Customizing HST

Discussion in 'General Training' started by proteus9, Jan 18, 2005.

  1. vicious

    vicious New Member

    Oh that's nothing. You should see my rant on tension-length curves. ;)
    Squat, dead, dip, chin. Lift, vomit, eat, grow. ;)

    Yup. Good form. No cheating. Lower rep speed when it's easy. Blah blah blah. :)

    Below is what I sent Lance about exercise selection:
    So, say a person decides he wants to primarily gain mass and doesn't really have a preference for bodypart specialization. In his workout history, he's found that he does squats very well, but his height and limb lengths means that deadlifts causes him problems. Therefore, for his "core routine" he wants to make sure everything important to him is covered, and since he doesn't plan on using the deadlift, he throws in pulling movements at various angles and grip widths. He decides to add hyperback extensions to work his lower back. Say his total routine amount amounts to 6-8 compound exercises (squat, chin, cable row, bent-over row, dips) plus back extensions. Thus, he fulfills issue 1 and gets adequate coverage from his routine.

    Then he goes to issue 2. Because he isn't really interested in fine specialization, he decides to add more compound movements in order to increase overlap. And, so, he decides to add close-grip bench, military press, and close-grip underhand pulldowns.

    Then he look at issue 3. Because he didn't any stretch-point exercises and instead choose adding compound movements to increase overlap, he shouldn't look at adding any more isolation movements at all. He's arrived at a 9-execise routine for his selection.

    Then he looks at his workout schedule. He realizes he can't train 6x-a-week, but he can do the alternating AM/PM thing and cover summation.

    He reviews the # of sets per exercise. To do this, he projects how many sets will be viable during 5s. Because he's doing a core routine without extra frequency, from his workout journal, he figures he can do more sets. Judging the bodypart overlap, he decides that he'll shoot for 4 sets of 5s with squats and dips, 3 sets of 5s with rows and chins, and 2 sets for pulldowns and military press. He understands he doesn't have to try to hit 5 full reps per set after the first. From there, he scales back the # of sets for 10s and 15s. For example, he may only do 2 sets of 15s and 3 sets of 10s for squats. If, when performing his routine, he realizes that 3 sets of 10s is more than plenty, then he'll establish that as his "set ceiling" for 5s as well.

    Finally, he plans out what intensity techniques to use during post-5s, if to use them at all.

    I'll cover some of the other issues in the next post, when I get to it. Again, this is all just my opinion. I'm just here for the drinks.

  2. proteus9

    proteus9 New Member

    Not sure what you mean by overlap. Are you using additional exercises as a method of increasing volume? Why not just do additional sets of the primary exercises?

    How do you determine viability? Experience and workout history?

    What effects (differing effects) are you trying to get from stretch versus peak contraction? When adding isolation movements, what kind of set / rep parameters (yes, volume is coming up next [​IMG] )

    In this example, you have 4 sets for legs, 8 for pulling, 6 for pushing. I take it that the volume disparity is because "he is good at squats" and, since he isn't deadlifting, needs more exercises to cover the same muscle groups hit by the deadlift?

    To update the other example with your guidelines:

    Because arms are disproportionately small, during the 15's use a standing barbell curl and skullcrusher (lack of dissimilarity, but using an isolation exercise because would otherwise add them in during 10's and 5's). During the 10's use an incline dumbbell bicep curl (stretch for bi's) and an overhead / incline tricep extension (stretch for tri's). During the 5's use concentration curls and rope tricep pressdowns (peak contraction).
  3. vicious

    vicious New Member

    Theory goes that more compound exercises (different angles) may do a better job at getting a larger share of the motor unit pool than multiple sets of same exercise. Also, it's just a better way to make sure you're covering all the little nooks and crannies of your body; you wouldn't do bent-over rows primarily for lats, even though they do work them. I prefer doing more kinds of exercises; some people prefer doing more sets of one exercise.

    Yup. The idea is that you want to try to increase or mantain some range of your workout parameters. By setting up the volume at your 5s, then working down the sets, you get a good gestalt of how you will handle the fatigue before you start. Experience here is really important.

    That's coming up in the next post. Which should be not short. ;)

    Partly . . . the key thing I want to emphasize is that you must think in load and stretch first, then look at manipulating parameters to maximize p38 and erk1/2 (which rarely can be done with the same technique), THEN finally look at volume as a way to bump up everything else. But, that may be more clear later on.

