Dialing up HST for a cut

Discussion in 'Hypertrophy-Specific Training (HST)' started by tdawg_33, Nov 18, 2011.

  1. Ozzidazza

    Ozzidazza New Member

    Hi Totentanz - I workout fasted at 4am, and break my fast at noon (fasted WO is not by choice, but just how I can get IF fasting and workouts into my day together and still have a reasonable evening with my family!). 10 g BCAA's pre and post WO, but nothing else. So can you confirm that you believe my carb intake is too low on training days, hence glycogen depletion, hence the measurable size difference I have noticed in my arms? So it could indeed be fluid, and I never did have 16-inch guns? Carb intake I can rectify as you have suggested, but obviously only 7 hours after my WO!

  2. Totentanz

    Totentanz Super Moderator Staff Member

    Whatever size your arms normally measure is the correct size.

    If you are working out totally fasted, I would not be surprised to see glycogen depletion, and then if you are not getting enough carbs after the workout, you may not be replenishing your glycogen stores. Hard to say for sure until you try adding more carbs, as long as you can do this without adding more calories or dropping protein.
  3. Lol

    Lol Super Moderator Staff Member


    Could you give us a rough idea of how your bodyfat is distributed?

    Some folks have more fat around their midriff, front and back and butt, and less over areas further away from their torso, like arms and legs; others have more of an even layer of fat all over. If you take calliper readings of the fat on your tris you will know what's going on there. My guess is that you have lost some intra-muscular fat as well as some surface fat. If your arms have gotten much weaker then you have more than likely lost some muscle mass in those areas BUT not necessarily as much as you think!

    Have you tracked your bodyweight over the course of your cut? This is advisable as it gives you a warning if you are losing weight too quickly. You WILL undoubtedly lose some muscle if you are on a cut (based somewhat on your genetically determined P-ratio) and especially if you are lifting loads that are too light to stimulate enough of a PS response. Starting a cut with loads that are well below your 15RM is asking for your body to start to drop lean tissue. However, once in the 10s, the loads shouldn't be much lighter than your 15RM from the start so that should enable you to keep hold of much of your lean mass from that point. Lifting heavy enough loads skews your P-ratio in favour of lean mass.

    The fact that you only mention noticing a drop in arm size in the last two weeks is curious seeing that you are now using heavier loads than you were when you didn't notice a drop in arm size. If your bodyfat has stayed the same (19%) for the past month then what has happened to your bodyweight over that time? How much has that dropped?

    At a bw of 83.5 kg (184lb) and at 19% bf, you are carrying ~35lb of fat. That currently leaves you with lean mass of 149lb.

    You are taller and lighter than me with higher bodyfat; my arm size is under 17" after a training session. I don't work my arms directly so I know they could be larger than they are but I can row and chin a reasonable amount of weight. Any idea what your 5RM is for a set of weighted chins? As in BW+?

    If you go here and enter your stats you can see what your max muscular bodyweight and measurements could be once you have reached your potential:


    Check your current measurements against the numbers presented.

    Like the others have suggested, glycogen depletion will leave your muscles looking flatter. Not sure if this is happening in your case though? If you are depleted and you carb load for 24 hrs you should see an improvement if this is the case. To me, your carbs look plenty high enough. I would rather see more fats and lower carbs but that's just what works well for me. :)

    My top level strength has always dropped off during a cut. It probably drops by ~15% but it comes back again once my calories are no longer in a deficit.

    Anyway, that's a few thoughts. I have more but need more info. :)
  4. Ozzidazza

    Ozzidazza New Member

    Hey guys, I’m really stoked by all this help. So appreciated.</SPAN>

    Totentanz, I’ll focus on upping my carbs for a bit, and try for a higher carb first meal when I finally break my fast. I am tracking everything so will know in a week or so.</SPAN>

    Lol, to answer your questions: I’ve been tracking weight and bodyfat weekly, using callipers (Bi, Tri, Illiac, Back). Weight loss had nearly stalled, hence why I’m looking at IF dieting. One month ago I was 84.7kg, so only had 1 kg weight loss over the month. Over the same month, skinfold on Bicep has reduced from 4.5 mm to 4mm, and Tricep from 5.5 to 5. My main fat distributions seem to be Back (17mm) and Illiac (8mm) – these are where I’m getting my BF reductions from. I self-measure so my back measurement is just ball-park but that is OK as I’m consistent with it!</SPAN>

