An Hst Routine For A Middle-aged Man

Discussion in 'Hypertrophy-Specific Training (HST)' started by Jawhari, Feb 14, 2020.

  1. Jawhari

    Jawhari New Member

    Hello. I discovered HST a few months ago. I read the HST Basic eBook by Richard Raab (Totentanz), the FAQ eBook by Bryan, and much of the forum before writing this first post. Many thanks to Bryan and team: this website is an excellent resource.

    I hope I might get some feedback about my implementation of HST.


    I am male, 45-years old, 88kg, 5’10” (178cm). I have a full-time desk job as well as a second part-time desk job, and a family. I walk or cycle a few miles a day. I aim to eat around 2700 calories a day, which includes 180g of protein (I usually fall a bit short on the protein).

    I have been weight training for about two years: I began with Starting Strength for three months, then used Wendler’s 5/3/1, before discovering HST three months ago.

    My 1RMs, in kilograms:
    • Squat: 150
    • Deadlift: 175
    • Barbell row: 70
    • Leg curls: 65
    • Leg extensions: 90
    • Bench press: 100
    • Military press: 72.5
    • Barbell curls: 35
    • Lying tricep extensions: 35
    • Dips: BW x 15
    • Chin-ups: BW x 7
    My goals:
    1. to put on muscle mass, primarily for its long-term health benefits (such as blood regulation), before I get too old to meaningful do so;
    2. to continue to progress in strength.
    In short, I wish to use HST to get as big and strong as I can naturally in my 40s; and to increase in energy, acuity of mind, and vitality.

    My short-term goals are to focus on building up my upper-body, especially the chest which I find difficult. (My deadlifts, by contrast, seem to progress more easily.)

    My routine:

    I was attracted to HST for one main reason: I find long sessions with lots of volume exhausting (as well as boring and hard to fit in to my schedule), due to my age and other responsibilities.

    HST allows me to structure more frequent sessions with less volume. I find this invigorates rather than exhausts me. And shorter sessions, even if daily, are easier to fit in to my schedule, and are less boring since they don’t drag on.

    I am following a vanilla HST. But instead of a full-body routine three times a week, I have split each session into two — one lower-body day and the other an upper-body day — over six days a week.

    My routine is currently as follows:

    Lower-body day (1) Squat | Deadlift (2) Rows (3) Chins (4) Leg Curls | Leg Extensions
    Upper-body day (1) Military Press (2) Bench Press (3) Dips (4) Barbell Curls | Lying Triceps Extensions

    (The ‘|’ indicates that these exercises are swapped on alternate days. Thus, every two weeks, I end up doing squats three times, and deadlifts three times, for example.)

    For each exercise, I do two sets.

    As I work out alone in my home-gym, I do not do negatives in weeks 7–8, but rather two further weeks of 5s, raising the weights by 5kg (lower-body exercises) or 2.5kg (upper-body exercises). After a full cycle, I take a one-week SD, raise the the weights the same way again, and start a new cycle.

    I am currently half-way through my second HST cycle.

    I would be grateful for any advice, in light of my age and goals, on exercise selection, the split, scheduling, or anything else.
    Last edited: Feb 14, 2020
  2. NWlifter

    NWlifter Active Member

    I just gotta say, 2 years of training and your bench is 220 lbs and your, squat is 330 lbs?
    man! great potential you have!!!
  3. Jawhari

    Jawhari New Member

    Thank you, NWlifter, for the encouraging words. I owe what basic strength progress I did make to Starting Strength and 5/3/1. But ultimately the volume-per-session was either too taxing on the CNS or made the sessions too long for me at this moment in life. Enter HST.

    This is why I welcome any advice on how to optimise my routine in light of my short- and long-term goals.

    For example, maybe BB curls or lying triceps extensions could be replaced with a better compound movement such as incline bench press or close-grip bench press. I included them in order to hit the biceps and triceps, according to the vanilla HST templates. But from reading around this forum, I see that others feel that chin-ups suffice for the biceps, and lying triceps extensions are not really for beginners or early intermediates like me.

