HST vs. lower frequency w/ higher volume

Discussion in 'Hypertrophy-Specific Training (HST)' started by HST_Rihad, Jul 3, 2012.

  1. HST_Rihad

    HST_Rihad Active Member

    Hi there. Some folks that seem to know what they're doing keep saying that the relatively lower per-session volume of HST isn't as good for stimulating hypertrophy in practical terms as higher volume done less frequently. Like, 2 sets of 5's three time a week (assuming this is all you can do and still keep going) are worse than 3 same sets but done twice a week to allow for more recovery after more work. Total weekly volume is 6 sets of 5's in both. What's your take? Does it somehow make a set "worse" if done 5 minutes later, 30 minutes later, 1 hour later, 8 hours later, or 2-3 days later? I personally would like that this not be true, but this at least deserves a question...
  2. HST_Rihad

    HST_Rihad Active Member

    Here a guy talks about using his variation of HST on his trainees and achieving remarkable strength gains even at advanced levels. The text is originally in Russian, although Google has done a great job translating it. The author goes on noting very little to no muscle gains and dropping a little weight at the same time. Admittedly his variation totally lacks SD, and only does a single set even at lesser weights, which are both crucial for successful HST training naturally.
    Last edited: Jul 7, 2012
  3. Brixtonian

    Brixtonian Member


    The best way to answer your question is to refer you to the FAQ section of this forum, as for any indepth response would take a lot of typing - time, which I dont really have unfortunately.
    I will summarise very briefly, in that Bryan's research has shown that the muscle can be trained before it has fully recovered. So this system allows more training sessions a week - training being the primary stimulus of growth. Most other training routines wait for the muscle to fully recover before they work them again - though they tend to train to failure, or close to, each time, whereas one of the principles of HST is progressive load (ie; increasing the load each workout)

    See I'm typing more than I intended already!

    Anyway, see the FAQ. Read it all, and you will find your answers.

    From a personal point of view, I made my best gains with HST by training the same bodypart (albeit different exercises) twice a day - am/pm.
    For example, the 'am' workout would be squats, flat bench, rows, etc.. and the 'pm' workout would be leg press, chest dips, chin ups, etc...
    I had been training for well over 10yrs at that time too (and was early 30's)

    Diet, age, test levels are all factors, and everyone is different.

    Stick with it, and if you can try am/pm, I really recommend it. Just remember to EAT....!

  4. HST_Rihad

    HST_Rihad Active Member

    Thanks, Brixtonian. I've read the FAQ all throughout a few times long before. It's just that some guys claim to have had better results doing more volume per session twice a week, as opposed to less volume done 3 times/week as per HST, that's it. Twice a week is also what Lyle McDonald (www.bodyrecomposition.com/) seems to prefer in his bulking routine.

    Regarding your suggestion of an am/pm split, that's definitely an option, but don't you think it's a bit early for me to be thinking about it. Probably when I'm close to benching 265lbs, and squatting/DL 330-350 lbs should I start think of increasing the volume. Now I seem to be making progress (mostly strength) doing the "beginner's" HST setup.
  5. Brixtonian

    Brixtonian Member

    Before HST I trained, very intensely, using Superslow and HIT methods. Both advocate once or twice a week training.
    Volume is important, and you should still try and get in as much volume as you can handle without fatiguing (and note the difference between volume and intensity) yourself, even with HST. Hence the am/pm split.

    Results are always going to be dependant on a variety of factors, other than just the specific routine; as I said before, diet, primarily, also age, recovery ability, genetics, etc etc...

    Give the 'vanilla' HST routine a few cycles, and then try an am/pm split, if you can (I was lucky in that I managed to train before and after my work, and then spent most of my working day eating!)
    I still use a 'vanilla' routine now, and I have been training using HST principles since 2002.
    Part of the 'fun', if you like, is experimenting. Try increasing sets, and decreasing exercises. Its all about the principles, rather than any set routine, dont forget.

    Using HST principles, you could train 6 days a week, am/pm - (have you heard of Charles Polquin? He has had some fantastic results training his clients this way)

    Also, as a side note, once you start lifting really heavy, only increase the volume if you can handle it. Part of the techniques of HST is to avoid overtraining.