    Weighted chins: I don’t have a 5RM yet as I switched over to a parallel grip using rings halfway through the 10RMs (supinated grip caused a forearm tendon issue). This seems to be a ‘weaker’ position (less bicep involvement?). I was able to crank out 8 x BW + 10kg (22lb) prior to changing to the rings. Regarding Rows, I’ve changed to DB rows as of this week due to my lower back issue – first WO on my 5RM today and cranked out 45kg per arm for 3x5 no probs. This does seem to be heavier than my bent row numbers, maybe because it’s more of an isolation exercise.</SPAN>

    I had previously worked our my max potentials based on wrist and ankle size, mainly because I have calves that make a chicken envious so I was curious as to ‘how’ skinny they were compared to my potential! Turns out that even if I were to hit my max potential in calves I would still be welcome in any hen house. However my max potential at 19% BF for arms is 44cm (17.4 inches) so I was only an inch + ¼ away from that prior to this week!</SPAN>

    I am thinking that 9 days SD, followed by 2 weeks of pissy 15s, then followed by 1 week of less than optimal 10’s adds up to a month of not much – so this may be one point to consider along with glycogen depletion.</SPAN>

    Any other thoughts are most welcome!</SPAN>

  5. Jester

    Jester Well-Known Member

    Take 2 weeks of SD. You won't regret it.

    Re: parallel grip chins - I assume the rings also have a bigger diameter than whatever bar you were chinning off of? This will temporarily affect the # of reps whilst your forearms get hit with a bit more workload. Nothing to worry about. The reduced biceps involvement might be a factor, though it's not *that* different (more of a shift for the connective tissue than the muscular tissue). It's probably you just getting used to the different leverage, different technique.

    Re: BB vs DB Rows - DB uses a bit more levering of the body (perfectly strict form is very difficult for heavier weights, and arguably mildly unsafe; the technique shifts a little, I find, across weight ranges). Also, BB Row form takes a fair bit of time and practice to get right and before you get it nailed the exercise mightn't facilitate a heavy weight.
  6. Ozzidazza

    Ozzidazza New Member

    Hi Alex, thanks for the input. Rings are a one-inch diameter, actually smaller than the bar I was chinning off. Appreciate the comment on BB Rows, agree that my form sucks once the going gets tough so am happy to continue with DB rows. My form sucks with heavy DB there too, but I am less inclined to injure my lower back when it does. I'll lower my increments on this for my next cycle.

    Just an update if anyone is interested: Finished my last 5RM workout today, my final weights were just too much for Bench and DB Rows - so my true 5RM max was the workout before. However I can confirm minimal if any strength loss to what I was at prior to starting the cycle so can assume I haven't lost much muscle overall. For the last week of 5RM, I dropped from 3 WO per week to 2 for recovery purposes and will continue this through the next 6 workouts of 5RMs and Negatives before SD'ing in about 3 weeks.

    I took Tots advice and am trying to ingest more carbs on training days. I have included Bicep Ezi-bar curls & tricep rope pushdowns as finishers to my workout. Arm measurement as of last week is up again (taken after 2 consecutive rest days), only 5 mm down from my original measurement. So a combination of fixing the glycogen depletion and maybe some left-over size from arm pump is what is making the difference. The overall size reduction from before is most likely fat, as skinfold measurements on bi/tri has reduced a millimeter or two overall.

    Last edited: Feb 4, 2013
  7. Jester

    Jester Well-Known Member

    Whilst you're doing the heavy mini-cycle//post-5's, I recommend doing a set of 15's for each exercise, using ~ 15RM or just under it for the big compounds, e.g. if you're doing negatives for chins @ BW + 40kgs, it might be something like:

    8 negatives, BW + 40kgs, then single set of lat pulldowns at 15RM

    8 negatives of incline press @ 130kgs, then single set @ 80kgs

    (all for example).

    It will do a couple of things:

    -Keep your glycogen storage levels high
    -Continue a decent calorie burning during the workouts
    -Helps keep your heart rate up, breathing high etc

    If you're dropping down to 2 workouts a week, the extra work shouldn't affect your recovery at all (and in my opinion will definitely assist recovery between workouts).