    Skullcrusher and overhead/incline/lying tricep extensions more or less cover the same stretch. People, BTW, should perform them with their elbows pointing upwards/outwards in order to emphasize the stretch of the long tricep muscle. I'm generally against using isolation movements (standing barbell curls and skullcrushers) in the 15s. During 5s, concentration curls and pressdowns would be used in addition to the stretch exercises. Mutually exclusive techniques are used for stretch-point and peak-contraction movements.

    Reasoning and pragmatic theory will be posted later. This will take awhile. ;)

  4. vicious

    vicious New Member


    Before somebody adds in isolation exercises for specialization, they need to establish that they've been growing with their current HST program. A lot of people, if they haven't seen satisfactory results in their program, add more exercises believing that their body just needs more work. In fact, this can make things worse if they haven't looked at their diet, aren't doing the load progression correctly, or aren't training frequently enough. Specialization and optimization strategies do not solve fundamental flaws in your individual workout design and eating regimen.

    Specialization exercises are about bringing up lagging or "pet" bodyparts. For a full-body routine, a person establish a separate between core mass-gain movements and specialization exercises. Including 20 isolation movements in your routine isn't specialization at all; it's effectively substituting your compound/core movements with curls and such to "increase mass." That strategy is logistically and metabolically inefficient, but it's a common move when people port their split routines to full-body. I'm not saying a person should artificially limit the # of auxilliary isolation movememts or work within a prescribed exercise range, but like I said before, it represents a conceptual misunderstanding that won't help your results.

    Various reasons for lagging bodypart

    1) Fiber composition

    The muscle may have high ST composition (and thus small # of "eligible for growth" FT fibers.) In the past, it was usually recommended that high-ST bodyparts like calves (soleus) required lengthy, low-load sets to "fatigue" the fibers into growth.

    However, muscles with high ST composition (tonic), by virtue of havin so few FT fibers for real growth, require higher-than-average starting HST loads and larger load increments than other muscles. If you're using a sitting calf raise machine, you may have to start at 75% of 1RM out of SD and progress with 10% load steps in order to enjoy significant growth in the area.

    Conversely, muscles with very high FT composition (phasic) can use lower-than-average starting HST loads (such as triceps) and smaller load increments.

    Below is a chart showing "typical" composition. Of course, they'll vary, sometimes greatly, from person to person. But this can give you an idea of where to go with this.

    For highly tonic muscles (such as the soleus), then, you may have to start at 70-75% 1RM (~ 10RM) right out of SD and work up to 120% 1RM (high-load negatives) with larger than 5% increments in order to facilitate growth. Because most trainees are unaccustomed to working beyond 85% of 1RM for any bodypart, let alone the calves, this has been traditionally percieved as a difficult bodypart to accentuate. For HST trainers, this may cause some logistical problems with their scheduling, as they would essentially be doing their middle-point 10s for calves during their 15s phase for everything else, and probably starting negatives for calves as soon as they hit 5s for everything else. Moreover, because they have to take larger/more frequent load increments, they may hit the load ceiling before they complete HST. As you can see, this can be a logistically tough situation for a severely ST muscle.

    The alternative, which is the basis for stretch-point movements in general, is to manipulate the muscle's tension-load curve by increasing stretch or ROM under load. A tension-length curve can represent the optimum tension generated at a certain contractile length of the sarcomere; conversely, they also give a shape of the "yield points", the level of tension on structural tissue at a specific length that will lead to disruption or deformation. During remodelling, when sarcomere number increases, the tension-length curve shifts to the right, increasing the effective generation tension and yield point tension at a given sarcomere length point.

    If you look at tension-load curves for most actively contracting sarcomeres, they roughly form a jagged hill-shape, whose slope changes as you extend the sarcomere length. What's interesting is that, when you juxtapose a remodeled muscle's curve on top of the original curve, the yield point difference, in tension, varies by sarcomere length. Generally, for an actively contracting fiber, this difference steadily decreases as the sarcomere length increases after the point of its optimal peak tension.

    This is another way of saying that the "progressive load" and absolute load requirements for disruption decreases as a muscle is stretched farther under load. Therefore, in situations (say the soleus muscle) where a muscle may require a very high starting load and/or more sizable, frequent load increments, it may be preferable to choose a movement with a higher stretch component.

