A Semi-Newbie's Training Log - HST/Stronglifts Hybrid

Discussion in 'Training Logs' started by TangoDown, Apr 28, 2012.

  1. TangoDown

    TangoDown Member

    I'd been training for years in the completely wrong fashion. Managed to gain some minimal strength and size but that quickly stopped. Then I enlisted in the Marine Corps and trained specifically for that, dropping weight lifting in favor of pushups, pullups, crunches, and running. Fast forward to last summer and I was admin separated from training due to illness (uncharacterized, convenience of government discharge - unlike some of the kids I had to stay with that were being ELS'd for quitting or fraud). Came back basically recovered but weak as **** and a shoulder injury that I claimed was better to not have to stay in separation platoon for a billion years.

    Decided to change that.

    In October I purchased an adjustable dumbbell from Ebay, started HST, and increased all my lifts about 15lb per arm (so around 30lb increase per lift), far surpassing where I was before terms of strength and and definitely adding some size.

    I'm 19 years old, currently 5'8, 150-155lb - probably around 14-15% body fat, and increased my caloric intake to 3,000 a day (thanks to member suggestions from a previous thread I posted) and am not as interested in aesthetics as I am in strength, at the moment. Luckily HST, at least for myself, finds a balance between the two, as I'm still making gains measurable strength despite being about 6 months since I started. Yeah, I'm not BIG, and I'm not STRONG AS ***, but I'm pushing myself hard and seeing results, and that's all that matters to me.

    A problem though is with the adjustable dumbbell, I haven't been able to squat or deadlift. I hope to change this by joining the gym come this upcoming cycle. Yet due to a Grade III Ankle sprain, I'm probably going to be even weaker and less coordinated going into the next cycle. So I don't expect to be putting up even decent numbers on the two lifts - especially squat. If I don't need surgery, which I will be finding out about in the next couple of weeks, I'll also be rehabbing my ankle as well.

    Going to be doing Stronglifts for my squats and deadlifts. Rest of my lifts will be in HST fashion.

    I'm going to continue with the calorie surplus until I don't like what I see in the mirror, and then I'll start a cut.

    Below is my plan for the upcoming cycle, which I will be documenting in this thread, assuming everything goes as planned. A few exercises that I've been doing have been dropped or changed in favor of simplicity - Bicep Curl, Tricep Overhead Extension, Lateral Raise, Dumbbell Row, DB Shrugs.

    5th HST/Stronglifts Hybrid Cycle:

    Lift - Current 5 Rep Max - 5 rep max I'll be shooting for by the end of the cycle

    Deadhang Pullups (New) - Current: 15 reps - End: 20 reps

    Dumbbell Overhead Press - Current: 55lb (110lb) - End: 60lb (120lb)

    Dumbbell Bench Press - Current: 65lb (130lb) - End: 70lb (140lb)
    Hammer Curl (New) - Current: Haven't tested max but I'm guessing around 50-55lb - End: Anywhere from 52.5 - 60lb...depends on what my current max is.


    EZ Bar Curl (New) - Current: ??? - End: ???

    MAYBE Tricep Pushdown (New) - Current: ??? - End: ???

    Squat (New) - Current: ??? - End: ???

    Deadlift (New) - Current: ??? - End: ???


    Thread will be updated when my 4th HST cycle is finished (Soon) and I join the gym and test my maxes for the exercises I haven't done.

    Thanks for the read :).
    Last edited: Apr 28, 2012
  2. TangoDown

    TangoDown Member

    Doc says my ankle is on it's way to mending. I can't squat because full doriflexion hasn't been achieved yet so I can't go parallel without my torso basically going to 180 degrees. I can get into deadlift position though. I've got a specialty brace which feels like a better fitting ace bandage, so I think my ankle should be stable enough for DL. Also going to Leg Press until I am able to squat with good form, so if DL causes me trouble, I'll just leg press. Might do quad extension too despite it being bad for ACL because my anterior chain is weak as **** compared to my posterior chain, which is naturally strong, but I'll probably keep it to high reps. If I do HST with QE, I might just start with 20 reps and work down to 10. I'll probably get a nice pump. At this point my lower body is untrained so as long as I can build a good base, I'll be quite happy.

    Right now I'm weening out of this orthopedic boot, one hour at a time. Joining the gym soon so I'm going to have to do some fascia release to get limber and then test my maxes for leg press/dl/etc. I'll use light warm up sets to see if I have any cuteness on the movement patterns, because if I do, I'm not going to bother with them until my ankle is healed up. But I'm going to be starting the new cycle late next week.

