HST with Clustering Log (goal: 148 to 160lbs)

Discussion in 'Training Logs' started by iwealth, May 25, 2010.

  1. iwealth

    iwealth Member

    My original posts on the main board:

    I love the HST principles, and I am going to try a cycle using clustering. My plan was the following:

    1) Use approximately 10 exercises (primarily compound minus arms) split up amongst the body parts
    2) Frequency 3 days/week (possibly AM/PM splits when the weights get heavy)
    3) Start all exercises with approximately 50% of 5rm
    4) No prescribed rep max/set scheme (i.e. no 15/10/5/neg)
    5) Linear progression of weights, increase every workout, no zigzagging
    6) Consistent volume throughout cycle (20 reps per exercise per session)
    7) Clustering sets when necessary to assure volume is achieved, all sets (initial and clusters) stop a rep or 2 short of failure
    8) Increase weights until 5-reps for a first set can no longer be achieved (or 3 or 4, not sure if there is an opinion on this)
    9) Decondition
    10) Start over

    Here is what I foresee happening...

    I easily hit 20 reps with just one set early on with the exercises. As I increase the weight each workout, my first set reps will drop accordingly and I will need to use clusters to reach the 20 rep goal. I'm not sure how this will work when I get closer to my 5rm...I may have to do drop sets to reach that 20 rep goal, but hopefully with long enough breaks, and possibly doing AM/PM sessions I can still pull it off.

    If anyone is reading this and confused by what I mean, let's take one exercise for now, like the bench press. Assuming my 5rm is 150 pounds, I'd work the progression like this:

    75 lbs - 1x20
    80 lbs - 1x20
    assuming as the weights get heavier I can no longer do 20 reps in that first set
    110 lbs - 1x15+5 (cluster set)
    115 lbs - 1x14+6
    120 lbs - 1x13+7
    weights get heavier, so I need to do more cluster sets
    135 lbs - 1x10+7+3
    140 lbs - 1x8+6+5+1
    until I reach a weight that I can no longer do for 5 reps that first set
    150 lbs - 1x5+4+3+2+2+2+2
    155 lbs - 1x4 (stop and start deconditioning phase)

    My concern is that some body parts will lag others. Some will still be able to increase weights when others are peaked. If it were pheasible to decondition different muscle groups whenever they were ready to be deconditioned, you'd have a continuous totally auto-regulated workout.


    I've decided to play the SD by feel. When my body tells me it is time to stop and take a break, I'm going to. That may mean stopping certain muscle groups while letting the other continue. That said, at some point I'll definitely be taking a full 9-day SD.

    Log starts with the next post.
  2. iwealth

    iwealth Member

    I chose the following exercises w/ yesterday's numbers:

    Flat bench 75x20
    Military press 45x20
    Deadlift 80x20
    One arm rows 37.5x20
    Barbell curl 45x20
    Skullcrusher 30x20

    Dips 123x20
    Lateral raises 8x20
    Front raises 10x20
    Shrugs 115x20
    Pullups 111x20
    Squat 95x20
    Calf raise 50x20

    I've decided to do an AM/PM split from the very beginning. 20 reps is tough even with these tiny weights.

    2617 calories consumed. 248g protein, 111g fat, 158g carbs. It's a bit low-carb, and I'm totally aware of that. I'm extremely carb-sensitive, grains make me feel like total garbage.

    My nutrition and workout logs are available here: http://dailyburn.com/locker_room/kenwx
  3. _tim

    _tim Active Member

    Very cool, iwealth. Good luck! I think this is going to be highly effective.
  4. iwealth

    iwealth Member

    Flat bench 80x20
    Military press 47.5x20
    Deadlift 85x20
    One arm rows 40x20
    Barbell curl 47.5x20
    Skullcrusher 32.5x20

    Dips 129x20
    Lateral raises 10x20
    Front raises 12x20
    Shrugs 125x20
    Pullups 116x20
    Squat 100x18+2
    Calf raise 60x20

    Never did squats before...squats are hard. Deadlifts are hard. Ha.