    It should be noted, though, that non-actively contracting fibers seem to have a more straight forward relationship and the manipulation of stretch has much less of an effect on varying the effects of progressive load and load increments. Consider the recent discussion we've had about the role of mechanical strain on passive and actively contracting fibers, it doubly emphasizes how increasing ROM becomes accentuated as load increases. I've found this to be 100% true in my personal experience.

    By making adjustments manipulating load and ROM, one can experience a rate of gain in line with the other exercises in HST without having to make special adjustments in terms of rep scheme or use extremely high load negatives.

    In the case of calves, this can be accomplished using a combination of adjustments for the standing calf raises. You would curl your toes in. You would do calf raises on a block and go as low as possible. Finally, you would perform calf raises while keeping your toes behind your body (by leaning forward slightly.)

    Likewise, this becomes the basis for using stretch-point movements in order to accelerate growth in other areas. Which leads to the other conditions for lagging bodyparts.

    2) Range of motion

    The isolation movements that you chose for that bodypart work roughly the same amount of stretch (particularly the triceps). While this isn't a problem, per se, people often choose isolation movements that do not expand ROM, providing only marginal value (if any) over the primary compound movement. Therefore, given the choice between adding that isolation movement or more sets to the compound exercise, it would likely be more productive for both general and specialized results, to do more compound sets. For example, between choosing between tricep pushdowns and performing more dips or close-grip bench presses, the differences in the triceps would be negligible; therefore, you would probably choose to perform more dips or presses. However if you substituted pushdowns with skullcrushers or overhead extensions, you increase the effective stretch and ROM.

    3) Weak link vs. peak tension vs. ROM

    The weak links of all exercises working a bodypart is toward the point of peak contraction rather than stretch. Not only does this demonstrate why most isolation movements servicing adjunct pressing movements only offer marginal improvement (reasoning for the superiority of omst compound movements over isolation for specialization), it also points out why lat and back development can lag even if bodyparts are phasic.

    Traditionally, lateral raises, most fly movements, pushdowns and most bicep curls are only marginally more effective (or not at all) compared to their matching compound movements. Moreover, regardless of burn or pump, they only demonstrate noticeable results over matching compound movements when you're into the 85%+ 1RM territory.

    In certain cases (such as dip vs. machine fly, or deadlift vs. bicep curl), the load on the same muscle will be higher for the compound movement than the isolation movement, given the same range-of-motion. This doesn't make intuitive sense until you consider that, in most cases, you will limit/measure your 5RM, 10RM, and other maximals against the weakest portion of an exercise. For many isolation movements (i.e. those with correct direction of resistance), the weak point (the point where you define your maximal points) is somewhere toward maximal contraction, which also happens to be the least effective part of an exercise. For compound movements, non-limb areas such as back, pecs, and so on, are usually worked only through a more limited, but relatively stretched range-of-motion; the weak point of the compound movement movements don't usually align with the contracted portions of the muscle. Given all other variables the same, the overall mechanical strain on the muscle starts and ends at a higher level than for most isolation movements. The dip is particularly superior to most fly movements for pecs for those reasons.

    Key exception are the pulling movements. Because the weakest part of the ROM is roughly the same of highest contraction, most pulling movements work the back, delts, traps, and biceps about the same (and sometimes less) with the same strain as their matching isolation movements. Likewise, development in the back comes a little slower than other areas. In fact, it may not be such a bad idea to use a little body english with your pulldowns and rows to negotiate slightly higher loads. But, at least, it becomes necessary to use very high-load negatives during the last phase of HST.

    The other alternative is to use higher-load, stretch-partials that emphasize the stretch-point. For rows and chins, you may only go up half-way using loads 30-50% heavier (you'd be surprised how much heavier you can go when you're not trying to bring the bar to the sternum.) Then, for a 2nd set, you would do a normal set at a lower load range.

    The redeemer is the deadlift. The deadlift presumes a relatively fixed and stretched position for the arms and back. The weak point-load (which is partially mitigated by tradiitoinal deadlift technique) for the deadlift is still helluva heavier than the other movements, because it isn't aligned with any muscle's maximal contraction. The advantage it has over pulling movements only gets challenged once you shift to negatives for the pulling movements. Deadlift deserves its godlike status as The Elvis of all exercises.

