Review My Hst Program

Discussion in 'Hypertrophy-Specific Training (HST)' started by Mojo77, Jun 8, 2015.

  1. Mojo77

    Mojo77 Member

    Hi all,

    I logged on here to see what you guys think about my HST routine.
    I'm already following it for a couple of weeks but I still like your feedback. I like some change in my prgram so I have implemented my HST program DUP style doing;

    monday: 3*5
    wednesday: 1*15
    friday: 2*10

    These are my exercices, since I have some shoulder issues I need to be careful and have changed some exercices

    Zercher Squat
    Rack Pull
    Zercher Calf raises
    Bench Press
    Seated Cable Row
    Landmine Press (standing)
    EZ bar curl (not on 5's)
    Tricep pushdown (not on 5's)

    What do you think?
    I also wonder,
    Should I add some lat pull down as I don't include lats right now?
    Should I refrain from direct armwork (curl and push down) entirely because
    a) the monday workout lasts already 90 minutes (wednesday is 30 minutes and friday is 60 minutes)
    b) my arms really are small (like 12,3 inches flexed but not pumped) for 153 pounds at 5'11?

    Or should I do more armwork for this reason?

    Nutrition wise, steady weightgain at an amount of about 2 pounds a month is on the menu and going good so far.

    Thanks for your feedback!
  2. adpowah

    adpowah Active Member


    This is definitely an interesting program. How have you liked it so far?

    I have two primary questions before I give my feedback; 1) why zercher squats and rack pulls rather than a more traditional squat and deadlift and 2) what is your intent with implementing DUP?

    As far as arm work, since you're in a surplus I would just do it every day you're in the gym, it seems you're concerned about so get your volume in and they will grow.
  3. Mojo77

    Mojo77 Member

    Hello adpowah,

    My reasons for Zercher Squat:
    1) Mobility, shoulderissues make a front Squat position a lot easier
    2) Balance, I have long femurs, so a Zercher position gives me better balance and better bar placement without excessive forward lean and good squat depth
    3) Safety; I train alone, a Zercher position makes it easy and painless to let the weight on the spotterbars should it be needed, a back squat could be pretty shitty in that respective.

    My reasons for a Rack Pull:
    1) Depth, my starting weight was too low, so for proper height I would have needed blocks under the bar or something so I decided on rack pulls to work the lower back. Maybe in time I could switch to deadlifts.

    My reasons for DUP:
    Having done tghings like 2*10 and 3*8 before I like the constant variation better. It also allows me to work the muscles in the entire rep-band wich I think is good. I also find the two-week blocks in vanilla HST too limiting at this point. I can progress more this way, adding 5% of my 5RM to all my lifts every workout without paying attention to my maxes. They move along anyway

    My main concern regarding timing still remains, doing all exercices, 10, on the 5's would bring me close to 110 minutes training time wich is too much. So I would drop the arm work, and maybe also the calf raises on that day, since I don't feel much from them on 3*5 or even 4*5?

    Regarding arms, They are already plenty stimulated with pulling, pushing and also the Zerchers so maybe I'm not seeing growth because of too much stimulation?
  4. adpowah

    adpowah Active Member

    Thanks for the responses, I think I can give you some feedback.

    OK that makes sense. Over time your legs will get too strong to be fully stimulated in the Zercher position but for now they seem to be a good option. I'd just suggest working on the shoulder mobility so that in the future you can move to back squats or at the least front squats. I don't know what your shoulder issues are, so this may not apply, but three things that helped me the most were; 1) shoulder dislocations with a band, 2) external shoulder rotation stretches and 3) light weight behind the neck presses.
    I can understand this. If you aren't pulling at least 135 on the deadlift it can be a hassle to figure out how to adjust for proper depth. I would say getting your body healthy/strong/mobile enough for a back or front squat is more critical to your training than moving to a full deadlift but once you can attain both you will really be in a good position to put on some real strength and muscle.

