Customizing HST

Discussion in 'General Training' started by proteus9, Jan 18, 2005.

  1. vicious

    vicious New Member

    Actually, there's more cons than pros with drop sets. But, I'll talk about that later. ;)

  2. vicious

    vicious New Member

    Eating for a 10-12x-a-week routine

    Training twice a day means that you'll be experiencing acute post-workout effects (for 3-4 hours right after workout) for up to 44% of your waking hours. That means twice as long acute elevations of mRNA, net protein synthesis, glycogen depletion and uptake, growth hormone, testosterone, elevated cortisol / lowered insulin, growth hormone, and metabolic rate. It also means that, compared to a normal 3x-a-week schedule, your body will be experiencing the acute effects of post-workout at least FOUR times as much as your normal routine. None of that takes into account the overall summation effect and increased microtrauma, the stuff we usually pay attention to when we talk about caloric intake during bulking.

    Yeah, you need to eat. :D


    1) DC's program requires that (natural!) trainees eat at least 2g/lbs protein. Although there's little evidence from scientific domestic studies that eating protein beyond 1g/lbs (which is considered a lot anyway) will benefit you beyond extra calories, most serious DC trainees strongly abide by this. I don't think it hurts; it's relatively difficult for your body to convert protein into energy or excess fat. You have two training bouts where mRNA and protein synthesis levels will be acutely elevated as well as the overall summation effect. And, frankly, do you really want to eat all those extra calories in carbs and fat? I think that rec goes up to even 3g/lbs, but for this diet (and the fact that the carb intake would be higher than a normal DC bulking diet), we'll leave it at 2 g/lbs protein.

    For increasing glycogen stores, Bryan recommends:
    2) A total of 7-10g/KG carbs over a 24-hour period. Because the protein intake is so high that some of it will convert to glycogen, we'll leave it at 7g/KG.

    For post-WO replenishment, Bryan recommends:
    3) At least 0.7-1g/KG carbs right after workout and again 1-2 hours after. Since this is a baseline recommendation and that your body right after lifting is really good at using carbs for anything but fat storage, let's increase the carb intake right after workout by 50%, but keeping the rec for 1-2 hour the same.

    4) The net carbs from your post-WO feeds will of course be deducted from the total carbs. During 5s and post-5s, because we assume you'll have reasonably high glycogen levels, you may just drop the extra, non-WO carbs. It's actually not a lot.

    5) No presumptions for fat intake besides EFA preference.

    6) Trainee is 10-15% If he is higher (or lower), then estimate your LBM and use that.

    7) Eat as you normally would on your rest day; that is, your normal caloric rate with 300-500 extra calories.


    1) Protein: 0.943g / kg
    2) Post-WO Carbs: 1.5g / kg
    3) Post-WO Carbs, 1-2 hours later: 1.0g / kg
    4) The net, non-WO carbs: 2g/kg. You may drop this during 5s.

    And in the Queen's Olde-English:
    1) Protein: 2g/lbs
    2) Post-WO Carbs: 0.71g/lbs
    3) Post-WO Carbs, 1-2 hours later: 0.47g/lbs
    4) Net Carbs: 0.94g/lbs. You may drop this during 5s


    Say you're a 150lbs 12% skinny man . . .

    Let's use calculations for Eating for Size as a reference:
    MR = lbs / 2.12 * 24 * 1.5 (very high activity level )
    MR for 150lbs skinny man = 2547 calories
    150lbs skinny man with 500 caloric surplus = 3047 calories

    Bulking Diet:
    1) Protein: 300g
    2) Post-WO Carbs: 106g
    3) Post-WO Carbs, 1-2 hours later: 70g
    4) Net carbs: 141g
    5) 70g fat. (Assuming 5g fat per 25g protein and EFA supplementation)

    Total protein intake: 300g
    Total carb intake: (106 + 70) * 2 + 141 = 495g
    Total fat: 70g
    Total calories: 3800 calories ~ 52% carbs, 32% protein, 16% fat

    For 5s/post-5s:
    Breakdown: 350g carbs, 300g protein, 70g fat
    Total calories: 3230 calories ~ 43% carbs, 37% protein, 20% fat

    These numbers can vary depending on your protein sources. It's still a lot of food. ;)
  3. vicious

    vicious New Member

    Increasing Metabolic Stress vs. Increasing Mechanical Strain

    Increasing metabolic work is pretty easy. If you do a short bout of HIIT cardio with a full-body exerciser, you'll induce enough metabolic stress in your legs and back. If you do 15s after your normal set, you'll induce enough metabolic stress.

    You also know that increasing metabolic work, partially by further activating the erk1/2 pathway, increases the muscle's metabolism, which increases mobilization of nutrients, increases glycogen and speeds protein uptake at a faster pace, improves recovery, etc. It stimulates sarcoplasmic hypertrophy and indirectly sarcomere hypertrophy.

    But, the question remains: should you spend your extra time working on burn sets, or should you be trying to add another set of incline flies?