    Another example is exercise selection in relation to what mesocycle I am in. Again, vanilla HST seems to suggest the same exercises throughout 15s, 10s, 5s, and 5s+. But from reading the PDFs and the forum, I see that some people target the same muscle with different exercises depending on the mesocycle.

    In both cases, I do not feel confident enough to fiddle with the vanilla HST programme myself. I'd be grateful for any suggestions or advice: whether that be to change my setup, or to confirm those parts of the routine that are actually reasonable at this stage in my lifting. Many thanks.
    NWlifter likes this.
  4. NWlifter

    NWlifter Active Member

    Sure thing, you've done great with strength though, really great.

    I think as long as you keep the principles, you are good to go. Some don't need isolation for arms, some do. I'm a 'do' , I don't get enough from compounds for my arms (just my joint leverages, my arms kinda coast on compound moves) . Plus, an isolation is much less taxing on the system (CNS etc.) than a compound. So me, in any program I do, I use isolation (laterals, biceps, triceps and calves) but you might not need em. As you go along, you'll experiment and see how your needs are.
  5. Jawhari

    Jawhari New Member

    That's helpful advice regarding isolation exercises: both as regards whether or not any given person needs them, and also the CNS.

    And, on the topic of isolation exercises, I noticed in some logs and in Totentanz' HST eBook, that sometimes isolation exercises (like leg extensions, leg curls, hyperextensions, and CGBP) were kept at 15 reps per set, even in a mesocycle of 5s for the main lifts. Is this generally recommendable?
  6. NWlifter

    NWlifter Active Member

    Glad the info. helped :)
    I imagine a lot did that, 5RMs with leg ext, laterals, etc might be dangerous to joints/tendons. I myself wouldn't go that heavy with exercises like that.
  7. Jawhari

    Jawhari New Member

    Thank you, NWlifter, for the confirmation.

    So how would one ‘progress’ with these isolation exercises — the type which would be dangerous to joints/tendons if one went heavy — over the course a full HST mesocycle? Would you do something like a 20RM (for isolation exercises) for the 15s weeks, 16RM for the 10s weeks, 12RM for the 5s weeks, and an 8RM for the 5s+ weeks?
  8. NWlifter

    NWlifter Active Member

    that would work! 8RM is about the most I'd use on precarious isolation exercises.
    I think a lot of people skip the scary ones with an HST cycle anyway (like laterals and such)
  9. Jawhari

    Jawhari New Member

    Very helpful, thanks. I think that answers progression for isolations, and tallies with my experience in my first HST cycle — I tried doing 5RM-based isolations, and my joints and tendons definitely did not like it!

    I could still use a bit of guidance on exercise selection + the number of total sets, per muscle group, if you (or anyone else) could help.

    As I mentioned above, I'd like to work on my chest this coming cycle, while continuing to progress everything else more slowly. In my present cycle, for the chest, I am doing 2 sets of flat benchpress and 2 sets of dips, 3x week.

    In order to target the upper chest especially, and the whole chest more generally, I am thinking of adding incline dumbbell presses next cycle.
    • Would all three exercises every upper body day (that is, 3x a week) be acceptable by HST principles, or too much, if each exercise was done for two sets?
    • Should I do all three every session, but reduce the total number of sets between all three exercises to 4 or 5?
    • Would it be better to do (say) flat bench press every session, but swap the dips and the incline DB press every other session (or some other combination)?
    • Should I treat the incline DB presses as an ‘isolation’ exercise (really, an assistance) and use higher rep-ranges, if I am following the normal HST progression for the barbell flat bench press and dips? Or should I just use the normal HST progression for incline DB presses as well?
    I don't want to cause localised- or CNS-exhaustion (what with my age and other life commitments). But I would like to focus on the chest for a cycle or two and really make an effort in making it grow and become stronger.

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