    One note on negatives/heavy workouts (higher than 5RM range, probably triples//3RM range), make sure you do negatives as 'singles' or 'doubles', don't try and do them as eccentric after eccentric after eccentric without a pause between 'reps'. You need to be offering resistance to the lowering weight. Some of them obviously need a spotter (squats and bench/incline press, although I think leg press is better and safer than squats for negatives), but there's some easy ones to do:

    -Seated shoulder Press on a smith machine (and squat the weight back up)
    -Dips (use a step to get back up)
    -Chins (use a step to get back up again) - personally I recommend either a shoulder width or close-grip palms parallel/facing each other grip for negatives. Less tendon stress at the elbow.
    -BB Curls using a squat rack (squat it back up, should be able to squat it from the lower position given it will be MUCH lighter than loads you're squatting with)

    Feel free to start a training log as well.
  8. Ozzidazza

    Ozzidazza New Member

    Hi Alex, thats pure gold! I see what you're saying and I think it's awesome advice. You just never read useful stuff like this anywhere else. I'll definitely include a set of 15s as suggested, and appreciate the tips on performing negatives. You've also just invented a reason why the Smith machine sitting in my garage is not a total waste of money...! I wasn't going to worry about negatives for bench because I work out alone, but you've just given me an idea. I bench using support racks in the event of failure. I'll simply slide a solid bench I can stand on under the bar and deadlift it back up to the starting rack. No need to strip weights, with the added benefit of supersetting deadlift singles with benchpress! I'll start building a solid bench for this tonight.

    Just one question: are you suggesting 8 straight reps of Negs (done as rep-pause)? I was planning to target my 3RM max, followed by 5 negs (rep-pause) for a total of 8 reps. I assume it doesn't really matter either way, but if one method is superior to the other I would prefer to use it.

  9. Jester

    Jester Well-Known Member

    Strictly speaking, a 'negative' should be a load you can't lift back up. Of course you can do slow eccentrics (lowering) with any weight, but when we talk negatives we're talking about loads we can't lift (beyond our 1RM).

    I would recommend 6-10 reps of negatives, just slowly lowering yourself down, at loads around 120%+ of your 1RM. For negatives, it's sort of rest-pause, but it takes a minute to re-raise the weight of course. Take a moment in between, but not a rest ala between sets. Personally, I like to load up per rep for chins, dips I do conservatively because the joints are more vulnerable. Incline bench is great for going heavy as well. Back to chins: I'll start with about 120% of 1RM, then up it by another 10%, and so on so long as I can control the descent. I've done them with ~160% of 1RM. For leg press I've done 200% + (obviously a plate loaded press, sitting back, legs back at an angle). Remember that in guestimating your 1RM, it's probably only 3-5% higher than 3RM.

    Massive disclaimer is to be sensible and be safe. Smith machines are great for facilitating negatives, I would still have a spotter for flat bench though. Incline you have more leverage if you just 'give out' and have to rack it suddenly.

    A good way to do the post 5's is week 1, keep the total rep target similar (10-15), and do triples, working from your 5RM upwards until you hit 3RM and week 2, do negatives. Done properly they're fantastic. Chin ups and dips are the easiest to do, practically speaking, of course. Just have a step-up for the bar & dip station.
  10. david141

    david141 New Member

    I just wanted to add some ideas to cutting (on HST).

    Check out IF (intermittent fasting), which really helped me. I had previously bought into the thing 'eat many times a day to stimulate metabolism and lose fat faster'. That was nonsense. I was hungry every 2 hours and didn't give my blood sugar any time to chill. Using IF, I ate 3x a day and with all the chicken and fish and eggs I was eating I felt full after every meal. Last meal was at 8pm and the first at Midday. This 16 hour fasting window also helped me recover from some digestion problems I was having at the time. I ate 50g carbs a day since I cannot handle going fully ketogenic.

    For psychological reasons as well as for reasonsn involving leptin and metabolism downshift, I did a cheat day every saturday and I got away just fine with it. If I just ate a bunch of sugar and carbs 1x a week it didn't really mater (i'd say it actually helped) but I would get into a little bit more trouble when I combined the carbs (i.e. insulin high) with fats. I still did that anyway most saturdays but I would say it makes things a little bit slower (perhaps losing a diet day's worth of progress). If you use caffeine to digest food faster, even this can be offset for the most part.

    Muscle you once had can be regained quite quickly after the cut. Getting new mass, i.e. mass you never had is the tricky part imho. I think people refer to this as muscle memory and I think the phenomenon is real.

    I am not sure that 3x a week is necessary. Has anybody compared that to 2x a week or even 1x a week while lifting heavy? I would have one lifting day on the cheat day.