    Calories are steady at 2600/daily. I supplement with creatine on workout days. Need to remind myself to take measurements tomorrow morning before I start growing...who knows, I may have already started growing.

    Something tells me when the weights get heavier, I'll have to break this up into a 6-day split alternating the workouts above.
  5. ZAK1

    ZAK1 New Member

    I'm following your log with interest!

    How long do you rest between cluster reps?
  6. iwealth

    iwealth Member

    That's a good question...

    I'm not sure it matters too much how much rest I take between the initial sets and the follow-up cluster sets. It's all about time under tension and load I think.

    I've only had 2 workout days so far, and I did one cluster set the second day of squats. I finished 18 reps the first set. I only need a 15-20 second break to finish the last 2.

    I believe that once my weights significantly increase, I'll be dealing with a lot more muscle fatigue along with CNS fatigue. So I'll need longer breaks if I'm to have any chance at completing the prescribed 20 reps.

    I'll probably play it by feel on a per-exercise basis. If I need 15 seconds, I'll take 15 seconds but then keep the breaks to 15 seconds during that set + clusters. When I get closer to my 5rm on exercises like squat, deadlift, etc., I may need more. But if I choose to rest for 60 seconds after that first set, I'll also use 60 seconds between the clusters for the sake of uniformity.

    I think that adheres to Max-Stim principles. Myo-reps would say to use a shorter rest period, but it also has you stop the exercise at a fatigue point rather than finishing a prescribed number of reps. Since I'm using a presribed number of reps, I need to choose rest periods that will allow me to complete them all.


    My weight has actually dropped slightly - 147.8 to 147.2 as of this morning. Not going to make any diet adjustments yet. I'll give it 2 weeks before upping calories. I will be giving myself a cheat day every week (Saturday or Sunday). I'll consume at least my 2600 calorie goal and eat at least 1.5 grams protein/pound on cheat days - but I won't be restricting calorie intake and I won't be watching fat/carbs.
    Last edited: May 28, 2010
  7. iwealth

    iwealth Member

    Flat bench 85x20
    Military press 50x20
    Deadlift 90x20
    One arm rows 42.5x20
    Barbell curl 50x20
    Skullcrusher 35x20

    Dips 135x20
    Lateral raises 11x20
    Front raises 13x20
    Shrugs 135x20
    Pullups 123x17+3
    Squat 105x20
    Calf raise 70x20


    - 20 second break between the main set of pullups and the 3 rep cluster.
    - I really need to watch my squat form. Seems like there is a huge difference in strength required to push upward for every extra inch you go toward the ground. So, if I'm not being 100% consistent in my squat depth, it could be adding or subtracting reps from my first set and not giving me as effective a workout as possible.
    - My weight increases are not always going to be uniform since I started with such low weights. I bought some magnetic attachments, two 5/8 lb plates and two 1.25 lb plates which will help moving forward.
  8. iwealth

    iwealth Member

    Lots of alcohol consumption Saturday night. Memorial Day weekend is what it is I guess. Diet was back on track yesterday, so I shouldn't be too damaged.

    My gym is closed today, so I'm going to shift my lifting to T/TH/SAT and do my cardio M/W/F. It's a reverse of my normal schedule but shouldn't mess me up at all. I'm a little mentally messed up not being able to hit the gym today because I'm thoroughly enjoying this workout.
  9. iwealth

    iwealth Member

    Flat bench 90x20
    Military press 52.5x20
    Deadlift 95x20
    One arm rows 45x20
    Barbell curl 52.5x18+2
    Skullcrusher 37.5x20

    Dips 142x20
    Lateral raises 12.25x20
    Front raises 13.25x20
    Shrugs 145x20
    Pullups 130x15+5
    Squat 110x20
    Calf raise 75x20

    Getting heavier...the 20 rep deadlifts and squats will need to be broken up next round I'd guess.
  10. ZAK1

