 lbs (kg) 8 lbs (kg), which is equal to 104 lbs (kg).
    Continuing along, on the 3rd workout day, your weight will be 104 lbs (kg) 8
    lbs (kg), or 96 lbs (kg). On the 2nd workout day; 96 lbs (kg) 8 lbs (kg)
    gives a weight of 88 lbs (kg). And, for the 1st workout day of the 15s, 88 lbs
    (kg) 8 lbs (kg) gives a weight of 80 lbs (kg). For this exercise,
    therefore, the weights you will use during the 15s are 80, 88, 96, 104, 112, and
    120 lbs (kg). The following table summarizes the weights used in the 15s of
    this particular example.

    15s 1 2 3 4 5 6
    Weight 80 88 96 104 112 120

    With the weights for the 15s determined, you're ready to move on to the 10s.
    The procedure for determining the weights for the 10s is identical to that
    discussed above for the 15s. Starting with your 10RM weight, you work backwards
    through the 10s subtracting the decrement value from the weight for each workout
    day to determine the weight for the preceding workout day. Continuing with the
    example above, if your 10RM weight for a particular exercise is 140 lbs (kg) and
    your decrement value is 8 lbs (kg), then the weights you will use for this
    exercise during the 10s are:

    10s 1 2 3 4 5 6
    Weight 100 108 116 124 132 140

    Finally comes the 5s. As with the 10s and the 15s, during the 5s you work
    backwards, subtracting the decrement value from the weight for each workout day
    to determine the weight for the preceding workout day. Thus, if your 5RM weight
    is 160 lbs (kg) and your decrement value is 8 lbs (kg), then the weights you
    will use for the 5s are:

    5s 1 2 3 4 5 6
    Weight 120 128 136 144 152 160

    After having performed this procedure, you will have all the weights you will
    need for this particular exercise throughout your HST cycle.

    One other point worthy of mentioning is that each of the exercises you choose
    for your HST cycle will have distinct 15RM, 10RM, and 5RM weights. Because of
    this, the decrement value for each exercise will be different. Accordingly, you
    must perform the procedure discussed above for each exercise you intend to use
    during your cycle.

    Dealing With Zig-Zagging Weights

    Zig-zag is a term typically used to describe weights in one mesocycle being less
    than the RM weight used in the preceding mesocycle. For example, suppose your
    weights for the 15s are 50, 60, 70, 80, 90, and 100 lbs (kg), and the weights
    for your 10s are 70, 80, 90, 100, 110, and 120 lbs (kg). Putting these weights
    in a simple table gives:

    15s 50 60 70 80 90 100
    10s 70 80 90 100 110 120

    Looking at the weights used for the 10s, it's easy to see that the first four
    values (which are shaded for clarity) are weights with which you can easily
    crank out 15 or more reps. Because of this overlapping, or zig-zagging,
    phenomenon, your 10s may not be as productive as they could be.

    A popular way to reduce zig-zag is by repeating some weights. For example, you
    could drop the first and second weights in the 10s and then repeat the remaining
    four weights. This is shown in the following table.

    15s 50 60 70 80 90 100
    10s 100 100 110 110 120 120

    Now, the zig-zag is reduced to only the first two weights in the 10s. Another
    way to reduce zig-zag is shown in the following table.

    15s 50 60 70 80 90 100
    10s 90 100 100 110 110 120

    As can be seen, this approach confines the zig-zag to three days of the 10s.
    Many lifters find this level of zig-zag beneficial for Central Nervous System
    (CNS) recovery and prevention of burnout later on in the cycle.

    Still another approach to reducing zig-zag is as follows:

    15s 50 60 70 80 90 100
    10s 90 100 110 110 120 120

    This approach confines the zig-zag to just two days, while the heavier, more
    productive weights are repeated on the remaining days of the 10s.

    It should be noted that a little zig-zag can be a good thing; it allows for a
    little CNS recovery and can stave off burn out and overtraining which might
    otherwise occur later on in the cycle. But if the zig-zag is too severe, the
    productivity of the cycle may be compromised. You will have to experiment a
    little to find the level of zig-zag that works best for you.

    How Much Volume Should be Used?

    This is probably the most puzzling question in the realm of bodybuilding. The
    question of volume is complex, being intimately hinged on a variety of factors
    which go far beyond the scope of this writing. Of course, in order to set up a
    HST cycle (or any other cycle, for that matter), one must have some idea of how
    much volume is required to stimulate muscle growth.

    In the simplest of terms, volume may be viewed as the number of repetitions
    performed multiplied by the number of sets performed. In other words, the total
    volume of an exercise is equal to the total number of repetitions, or the number
    times you actually move the weight. Accordingly, the total volume of the
    exercise is directly proportional to the total amount of work performed during
    the exercise.

