Workouts Training techniques

HST Training Program

HST Training Program

by in Workouts - Training techniques

last updated: January 18, 2016

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HST is a training method designed for quick and effective results in muscle-building all over the body. It is based on physiological principles of muscular hypertrophy. These principles were discovered in a laboratory then arranged into a training method that produces predictable, repeatable hypertrophic effects.

Bryan Haycock, author and founder of the hypertrophy-specific training method (HST - Hypertrophy-Specific Training) and the hypertrophic nutritional method (HSN - Hypertrophy-Specific Nutrition) began weightlifting in 1978. Over the past 25 years his passion for bodybuilding led him to continue studying physiology as a writer and consultant for the sport supplement industry.

In 1998, Bryan was invited to write and work as chief editor for the Mesomorphosis online magazine, founded by Millard Baker. The magazine has experienced a rapid growth in popularity and has set a new standard for scientific accuracy in fitness publications.

In October 2000, Bryan wrote a short, to-the-point article describing a training method which research later called "the best system for muscle growth". He called it HST - Hypertrophy-Specific Training

Although he and his clients had been using this training technique for a long time, it had never been made public.

After publishing the article in ThinkMuscle newsletter, people began to apply HST in their own training regimes.

HST is a training method designed for quick and effective results in muscle-building all over the body.

It is based on physiological principles of muscular hypertrophy. These principles were discovered in a laboratory then arranged into a training method that produces predictable, repeatable hypertrophic effects.

HST Principles

Mechanical loading is needed to induce muscular hypertrophy.

This mechanism includes, among other factors, MAPK/ERK, satellite cells, growth factors, calcium and other easy-to-understand factors. According to Bryan Haycock it is wrong to say "we don't know how muscles grow in response to training".

HST method deltoid training

The HST method does not focus on talking about the method itself but on presenting the body of research which explains how hypertrophy occurs. HST should then become a fairly obvious conclusion for people aiming for hypertrophy.

Chronic Stimulation vs. Acute Stimulation

In order for the mechanical load to cause significant hypertrophy, stimulus must be applied often enough to create a new "environment", rather than seemingly random and acute stimuli. The downside of taking a rest week every time you load a muscle is that many acute responses such as increased protein synthesis, prostaglandins, IGF-1, and mRNA levels all return to normal after around 36 hours.

Therefore the muscle grows for two days and then spends half a week in a semi-anticatabolic state to return to normal (some people call this recovery), while research shows that recovery can take place without rest even if a muscle is stimulated every 48 hours.

True training stimulus-induced anabolism, therefore, only lasts two days at most. The rest of the time is spent simply balancing nitrogen retention, which does not add any anabolic effect.

Progressive Overload

Over time, the tissue adapts and becomes resistant to the damaging effects of mechanical loading. This adaptation (resistance to the stimulus) can happen in as little as 48 hours (rapid training effect).

This response is called Repeated Bout Effect or Rapid Training Effect, i.e. effects created by a repeated stimulation, or rapid effects induced by training.

While this happens hypertrophy stops, although neural and metabolic adaptations may still continue to occur. In contrast to muscular hypertrophy development, the physiological bases for developing muscle strength are neuromuscular.

HST method Miha Zupan workout

Increased strength created through resistance training has been attributed to various neural adaptations including altered recruitment patterns, the encoding rate, motor unit synchronisation, enhanced reflexes etc.

So, aside from incremental changes in the number of contractile filaments (hypertrophy), voluntary strength production (i.e. maximum strength) is largely a question of "activating" motor units.

Strategic Deconditioning

At this point the load (progressive load) needs to be increased or the degree of conditioning to that load has to be decreased strategic deconditioning)

Muscles are sensitive not only to the overall load, but also the load variation (high or low).

It is therefore possible to obtain a hypertrophic effect by increasing the load compared to a previous load, even if the total load is not your maximum load.

You will still end up reaching your maximum voluntary strength. This is the reason for strategic deconditioning; it is necessary for growth to continue after it has stopped.

Lactic Acid for Health and Tendon Regeneration

HST includes exercises or high-repetition microcycles to increase lactic acid levels to prepare muscles and tendons for future heavy loads used in later workouts. This acts as a sort of regular "maintenance".

HST method Thomas Bengali workout

If this strategy is not applied there is an increased risk of chronic injuries and pain. High repetitions are more metabolically expensive and in Haycock's opinion they promote healing in tendons.

Compound Excercises

HST should also include compound exercises to maximise the effects of the load on muscles.

Cyclical Load and Repetition Reorganisation

HST uses two-week blocks for each repetition range.

This has nothing to do with adaptation.

It is simply a way to adapt to ever-increasing loads. You can, of course, adjust your repetitions every week (for example 15, 12, 10, 8, 5 etc) but this type of variation is more complicated and could be difficult to follow.

Low Volume per Exercise (Average Weekly Volume)

HST suggests limiting the number of sets per exercise and per workout to one or two sets.

This principle is based on some scientific evidence confirming the useful effects of a range of multiple sets is amounts to little more than burning calories.

HST method Doina Gorun workout

Haycock believes there's nothing wrong with burning calories but, particularly at a certain age without using performance-enhancing drugs we should try to limit a workout to the sets that are really needed, due to lower tolerance to stress compared to earlier stages in life.