    Hope this helps

  6. HST_Rihad

    HST_Rihad Active Member

    Borge Fagerli (Blade), who once contributed to HST greatly, has stopped using HST's frequency exclusively for purposes of mass gains. He might start with 3-4 times a week, then lower it to 2/week, all the way down to 1/week, increasing session volume with it.

    Some people go for an am/pm split, effectively doing 6 workouts per week and doubling their volume. Others like Blade prefer 2/wk or even 1/wk. This difference really makes no sense to me. If frequency is important, why did Blade choose less frequent workouts?
    Last edited: Jul 8, 2012
  7. Brixtonian

    Brixtonian Member

    If frequency is important, why did Blade choose less frequent workouts?[/QUOTE]

    Because Blade is (almost certainly) at his genetic potential limit, and (no offence Blade) getting older so his recovery ability is far less than a relative youngster (anyone under 30 for sure)

    Bryan has also recommended to me reducing my workouts to 2 X per week, as I have passed 40, and been training for 25+ years.

    You cant fight nature....

    Assuming you are still reasonably young, you should be able to train as effectively 3 X week, as suggested in the vanilla routine.

  8. HST_Rihad

    HST_Rihad Active Member

    I'm 31. I mean, Blade trains his clients that way, probably irrespective of their gym age.
    Yeah, this is my first "vanilla" HST cycle, although I've been doing HST for almost 3 years. Let's see how it goes.
    Thanks for your time.
    Last edited: Jul 8, 2012
  9. Totentanz

    Totentanz Super Moderator Staff Member

    No, Blade trains SOME of his clients that way. Obviously since he is a trainer, he is going to tailor it to his clients specific needs. Just because he does one thing with a certain client does not mean that everyone should do it that way. Do you know the reasons why he chose that frequency with his client? Do you know the client's age, height, weight, training experience, drug usage, etc? There are so many factors that effect this that there is no way anyone should ever look at what one person does with only some of his clients.

    You should already know why higher frequency works better. How long does protein synthesis last after after a training session? What happens to the central nervous system if you push volume too high?
  10. HST_Rihad

    HST_Rihad Active Member

    Yeah, I like HST, because its explanations make perfect sense to me. It's just that I've grown very little for the last year of doing it, both in terms of strength and mass. I may be getting old. Or not doing enough of it. Or... doing one heavy set to failure at 3-5 reps. Maybe doing heavy squats and DLs 3 times a week was too much. I don't know. That's why I've now decided to try its vanilla program, which not only doesn't have both DL and squats, but also alternates squats with leg press, and bench with dips. This may allow for some additional recovery. The first thing I've noticed though, is that I can no longer cope up with weights increasing during the cycle. Probably 3 times squats was better than 2. Same for bench press. 3 made better progress than alternating bench/dips.
  11. Totentanz

    Totentanz Super Moderator Staff Member

    At 31, you should not be feeling the effects of age to that great of an extent unless your day job is especially stressful. Are you eating enough?
  12. HST_Rihad

    HST_Rihad Active Member

    Yes, probably. Mostly food rich in protein. I've cut down on carbs to get rid of some of the fat.
    My day job consists of 99% sitting in front of the computer :)
  13. Totentanz

    Totentanz Super Moderator Staff Member

    Yes probably?

    You should be counting calories if you can only say "yes probably" so that you can ensure, without a doubt, that you are eating enough.

    Also, if you are trying to get rid of fat, meaning you are eating a calorie deficit, then it is no wonder that you are feeling worn out, aren't gaining size/strength. You can't lose fat and gain strength/size at the same time.
  14. HST_Rihad

    HST_Rihad Active Member

    I'm trying to eat food rich in proteins and poorer in carbs when feeling slightest hunger, so most of the time I'm well fed up. Isn't it better to base the need to eat on that, plus a dose of whey for the surplus, and not on some artificially calculated figures?
  15. Brixtonian

    Brixtonian Member


    The body tends to crave simple carbs when you're hungry.

    Counting calories (or at least accurately estimating, ideally based on experience) is really the best way. You may well be very surprised if you actually count your calories one day. Some foods have a surprising amount of calories in them.

    As Totz has said, losing fat and gaining muscle are almost impossible to do properly, even with the likes of Intermitent Fasting or carb cycling. In simplest terms, you ideally need a surplus of calories to gain muscle, and a deficit of calories to lose muscle.