    Let's consider some examples using HST mesocycles. Suppose you perform one
    set of an exercise during the 15s, 10s, and 5s. Your total volume is then 15
    reps, 10 reps, and 5 reps, respectively, as summarized in the following table.

    Mesocycle Sets Reps/Set Volume
    15s 1 15 15 Reps
    10s 1 10 10 Reps
    5s 1 5 5 Reps

    This immediately tells us that your total volume is dropping over the course of
    the cycle. Of course, volume is not the only thing that is dropping. In fact,
    several important factors are dropping, one of which being the total amount of
    work that you are performing with the exercise.

    Now suppose that you perform one set during the 15s, two sets during the 10s,
    and three sets during the 5s. Your total volume is then 15 reps, 20 reps, and
    15 reps, respectively.

    Mesocycle Sets Reps/Set Volume
    15s 1 15 15 Reps
    10s 2 10, 10 20 Reps
    5s 3 5, 5, 5 15 Reps

    As can be seem in the table above, your volume increases from the 15s to the
    10s, but then drops when you get to the 5s. This may be a beneficial amount of
    volume, depending on the level of weight you are using, as well as your physical
    conditioning at the time you perform the cycle.

    Another, somewhat counterintuitive, example is performing one set during the
    15s, one set of 10 reps followed by two sets of 5 reps during the 10s, and then
    four sets during the 5s. In this case, your total volume is 15 reps, 20 reps,
    and 20 reps, respectively.

    Mesocycle Sets Reps/Set Volume
    15s 1 15 15 Reps
    10s 3 10, 5, 5 20 Reps
    5s 4 5, 5, 5, 5 20 Reps

    With this approach, your volume increases from the 15s to the 10s, and then
    stays constant through the 5s.

    Some may argue that mixing set-rep schemes during the 10s is not productive.
    But it must be remembered that we are not gauging muscle growth on the level of
    fatigue induced during sets. Rather, mechanical load is the primary stimulus
    for muscle growth, as well as the total number of times you are capable of
    lifting that load. Some lifters may not be able to perform two whole sets of
    the 10s when they reach their 10RM weight. Based on this reasoning, the only
    way to achieve the desired volume with the mechanical load on the bar may be to
    perform smaller sets following the first, primary set of 10s.
    The same reasoning can be leveled at the 5s, as well. Suppose you cannot
    achieve 5 reps with the last two sets of the 5s. You can either give up or you
    can do more, smaller sets until you reach the desired level of volume. The
    following table shows one example wherein the 5s are performed with smaller

    Mesocycle Sets Reps/Set Volume
    15s 1 15 15 Reps
    10s 3 10, 5, 5 20 Reps
    5s 4 5, 5, 4, 3, 2, 1 20 Reps

    Clearly, in the 5s, this lifter was forced to stop short of 5 reps on the third
    set in order to avoid muscular failure due to fatigue. To make up for this, the
    lifter performed three more sets having three reps, two reps, and finally one
    rep. Doing this enabled this lifter to achieve the desired level of volume, and
    thus the desired level of work, while avoiding muscular failure arising due to

    The bottom line on volume is: you should use as much volume as you can while
    still remaining healthy and without injuring yourself. Because this is a very
    individual criterion, the amount of volume you should use is also going to be
    very individualistic. You will have to find out for yourself what is best for
    you. The HST FAQ offers loads of advice to assist you in finding the volume
    which is best for you. Barrowing from the HST FAQ, the general consensus is as

    Increase your volume if:
    路 you're never sore;
    路 you're never tired; or
    路 you're not growing.

    Maintain your volume if:
    路 you're slightly sore most of the time;
    路 you're tired enough to sleep well, but not so tired that you lose
    motivation to train; or
    路 you're noticeably fuller.

    Decrease your volume if:
    路 you're experiencing over use pain, and strain symptoms in your joints
    and/or muscles;
    路 you're tired and irritable all the time, yet don't sleep well; or
    路 your strength levels are significantly decreasing.

    Please feel free to consult the HST FAQ for a far more thorough explanation of
    the factors affecting volume, as well as many other factors affecting your

  2. #2
    BIG TEXAN's Avatar
    BIG TEXAN is offline Respected Member
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    Aug 2002
    What Comes After the 5s?

    Once you finish the 5s, you have choices on what to do during the two final
    weeks of your HST cycle. Certainly, if at this point you are feeling
    overtrained or are injured, you may wisely choose to terminate the cycle and go
    into a nice, rehabilitative SD. On the other hand, if you're still raring to
    go, then you can do one of the following.