    Isolation movements with very incorrect direction of resistance (such as DB flies and curls), can have an advantage over compound, because the point of maximal contraction happens to be the strong point of the exercise. In this case, the isolation movement can be manipulated to emphasize high-loads along the stretch with stretch-point movements. Which is what I recommend with stretch-point movements such as incline bench flies and bicep curls.

    4) Mismanaged RBE.

    Anytime you increase mechanical strain (by stretch, load, volume, modality techniques), you'll increase the remodeling effect. Should a person, then, be doing drop sets or stretch-point movements or even plain vanilla isolation movements during 15s . . . right after they deconditioned for ~2 weeks? Probably not. In insisting on adding a whole slew of exercises, and then having to do with the limited load choices for many highly effective isolation movements, people accelerate RBE for a little bit more of growth.

    Unless the isolation movement is your primary movement for bodypart (i.e. leg curl), I think people should wait until 10s to add them. You can set up a more linear load progression this way as well. Although it can be argued that perhaps the first few workouts may not have a degree of strain higher than the matching compound movement, and thus offer only a volume-redundant loading effect, well what's wrong with that? ;) Just as 15s ingratiates you to your core workout, 10s helps you mentally set up for the weird techniques you'll be doing with the isolation movements. By the mid-10s or beginning of 5s, the stretch-point movements, not the compound movements, will become the primary disruptors for the target bodyparts. This is were the specialization really begins.

    Next post goes on choosing stretch-point movements and various techniques for using them to increase the p38 signal.

  5. vicious

    vicious New Member

    Stretch movements and stretch-point exercises

    To give you an idea of what would be a "stretch-point" movement, here are the POF exercises

    Many of the above movements have technique variations in order to emphasize stretch. To give you a feel for what that may be, below are an example of Parillo's "fascia stretches", and Doggcrapp's. Not that you would necessarily do them, but it would give you an idea of what I mean by emphasizing the stretch. Some of this can be applied to traditional exercises.


    Finally, Doggcrapp's stretches . . .

  6. vicious

    vicious New Member

    Variations of technique with stretch-point movements

    A few variations of technique goes into stretch-point movements.

    1) Because the emphasis is on producing high-strain eccentric contractions rather than increase metabolic work (i.e. lifting the weight), ROM must be expanded as much as possible even if mechanical leverage drops significantly. For example, you will want to perform DB flies as close to the floor as your body will allow, even though your strength at that stretch will be extremely low.

    2) For 10s and 5s, increase effective load vs. ROM by using loads that you would normally use for normal ROM movements. The maximal weights will be heavier than what you can often do at an extremely stretched position. When you cannot perform the reps correctly anymore (you try to be honest until it gets too hard), use some cheating in order to raise the weight. For example, you can use a pressing movement for flies. Swing with the bicep curls.

    3) Don't zig-zag. Use significant load increments when possible.

    4) For calf raises, curl toes in. For extension, move elbows closer togethers and pushing "outwards" or towards the ceiling. For flies, arch out your back as you approach the bottom.

    5) Perform (unilateral?) negatives and aggressively increment load beyond 2RM. Ideally, you'll expand negatives into 4 weeks, and increment loads until you hit around 110-120% 1RM, or whenever the load cannot be stopped.

    6) If you're comfortable with the movement, initiate the myotatic reflex on last 2-3 reps and/or incorporate load stretches. In both cases, you would do them during or after 5s.

    Myotatic Reflex and Loaded Stretches

    The myotatic reflex is the basis for plyometrics. When a muscle is stretched with a combination of an extreme length and/or heavy load, the muscle spindles sends a charge to contract suddenly. When people try to inititate the myotatic reflex, they are essentially trying to create a sense of danger in order to cause this protective mechanism to occur.

    This can be easily accomplished by performing a "fast stretch" with the stretch-point movement. Just before full-stretch, you suddenly "drop" the heavy weight, then "explode" upwards (i.e. you reverse direction.) This causes an intense, localized muscle contraction way out of proportion with the training load you're using. This itself doesn't have a significant effect on increasing p38. The next thing does. As soon as you feel the intense contraction, you stretch againt it by lowering the weight again. Therefore, rather than use it as you would in plyometrics to create a force impulse, you use this technique to accentuate the load of a eccentric contraction. Although there is some disagreement about whether the myotatic reflex primarily activates slow twitch fibers, the end-goal is to merely increase total mechanical strain. When done correctly, it can look like bouncing or ballistic movement. It can be dangerous, but very effective.