    1) Extra metabolic work (esp. failure) can fry your neuromuscular junction and ECC system. This decreases the ability to excite the muscle to contract, but it also decreases your general ability to produce neural drive. However, most of us are good at managing this kind of fatigue now, and you can help things by replenishing glycogen and sleeping more. Moreover, this tends to be more skill-specific. Even if you fried out on dips, you can still manage on the incline press. If you did breathing squats, you can still muster enough to do leg extensions.

    2) Extra mechanical strain, i.e. muscle damage by eccentric strain, decouples the ECC system quickly. The difference is that though you can muster the neural drive, you immediately find your muscle unresponsive. This transcends specific movements too. If you did negatives on flies, with little metabolic fatigue, than tried to do a normal bench, that bench will be suddenly very hard. To compensate, you would increase neural drive, which leads to step 1. Therefore, in my opinion, increasing strain -- though it will directly stimulate sarcomere hypertrophy -- has much higher risk for causing problems with progressive loading with 3x-a-week or higher frequency.

    In a sense, it becomes an issue of descending risk. If you want to bring up a bodypart, you increase strain on it. Once you've designed your work to increase strain, you have to review your training experience and consider whether adding more strain (by adding more sets, increasing stretch, using a modality) will cause problems with completing the next workout. If you think this could be a problem, then you look at increasing metabolic work. Once you've done this, then you finally look at how many sets you want to add to all of your exercises to bring up the bottom line effect.

    Range of motion, Concentric vs. Eccentric Contraction

    There's sort of reciprocal relationship between Range of Motion and muscle. The more you increase stretch, the more amenable muscle becomes toward strain (and increasing the p38 signal.) But, the more you increase the contraction, the more a muscle becomes likely to fatigue. Two reasons figure into that: the force-production in an extremely contracted position signifiantly drops (though leverage factors can play a larger role in the actual strength strength), and decreases supply of oxygen to muscle.

    Also, the concentric and eccentric portions of exercise work like a pump -- the lengthening of muscle pools blood in, the shortening of the muscle pumps it out. So, on a metabolic stress scale . . .

    1) Contracted position > Stretched position
    2) Concentric movement > Static > Eccentric

    Essentially, you want to manipulate these two variables as best you can in order to generate metabolic stress from the set. Lengthening the period of concentric movement increases metabolic stress. Working from a more contracted position increases metabolic stress.

    Rep cadence and TUL

    Shortening and lengthening velocities (provided you're not going too slow that it's turning into static contractions) do not seriously factor into force production. However, they affect metabolic stress in basically two ways:

    1) Vary the effective TUL ratio between concentric and eccentric. Practically speaking, we're talking about accumulation of metabolic stress vs. respite of same stress. The higher the concentric phase is relatively to eccentric, the higher net metabolic stress will be created for a given TUL. In effect, you want to delay the respite.

    2) In the case of isolation exercises and any movements where the weak-link is at contraction (i.e. pulling movements), a slower rep speed of the concentric portion increases the rate of accumulation of fatigue. In fact, slowing down as you complete your concentric rep, is the best way to go. The more contracted positions (specifically, in isolation and pulling movements) have significantly effect for metabolic fatigue. By slowing down or using a slow rep speed, you increase the effective time at that moment spent at that rate. This, and not momentum, is the basis for why the 10/5 superslow cadence requires a significant drop in load in order to complete the same TUL as a normal set.

    It should be noted, though, that pressing movements have leverage advantages that complicates the above situation. The effective load on muscle decreases as you approach lockout, thus the use of near-lockout (where the limbs are most contracted) can create something of a respite. Thus, there's a necessary balance between force-production of the movement and actual contracted position. Often the point in the movement where metabolic stress is highest will be somewhere in the middle, closer to the lockout than full-stretch. It's harder to locate for pressing movements.

    In short, using slow rep cadences (without static contraction) with a very, very short eccentric period is ideal for increasing metabolic stress. That may be something like 10/1 or 4/1. Total range of motion will influence this.

    Peak contraction exercises

    Below is a list of POF peak-contraction exercises.

    Most of them are pretty familiar. Generally, I think machine-assisted movements work much better than cables and free weights, because you want to get correct direction of resistance in the contracted position. A Nautilus biceps machne is going to work better than a concentration curl. A pec-dec or fly machine is going to work better than cable flies. A Cyber or Nautilus pullover produces an amazing amount of metabolic stress in the lats that would take twice as much volume with chins. (And note: I actually think the machine pullover is a better exercise for the lats than chins.)

    Isolation movements are more efficient at generating metabolic stress than compound movements. You don't need a lot of time or glycogen to generate an incredible amount of metabolic stress. I also feel it's a much, much better alternative than using pressing movements. I personally feel that if you're doing a stretch-point exercise, you might as well add a matching machine-assisted movement. Since most people do specialization in their arms, it would make sense to throw in a triceps pushdown, biceps machine, and lateral raise to thoroughly burn the arms.

    That being said, you don't want to pile on isolation movements just to fatigue your entire body. Specialization still applies. Therefore, you have to make the same judgement call between specialization and general bodypart coverage.