  11. yeahbuddeh

    yeahbuddeh New Member

    I was wondering if anyone has tried doing this: cutting for 2 weeks, then maintenance for 2 weeks, then bulk for 2 weeks, do an SD and repeat? Or skip the maintenance and just do 2 weeks of each, cut at 8-10s, bulk at 5s. no 15s. I just know that after 2-3 weeks the body adapts and fat loss stops. I also thought of 3 weeks each or even 4 weeks each. The diet on bulk cycles would still remain clean, having only carbs before, post and post-post workout. i am carb sensitive. any ideas?
  12. gbglifter

    gbglifter Member

    Where did you read that fat loss stops after 2-3 weeks?
    If you do what you propose you'll end up the same weight after the 6 weeks. What you lose the first two weeks will be put back on weeks 5-6.
    If you want to cut just do that. When you feel fat loss has slowed down you can take a few days and eat at maintenance or just above. Reset your metabolism, then get in a calorific deficit again and continue cutting.
  13. yeahbuddeh

    yeahbuddeh New Member

    Well I was thinking that while bulking, it isn't a true bulk, it is just higher carbs for those weeks and only pre and port workout. By doing that, it's almost like a lean bulk. I can definitely see myself gaining fat again if it was a true bulk but the point is, its a strict diet all the time. Consider it not even a bulk, but a period of time where the carbs are higher to help with building some LBM. Im not looking for big gains. I like the natural lean athletic look anyway.
  14. BPM

    BPM Member

    Here are a few things I have found to be helpful when cutting.

    * If you have a physical job or have very physical hobbies other than weight training, consider tapering down on carbs over the course of a couple weeks. Jumping into a drastically low carb diet immediately after bulking can leave you feeling drained at the worst possible times.

    ---------- If the above applies to you, also consider a week deload/SD before starting your cutting diet. This may help your body get used to a lower carb intake as well as give you a good break before cutting where you may be lifting for months on end.

    * If you are struggling with hunger pains, you may want to divide up your macro intake into several meals. Eating 5 meals per day will help if you've been eating 3 meals and feeling hungry in between. You may notice a drawn out carb intake like this can help with energy levels as well.

    ---------- The above can also help those folks with physical jobs who feel tried at work.

    * On training days (for the basic tri-weekly HST model) for those who don't lift first thing in the morning, try to consume a good chunk of the day's carb ration 2-3 hours prior to your workout, and the rest of that day's carb ration after working out.

    * Nuts and seeds will provide better satiety (feeling of fullness) than simply adding oils to you meals when trying to hit your fat intake goal.

    * Consider adding high fiber foods to your diet to help pass all of the protein your are consuming. This can aid in better overall digestion as well. Beans, sweet potatoes and chick peas are a few high fiber sources that also have slow carbs.

    * If you start to get tired (or even sick) of eating so much animal flesh trying to get all your protein, consider replacing at least some of that meat with protein shakes. Casein powder can be pricey but whey can be found for as little as $16/2 lbs.

    * As someone mentioned earlier, calcium is helpful for weight loss. Dairy products are some of the most handy for getting this nutrient. Greek yogurt, skim milk and cottage cheese are good sources. Whey protein is also loaded with calcium.

    * To aid in consuming calories/macros as exactly as possible, invest in a digital food scale and calculator and make a cheat-sheet list of all your favorite cutting foods with their protein, fat and carb contents listed in units (per gram, per ounce) to aid in calculating meal portions. This way you will have meals ready to grab and eat with all the "beans counted" ahead of time. Perfect for portioning several meals for the work week if you bring your own food. http://nutritiondata.self.com/ is a great site for finding nurtient contents of food in many different units.

    ---------- Bringing you own food to work is WORLDS more accurate and much easier to calculate than buying prepared foods almost anywhere.

    Last edited: Apr 20, 2014
  15. bigtomma

    bigtomma New Member

    Can anybody recommend a good cutting programme please ?
  16. Totentanz

    Totentanz Super Moderator Staff Member

    A training program or a diet?
  17. bigtomma

    bigtomma New Member

    Training programme
  18. Totentanz

    Totentanz Super Moderator Staff Member

    So you haven't read this thread then?
  19. leonardopm

    leonardopm Member


    Somebody hasn't done his homework.
  20. Sguzbk7624

    Sguzbk7624 New Member

    Hey Totentanz appreciate all the info on this topic. Just had another question for you would def appreciate if you can take the time to answer or anyone else who thinks they can help. I'm 6'3 235 used to be 265. I was doing a 3 day split with lot's of cardio and ate relatively healthy ( no soda, ice cream etc. ) Dropped 30 pounds in about few months or so. Lately I've been maintaing at this weight and started the HST routine, but feel like I need to drop another 15 pounds or so. Should I go back to the splits or try this HST routine that you detailed in page 1 of this forum? is there a benefit of going with this rather than splits?

    Hoping to keep my strength and muscle in the process. If I do go with the HST what exercises do you recommend? Since starting HST last week I've been doing Bench Press, Military Press, BB curl, Tricep Pushdown, Lat Pulldown, Calve raises and leg press, military press.


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