    By far the most popular, and likely most beneficial, approach is to use your 2RM
    for negative, or eccentric, repetition training. With negatives, you generally
    have a partner help you lift the weight and then you lower the weight under
    control. You may choose to perform five of these negative reps or you may
    choose to perform two concentric, or positive, reps on your own followed by
    three negative reps where your partner helps you lift the weight. The choice is
    really yours so long as you can perform the negatives without injuring yourself.

    Another popular approach is to perform drop sets in place of negatives. With
    drop sets, you generally use a much lighter weight than your 5RM, such as your
    15RM weight, and you do the drop set as quickly after your 5RM set as you can.
    You can continue working out with your 5RM weights at the same volume you've
    been using and then do additional drop sets; or, you can use less volume with
    your 5RM weight and add drop sets.

    Alternatively, you can continue to increment your weights on up to your 4RM or
    your 3RM. You can also add drop sets to these workouts. The only caveat is to
    watch out for failure. With such few reps, failure can come on rather quickly.

    Of course, if you don't want to use any of above-discussed methods, you can
    always continue working with your 5RM weights. Choosing this approach is
    beneficial because the 5RM weights are heavy enough to remain productive for two
    more weeks.

    Sample Workout Log

    The following pages provide a sample workout log for an entire HST cycle.
    Although the log is rather generic, it should be enough to get you started with
    your own HST cycle. Please feel free to print and use it for your own HST

    The first page is dedicated to finding your 15RM, 10RM, and 5RM weights. As you
    can see, the first page is organized into a row-column arrangement. There are
    spaces for you to write in your exercises, the dates on which you train, the
    amount of weight you use, and the number of repetitions you perform. There are
    also spaces for you to write in the weights and repetitions you use for your
    warm-ups (WU). The information you record on the first page will help, and
    indeed enable, you to set up the rest of your HST cycle.
    The mesocycles are identified by 15RM, 10RM, 5RM, and 5RM. The last mesocycle implies that you will go beyond your 5RM by performing
    negatives, drop sets, or working toward your 4RM or 3RM. Of course, you can
    continue working with your 5RM if you want.

    Each mesocycle spans two pages. For instance, the first three workouts of the
    15s are on the page labeled 15RM, and the following three workouts of the
    15s are on the second page labeled 15RM.

    Exercises are bundled together in pairs. It is hoped that this will help you
    superset pairs of exercises that work antagonistic muscle groups. This will
    greatly speed up your workouts.

    Estimated rest times are specified for each mesocycle. The rest times are
    loosely related to the amount of weight used in each mesocycle. Certainly, you
    can choose your own rest times, if you wish.

    As mentioned above, after you set up your HST cycle, you need to take a 9-16 day
    SD to reset the muscles level of conditioning, and prepare them for the
    upcoming heavy loads.

    [1] Haycock, Bryan, Hypertrophy-Specific Training: Official HST Method,
    [2] Haycock, Bryan, Strategic Deconditioning: Priming the Muscle for
    [3] Haycock, Bryan, Training Frequency Plan: Timing is everything,
    [4] HST FAQ,;act=SF;f=13
    [5] Discussions on the HST Forum,

    Charles T. Ridgely may be contacted via email at: or at:

  3. #3
    saboudian's Avatar
    saboudian is offline Senior Member
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    Oct 2002
    Michigan State University
    I've come across HST before, so I just kinda skimmed through the article, I'll probably read through it all later again. Don't if you've been there before but haycock has his own site at thinkmuscle. Lots of good articles there, but its no longer updated with new material.

    There are a couple things I don't like about HST, the first thing is training the whole body in one workout which can be very exhausting even if you don't go to failure. He has a couple other interesting alternatives but I'd rather go the dual factor hypertrophy route if i were to attempt this type of training.

    The other factor is progressive loading can be very tough to make a call on, because you want to make an increase in weight but you don't want to go to failure and sometimes its just down right hard to judge that from workout to workout, especially if you're changing exercises and shooting for a different rep range. This would be especially hard for legs, because mental fortitude is really the X factor.

    I think there are many other potential problems with progressive overloading, but I'm not sure how much of a factor some would be because I have not tried this system before so I'm afraid to shoot it down so quickly, but I do beleive there could be many more potential problems because of the conflicts between progressive overloading, recovery, and attempting to work each body part as frequently as possible.

  4. #4
    saboudian's Avatar
    saboudian is offline Senior Member
    Join Date
    Oct 2002
    Michigan State University
    Oh one more thing I would like to add, even if you don't try the system, i think there is one thing that you can take from it.

    The matchup of volume vs. frequency, you see this concept in many training systems. Its an inverse relationship, if you have alot of one you won't have much of the other. Most people underestimate the importance of frequency, but there is a certain value in stimulating a muscle as often as possible and this something that should be given more consideration when choosing a training system.

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