    Progressive loading and absolute load

    Of course, increasing the weight builds fatigue. But, it is not necessary in order to create sufficient metabolic stress for endurance adaptations, let alone create sufficient metabolic work. Progressive loading is designed to manipulate strain to beat RBE. Likewise, when working with isolation and pulling movements, you can and should use lighter loads than what you've been working with. Therefore, sets used to build metabolic stress DO NOT follow the HST rep scheme. Reps end by feel.

    Okay, next time. Partials and pulses, drop sets, rest-pause, 21s, superslow, super-high fatiguing sets, and HIIT cardio.

  4. vicious

    vicious New Member

    Partials and Pulsing with Isolation Movements

    Regular sets have the disadvantage of a lot of wasted effort with both a pronounced eccentric contraction, which leads to a respite and oxygen "refeed" (due to blood pooling back in), and lack of relative TUL spent in the most contracted part of the ROM, which has the highest fatiguing rate.

    Static contractions have advantage of fixing at a peak contraction, but the disadvantage of decreased force requirement in an isometric position.

    Partials, particularly pulsing, with isolation movements is by far the most effective way to generate metabolic stress in a specific muscle. A true pulse is really a very short partial (1-3 inches) done at near peak-contraction (but not lock-out.) The idea is to just get enough ROM in order for the target muscle to palpably shorten. Because a pulse is performed slowly (but not so slow as to turn it into a static contraction) during the concentric and quickly at the eccentric.

    You'll be doing pulses of roughly 1-2 second concentric and ~0.5 seconds. You'd use a load that's fairly low (for isolation movements, that's somewhere in the 15s range) to produce 15 pulses. In a short 30-40 seconds, you can an excruciating burn.

    Another advantage to do this technique is that you can use them rest-pause style. That is, when you start out, if you can't make 15 pulses, you can periodically have respites by lowering the weight all the way down, breathe, then rejoin in the fun. Unlike drop sets, you can easily manage the amount of neural fatigue in order to generate the net metabolic stress that you want.

    Finally, let me vouch for the machine-assisted pullover, especially the Nautilus pullover. It's my favorite general isolation movement, so much so that I think it can supplant chins for lat development. However, it's also truly terrific for creating metabolic stress in the abs, traps and upper back as well as the lats. Even if your routine comprises of only compound movements, I strongly recommend pulsing with this exercise in order to create an effect in many parts. Again, highly recommended.

    Statics, Partials, Pulsing and Grip Width with Compound Movements

    Because pulling movements tend to have their weak links in the point of contraction, pulsing is the way to go with pulling movements too. However, due to the pulsing needs a slightly wider range of motion in order to generate a palpable shortening in the target muscle. Since there are multiple primary movers at work, loads will be heavier too, approaching what you'd normally use at the end of 15s or beginning of 10s.

    Using a close-grip helps too, since it situates all of the primary movers at more contracted position. For example, you can do wide-grip pulldowns for your normal set. Lower the poundage significantly, then pulse out with close-grip pulldowns.

    Partials can work well with pressing movements. Here, traditional pulsing would be a bad idea because you're simply too strong near lock-out. BUT, normal partial training, from 50% to near-lockout, with a close-grip, essentially works like an instantaneous drop set. You don't need to reset the weight, and so you can go straight into partial training right after your normal set. You can control the # of reps you can perform by adjusting ROM and rep speed. When it gets too hard, you can rerack and repeat rest-pause style, which lets you control respite better than drop sets. For example, after your 5RM set, you can perform another 5 partials reps, then another 5 pulses, then finally use static holds for a few seconds, all without adjusting the weight.

    By varying your ROM and speed and concentric vs. static, you can increase metabolic stress and manage the neural fatigue simultaneously.

    Drop sets vs. Rest/Pause and Density Training

    To be honest, I don't like drop sets (i.e. the stripping of loads) all that much. I kind of view it as a "neither here nor there" approach to increasing metabolic strain and extending metabolic work. Moreover, the stripping of loads within a short period isn't practical unless you have access to selectorized equipment or training partners worthy of Nascar. However, it goes without saying that many of the techniques used to extend metabolic stress will require a lower load than your current training load.

    Generally, I like rest/pause training. Not only does it give you more control over your respite periods (by not having you switch the weight all the time), but it enables you to use higher loads which can create some extra strain. 20 rep breathing squats is the most famous codification of rest-pause training. Obviously the traditional disadvantage is that loads near 5RM are too high to properly extend for anything beyond a few reps without a significant respite, thus defeating the purpose of rest-pause training. However, by using partials as described above, you can modulate the tension requirements of the weight while using range of motion to reliably increase hypoxia stress.

    Really, rest/pause vs. drop set comes down to density training between load and rest in order to reach a specified # of reps.

    1) You need to have a significant rate of metabolic fatigue, by load, contraction, concentric, movement, etc. That is determined by your choice between partial vs. pulses vs. full ROM reps, cadence, and your choice of load.

    2) You need to have enough work in a short time period. That is the target # of reps. Generally that will be extra 10-15 reps or 30-60 extra seconds, be it pulses, partials, or full reps.

    3) Finally, you need to manage effective training density. This will influence your choice in using rest/pause or drop sets, or modulating load in order to increase density.