    There is nothing wrong with hitting multiple rep ranges especially if it keeps thing interesting and improves the likelyhood of you adhering to your program. However, rep ranges alone isn't the most critical.

    There are two main factors when considering your lifts and it is volume (total reps) and intensity (% of your max). If you do higher volume (lots of reps) you need to decrease your intensity. If the intensity is the same, say 65% of your 1rm there isn't much different between a 2x15 and a 3x10. Granted in the 2x15 you may have to display more endurance within the set that is fairly made up by having to exert similar endurance over the 3 sets of the 3x10. So you want to make sure you are matching intensities appropriate to the rep schemes you are using.

    This is why with HST (and many other programs) you start doing higher volume with lower intensities and move to lower volume but with higher intensities. So that you have an accumulation phase (lots of volume) and an intensification phase (lots of intensity). So your rep ranges isn't super critical but your program needs to follow this general idea either on a weekly basis or a cyclical basis. With DUP it is often both weekly and cyclical.

    There are other rep/intensity schemes you can use but the next most practical that isn't high volume or high intensity is active recovery or deload. This is where you will do something both less intense and less volume, mainly working on form and creating some blood flow to heal the body.

    So putting all these pieces together you can see in the original DUP study a the plan appeared something like this for the first week: [email protected]% (high volume), [email protected]% (active recovery), and [email protected]% (high intensity). Further as the weeks go by all of the intensities increase but the sets decrease, so that by the end of the cycle you are doing 3x8 and the intensity is closer to 80% of your original 1rm.

    Now...all that being said, it is almost non-important if you are a beginner. If you are, simply try and beat your last workout a little bit (1 rep or add 5lbs etc) each workout and you will get some great gains.
    Do you mean 110 minutes is just more time than you have allocated or that you feel its more time than your body can handle. If you just cannot spend 110 minutes then sure cut out the isolation exercises. If you are worried about your body just eat some food during the workout, protein shake, beef jerky, snickers bar etc.

    Too much stimulation is a non-issue if you are gaining weight on a monthly basis imo.
  5. Mojo77

    Mojo77 Member

    Thank you for the extensive reply and helpfull tips.
    I have more of an acromania type 3 kind of shoulder which makes for an easily inflamed/impinged supraspinatus muscle. I already do shoulder dislocations for this problem as well as throw in a set of 15's in face pulls now and then. However, since I have quite some shoulder work in the program it doesn't seem to help much. I do my shrugs as a front squat positioned shrug as well to get some extra external rotation with the scapular elevation. Look here for more info on what I mean:

    I see what you mean and intensity and volume are varied in my program. The 3*5 is done at say 85 tot 90% of calculated 1RM. The 2*10 is done at 70 to 75% of 1RM and lastly the 1*15 is done at around 60% of 1RM. I regard this last one as active recovery allthough I'm beat up as well after a 30 minute workout doing a total of 10 sets (1 for each exercise, no warm up and no rest) circuit style due to the endurance factor. It's a totally different training then 3*5 and not by any means a walk in the park.

    I could allocate 110 or 120 mins to train, but it feels counterproductive to do so. I think I will drop the direct arm work and the calf raises from the 3*5 to stay well within 90 mins. The 15's can keep the full set of exercices and I'll still think about the 10's. Ideally, I would likde to limit my workouts to 75 mins tops.
  6. Old and Grey

    Old and Grey Super Moderator Staff Member

    2 hours of training? No such effective program exists for hypertrophy probably because you are taking excessively long rest periods. This would be a 40-50 minute program for me and I am 70 years old. My current program averages 28 sets (including myo sets) and I split it into AM/PM @ 20 minutes each.
  7. adpowah

    adpowah Active Member

    Lol, I am a total excessive rester. I usually just do the big 3 and spend 5 mins on arms yet I can't seem to keep it under 1h30mins. 8(
  8. Old and Grey