    ZAK1 New Member

    Looking good. I'm doing something similar, full body x3pw clustering most exercises. I do 12 exercises in total of which 9 are clustered.
  11. iwealth

    iwealth Member

    Flat bench 95x18+2
    Military press 55x18+2
    Deadlift 100x15+5
    One arm rows 47.5x20
    Barbell curl 55x16+4
    Skullcrusher 40x20

    Dips 150x17+3
    Lateral raises 13.75x18+2
    Front raises 14.35x20
    Shrugs 155x20
    Pullups 137x14+4+2
    Squat 115x15+5
    Calf raise 80x20

    Was extremely weak on the treadmill yesterday and I felt extremely weak today. I didn't push as hard as I probably could have on some of those first sets, and this workout was actually spread out across almost the entire day as I didn't have to leave the house.

    Definitely disappointing, but I guess the beauty of the clusters is that it regulates itself. Since I'm not pushing for an exact number of reps in the first set, it probably doesn't matter too much as long as I'm getting the same volume in with increased load.

    This is my 5th workout in this fashion, and my weight since starting this bulk last Monday has only increased from 147.2 to 148. I think I'll go through 9 workouts, and if I haven't at least hit 150 by then, I'll up calories to approximately 3000 per day from my current 2700-2800/day.
  12. iwealth

    iwealth Member

    Workout #6

    Flat bench 100x17+3
    Military press 57.5x18+2
    Deadlift 105x14+6
    One arm rows 50x18+2
    Barbell curl 56.25x16+4
    Skullcrusher 42.5x20

    Dips 155x17+3
    Lateral raises 14.5x15+5
    Front raises 15x20
    Shrugs 165x18+2
    Pullups 142x12+4+4
    Squat 120x14+6
    Calf raise 85x20


    After 2 weeks and 6 workouts, my body weight has increased from 147.6 to 148.8 pounds. I'm actually not terribly disappointed with that because the calipers say I've gained no bodyfat. My muscles are definitely fuller, and while I'm not going to say I can see real growth yet, I think it is definitely occuring.

    This is a pretty low-carb bulk - about 150g/day. It's also a relatively low-calorie bulk - about 2750/day. Surely not optimal for super fast gains, but I think I prefer slow, lean growth over a fast bulk and then having to eat a calorie deficit for an undetermined amount of time to lose the fat. I also carry fat far too easily around the mid-section and after slaving for 6 months to reduce it, I don't ever want to see it again.

    I've decided not to bother with any other measurements than the caliper readings, my waist, and my weight. This is my first bulk, a true experiment, and I'm just looking for general growth w/ minimal fat gain.

    Other observations:

    1) Deadlifts wipe me out the most. With less than 45 lb plates on the bar, you are forced to stoop down pretty low. I can't wait for workout #8 when I at least get the 35 lb plates on there to reduce the range of motion a little bit.

    2) My form on squats is totally suspect. As I said in a previous post, a few inches lower to the ground and it feels like the weight is twice as heavy and my quads are pushing with all of their little might. It's also a little scary though because every time I reach down that low, I fear that my muscles will give out and I will collapse.

    3) I don't think my shrug form is perfect either - the range of motion seems to decrease with increased weight but I can still pump out the "reps."

    4) I really appreciate that I'm getting the opportunity to work in many different rep ranges. Working with the lighter weights to start (especially for a newbie like myself) is helping me get my form right before tackling heavier and more dangerous weights.

    5) AM/PM split is absolutely required for me - unless I got rid of the deadlift. It really is the only exercise that makes me feel like I've been hit by a bus. Especially trying to pumping out double-digit reps in the first set.
  13. Kevan67

    Kevan67 New Member

    Hi iWealth

    You really need to start doing the compound exercises using good form or you run the risk of hurting your back when you start to up the weights, lower weight and higher reps are when you really need to nail your form for when the weight increases.