    If you want to bulk up, then you need to eat - I spent years bulking, and sometimes the amount I had to eat was uncomfortable. As the saying goes.. "if you want to be a 300lb man, then you need to eat like a 300lb man"
    Likewise, dieting (for fat loss) is uncomfortable, as you eat less, and so feel hungry a lot of the time. I guess the same saying applies - "if you want to be a 180lb man, then you have to eat like a 180lb man!"

    Pick muscle gain or fat loss.
    A lot of people cut first, down to 10-15% bf, then bulk.

    Can I also just add, dont forget to drink. If you wait until you are thirsty before you drink, then you are already dehydrated, and that can lead to health issues.

    At the end of the day, bodybuilding is a lifestyle, not a quick fix. (Unless you're a Hollywood actor with a dietician and cook and personal trainer!)
  16. Brixtonian

    Brixtonian Member

    Also, just to say, that I started HST when I was 31.
    I had been heavy training (HIT) for about 15yrs before that, and I still made some great gains in my early to mid thirties - particularly with the increased frequency of am/pm split I mentioned before

    Good luck

  17. Totentanz

    Totentanz Super Moderator Staff Member

    I'm really at a loss as to how you think it is better to eat less than you need to grow. If you can't get it through your head that you need to eat in order to grow, then there really is no point in continuing to weight train at all. You might as well quit and find a different hobby. As for "artificially calculated figures" - not really sure where you are getting this from?

    Sounds like you just don't want to do the work of counting calories. Stop being lazy.
  18. HST_Rihad

    HST_Rihad Active Member

    Thanks for sharing your experience, guys. Really valuable info. A guy of my stature and weight should be getting around 2500 cals while bulking. That's a lot. See this example diet (table below). That's 12 egg whites + 3 yolks, I only eat 2 eggs a day, and my diet isn't that varied. Taking today's example, my meals are evenly spaced throughout the day:
    Meal 1: 2 eggs, 1 pack of curds, 4-5 oz chicken breast + 2 tablespoons of buckwheat
    Meal 2: a piece of watermelon with white cheese (it's summer time :))
    Meal 3: One small hamburger at McDonalds (ok, that's a one off, I don't do that usually definitely not daily).
    Meal 4: 5-6 oz chicken breast + 2 tablespoons of buckwheat
    Meal 5: (30 minutes after w/o) Whey protein with milk
    Meal 6: (30 minutes after) 5-6 oz chicken breast + 2 tablespoons of buckwheat + tomatoes + cucumbers salad (my favourite)
    Meal 7: 2 plums, 1 pear, 1 peach.
    Meal 8: will be 4-5 oz chicken breast + 1 tablespoon of buckwheat

    That's usually what I do. Chicken, chicken, chicken. And some dairy products, fruits, vegetables, eggs. And one half of multi-vit/mineral a day.
    Last edited: Jul 13, 2012
  19. Totentanz

    Totentanz Super Moderator Staff Member

    2500 is not a lot of calories for someone who is around 165 lbs. Nor is it a lot for someone who is 5'7. You need to train your body to handle more food. You are eating like a small bird. Why so much chicken in your diet? Why not more beef? Swap out that 6 ounce chicken breast for a 12 oz ribeye or something. How many scoops of whey in your post workout shake? Try doubling how much whey you put in. You can also add a few tablespoons of olive oil to your shake to boost the calories. Why only a small hamburger at McDs? Eat a double cheeseburger instead - more protein, namely 25 grams of protein. If it were me, I'd eat three or four, get up to 100 grams of protein.

    It looks like part of your problem is that you are trying to eat "clean" which is really not a real thing. There is no such thing as "eating clean bro" so just forget about it. Try putting some olive oil on your salad too, boosts the calories.
  20. HST_Rihad

    HST_Rihad Active Member

    I forgot to mention olive oil, I've started sprinkling it over my salads, actually, Not as much as you mentioned, but close to 1 tablespoon daily.

    Yeah, it's just that for the time being I need to learn how to cook myself, and boiling up chicken breast is pretty much all I've learned. Cooking steaks might be overkill. Do you really eat at McD or making fun of me? :) Not very healthy food, is it? Intrigued, I just paid a visit back there and got myself a double cheeseburger. 27 g proteins indeed. On top of that lots of fats and carbs. I hope eating there from time to time won't promote fat gains. Funds permitting, I can easily get 2500 calories from that type of food. Only how good are those calories?
    Last edited: Jul 14, 2012

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