    Old and Grey Super Moderator Staff Member

    That is great for power but not so good for hypertrophy.
  9. Mojo77

    Mojo77 Member

    Please, tell me more about this madly efficient program you do. You must be using superlight weight and have everything set up for you when you go from one machine to another.
  10. Old and Grey

    Old and Grey Super Moderator Staff Member

    I stick with pink and blue dumbells.
  11. adpowah

    adpowah Active Member

    @Old and Grey lol

    If I recall correctly your warmup is pretty simple some pullups and pushups and then you move to your lifts. Also you use myo-reps to keep the rest periods down. Another thing is I think you really have it dialed in as to what your body needs to be stimulated for growth while some of us young guns fall into ego lifting too easy.

    My three biggest delays are:
    1) I ramp up each lifts, so I start with the bar, rest, light weight, rest, heavier, rest, heavier, rest, finally get to working sets (on a heavy deadlift day its not uncommon to do 45, 135, 185, 225, 275, 315, working sets). This is pretty unnecessary for strict hypertrophy might even be unnecessary for strength training.
    2) I workout with a group with varying level of lifters including some of our wives, so the loading and unloading can take a lot of time
    3) I workout at a standard gym chain so sometimes there is a limit to squat racks, good bars and enough weights and clips (someday I want to be part of the home gym master race...)
  12. Old and Grey

    Old and Grey Super Moderator Staff Member

    Adpowah, yes you are correct. My 5 minutes warm up is neutral grip pull ups, elevated push ups and body weight knee bends on a bozu (sp?) ball. That hits all my basic muscle groups. Anything more is part of my workout. And, yes, I basically do 6 exercises per workout day using primarily 8 and 12 reps although I will take arm isolations up to over 20 reps. After my first work set, bearing in mind I do not see the need to ramp up to a certain set because my muscles are sufficiently already warmed up for hypertrophy work, I do 4 additional myo sets of 3 reps with the 12's and 5 sets of 2 myo reps with the 8's. My "rest" period between myo sets varies from 5 seconds to 20 seconds depending on if I am toward the end of my DUP 6-8 week cycle or not. The theory, supported by muscle biopsy studies, is that the myo sets give you the "effective" reps of additional sets without having to fully recover or having long (2 minues +) rest periods. I workout at home with a fairly nicely equipped gym so everything is pre set to go. Thus it is a very time effecient hypertrophy workout. This is not a program intended for beginners or anyone looking to improve strength or power by lifting heavy weights at low reps that certainly do require a ramping up period.and I would not recommend it for Mr. Mojo. It seems to work well for me after 57 years of lifting since, after one year of this DUP MYO format, my wife mentioned 2 nights ago that she thought I was getting too big in my chest, shoulders and arms now and to please cut down a bit. This all happened keeping the same 34" waist.

    Finally, Lyle McDonald has pointed to some studies that show that cortisol levels increase and Test levels decrease after working out for more than 1 hour. Unfortunately that info is not correlated to how much intensity is involved in the workout. That is why I suggest that most hypertrophy lifters keep their programs under 1 hour. On the other hand, if you had a workout routine of 18 sets and did one set per hour throughout the day, that study would be worthless. You just need to determine what your goal really is and then try different approaches until you find the one that seems to work best for you.
    adpowah likes this.
  13. Mojo77

    Mojo77 Member

    Very interesting indeed! I like to make my workouts more efficient so this myo-sets could be very usefull.
    What would you recommend me to do when hypertrophy is the goal? Lifting heavy is not an option for me. 5's already give me problems. 8 reps and above are ideal to stay injury free. With shorter rests, I can indeed better activate my muscles and have a shorter workout as well. I like this myo reps principle.
    Thanks for your valuable information
  14. adpowah

    adpowah Active Member

    Are myo reps right for you? Ask your doctor.