    I squat Mon Weds and Fri until the 5s and then substitute squat for deadlift on the Weds, with warmups I will do roughly 20reps of deadlifts and around 25 - 30 reps on squats. Lunges and SLDLs will both help with your squat and deadlift form. You need flexible hamstrings for squat and deadlifts. Deadlifts hit your CNS hard so I would only look to deadlift once a week, but I have either SLDLs or Lunges in my programmes at present I am doign SDLs every workout.

    Do a search on youtube for Mark Ripptoe and squat / deadlift form or even get yourself a copy of starting strength by Ripptoe. There is some good info on stronglifts.com on form for the core compound exercise (Squat, Deadlift, presses).

    Good luck with your programme, I will keep an eye on how you are doing and you have given me some ideas for my own programme. My weakenss is my diet which I really struggle with.

  14. iwealth

    iwealth Member

    Hey Kev, thanks for the advice. I'm definitely going to continue trying to perfect the form on these exercises while the weights are still relatively low.

    Luckily my deadlift form is good - not too concerned about that one for now. I think it'll get better once the weights increase actually because the range of motion will decrease a little bit (the barbell will be a little higher off the ground). And I think my problem with barbell shrugs is less of a form problem and more a of a cheating problem. I just need to make sure I am completing full reps, not just slightly raising my shoulder blades and calling it a rep.

    The squat form is the one that concerns me the most. I did a search and found some of those videos you mentioned, and I'm going to study as much as I can before my next workout. It may require me to lower the weight a bit from my last workout, we'll have to see. I'm not too worried about my leg progress though. Since I never trained my legs, it'd be hard to NOT see progress I think no matter what I do as long as I do it with good form.

    I'll also look into Starting Strength a bit more too - it's entirely possible pending the results of this pseudo-HST cycle that I try a program like that to gain some strength, perfect form, etc., before coming back to HST for pure hypertrophy purposes.
  15. Kevan67

    Kevan67 New Member

    Makes sense

    If you can take a video of yourself doing your reps it really helps show where you are going right or wrong.

  16. iwealth

    iwealth Member

    Workout #7

    Flat bench 105x15+5
    Deadlift 110x15+5
    Military press 60x16+4

    One arm rows 52.5x15+5
    Barbell curl 57.5x17+3
    Skullcrusher 45x15+5
    Dips 159x15+5
    Lateral raises 15.6x20
    Front raises 15.6x20
    Shrugs 170x15+5
    Pullups 153x11+5+4
    Squat 125x10+6+4
    Calf raise 90x20

    Had to do a few less exercises this morning due to time constraints. Threw a few things off in terms of my ability to hit rep numbers. Notably, I did my lateral/front raises after a decent break from any upper body work in the afternoon (normally I'd do those right after pullups and dips) so that probably allowed me to hit 20 reps in those first sets.

    I think I've made some great strides on my squat form, and I was going slightly below parallel and exploding off my heels.

    My deadlift form was also particularly good. Even my shrugs felt better.

    Great day overall.
  17. iwealth

    iwealth Member

    Workout #8

    Did this yesterday, just didn't have time to post.

    Flat bench 110x14+6
    Deadlift 115x14+6
    Military press 62.5x15+5

    One arm rows 55x13+7
    Barbell curl 60x11+5+4
    Skullcrusher 47.5x15+5
    Dips 165x15+5
    Lateral raises 16.25x12+5+3
    Front raises 16.25x20
    Shrugs 175x16+4
    Pullups 160x8+5+4+3
    Squat 130x10+5+5
    Calf raise 95x20

    I always do bench, deadlift, and military in that order in the AM, and I always start the PM with pullups, dips, squat, shrug. The other exercises tend to fall in wherever. I am going to start throwing one-arm rows in as a guaranteed morning exercise since it is a compound and always do that 4th.

    The rep ranges for some of the isolation exercises don't jive well with previous days but that is 100% based on the fatigue generated by the order of exercise being off. I should probably settle on an order and stick with that verbatim.