    By doing all three, you can increase net metabolic stress efficienctly without torching your neural fatigue or burning through too much glycogen.

    15s and cardio

    This is in essence, a low-end drop set that induces only moderate metabolic stress, but doesn't require the micromanaging your endurance. If you're just interested in bringing up metabolic work, with little complication and only mild hit to CNS, you could just repeat a set of 15s. This may be particularly useful if you switch to negatives for the compound movement. It's safe; it's simple; it can help out prevent overuse problems with connective tissue; it brings you back into your inner lactic acid being.

    Finally, you could just do moderate cardio or short bout of HIIT. For those of you with access to full-body exercises, this is an efficient and perhaps the easiest way to get metabolic work through many of the major muscles of the body. It also creates a more general effect with metabolism, which helps the nutrient partioning effect without depleting too much glycogen, incurring too much CNS fatigue, and so on. One big problem is that most cardio movements will not significantly evaluate erk1/2 pathway activation in muscles not worked. Thus, doing HIIT cardio with the bike will not improve muscle metabolism that much in your back or upper torso. That said, cardio will help your body and general metabolism become more amenable to post-WO nutrition.

    "Metabolic Stress" Chart

    Here's a summary of the aformentioned viable techniques, from most fatiguing to least . . .

    1) Pulsing with isolation (peak contraction) movements
    2) Pulsing with pulling movements, close-grip
    3) Partials with pressing movements, close-grip
    4) Pulsing with pressing movements, close-grip
    5) Rest pause
    6) Drop set with selectorized equipment
    7) 15s or low-rep high fatiguing
    8) Cardio

    Here's a summary of rep speed and ROM

    1) Higher concentric-to-eccentric ratios is more fatiguing
    2) Slower concentric phases (and shorter eccentric phases) is more fatiguing
    3) Highly contracted, non-lockout ROM is more fatiguing
    4) Pressing movements have leverage issues which can mitigate 3)

    Matching and modulating stress to HST phase and diet

    It's probably useful to point out that if a trainee chooses to use negatives after 5s, and especially if he chooses to use an extended period of negatives, he'll need to add more metabolic stress. Likewise, if he stays with 5s, then he would need less metabolic work in order to produce the intended effect. If he is primarily interested in bumping up total metabolic work in order to make short-term efficient usage of post-WO nutrients, he can just stick with generic fatigue sets and cardio. Or he may do a combination of techniques, adding a lot of extra metabolic stress to his pecs and back, but not as much for his lower back and legs.

    Diet figures largely into what combination of techiques you will use. Most variables of your training, such as volume, frequency, and general exercise selection, will influence the caloric intake and diet. That is, your training usually dictates your diet. HOWEVER, when it comes to metabolic stress, you should actually train according to your diet. Using a lot of high-stress techniques on a low-carb, moderate-calorie diet will cause fatigue and overtraining issues. Likewise, if you don't use a lot of high-stress techniques on a very high calorie diet, especially one tuned to glycogen storage, not using more high-stress techniques can lead to wasted calories and fat storage.

    Or to view another way, the more food you take, the more resources you have available to produce hypertrophy. By increasing metabolic stress in training, you'll use more of it. In other words, for the issue of metabolic stress training, diet will dictate your training.

    Through a HST phase (starting with 5s), you want to establish a baseline level of fatigue-inducing techniques. For most people, particularly those who rely mostly on compound movements, it will likely be a combination of short HIIT cardio, drop sets, or a 15s set. For those who are using stretch-point techniques to specialize bodyparts, they may intermittingly add a few peak-contraction pulse movements in order to generate stress. Then, as their 5s phase progresses, they may switch from drop set to some combination of rest pause and partials. Or they may vary rep cadence. Or increase their fatiguing load or the target # of fatigue reps.

    Then, at the end of 5s, if they go into negatives, that becomes their baseline fatigue techniques for the negatives. If they stay at 5RM, they may choose to reduce some of the overall fatigue level. If they lower their carb intake, they may lower their levels too. It's all about matching the current environment of your muscles, your overall CNS system, and diet, with your goals.

    I think that more or less covers the gestalt of erk1/2 inducing, metabolic stress techniques. This is a pretty open-ended issue, and so there's various other techniques that one can use. Next topic should cover the general issue of volume.

  5. vicious

    vicious New Member

    Volume and Absolute Load

    This will be a much shorter post than the other sections, namely because aspects of the issue of volume has been a part of this entire thread. Volume should always be the last variable in your workout design. Once you've broken training into more and more subdivisions, volume becomes more of a "baking time" to let the ingredients coalesce into a harmonious dish. Undercook and you don't fully realize the flavors. Overdo it and you burn the product irrecoverably. The trick isn't in mastering a perfect cooking time, but rather understand how all the flavors evolve. As stated near the top of this thread, volume comes after the exercise selection, after the frequency schedule, and after all the decisions are made between what to do to create strain and what to do to creae metabolic stress.

    After all this has been defined in your routine, volume has only really two purposes:

    1) To establish the baseline or control of your routine during the 5s phase. In other words, what is the minimum # of sets that you want for your bodyparts?