    Honestly I don't work with myo reps enough to know if they are good for DUP. Since you don't do heavy lifting then it may make sense for every day to be hypertrophy day.
  15. Old and Grey

    Old and Grey Super Moderator Staff Member

    Based upon your stats Mojo, you sound pretty new to lifting. Therefore, I would not recommend myo reps. Myo reps come in handy once you have developed the neural and tendon strength to handle that type of intensity.

    I rarely suggest specific programs but if I were just beginning again, I would work out every other day with two or more alternating workouts such as>

    Incline BB bench press
    Chin up (preferably neutral grip) or lat pull downs
    Shoulder press
    Some type of squat

    Seated lat rows
    Seated face pulls
    Dead lifts.

    I would do at least 3 sets of each and 4-5 if I had the energy. 5 sets of each, even with 2+ minute rest periods, can be completed within one hour. Change between 8 and 12 reps and stay away from heavy weights because of your injuries.

    If you felt a real need to do arm isolations, I would do 1 set of BB curls one day and concentration curls the next. For tris I would do close grip bench press and cable push downs or French Presses. I think I would go with 8 reps one day and up to 20 reps on the next day. Smaller muscles respond well to sarcoplasmic type training.

    And EAT. Gaining 2 pounds per months is only eating less than 250 calories over maintenance each day. I would at least double that. Concentrate on protein and good fats. Once I got my weight up to 180-190, I would start thinking about more advanced routines and techniques.

    Good luck.
  16. Mojo77

    Mojo77 Member

    Thank you for your advices Old and Grey!

    Regarding my stats. I've been training on and off for a couple of years now, of which seriously since a little more then a year. However, in this last year I made the mistake of gaining weight too fast. I was gaining at up to a pound a week. After three to four months, my BF-levels had gone up from around 13% to about 21%. Way too high and it took me another 3 to 4 months of grueling cutting, to come back down to somewhere between 12% and 13%. You should normally not have your BF run over 15%. Since 4 pounds a month got me that fat so quickly, and you will not gain more than 2 pounds of muscle a month, I try to stick to 2 pounds a month with the goal of doing a really long lean bulk, ideally for about a year and a half if I can. Currently, I'm at around 13,5% BF.

    Having had my share of injury in the past, I've made the mistake in the beginning of following Starting Strength which I think is the worst possible program to start with as a true real beginner because it incorporates advanced lifts, focusses on heavy weights exclusively almost from the get go and moves up in weight way too drastically to allow for tendon/joint adaptation. By no means is SS a beginner program in my opinion but that is another story.
    However, having had my share of injury keeping me from training for more then a year and having had to self-heal my shoulder and it's position I have a good idea of what I can and cannot do regarding exercise-selection. It has learnt me listen to my body.

    So, while I still feel like a beginner, I do have some experience in the field. So before reading your post I have includes those myo-reps into my 5's workout yesterday. Doing all 10 exercices above, I managend to keep my training time to 66 minutes exactly.
    Quite surprisingly I found those myo-reps energizing and pretty light as well to be honest. 3 straight sets of 5 are much more demanding to me then the shorter bouts.
    I've done it this way. warm up set, activation set of 5's, then 3 or 4 more sets of 2 or 3 reps with 10 to 20 second breaks in between. Each time leaving 1 or 2 reps extra in the tank as myo states. Felt like I could do 10 more sets of these myo reps each time. Strange no?
    Very positive was that I kept a good flow the entire time, and felt very energetic and not tired at all at the end (even though I did not sleep well and felt very tired during the day), like energized as if I could go for another hour. Doing sets of 2, 3 with short rests also put less strain on my body to me then sets of 5, 6 in one go. There is a bit more DOMS today I have to say, but I perceive that as a good thing. So per body part I did a total of up to 17 reps this way in the 5's. Too much volume?