    Otherwise things are moving along well...physically I can see growth, calipers show me losing a smidge of fat (? possible I guess since I'm a newbie, or the calipers are broken), and my weight is rising very very slowly.
  18. iwealth

    iwealth Member

    Workout #9

    Had to split this over Friday and Saturday due to some time constraints. I don't foresee this happening again. It messes up the order of my exercises though as I wanted to get all of the compounds in on Friday.

    Flat bench 115x14+6
    Squat 135x9+5+5+1
    Pullups 163x7+4+4+4+1
    Military press 65x13+5+2
    Shrugs 180x14+6
    Deadlift 120x10+7+3

    One arm rows 57.5x12+8
    **Dumbell curl 30x12+4+4
    Skullcrusher 50x17+3
    Dips 168x12+8
    Lateral raises 16.875x17+3
    Front raises 16.875x12+8
    Calf raise 100x20

    **Had to switch out barbell curls for dumbell due to pain in the forearm.


    3 weeks into this workout.

    I started at 147.6 pounds and I'm sitting at about 149 today. I was probably closer to 147 even at the start, as my weight dropped half a pound one day into the bulk. So, I'm up about 1.5-2 lbs in 3 weeks. I guess that is the definition of a slow bulk. Calipers show a little fat loss if anything over the past 3 weeks.

    Keep in mind I was 167 lbs of skinny-fat mess back in November '09, so it is satisfying that my body isn't responding to my calorie increase by storing a lot of fat. Of course, my diet is 100x cleaner.

    Speaking of that, my diet consists of the following:

    Natural peanut butter (daily w/ shakes)
    Egg whites (almost daily)
    Avocado (try to eat 5/week)
    Walnuts (almost daily)
    Lean red meat
    Salmon burgers
    Lean turkey burgers
    Mozzarella cheese (part-skin and fat-free)
    Chobani vanilla yogurt (daily)
    Romaine lettuce (have at least 4 servings of some sort of greens daily)
    Green beans
    Optimum protein (whey, whey+oats, and casein) (3 shakes daily)
    Skim milk (w/ the shakes)
    Assorted fruit (occasional banana, occasional apples, more frequent raspberries, strawberries, blueberries) (this is the only sugar I eat daily)
    Fish oil

    2700-2850 calories daily...I stay about 35-40% fat, 20-30% carbs, 35-40% protein.

    Debating whether or not I need to jack up the calories a bit, maybe aim closer to 3000 daily. I'll give it one more week, if I'm not scratching 150 by the end of this week I'll make the adjustment.
  19. iwealth

    iwealth Member

    Workout #10

    Flat bench 120x13+4+3
    Deadlift 125x14+6
    Military press 67.5x14+5+1
    One arm rows 60x14+6
    Dumbell curl 31.25x10+4+3+3
    Skullcrusher 52.5x13+6+1

    Squat 140x9+6+5
    Pullups 165x7+5+4+4
    Dips 170x10+8+2
    Shrugs 185x12+8
    *Calf raise 200x13+7
    Front raises 17.5x16+4
    Lateral raises 17.5x14+6

    Back to my normal routine schedule. Felt very strong today. I dramatically increased the weight on the calf raise machine today. I was working with very very small weights because I had injured my left heel awhile back doing some p90x calf exercises and I wanted to make sure the tendons were in good shape. After 9 workouts and no pain whatsoever, I figured they were fine.

    Unfortunately, I think I'm starting to strain my groin with the deadlifts and squats. Feeling some uncomfortable pain in the very upper/inner portion of each thigh. It's not severe by any means, but very noticeable. Not 100% sure what I'm going to do about it yet.
    Last edited: Jun 14, 2010
  20. _tim

    _tim Active Member

    How much stretching are you doing pre and post workout, iwealth? My guess is that you're hitting cold fibers before they're ready - so either you aren't stretched enough, or you aren't warming up enough prior to your work sets. The only other possibility would be form, but I think the other two are more likely. Form issues for squats and deads would probably resolve in other muscle groups - most likely your lower back, knees, hips, or possibly quads/hamstrings.

Share This Page