    2) As a stabilizing variable in order to make the "strain steps" in progressive loading relatively constant or increase

    Before we get into cluster, Gironda, or rep x set matrix style training, it's important to recognize that as absolute load approaches 1RM and beyond, the level of mechanical strain over the existing RBE widens. That is why it's not as important to retain the same # of reps that you performed during 15s as you would during 5s. That being said, more reps = more microtrauma, and that you don't want the # of reps between each phase to drop so extreme that you're bridging the gap between phases. Mantaining the same # of sets through each phase, to me, represents a baseline compromise between the higher # of reps with 15s with the low reps of 5s. You want to mantain the # of sets

    In a sense, that is why I often strongly recommend holding off stretch-position exercises and the other intensity techniques until the 10s or, more often, the 5s. You don't want to do a lot in the beginning because A) your body will be sufficiently deconditioned that a little will accomplish a lot, and B) arbritrary using a high number of sets during 15s increases the total bout distance that needs to be covered by 10s and especially 5s.

    Thus, a general rule of thumb is to plan the pragmatic # of reps for your 15s, then divide that by three. That number will be the minimum target # of 5s reps you will use. If you plan 3x15 or 45 reps for 15s, then plan on performing at least 15 reps for 5s.

    Why would you want to do this? Well, if you're concentrating on mainly the big movements, such as doing a Big Four-style routine, 3x-a-week, then you will likely want to raise the minimum volume of your routine. In your setup, you may decide on a minimum of 3 sets for dips and chins. During 15s, you may actually plan on only doing 35 reps or so (assuming that the other 2 sets are submaximal.) Thus, for 5s, you would work at completing at least 12 reps. Which leads you to cluster training

    Theory on Cluster Training

    Conventional wisdom goes that cluster training works well becomes it enables you to manage your fatigue in order to perform more reps. However, from my experiences experimenting with chopping up sets and high frequency training, I feel the greater issue is that fatigue (i.e. net MU recruitment) and possibly metabolic work (i.e. core temperature increasing tissue elasticity) in general creates protective mechanisms whereby the stress of a rep exhibits less and less strain. There is a lengthy discussion of this over at Littledoc's thread, but essentially the idea goes that when MU recruitment decreases due to fatigue, the contribution to passive muscle strain (which affects all fibers) decreases. The theory goes (derived from the Morgan studies) that if you can sustain the optimal, synchronous MU recruitment parameters, then you can create progressive damage in percentage of muscle fibers until you reach fibers whose true yield stress will not be seriously damaged by the passive strain. However, due to fatigue and/or metabolic work mostly produced during concentric work, especially with 8+ reps, this level of damage usually not reached within one set.

    Clustering, then, is really about keeping the loading effect as potent per rep as possible. In short, during a given set, after a certain # of reps (ostenisbly representing fatigue or absolute load creating the maximal # of MU recruitment), the level of microstrain (and ostensibly MAPKp38 activity) starts to dip. This usually represents a period where the rate coding significantly rises, and thus is felt by you by increased neural drive. In this form of training, you would stop before this even starts; that would define the # of reps of your miniset. Then, you'd rest shortly and repeat. It follows that concentric contractions should be done fairly quickly, though eccentric contractions should be done in slowly. Then a short-to-long rest period follows before the next miniset. The lower # of reps, he shortens the rest period and the higher # of total reps you can complete.

    Cluster is the opposite of density training. Where the latter enables a given load to optimize aggregrate metabolic stress (and MAPerk1/2 activity), cluster training enables a load to optimize net mechanical strain (and MAPKp38 activity.)

    Setting up a Rep x Set Matrix and Adjusting toward Total Volume

    1) The maximum # of reps is set by a period in which net MU recruitment starts to drop. This is roughly measured by a significant rise in rate coding.

    2) The lower you are from this max # of reps, the more total reps you can complete. Practically speaking, you'd be dividing the usual reps by either 2 or 3 and round down.

    3) The lower you are from this max # of reps, the less rest time you should start with. This is important since some fatigue is necessary in order to facilitate MU recruitment.

    4) Rest time goes up steadily. You could use enormous rest periods (the high-frequency indirectly came from this idea), but of course you have to be pragmatic. Also, if you plan on the set being a source of significant metabolic stress, you'll want to increase rest time more slowly.

    Remember that before we mentioned in the classic HST setup, ideally you'll have the # of reps for that bodypart during 5s be at least 1/3 of your total 15s reps. Thus, after a 2x15 set -- 30 reps, you'll have a minimum of 10 reps to complete for 5s. For example, you could use a 5x2 setup with 20-40 second rest range. For 10s, you'll have a minimum of 20 reps to complete. You could use a 5x4 setup with that 20-40 second rest period. If you want to approach 30 reps for 5s, you could perform 30x1 reps with 5-20 second rest range.

    As you can see, the higher your target reps, the finer your application is. Thus, the improvement in microstrain comes from two places: the increase in # of loaded reps and a lengthier, more thorough period where MU recruitment is near-optimal and thus strain is accentuated.