    Going to start PT soon too. Might buy me one of those balance board things as I hear uneven surface exercise is great for ankle rehab. But I'll be talking to my PT about that, first.
  3. TangoDown

    TangoDown Member

    wthhhh Kaiser. Earliest appointment for PT is early June.

    Time to break out some resistance bands and do some in-home PT in the mean time :).

    Plan to join the gym either Friday or Saturday in time to start the new cycle. Going to be testing my deadlift and leg press as I've lost the coordination to go parallel without falling over. Luckily with SS you just add weight until the bar slows down and then you start from there, so I won't be needing to deload on those lifts.
    Last edited: May 15, 2012
  4. TangoDown

    TangoDown Member

    First day at the gym and first day of new cycle. SD was 12 days.

    Pullups: 2x7

    1 Arm Strict OHP: 2x15 35lb dumbbells

    Bench: 2x15 45lb dumbbells

    Narrow Stance Leg Press (Quad Dominant): 3x5 210lb

    Deadlift: 1x5 155lb


    OHP was on point.

    Bench...not so much. I freakin' went to failure on the 13th rep. WHAT THE ****. But I think I know why:

    Did it 1 Arm off a short ass laptop stand (like 4 inches off the floor) when I did it at home. That = different movement pattern = I need CNS adaptation for the regular dumbbell bench I did today which means my numbers should shoot up to where they were at before if not more by mid-cycle...HOPEFULLY.

    Also I did OHP right beforehand without too much rest...I guess I was nervous lol.

    And finally, first time I warmed up for bench so I did a set of 10 with 40s...maybe I didn't have sufficient rest from that either...

    Also, if it helps, it felt like the bench failed on the upper portion, like my chest could still go but not my triceps/whatever else.

    Hopefully the failure doesn't effect CNS adaptation. Any vets wanna chime in?

    Pullups were self explanatory. I was nervous so forgot to do them until after bench, so I felt a bit weak on them. Next time will do them first.

    Leg Press and Deadlift are Starting Strength because of untrained legs. Leg Press I chose to do narrow stance because I know my posterior chain is much stronger than my anterior chain.

    Deadlift...my first time BASICALLY ever. Pulled 155lb. Chose this weight because SS dictates to start with the weight where your bar slows down, and this was the weight where the bar slowed down. Felt a bit uncoordinated, though I think my form was fine. Next time I'll bring a friend to record me so I can see if my back's rounding.

    Hopefully I have a better session on Sunday.
    Last edited: May 18, 2012
  5. grunt11

    grunt11 New Member

    Training to failure once isn’t going to ruin your cycle it takes longer than that especially at the 13 rep range for Repeated Bout Effect to be a problem. Many people train to failure on the last day of each micro cycle. I would just recalculate the weight to get back in line with where you should be.

    I like the simplicity of your routine however if the order you listed the exercises is how you are doing them I personally would change them around to this:

    Leg Press
    Overhead Press

    The reason is you generally (if not addressing a particular weakness) want to put the most involved exercises before the simpler ones. One common exception is some people always Deadlift last because it takes so much out of them the rest of their workout suffers. Also by alternating Legs/Push/Pull each muscle group gets the most possible recovery time between loadings.

    I’m curious why you thing our posterior chain is stronger than your anterior? For almost everyone including seasoned lifters it’s totally the opposite.
  6. TangoDown

    TangoDown Member

    **** if I know. I know I had major coordination issues when I was a youngin due to a very premature birth (3 months premature), and the way I walked could have lead to it. I have genetically large calves and glutes but my quads are not very muscular. Plus I'm a bit duckfooted (feet don't align with knees). Back when I had a torn meniscus (small so didn't opt for surgery), I went to a sports injury specialized PT and he tested me out on quad extension and leg press to check for imbalance (though he made a point that he much prefers functional exercise) and I pushed decent weight on leg press and absolute weak sauce on quad extension.

    I was always under the impression that one should overhead press before they bench because anterior delts become somewhat exhausted and then more work is placed on the chest. And that's what I've been doing. But I'm willing to change if that's going to benefit me (and preexhausting is broscience, which it probably is lol).

    But to my main concern, do you think the bench failure had to do with the fact that the movement I was doing (1 arm bench with a bit shorter rom with a massive Chinese-made dumbbell) was a different protocol so CNS has to adapt? Cuz if I'm failing at this weight and it's not due to CNS needing to adapt then that sets me back like 4 months on my dumbbell bench.