    The stretch reflex can also be inititated by prolonged periods of extreme stretch. That is the basis for loaded stretch, which is to use a light-to-moderate load, hold it in a very extreme stretch position, and then wait until the stretch reflex picks up and steadily increases effective tension. This is perhaps safer than initiating the Myotatic reflex directly, but it's also deeply painful. Plus this technique stimulates metabolic work and can increase an enormous pump. Did I mention it's painful?

    One big problem with both techniques is that the myotatic reflex becomes more and more dishibinbited as you use it more. This is especially true of 60-second loaded stretches; eventually, adding longer times won't be adequate and you'll need to increase load. If you use loaded stretches, it's best to increase either the degree of stretch and/or the load in order to progressively increase p38 and keep the reflex working for you.

    I think loaded stretches make most sense during negatives. You could use your stretch-point movements and just hold it at the bottom of the negative. This may amount to no more than 10-15 seconds tops. Or you could use Parillo or Doggcrapp's stretches, keeping in mind that you'll need to modulate load to a safe, but progressive, variable. This is a relatively safe, though painful technique to increase both erk1/2 and p38 activity, and it doesn't always require weights.

    Initiating the myotatic reflex probably is best done with your 5s with your stretch points. But, you can also use it with and your compound movements safely, really at any time. You're probably doing it anyway with your squats and deadlifts on the last 2-3 reps.

    Okay, I think that covers the issues with stretch exercise and increasing strain to induce more p38 activity. Next will be peak contraction and all of the neat fatiguing techniques you can do with that! ;)

  7. Fausto

    Fausto HST Expert

    Hi Proteus9
    You sound like my kind of bug [​IMG] , are you also a microbiologist or do you just enjoy the name?
    Anyway, in simple terms as you guys are getting horiffically technical and being at work I simply do not have the time to get that serious! [​IMG]
    I'll simply say this, if you have been training for a while in a serious kind of manner, then HST should be tweeked, one thing I keep in mind is to keep the rest at a minimum, that is 3x per week, I think that is essential [​IMG]
    Why I say this is that we all tweek, after trying out the original plan, basically to suit our own modalities and parameters [​IMG]
    Obviously, there are limitations to how much tweeking one can do and still keep the effectiveness [​IMG] , I could agree with 2x per day (split routine), 3x per week workout frequency, but then this "dude" is certainly not at work, not seriously anyway [​IMG] , and therefore us less lucky mundane kind of people have to contend with something practical but effective, afterall that is what experience should have provided us with and wisdom to apply it. [​IMG]
    Then HST was discovered and put together, I think, by a highly cunning individual, and...hey...just in time :D for us to re-learn proper efficiency of training methods.
    I have never seen a more efficient, friendly and knowladgeable forum for bodybuilding et al [​IMG] where crap, b.s., name calling, improper routines and...basically all the junk one can find is almost non-existing, [​IMG] , and what's more whoever tries to get all "fussed up" is indeed sorted out fairly quickly [​IMG] .
    As Freddy Krugger would say "Haaaa, what a rush" [​IMG] LOL.
    Anyway guys, keep it up, Jules, I am impressed [​IMG], in fact I have copied and printed your latest commentary for later review, who said I was to old to learn? LOL [​IMG]
  8. proteus9

    proteus9 New Member


    You're right this is getting verrrryy technical! But that's partly why I wanted to do it. Many people tweak the original HST protocol with no concept of all the variables involved. If HST "classic" was to represent the most basic iteration for the vast majority of people, I wanted to see what the other extreme would be - HST with all the bells and whistles. For someone as you mentioned who could have no job, life, etc. Only eat, sleep, and train. I think we all agree that Jules has done an amazing job of detailing all the factors and their interplay! [​IMG]

  9. proteus9

    proteus9 New Member

    Jules -

    This is fantastic! I'm sure I'm not the only one here who appreciates your time and generosity!

    Just a couple of easy questions (Well, statements really, just want to know if I've got this straight):

    1) If you're only goal is generic hypertrophy - just get big and strong, no specialization - then isolation exercises aren't necessary, just the big four.