    Because this technique is designed to accentuate sarcomere disruption, the pragmatic limit (besides time constraints) will essentially be the effect of disruption on your progressive loading. In one cluster scheme, they use an ultra-fine rep x set matrix, while only permitting progressive loads once a week. In other words to facilitate the progressive loading of classic HST, you'll want to keep it relatively estimate. That being said, this method works better when the total # of target reps would exceed the normal # of reps for 1 set. Thus, if you're planning to micromanage just 5 reps for your 5s, this probably isn't worth it. However, those of you planning 2 to 4 sets of 10s and 5s anyway, this is a way to accentuate the results while incuring much less neural fatigue. Sweet deal, innit?

    Testing for Yourself

    You can test how this works for you right now. Take your current set # and chop it up. If you're doing 2 sets of 5s, chop it into 10x2. See how it works for you and make notes of how you feel the next day. How much difference do you feel? If it does nothing to increase strain for you, at least you've done a finer job of managing fatigue. That, of course, was its original intended purpose -- to get you the benefits of higher volume without the price.

    For those of you using stretch-point exercises, this is a natural technique in order to both accentuate its effect and manage favorable loads.

    This is the most experimental portion of all the parts. Let me know how it works for you. :)

    Next stop: using a multi-part progressive load scheme to break down the HST rep phases.

  6. Bob Evans

    Bob Evans Member

    Jules (et. al.) ,

    Great thread. This really helps me “put some of the pieces together”. The timing is great because I have been at HST for three years now and it is time for me to “take it up a notch”.

    While really being fascinated with the theory, principals and science behind all this – I then come down to the practical “here and now”. I, like many guys, have a logistics problem.

    I need some help with designing a program witch increases frequency – I am currently just hitting the Gym three times a week (basic HST). Since my situation reminds me of s “story problem” from 6th grade math, Here goes:

    Bob belongs to 2 gyms. One is a hard-core gym a half an hour away. Another is a light weight gym 5 minutes away. Bob wants to get bigger and lift AM/PM three days a week. The light weight gym is not a problem while in the 15s but Bob can not go heavy on most exercises while in his 10s, 5s, negs.

    Can Bob lift am / pm using both gyms, while only doing only specific isolation exercises (curls, latteral raises, scull crushers etc) in the morning in the light weight gym and then go heavy at night?

    Additionally should Bob just do intensity techniques burn sets, weighted stretching etc. in the morning and then lift regularly in the evening.

    Bob realizes that he could do the Monday PM Wednesday AM approach – but is trying to see how to do twice a day.

    I don’t want to screw up this beautiful thread with a question – so you could answer else where and I could delete it.

    Peace, Bob (Where do you get those drinks around here)
  7. vicious

    vicious New Member

    I assume you're primarily interested in bringing up the upper torso (i.e. arms and chest.) If not, then could you do everyday training with all of the exercises together?

    If you're primarily interested in arms and pecs, then your setup would be fine. Ideally, you'll throw in the stretch-point exercises both sessions, but frankly I can't find enough time with a bench to do that all that stuff in the evening. When I do it, it's more or less either weekends or in the morning.

    For 15s, perform identical workouts AM/PM and leave out stretch-point exercises.

    For 10s, add in the stretch-point exercises for the morning. Start at a low load and work toward a fairly linear progression. Add in a fatiguing set (i.e. 15s) for that bodypart. For example, after hitting the delts, pecs, and triceps with stretch-point, perform a 15s with the bench press. Your post-WO carb intake doesn't need to be that high if you're just focusing on this area.

    If you're looking to facilitate glycogen replenishment for the entire body, then simply repeat your entire 15s workout. Then use normal post-WO nutrition.

    For 5s, add in the peak contraction exercises for the morning. Perform pulse-style for up to 10 reps. Consider hitching the myotatic reflex for the last rep or two of the stretch-point exercise. Add in the 15s fatiguing set to make sure you're covering the entire area. Make no changes in the evening.

    For post-5s, switch to negatives on stretch-point. At the end of the set, perform a loaded-stretch (by lowering all the way) for another 10-15 seconds. If you're doing incline DB curls, do not lock out. Perform pulses on peak-contraction exercises for 10-15 reps. Adding in the fatiguing set. In the evening, use whatever techniques you've been using for the post-5s.

    Ideally, you'll extend the post-5s for a total of 3-4 weeks. This will let you progressive load with negatives until you hit 110-120% of 1RM. To bring up the other bodyparts that can't be "negatived", look into the Partial sections to facilitate progressive loading through post-5s and look into the Cluster section to chop up the Squats, Deads and other exercises.

    Finally, eat big. :)

  8. Jester

    Jester Well-Known Member

    Jules, as this is the 'Customising HST' thread, in your next post please include a glossary of these terms below. I'm reading the info and trying to take it all in but I'm not familiar with all the terms (as those terms for some I think) and I'd just like clarification, thanks :)

    *Stretch point exercise

    *Peak Contraction exercise - what is it?

    *Static rep(/static hold..?) - same again..? - how does one
    perform it for say, bench/incline press?