    Thanks for the prompt reply.
    Last edited: May 18, 2012
  7. grunt11

    grunt11 New Member

    If you have done much Squatting before have you tested whether you can squat more with very wide or narrow stance? Also when you take a wider stance do you keep your feet pointed straight ahead or do they naturally tent to point out in line with the direction your knees are bending? If you Squat more with a narrow stance or your feet pointed in line with your knees with a wide stance then you are Quad and not Hip dominant and would likely benefit from working your posterior chain more.

    Actually Bench Press is more a Triceps exercise than anything else, and for most people who don’t train it correctly it’s also more an Anterior Deltoid than Pectoral exercise. The reasoning behind doing the Bench before the Press is that you can usually handle more weight with the Bench thus all the muscles involved get more stimulus from using the most weight possible with the combined exercises. Now if you want to emphasize your Anterior Deltoids over your Pecs than training them first would be the way to go.

    Remember that with HST you are using submaximal weights and not training to failure on most sets so pre-exhausting a particular muscle isn’t going to be that effective, it’s the progressive load that’s going to make them grow. Also to pre-exhaust you normally do an isolation exercise for the target muscle and then do a compound exercise that includes it with the effect being that of doing forced reps (at least for the target muscle) with the synergistic muscles acting in effect as the training partner helping you do the forced reps. There is a form of “pre-exhaust” that’s effective with HST called Myo-reps but for now keep it simple.

    I had to read back to the beginning to figure out what you were saying about the bench (I hope I’m getting it right). First, Profs to you for even finding a way to workout with such limited resources before joining a gym. Second, you haven’t lost anything off your previous DB press since it sounds like what you were doing (different ROM, only one arm at a time) is a completely different exercise. So that progress you made is still with you but now your whole body and not just your CNS has to adapt to the new one. I would just re-calculate a new weight to be using now and progress normally. You may gain more quickly than you expect and need to adjust the weights up accordingly but you have 6-8 weeks to get it dialed in as you progress. Also if you find toward the end that you run out of progression on the DB Bench you can switch over to Barbell and keep adding more weight. I found that very productive on an earlier cycle I did.
  8. TangoDown

    TangoDown Member

    Appreciate the help.

    Opposite with me on squats. I have squatted before. I'm much more stable on a wide stance and my feet point outward as a mofo. Narrow stance I can barely keep my balance when I hit parallel, and if I put my feet straight head, my knees point somewhat inward.

    The press I did was for all intensive purposes, a one arm DB floor press (elbow flared more so it wasn't solely triceps), except instead of the floor, I laid on a 4 inch platform which gave me a bit more range of motion on the bottom of the movement so that, imagining I had a barbell instead of a dumbbell, the bar would be maybe 3-4 inches from hitting my chest. Plus the surface itself wasn't completely flat on vertical side so I think that combined with the 1 arm worked my stabilizers a lot.

    One thing I can say is that I felt that my chest was hit a lot more during today's regular dumbbell bench session, than it has ever been while working the movement I was working.

    I'll drop the weight and see where I get. Hopefully I can hit AROUND what I was hitting on the 1 arm dumbbell **** I was doing by the end of the cycle, if not more. Like I said, I'm starting to become more focused on strength than anything else.
    Last edited: May 18, 2012
  9. TangoDown

    TangoDown Member

    Oh my God am I sore this morning. My chest and shoulders feel like they've been hit by a truck. Even my bad ankle has some minor DOMS too. This is probably the sorest I've been since I started HST back in October.

    Got some inner thigh soreness, faint hamstring soreness and some faint glute soreness...and just a wee bit of soreness right at the insertion point between quads and knee capsule. Weird. Arms aren't sore at all, but they rarely get sore for me...plus I'm not doing any isolation so that's to be expected. Don't feel too much in my lats, though I only did 2 sets of 7 BW pullups. My backs probably gotten the strongest out of all my muscles as my pullups stayed about the same despite gaining some 15-20lb since last summer and then not doing them until the end of the last cycle. **** I remember when I weighed in at my first visit to MEPS at freakin' 124lb and was proud of the fact that I could do 15 chins. If I weighed that much now I could probably do 30+ lol.

    Guess I can chock it up to the new exercises coupled with the smaller dumbbells they have when compared to my giant Chinese adjustable ****.
    Last edited: May 19, 2012
  10. TangoDown

    TangoDown Member

    Workout today was a lot better than Friday's. For the HST portion, I repeat the load 2 consecutive days which allows me to start from a higher % of my rep max.

