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 and clear now, thanks!

    As I mentioned above, I'd like to focus on my chest this coming cycle. 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, I am thinking of adding incline dumbbell presses next cycle.
    • Would all three exercises done for two sets each (3x a week) be acceptable by HST principles, or too much?
    • 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?
    • Should I treat the incline DB presses as an ‘isolation’ exercise and use higher rep-ranges (say, 20-16-12), while using normal HST progression for the barbell flat bench press and dips?
    I don't want to overtrain a muscle group, nor exhaust the CNS. 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.
    Last edited: Feb 23, 2020
    NWlifter likes this.
  10. NWlifter

    NWlifter Active Member

    Many use quite a variation in those things, remember HST is principles not a routine, so adapt things to fit you and just use the principles. check some of the workout logs, even way older ones on here, people have created routines that worked well with many different variations (volume, exercises, varying exercises,, etc.).

    the main idea is
    periods of increased loading (usually 2 weeks, usually 15,10,5rms, but doesn't 'have to be' )
    an SD period after the cycle (to soften up and reset)
    higher frequency (usually 3x a week but some have used 2x a week)
    Scubby and Jawhari like this.
  11. Clayton

    Clayton Member

    There isn't really a "right" answer as a lot of it is a moving target. It's too much volume for some, and not much for others.

    If two chest exercises are working well, maybe three would be even better! You should know within the 1st week or so if it feels like too much.

    Another option would be to add the incline presses on your lower day. The classic example of Arnold doing calves everyday because that was his "weak link."

    Sent from my ONEPLUS A6013 using Tapatalk
    NWlifter likes this.
  12. Clayton

    Clayton Member

    And/or another thought, you might be tricep heavy on your flat bench pressing, so DB inclines might be more effective.
  13. Jawhari

    Jawhari New Member

    This is all very helpful -- thank you both.

    For the chest, I think I will try all three: flat bench press (2 sets), weighted dips (2 sets), and DB incline bench press (2 sets every upper-body day, or maybe even 1 set every day as @Clayton advised). I was just afraid that this volume for this muscle group, in light of my age, might actually retard growth (though I don't notice any CNS exhaustion or soreness.) But seeing as the chest is the weakest link in terms of both strength and growth, no harm giving this a shot for a cycle or two.

    More generally, I was curious whether I should adapt any of the general principles or the "vanilla" template in light of my being in my mid-40s, and likewise whether I should modify exercise selection in light of my short- and long-term goals. For example, instead of 15s/10s/5s, should I instead stay at slightly higher numbers (as @Old and Grey does), be it for the big compounds exercises or the isolations and "assistant" exercises (like tricep extensions and DB incline presses)? What I've gathered so far (and matches my experience) is to keep the reps higher for isolations that affect joints, but to continue to go heavier for the main compounds.

    Again, thank you for the discussion and advice.
    NWlifter likes this.

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