    *Loaded stretch - with the appropriate %RM weight to use. i.e. In the 5s phase, for pecs do I just perform a negative incline fly rep with say 50% of my 5RM lowering over 15seconds? Or is it just holding them in the stretched-out position for that time...?

    *Progressive load for stretching - Same increments as we would use for normal progression? Same weights?

    * Pulsing - is this tensing the muscle at it's peak contraction a few times once the last rep is performed...? That's what comes to mind when I read 'pulsing'

    *Rest pause - e.g. holding the barbell at it's locked out position for a moment until you can do another rep...or placing the barbell back onto the holds and then in a few moments lift it back up and perform another rep or two...?

    Like I said, confused over what each term is referring to specifically :) [​IMG]

    Anyway, just an explanation of how to physically do these techniques/what they are (now that we have the physiological/metabolic info) would be GREATLY appreciated, thanks :)
  9. shakeel

    shakeel New Member

    Partials can work well with pressing movements. Here, traditional pulsing would be a bad idea because you're simply too strong near lock-out. BUT, normal partial training, from 50% to near-lockout, with a close-grip, essentially works like an instantaneous drop set. You don't need to reset the weight, and so you can go straight into partial training right after your normal set. You can control the # of reps you can perform by adjusting ROM and rep speed. When it gets too hard, you can rerack and repeat rest-pause style, which lets you control respite better than drop sets. For example, after your 5RM set, you can perform another 5 partials reps, then another 5 pulses, then finally use static holds for a few seconds, all without adjusting the weight.

    vicious i dont understand this one taking decline press as an example how you perform the partila?from bottom to half way?and the pulses what range of motion?from middle to just before lockout?and static hold?where how many inches?
  10. vicious

    vicious New Member

    Stretch point exercise vs. Peak Contraction exercise

    These are Position of Flexion-related terms.

    Essentially, stretch-point exercises are exercises that work the target muscle through a particularly stretched range of motion. Usually the sticking point is at the point of full-stretch. They increase strain through stretch and increase MAPKp38 activity and accelerate sarcomere hypertrophy. Most stretch-point exercise are single-joint, isolation movements with the exception of legs (SLDL, sissy squats.)

    Peak-contraction exercises are exercises that work the target muscle in its most contracted range of motion. Virtually all peak-contraction exercises are isolation movements. These don't increase strain that much over normal compound movements, but they do a great job at increasing metabolic stress, fatigue, MAPKerk1/2 activity, and sarcoplasmic hypertrophy in the target muscle. Most of y'all been doing this movement for years.

    There are POF tables in the respective Customizing section detailing a sample of them. Note: certain movements can "qualify" as both, but the actual technique does vary whether you want to emphasize the stretch or the contraction.

    Static hold vs. Loaded Stretch

    Static hold is just holding the weight at a certain position. Your static strength is greater than your concentric strength, though less that your eccentric strength. Static holds let you milk the benefits of the muscle's contracted or stretched point and can be way to extend the TUL of a set.

    Loaded stretches are essentially static holds in an extremely stretched position. When a mildly heavy-to-heavy weight is held in a unusually stretched position for sufficient time, the passive-stretch reflex kicks in and slowly increases the effective tension at that point.

    Natural application of loaded stretch is to simply perform a static hold with your stretch-point movement at that load. That facilitates a progressive element with loaded stretches. A more thorough discussion is covered in the respective Customizing section.

    Partial vs. Pulsing

    Partials are about performing a rep in a limited range of motion. You can't use as much weight as you would with a static. However, you introduce concentric and eccentric motion. Various applications exist in using partials to accentuate strain and accentuate metabolic stress. A more thorough discussion is covered in the respective Customizing section.

    Pulsing are essentially partials with very short ROM (like 1-3 inches.) Pulsing with peak contraction exercises is perhaps the most effective way to generate metabolic stress. A variation of pulsing, by hitching the myotatic reflex, exists in order to accentuate strain as well. A more thorough discussion is covered in the respective Customizing section.

    Rest pause
    Ideally, you'd hold the barbell in its locked out position until you can do another rep. But, what I espouse (for boosting metabolic stress) is a combination of rest-pause and a steady progression of normal, then partial, then pulse, then finally static movements in order to extend TUL.

  11. vicious

    vicious New Member

    In order to extend TUL and create metabolic fatigue (strictly for pressing movements), you would perform post-set partials from halfway to near-lockout. Then when that gets tough, you switch to 2-3 inch pulses. When that gets too tough, then you perform static hold at near-lockout. You'll feel severe burn without torching your CNS or changing weight.

    I understand the reasoning behind pulsing in the stretched position (to kick off the myotatic reflex), but for pressing movements I feel it's more effective doing this with stretch-point movements in order to build in that area. If, however, you want to stick to pulsing the pressing movement, then drop off the load by 20-30% or so, and "bounce" about 5 times after the set

  12. Bob Evans

    Bob Evans Member

    Ok in your first example (above) the "pulse" is approx 3 inches below lock-out --correct?
    Staying with the decline press example "pulsing in the stretched position" would be pulsing while doing the Flys-to-the-floor?  Or pulsing would be with DBs in the deep part of the ROM?
    ---- is this in the 3 inches around lock-out?
    I am eating this stuff up.  I just want to get it right.  I did some of the weighted strech stuff last night -- ouch.  I have always known about this stuff -- but i just screwed around with it and never incorporated it in my routine correctly before. Just wanna get it right this time!
    Vielen Dank,   Bob
  13. vicious

    vicious New Member

    That's correct. For compound movements, you need a slightly wider ROM in order to create discernable concentric and eccentric contractions with the target muscle. For isolation movements, a pulse would be only 1 or 2 inches.