    2) Because you're using stretch point exercises for p38 signaling, you would want to use these with an eye toward heavy (and progressive) loads.

    Are these correct?

  10. vicious

    vicious New Member

    I'm kinda using your thread as a brain dump. I think I need this thread more than you do. ;) :D

    Ultimately, from this thread, I want people to understand volume in a very specific context; that is, to treat volume (and, to a degree, frequency) as the repetition of other factors at play. It in its different guises will always be a secondary variable, and the last one after everything else has been settled.

    Yes. Of course, this dictum sounds really obvious, but I wanted to elucidate a workout planning methodology and show how this ties into the volume question. Thus, the three issue post about choosing between isolation and compound movements, when to use each and why, and how to self-correct your exercise selection according to this dictum. There's enough in the posts to design a 5x5-ish program or a 18-exercise program successfully in HST.

    Yup. Much easier to manage this with isolation movements rather than the core. Next major post will cover using both isolation and compound movements, various fatiguing and occlusionary strategies, to increase erk1/2 activity.

    THEN, we'll finally look at volume and how to micromanage your TUL and rep x set schemes, rep-speed, exercise order, etc. etc. in order to manipulate metabolic fatigue and load disruption. But that probably won't come until next month. ;)

  11. proteus9

    proteus9 New Member

    Perfect. More than I could have asked for / hoped for. :D

    This is pure genius. If I had heard this 10 years ago....
  12. First, Constant Loading and their results were based on loading Fowl Wings and the stretch mitigated hypertrophy was HUGE, but we measly humans can not walk around all day with weights strapped to ourselves, although I have thought about it, plus even with strapping them on what groups could we actually provide adequete stretch to.

    Great thread guys and Vicious is pouring out his heart and soul, as Blade said in an earlier post, Vicious is truly an expert and I'm not sure why he hasn't been elevated to such, miscarriage of Justice IMHO.

    Two questions Vicious, why wouldn't you propose the boost in calories (energy) during the 15's instead of the 10's/5's?

    I haven't seen where DOMS is equated to RBE, can you please elaborate? just your opinions, you needn't have to point to anything specific. I trust ya ;)
  13. vicious

    vicious New Member

    I could be completely wrong ya know. ;)

    HST Expert would be great, but I lack the physiological background to pass the test. About 75% of the stuff listed here really is a regurgitation of HST issues we were talking about in early 2003; this is a convenient to stuff every weird idea into one thread. ;)

    I'm really not interested in people training this or that way (though HST would be nice ;) ), but I'm hoping to push people's thinking in a more progressive and rationally consistent way toward training. And at the same time, I really want to encourage a friendly culture for both new trainees and veterans. This place may be the friendliest, productive BB board on the net.

    I feel that a massive surplus is desirable for the 10s and 15s; if nothing else, the more significant glycogen deficit and sarcoplasmic hypertrophy would facilitate glycogen uptake. When somebody is saturated with glycogen, naturally their caloric intake needs not be so high. High surplus may or may not be desirable for 5s, which depending on your volume and/or techniques, may not be metabolically significant. Even during 5s, I actually do a very short full-body HIIT cardio session, in order to facilitate some endurance-related adaptations and glycogen upload.

    Much of the research with RBE has been correlated as a defensive mechanism against future bouts that would cause DOMS symptoms. I view DOMS as an inflammatory phenomena, where significant decoupling occurs (among other things); I don't believe that DOMS is itself a causor for the decoupling of the E-C system. In fact, I argue that one problem with managing the frequency of HST for new trainees is their desire to train heavy or moderately heavy after SD. For certain muscles, this causes enough disruption and decoupling of E-C that they can't compensate with more neural drive.

  14. Never mind I now see you did say that, I thought you meant having that high of a surplus during the 10's and 5's.

    My bad, maybe I need glasses.
  15. vicious

    vicious New Member

    Techniques for post-5s
    If negatives are unavailable for a movement (problems getting somebody to spot your 700lbs squat? ;) ), below are some techniques that will increase strain beyond normal 5RM training. Drop sets, though they stimulate some significant p38 activity, are out of the scope of this post. They're a good idea, but they'll be covered with the erk1/2-stimulating techniques.

