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  1. Joe Brook says

    I am a fan of the principles put forward in ‘HST’ and have implemented most if not all of them over the years as the science and my knowledge has progressed.

    I am not a fan of the whole move to name and label it as a ‘training system’ however. The trouble with pigeon-holeing this training philosophy (in essence it is not a training ‘system’, ‘plan’ or ‘program’ in the same vein of 5×5, GVT, HIT have become, It is merely the philosophy of using the most effective strategies to build muscle as backed up by scientific study – and the principles laid down by Bryan Haydock seem to me to be pretty solid) is it becomes inherently less dynamic and personal as certain fixes and rules are applied for the overall general trainee to have something definite that they can easily comprehend and follow. Something they can call by name in forums, and that has a set of rules that it can be defined by.
    This is all opposed to it actually being more a case of working into ones own training effective and logical methods that scientific data tells us about the multi-faceted aspects of muscle growth. Building muscle is a science, and it is a long running life experiment.
    Also as a scientifically driven training methodology it IS and needs to be dynamic in nature – the system evolves and changes as exercise physiology/biochemistry, etc. progress.

    As an example of what kind of negative effect making this training philosophy a ‘standard training program’ has is above in the re-written description of what HST is.
    The original description of HST on Bryan haycock’s site does manage to be quite clear for most (there is a minimum standard/level of knowledge necessary to be interested in advanced training programming anyway) without actually going into the studies – as most don’t care for such information. It is good for there to be a general idea behind optimal training. But there it should stop. Too many rules or polishing and it loses its main gift: its malleability per individual. Moreover, when this is re-written again – possibly to help even more individuals who may not necessarily have the background knowledge to understand it in its raw philosophical form (I don’t mean as it is typed up on Mr Haydocks site, but more the idea of using current scientific data coupled with advanced/molecular exercise physiology to create your own hypertrophy specific training program), and to allow those individuals to follow a ‘training program’, it can’t help but lose something in translation.
    Whilst the author on this site had the best of intentions and did a fairly good job, I doubt anyone could have created a simple to follow training program out of a philosophy that by its nature needs to be advanced. Bryan Haydock did it first and as such his ‘HST’ is the first and only necessary working definition of the training philosophy than many advanced trainers and trainees have been using for years. The fact it is a fairly advanced periodisation protocol, means that further efforts to minimalise it, to dumb it down simply prevent it from having the same benefits and effects.
    As an example of further simplification of the principles laid out by Bryan not actually hitting the mark, strategic de-conditioning isn’t merely having time off to allow recovery to catch up. Sure, de-loading and rest weeks are necessary for that very reason periodically, however strategic de-conditioning is a little more complex.
    It is not as much related to recovery as it is to progression.
    When one is quite highly trained – to a level not really attained by most general trainees – and has been loading progressively as is detailed in HST (and in any effective periodised training program), it eventually becomes unreasonably difficult to stimulate a growth response when your adaptive abilities are at a particularly high level. This is when strategic deconditioning is implemented. It is used for the trainee to essentially de-condition the body to training stimuli, allowing progression at that relatively lower level again.
    Yes, 9 days off would most definitely do this. But to a degree much greater than I personally would be comfortable with and find for myself that 3-5 full days off is usually more than ample, or a planned de-load week.
    The idea of strategic de-conditioning is directly inverse to the generally understood method of ‘time off to prevent/cure over-training’. It is not primarily to improve ones recovery ability from training, but more to lower ones ‘resistance’ to the stimuli of progressive periodised mechanical loading – as HST and most other long term effective training protocols are.

    An example of the inflexibility that trying to box this whole training methodology creates is in the frequency. Why must it be 3 days a week trained? Why not 4 or 5? Surely as long as ones recovery (and all related aspects of it) are managed well, and the frequency is relatively high then isn’t that what matters? Isnt using lower comparative volume of sets per bodypart per workout, coupled with an increased frequency and periodised loading the main point?
    I personally think it is.

    I liked the comment by someone above who stated that they did ‘HST’ many years ago ‘by accident’! It was the training methods implemented by his/her coach because they are the training methods that work. It was no more HST then than it is now. Just because it has a cool acronym doesn’t actually mean anything.

    I guess its human nature to need to name and label things, and without that we’d not be where we are today – all I am saying it dont let yourselves get too stuck down by rules and definites. It doesnt need to be by the letter accurate as long as the general methodology of using the most effective methods to build muscle are there…

  2. Red Fat Boar says

    Dorian, I think it’s correct to start your 5reps phase at a little lower than 40lbs and grow during a 2 week period at your current 5rm.

    I choose to rotate the 15-10-5 reps in weekly minicycles, and rotate between 2 exercises: Monday – 15reps Squats; Wednesday – 10 reps deadlifts; Friday – 5 reps Squats; Monday – 15 reps Deadlifts; Wednesday – 10 reps Squats; Friday – 5 reps Deadlifts and so on.

    This way I can keep my cycles running up to 16 weeks.

    You should eat every 2hours or so (as Pavel Tsatsouline stated in his books), 50g proteins/meal, plenty of healthy fats, vitamins, minerals, etc. I like to eat more, about 2.2-3g proteins/kg of bodyweight. I gained 12kg in 8 weeks, lean body mass, reducing the % of body fat from 40% to 35%. Power to you!

    • JC says

      thanks for the response. Good idea on the training to stretch it out over a longer period of time.

      However there is no data to prove you need to eat that frequently. read this.

  3. JC says

    Actually, I did it a long time ago on accident(just following different protocols the coaches gave us). It was during my athletic training but it does indeed work well.

  4. dorian says

    Ay, find out the answer at the official website (need to read the details better).
    Basically what I wanted to know was if it were OK to start with a weight for my 2nd 2 weeks (the 5 rep section) below my 10 rep max. Turns out it actually is OK.

    But thanks for your response, nice tip in there aswell ;)

    Have you actually tried HST? Or do you incorporate some of the principles in your routine? Just wondering…

  5. JC says

    If I am reading this right, you are correct. You don’t want to start out at your 10rm. You want to build up over time and give yourself room to progress. Can’t do it all at once you know. However that may not be the answer you are looking for since I am unsure if I get what you’re asking ;)

  6. dorian says

    Really like the idea behind this training method!
    However, one thing strikes my mind and perhaps you can help me with this (if not I just might have to go to the official forum and ask.. ahhh noooo, soo lazy).
    Let’s say my 10 rep max for biceps is 40lb. Okay, so I reduce the weight to end at 40lb at day 6 of the 10 rep max section. Now perhaps my 5 rep max is only 50lb. I then reduce the weight again for each the of the 5 rep section – but now I’m below 40lb at day 1. Is this correct or should I watch out to stay over 40lb?
    If you don’t have an answer to my question just ignore this message :)

    • Sergey says

      I did the program for about a year with very good results .
      The basic principle is to start mini-cycle with 60-70 % of XRM.

      So if your 5 RM is 50 lb start with 30lb and add every session up to your 5RM.

      I actually started with 50% and did only one set of a given exercise per session and it was still successful. So i trained 3times per week , did about 6 compound movements of one set each (30 minutes or less combined) and gained both strength and mass. And i am not a complete novice.

      Now i switched to more strength oriented routine coupled with paleo diet to drop excessive fat , but plan to return to HST next time.