    That would be pulsing with the DB in the deep part of the ROM. I'm not a big fan of this because it could irritate the the rotator cuff. But, assuming you have no problems with the cuff, you could "bounce" 5 times after the end of your set. Hitching the reflex with flies-to-the-floor has a much more severe effect.

    No, that's the deep part of the ROM.

    As long as you can progressively increase the intensity of the stretch, it's very effective.

  14. Jester

    Jester Well-Known Member

    And the best way to do this is how?

    Progress the load? Longer time for the stretch?

    Lets say you use the weights you used for normal reps as your loaded stretch weights, is that progression sufficient?
  15. vicious

    vicious New Member

    Progress the load. Again, the easy way to do this is to apply a loaded stretch with your stretch-point movement. Whatever load you're using, hold it at the stretch for another 10-15 seconds.

    If it's a pulling movement, you may be better off just hitching the reflex directly. After your set, do 5 bounces at near lock-out with your training load. If grip isn't an issue, then just hold at near-lockout for 45-60 seconds. It's all in the thread. :)

  16. Bob Evans

    Bob Evans Member

    O.K. I am doing the 3 days a week am/pm routine.

    In my case I am doing the optimizing stuff in the morning (weighted stretches, burn sets, etc.) and regular HST at night (I am in my mid 10s now).

    My morning routines take about one hour, and the evening routine goes about an hour twenty minutes. Is this too much? I think it will speed up once I adjust to this new protocol.

    Also, on the stretch flys -- I noticed a better stretch if I keep my arms straight out from my shoulders. Some times they drifted just alittle down tward my hips and I sensed the stretch was not as good.

    Thanks again Dr. V. for your musings. I am really enjoying learning this stuff. After just a week of it I feel a difference.
    Awaiting your future posts on this thread the way 11 year olds wait for the next Harry Potter book.

    Many thanks, Bob [​IMG]
  17. vicious

    vicious New Member

    Ideally you'll get your workout done in 45-60 minutes. But you'll be fine during 5s.

    Key thing is to press your shoulder blades in. On the last rep or two, I actually arc my back a bit in order to push the sternum out more and emphasize the stretch.

    You'll notice, especially with the flies, that finishing out the sets can become very hard. And I've noticed that with flies, sometimes it pulls on my cuff a little at the bottom of the movement when the load gets high. If this happens to you, use a cheating motion to raise the weight. For flies, just go into a pressing motion. For curls, change the elbow angle. For skullcrushers, change the elbow and/or cluster. Remember that you're not that interested in getting metabolic work from the stretch-point. You'll get that later. The stretch-point sets are just there to create quality eccentric contractions.

    For me, it's most fun just seeing people experiment in a methodical, logical manner and seeing what come out of it. This cycle is really about gauging how bad the fatigue gets, how your body reacts, and so on. There's still more you can do to tweak the effect even more, BUT we want to establish how this is working for you now.

    Remember to include some pulsing in your morning workout during the 5s in additional to the burn set.

    Next thing will be an extension of the clustering technique. A lot of people are interested in increasing volume without causing too much fatigue.

  18. Bob Evans

    Bob Evans Member

    "Experiment in a methodical, logical manner" ---- Well that is just it -- I have experimented in the past, bought books, read mags, listened to guys in the gym --- but little, if nothing, came out of it; just bumping around in the dark. Sure I learned a few things along the way. But the time, effort / results equation was underwhelming.

    But this gives me a template to apply to my workout strategy. I am peppering you with practical implementation questions -- the how to's -- but it is great to have the reasoning and theory behind it. Not only important to know how to do something -- but also the reason you are doing it.

    Peace, Bob
  19. vicious

    vicious New Member

    To me, workout design is like drawing up a football gameplan.  There is not one best defense; you evaluate your genetics and situation, what style of routine you prefer, what tools are available, what you can do with the diet, etc.  Then you draw up the best scheme to your knowledge at that moment for all of the variables.  Finally, you make adjustments during halftime to make it better.

     I consider this thread an "advanced" thread, not so much because the techniques are new (which they're not -- I'd say the bouncing in stretch position is really the only weird thing I haven't seen anywhere else), but because you can't just use these techniques effectively without understanding the bigger picture.  This thread not only covers 60-75% of the known modalities/techniques in the entire bodybuilding encyclopedia, but it tells you how it all fits into the HST theory and how it can be used in that context.   In the end, you will be drawing up your perfect routine.  When I go, I hope everybody moves away from cookie-cutter to a methodical tweak of their routine.  

  20. noobie

    noobie New Member

    Dont Go!! [​IMG]

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