    Adjusting grip widths and depth

    Elbow placement and angle can increase the stretch for a compound movement. For example, the downward angle and wider spacing of the elbows are the reasons why dips are traditionally better at stimulating growth in the pecs than the flat bench. Once you hit your 5RM for the bench, you can widen your hand spacing by 4-6 inches every other workout until the load is too heavy.

    You can adjust the depth of your descent to increase stretch. For example, you can deadlift from a raised platform. You can squat or dip a notch lower than you normally would.

    With both approaches (and all the others listed below this), it's important that you don't start your HST routine with the lowest squat or the widest bench press or chin. Since the idea is to create a 8-week period of progressive strain, you want to allow yourself some adjustment room in order to make progress continuous when you hit the load ceiling for that movevment. This is the same thing as starting at your ~50% 1RM and having 8 weeks to grow, rather than 85% 1RM and then only having 2-4 weeks before you can't go any heavier.

    Squeeze the bar, curl the toes
    Most of the arguments between plane of movement, machine vs. free weights, bodyweight vs. whatever, fixed platform vs. medicine ball, really comes down to how hard you're squeezing your hands and your feet. Balance makes you squeeze harder. Bigger bars makes you squeeze harder. Wearing soles in your shoes makes you squeeze harder. And squeezing harder boosts the neural drive through the entire working section and thus effective tension.

    So, another adjustment you can make is to use a larger bar, squeeze harder, curl your toes in, or create imbalance, instability issues around your hands and feet. You could wrap more towels around the hand spacing where you press, or roll a sock around the ball of your feet. That will do the trick too.

    Partials for pulling movements (highly recommended)
    Because most pulling movements have the strong range through the stretched part of the motion, the training load doesn't really take advantage of the most productive portion for sarcomere hypertrophy. Thus, upon hitting 5RM, you would chop the ROM in half, strictly working from near-lockout to where the bar at eye-level, and continue the load progression until you hit your partial 5RM. You should be at least 25% stronger in this range and have no problems making a linear progression workout to workout.

    Upon finishing your partials, you can choose to perform a regular set at your 5RM. That would make sense if you were planning to perform multiple sets of the exercise anyway. Or you could try a drop-set modality.

    This technique doesn't quite work as well with pressing movements. Because the strong range coincides with where muscles are most contracted, you'll probably need to double the size of your load increments in order to enjoy a tangible effect. Moreover, to make sure you're getting the full training effect, you would definitely want to perform a regular set at 5RM.

    Hitching the Reflex

    Most compound movements are safer (albiet less effective) with using the myotatic reflex than the isolation movements. This is somewhat like Steve Holman's X-Rep training and his pulsing technique. Except it's more effective. ;)

    You perform 3-5 "pulses" through the most stretched position of the compound movement. The technique, however, more resembles bouncing. You take the weight about halfway up, lower it slowly, then before lock-out, let it free fall (or loosen the grip a bit.) Then, you suddenly jerk the direction upwards, as if you're pressing explosively. Note: you don't raise the weight all that much, rather you make an "intention" in doing this. As soon as you feel an increased contraction, you lower the weight, lengthening against the contraction. Finally, you take the weight about halfway up again and repeat.

    This technique is perhaps more desirable after a few workouts at your 5RM has been performed. This will enable the 5RM load to run its course. If you're doing "progressive partials", you can use them right away.

    Loaded stretches

    You can supplement your workout with the DC and Parillo stretches. If you choose stretches that you can modulate progressively, then you have the opportunity to use them as your primary p38 stimulator for certain bodyparts and extend your post-5s another week or so. However, this is a very painful way to go about it, and you have to wonder -- why wasn't I doing negatives? ;)

    Anyway, those are just some of the options you can use. I'd rather use negatives; in fact, I do, but these techniques enable you to milk what you can get from the post-5s and possibly extend the training period, if you wish. In every case, you'll know whether you produced a worthwhile effect by gauging the post-exercise "tightness" or "pulling" sensation.

  16. Dood

    Dood New Member

    Great post, read it twice, still have some questions.
    Maybe I missed this, but when doing 2x a day full workouts 3x a week, would I do half the volume each workout, or am I doubling my normal volume?
    For example, my normal 1 a day workout 3x a week has me doing two sets each exercise for 10s, do I split that up, one set each exercise in the AM and one set in the PM, or 2 sets AM and PM? Doing just one set for the big 4 never seems like enough to me, but that would get me out of the gym quicker [​IMG]

    Also, regarding deadlifts and squats, should I do one of them in the AM and one in the PM, or stick to one for one whole day AM and PM and do the other one next time? Or does it not really matter?