    Bench: 2x15 45lb dumbbells

    Pullups: 2x7

    Narrow Stance Leg Press (Quad Dominant): 3x5 215lb

    1 Arm Strict OHP: 2x15 35lb dumbbells

    Dumbbell Curls: 2x15 20lb


    You'll notice that I did not do deadlift. That is because Stronglifts calls for deadlift 2 times a week rather than 3, so I'll be doing deadlift next session.

    Bench, I decided to rep 45s again and hit 15 with reps left in the tank, which means the CNS is already catching up after 1 session. Feels good being young and healthy ;). Though I have to admit, on the second set, by 10 reps I started to feel my triceps would shut down in the next couple reps so I was like "**** it" and stopped there. Should catch up soon though.

    Everything else went fine. Decided at the end to throw in dumbbell curls, because in all honesty, I want to grow the biceps, so why the hell not, right? It's my only isolation so it won't hurt.

    On a funny note, during leg press, I look down and notice that I have a 3 inch tear in my sweats, right where my balls are. But I was like "**** it" and pushed through the sets lol.

    Also lol'd in my head at the only guy at the squat rack today, because he was doing like 1/8th squats.
    Last edited: May 20, 2012
  11. TangoDown

    TangoDown Member

    Today's workout:

    Deadlift: 1x5 155lb

    Bench: 2x15 50lb dumbbells

    Pullups: 2x7 + 5lb plate hanging from chain on weight belt.

    Narrow Stance Leg Press (Quad Dominant): 3x5 220lb

    1 Arm Strict OHP: 1x15 40lb dumbbells

    Dumbbell Curls: 2x15 25lb


    Everything went well. I did notice on shoulder press that I almost went to failure on my left side, but that might have been due to my friend making me laugh throughout the set (that ****er :mad:). I repeated the deadlift weight that I used previously to check my form.

    To the HST/lifting vets: Riptoe recommends 10-15lb increments for deadlifting (for a deadlift noobie like myself). Do you agree with him?

    Ankle is holding up. Still weak but hasn't prevented me from doing either leg exercise. Dorsiflexion is still somewhat compromised but not enough to prevent proper form. Still can't squat to parallel though without toppling over or leaning in like a mofo. But I'll get that back...eventually.

    I'm thinking next cycle I might switch to barbell shoulder press. I demonstrated it with the bar to my friend today and I enjoyed doing it lol. I'll probably switch to barbell bench press when dumbbell bench press stops progressing or I get tired of it.
    Last edited: May 22, 2012
  12. TangoDown

    TangoDown Member

    Bench: 2x15 50lb dumbbells

    Pullups: 2x7 + 5lb plate hanging from chain on weight belt.

    Narrow Stance Leg Press (Quad Dominant): 3x5 225lb

    1 Arm Strict OHP: 1x15 40lb dumbbells

    Dumbbell Curls: 2x15 25lb


    Went pretty much the same as Tuesday's workout. Felt a bit weaker on pullups for some reason, but that might have simply been a fluke.

    Think I'm going to lower the volume to one set for all my HST exercises when I hit my 15 rep max.
  13. TangoDown

    TangoDown Member

    Deadlift: 1x5 165lb

    Bench: 2x15 55lb dumbbells

    Pullups: 2x7 + 10lb plate hanging from chain on weight belt.

    Narrow Stance Leg Press (Quad Dominant): 3x5 230lb

    1 Arm Strict OHP: 1x15 45lb dumbbells

    Dumbbell Curls: 2x15 30lb


    15 rep-max day (HST). Had reps left in the tank for every HST exercise but DB 1-arm OHP. Lost count for OHP because AGAIN, friend started ****ing with me. I'm going to make him leave the room next time :(.

    Leg Press weight is still climbing. Easily pushed out 2 sets. Skipped the 3rd set because I was in a hurry.

    Deadlift, I did NOT like my form. Think I'm going to deload and pull sumo. Always felt a lot more stable in a wide stance with toes pointed out when squatting so I am guessing I'll be more coordinated and stronger in a sumo stance. Plus I have a long torso so I think I'll have much better leverage. Makes sense too because my friend pulled 165lb without issue but I push a TON more on leg press (though leg press is not the best exercise to determine overall strength by any means).

    Tried a set of squatting with just the bar on back. Went alright, though was a bit uncoordinated. Afterwards though I felt some pain in the ankle I'm rehabbing so I think I'll hold off on squatting for now.