Though this approach could be questioned, a low number of sets (and, therefore, a low volume) is justified by a high weekly frequency which is needed to create enough anabolic stimulus to promote muscular hypertrophy.

Comparison of Training Volume in HST and Other Methods

Instead of doing six sets of bench in a single workout, HST method says you should spread the same six sets over the course of a week (2 on Monday, 2 on Wednesday and 2 on Friday)

In both cases the muscles carry out the same workload, but with HST the spaced load sessions creates a consistent environment which favours hypertrophy.

When all the sets are done at once the central nervous system (CNS) is put under extreme stress leading to overtraining.

Eccentric Training

HST makes use of eccentric repetitions of exercises for two consecutive weeks where possible.

This idea can only be applied to exercises that can be done in an eccentric manner without risk of injury. Sets of eccentric repetitions are done with a weight exceeding the series' five maximum repetitions.

This is done to extend load progression, starting from the beginning of the HST cycle, for another two weeks. There is no greater risk of overtraining in these two weeks, compared to previous weeks, if the volume is controlled, as recent research has shown.

Clearly, the effects of eccentric activity on muscle tissue are one of the most studied areas in sports physiology.

Recommended Exercises

  • Thighs: Squat, Leg press, Leg curl, Leg extension (optional)
  • Calves: Calf raise with tensed legs (Standing calf, Donkey Calf, Leg press calf)
  • Chest: Bench presses (On a slight incline), parallel dips
  • Back: Pull-ups (narrow and wide grip), Low row or rows (varying grip)
  • Deltoids: Lateral raises, shoulder press
  • Biceps: All curls (change often)
  • Trapezium: Deadlift
  • Triceps: Push down, French press
  • Abdomens: Crunch, or crunch machine

Example training for 2 weeks (10 repetitions)

10 maximum repetitions for all exercises for which loads have been established:
Squats 10 x 105 Kg
Leg curl 10 x 30 Kg
Bench 10 x 85 Kg
Traction bar 10 x body weight + 5 Kg
Parallel dip 10 x body weight + 10kg
Row 10 x 70 Kg
Lateral raises 10 x 14 Kg
Deadlift 10 x 85 Kg
Curl 10 x 20 Kg
Push down 10 x 24 Kg
Standing calf 10 x 105 Kg
Leg press 10 x 205 Kg

Monday 1

Squats 2 x 10 (60 Kg)
Leg Curls 2 x 10 (20 Kg)
Bench 2 x 10 (75 Kg)
Traction bar 2 x 10 (body weight)
Lateral raises 2 x 10 (2.5 Kg)
Deadlift 2 x 10 (60 Kg)
Curl 2 x 10 (10 Kg)
Push down 2 x 10 (10 Kg)
Standing calf 2 x 10 (90 Kg)

Wednesday 1

Leg press 2 x 10 (165 Kg)
Leg Curls 2 x 10 (22 Kg)
Parallel Dip 2 x 10 (body weight)
Row 2 x 10 (60 Kg)
Lateral raises 2 x 10 (5 Kg)
Deadlift 2 x 10 (65 Kg)
Curl 2 x 10 (12 Kg)
Push down 2 x 10 (10 Kg)
Standing calf 2 x 10 (93 Kg)

Friday 1

Squats 2 x 10 (80 Kg)
Leg Curls 2 x 10 (25 Kg)
Bench 2 x 10 (80 Kg)
Traction bar 2 x 10 (ballast 2.5 kg)
Lateral raises 2 x 10 (7 Kg)
Deadlift 2 x 10 (70 Kg)
Curl 2 x 10 (14 Kg)
Push down 2 x 10 (15 Kg)
Standing calf 2 x 10 (95 Kg)

Monday 2

Leg presses 1-2 x 10 (185 Kg)
Leg Curls 2 x 10 (25 Kg)
Parallel dip 1-2 x 10 (ballast 5 kg)
Row 1-2 x 10 (65 Kg)
Lateral raises 2 x 10 (8 Kg)
Deadlift 2 x 10 (75 Kg)
Curl 2 x 10 (15 Kg)
Push down 2 x 18 (18 Kg)
Standing calf 2 x 10 (97 Kg)

Wednesday 2

Squats 2 x 10 (100 Kg)
Leg Curls 2 x 10 (30 Kg)
Bench 2 x 10 (85 Kg)
Traction bar 2 x 10 (ballast 5 kg)
Lateral raises 2 x 10 (10 Kg)
Deadlift 2 x 10 (80 Kg)
Curl 2 x 10 (18 Kg)
Push down 2 x 10 (20 Kg)
Standing calf 2 x 10 (100 Kg)

Friday 2

Leg presses 1-2 x 10 (205 Kg)
Leg Curls 2 x 10 (35 Kg)
Parallel dip 1-2 x 10 (ballast 10 kg)
Row 1-2 x 10 (70 Kg)
Lateral raises 2 x 10 (13 Kg)
Deadlift 2 x 10 (85 Kg)
Leg Curls 2 x 10 (20 Kg)
Push down 2 x 18 (20 Kg)
Standing calf 2 x 10 (100 Kg)

 

1. Haycock B. History of HST. hypertrophy-specific.com

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