    One more question, since you feel deads are one of the best stimulators for biceps, and since you can stand still holding more weight than you can deadlift, could you then hit the bi's even harder by just standing and holding even more weight than you can deadlift, maybe trying to contract against the weight, even though you wouldn't really be moving it? Basically a loaded stretch, but with much more weight than you could ever do with an incline or flat bench dumbell curl.

    And, as many have already said, it's great to have you back! And don't disappear again! [​IMG]
  17. vicious

    vicious New Member

    Yup. You're essentially doing a static hold in the stretched position (NOT locked-out position, though) I can't say how much more you should do because I don't know how strong your forearms and grips are. For example, you could use 30-40% more load than you would use for that deadlift, hold for 3-4 seconds, rerack. Rest. Repeat 5-10 times (that's your 1-2 sets.) If you do this, you probably don't need to do the incline DB curls or the loaded stretches. Of course, do this at the end of your workout.

    Normally, you'd do half of the volume (though same # of exercises.) Of course, if your volume is extremely low to begin with, you may want to do 2 sets per exercise anyway. (Or you could just go 10-12x-a-week, heh heh. Ahem. ;) ) Theoretically, the "starting" fatigue you feel in your 2nd workout that day is more or less a reflection of the damage you've created from the 1st workout.

  18. shakeel

    shakeel New Member

    in a recent thread you recommend in the 5 s higher load stetch using rows and chins going half way using 40% more load for the first set then a second set using a lower load range
    1.from the above how many reps for the firsst set for chins?

    2.why dont you use a load progression of 5 % then 10% etc rather than jumping right into 40% more load?
    3.for the second set what load range you recommend a 5 rm load or a 10 rm?again how many reps?

    4.for the second set why dont do a drop setof the same exercise?as in first set mechanical strain second set metabolic stimulus it necessary to go half way or one quarter way is also feasible provided emphasis on stetch?

    for muscle growth you need heavier loadfs and it is the eccentric part which is more important.heavier load=more overload on eccentric

    how about eccentric part.does it require increasing load or concentric part is just important for the burn that is metabolic stimulus .what am planning to do is to break eccentric and concentric into 2 parts

    1.higher load as per vicious recommendation half way stetch movements then
    2.a lower load emphasing the contraction paRT using pulses for conntracted peak movements FOR metabolic stimulus

    what do you think?
  19. vicious

    vicious New Member

    Same # of reps. Your "adjusted" 10RM, for example, would be the maximal load that you can do 10 partial reps.

    You could do that, but logistically it is more difficult to set up if (say) you started out at the normal full ROM load, then used 10% increments to reach your partial 5RM weight. In other words, those movements would be using entirely different, nonconcurrent rep schemes than your other exercises. Also, if you're starting at 40% more load, you wouldn't need the 10% load increments. It's overall a good strategy, esp. if you want to break away from classic HST's multi-phasic approach and go strictly by "n-stair step" linear load progression.

    The other strategy is to use partials as a way to facilitate load progression with pulling movements through post-5s. IMO, it's not as effective as the first strategy, but it's logistically easier to implement.

    If you use the 30-40% strategy, then you would use the "normal load" for that point in your 10s, 5s, whatever. If you're just using partials during post-5s, then use your 5RM. In both cases, there isn't a strong requirement to finish out the prescribed # of reps. You just want to mantain your full-ROM concentric strength and get some metabolic work in.

    Yup, haven't gotten to the part about using drops set in your program to stimulate erk1/2 activity. That's an entirely separate section with its pro/cons. :)

    I recommend halfway merely to create enough ROM for some metabolic work from your concentric rep. If you're looking at quarter reps, then you might as well investigate pulsing/initiating the myotatic reflex. And, of course, you have. ;)

    I've been messing with this idea too. Basically, you begin your routine with as little warm-up as needed, go straight into pure negatives, then finish out with low-load, high-rep concentrics.

    That's basically the idea. :)

  20. shakeel

    shakeel New Member

    Yup, haven't gotten to the part about using drops set in your program to stimulate erk1/2 activity. That's an entirely separate section with its pro/cons

    what are the pro and con of drops

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