    Saw some kid doing some horrid deadlifts. It looked up a good morning because he didn't touch the floor, crossed with Romanian Deadlift, but he looked like the Hunchback of Notre Dame. And beforehand, he did squats that didn't even qualify as quarter squats.

    I would have helped him out but I know first hand that people A. don't like others to be nosey, and B. feel butthurt when corrected and generally go back to their ****ty form. So I generally stay out of people's hair in terms of form unless they're about to kill themselves.
    Last edited: May 26, 2012
  14. TangoDown

    TangoDown Member

    Bench: 2x15 55lb dumbbells

    Pullups: 2x7 + 10lb plate hanging from chain on weight belt.

    Narrow Stance Leg Press (Quad Dominant): 3x5 235lb

    1 Arm Strict OHP: 1x15 45lb dumbbells

    Dumbbell Curls: 1x15 30lb


    Everything is going as planned. Shoulder press I got to count, and I got 14 + 1 rest-pause rep = 15 reps on my right side, and 13 reps on my left side (didn't do rest-pause). I notice I lean a lot to the side at the last reps...think I bring my lats into the movement lol...turns into a bit of a side press. Hopefully I still hit my goal of 60lb for 5 on both sides by the end of the cycle. Then I'm definitely going to switch to barbell overhead press.

    Like I said, going to start pulling SUMO for DL and deload to like 95lb and just push up by 10lb until I hit a wall.

    Hot tub + sauna afterwards = win.

    My friend tried asking the girl at the front desk out. She said no and I lol'd.
    Last edited: May 28, 2012
  15. mmajerowicz

    mmajerowicz New Member

    Keep up the good work man...have you been making any weight gains even though thats not what your going for? And the girls at the front desks at gyms seem friendly, but usually aren't THAT friendly lol
  16. TangoDown

    TangoDown Member

    Thanks for the encouragement. I'm about 155lb now, maybe a little bit more. Once I hit like 170lb I'm going to be close to 20% BF so that's why I'm not going absolutely insane. And yeah, I feel that LOL.
  17. Jester

    Jester Well-Known Member

    Hot tub + sauna is going to affect your hydration significantly, worth remembering that you'll want to compensate for that.
  18. TangoDown

    TangoDown Member

    Sumo DL: 2x5 95lb

    Bench: 2x10 50lb dumbbells + 5/8lb

    Pullups: 2x5 + 7.5lb plate hanging from chain on weight belt.

    Narrow Stance Leg Press (Quad Dominant): 3x5 240lb

    1 Arm Strict OHP: 1x10 40lb dumbbells + 1.25lb

    Dumbbell Curls: 1x10 25lb dumbbells + 1.25lb


    As promised, deloaded down to 95lb and pulled Sumo. Felt a lot easier to get into the bottom position. Couldn't really compare ease of lifting the weight to conventional stance though because the weight is too light atm. Did get some looks when I stacked two 45lb plates on either side of the floor to compensate for not using 45s on the bar. But then I realize most of the people in the weight room deadlift with anus form and squat with a 6 inch ROM, if they even do the movements at all. Hence I didn't give a ****.

    Leg press is starting to get a bit harder, though I oddly found the 3rd set the easiest. I think I'll be hitting my max when I'm pushing 260lb-270lb. Note that the leg press in my gym is not plate loaded; it's one of those machines with the weight that goes up and down on the side and goes up by 20lb unless you add up to 3 of the 5lb weights on the side.

    Did 2 sets just because the weight was so light that there was no need for a warmup. But Riptoe says it's better to be conservative with the weight than liberal, and I did think I started too high when I was pulling conventional + the fact that I think I'm more built for sumo seeing as I squat wide stance + feet out as a mofo and have a stronger posterior chain.

    Everything else went normally. Added 1.25lb to all my freeweight lifts save for bench, where I added 5/8lb because I used 2 dumbbells. Reason being, like I said, I want to push my maxes. I believe my gym has 1.25lb magnet weights as opposed to my 5/8lb magnet weights, so I might just use those instead.
    Last edited: May 30, 2012
  19. Jester

    Jester Well-Known Member

    My personal recommendation is for a BB bench rather than a DB one. The degree of stabilisation required using DB's makes strength increases much slower.
  20. TangoDown

    TangoDown Member

    I'm going to switch to BB when I stop progressing.

    As for OHP, I'm switching to BB next cycle.

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