    The 10's and 15's will remain as before, Though I might cut my breaks on the 10's from 60 seconds to 30 seconds. So I will not do myo reps all the time for sure, but during the 5's (previous breaks at 120 seconds) they are a nice alternative to keep the duration of the workout limited and have a good flow.

    I workout alone at home. I have a powercage with lat pulley for all my exercices, so a lot of time also goes into setting up every exercise.

    What are your thougths about:
    1) myo sets feeling light?
    2) the volume used during myo sets, should it be kept at 10 reps max for 5's instead of the 17 I did, even if it is light?
    3) the need for warm-up sets once you've gone through a few exercices?
  17. Old and Grey

    Old and Grey Super Moderator Staff Member

    1. Your rest periods are probably too long or your activation set is too light. However, if you are just coming off an SD and in the first two weeks or so of a cycle, the weights should feel a bit light.
    2. Myo sets are really meant for higher rep training. With 5's almost every rep is an activating or effective rep. With sets of 8 reps and above, only the last 2 or 3 reps are activating so you use myo reps to get rid on the non-activating reps.
    3. I do only my body weight warm up sets and see no need to do additional warm up sets. If I were a power lifter, that would not work. However, it seems to work well for me for hypertrophic lifting.

    As for eating, you cannot eat and gain just muscle no matter what you do. If you have a lot of patience, gaining 2 pounds per week will work. It will just take longer.
  18. Mojo77

    Mojo77 Member

    My routine keeps on evolving. Where my 5's were done myo-style, maybe not optimal but I liked it very much, I did my 15's yesterday more in an AMRAP-style.
    One set of 15 AMRAP meaning AMRAP but at least 15. This way I found out that certain weights are indeed too low. Calves for instance are hard to kill :). I will correct this by not lowering the weight for these muscles after SD.
    This brings me to my next question. In a text from Blade regarding myo he states that when you overdo it, you will signal AMPK and this would impair muscle growth and signal endurance instead. However, what overdoing it means is not defined.
    I find it hard to believe however if I see calisthenics guys like Frank Medrano being muscular and doing 200 reps of certain exercices on one hand and when on the other hand I see these studies indicating that low weight high reps (30% 1RM for say up to 25 reps) being as efficient for hyperthrophy as high weight, low reps.
    Seems to me it is pretty hard to 'overdo' it and impair muscle growth.

    What are your takes on this?

    I should state that 15's AMRAP gave me less of a pump then 5's myo if that should be an indicator at all.
  19. Old and Grey

    Old and Grey Super Moderator Staff Member

    AMRAP is just the latest acronym for a high intensity program that has been around for decades and now has been reinvented by cross fitters. If it works for someone, that is fine. If not, do something else.

    I cannot speak for Blade but anything that is overdone is not good for you. Many studies have indicated that the best number of sets for hypertrophy is between 4 and 8. 4-5 sets is the range that most experienced myo rep users aim for but doing only the effective reps (the Myo reps) and not the complete and inefficient set. Everybody is different. Some will trigger AMPK at 15 reps and others at 25 reps. It takes years of lifting to get most everything "dialed" in and then your body changes with the intervening increase in age so it is always finding out what works for today. Research and develop a plan that sounds reasonable for your goals and stick to it for 6 months and the evaluate the results and adjust as necessary.
    adpowah likes this.
  20. FistOfFury

    FistOfFury Member

    These are old figures from Blade and lately he no longer uses myos for anything below 15 reps but Iv'e been using them for so long I feel lazy doing 'regular' sets!

    "My general guidelines are:

    15-30 when you have only one exercise for a muscle group, for priority muscle groups, when training with lighter weights, or just have a higher volume tolerance

    10-20 when you have two exercises for a muscle group, or have a moderate volume tolerance

    5-15 of isolation exercises or smaller muscle groups when you already have trained 1-2 base lift or overlapping exercises, when lifting very heavy weights, or if for different reasons, have lower exercise tolerance."

    Note: these values are for the 'myo' sets after the first activation set.

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