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Hypertrophy Specific Training - HSTLeave a Reply

Hypertrophy is the increase in the size of an organ, and is only desirable when it occurs in the skeletal muscles. The muscle needs to be directly stimulated by resistance training, though hypertrophy can also occur during other high anaerobic exercises such as interval training, rowing, cycling and sprinting. A diet rich in protein with a caloric surplus is also necessary, together with regular rest.

Hypertrophy-Specific Training™ developed as a result of the studies looking at both the stimuli and systems for muscle cell hypertrophy. As hypertrophy-specific research progressed in specificity it was plain that conventional training routines had stumbled across several important principles of load induced muscle hypertrophy, but because of their narrow outlook they were unsuccessful in taking advantage of some significant facts exposed by research at the cellular level.

If you'd like to do an HST program, take note of the following:

  • All maxes should be established before doing the first cycle.
  • There is a compulsory increase in weight each workout. This adheres to the principle of progressive overload.
  • Assign your max weights to the final workout of each two-week block.
  • Repetitions will lessen every 2 weeks in the following order:
    • 15 reps for two weeks;
    • 10 reps for 2 weeks;
    • 5 reps for two weeks;
    • then carry on with your 5-rep max for two weeks or begin two weeks of negatives. The reduction in reps accommodates the increasing load.
    • During the 15's the reps should begin slowly and then accelerate as you feel the burn begin to kill your strength.
    • During the 10's you should go slower when the weight is light.
    • The first week of 5's should be slow on the way down but still pretty explosive on the way up.
    • During negatives you should lower the weight in about 2-2½ seconds.
  • Sets will be restricted to 1-2 per exercise.
  • Each muscle group should be loaded 3 times per week.
  • HST is done on three non-consecutive days per week. Rest is important, so do only light cardio on your rest days.
  • Finish each workout using designated weights even if muscles are a little sore from previous workout.
  • A one-week interval of strategic de-conditioning should be taken following each 6-8 week cycle, during which no training should be performed. Strategic de-conditioning is very important for long-term growth.
  • The whole workout can be split into a morning and afternoon session.

Strategic pre- and post-workout supplementation can significantly add to the effectiveness of your training, when implemented correctly and consistently. Exercise causes acute changes in the metabolic setting of muscle tissue. Pre-workout dietary plans are based on supplying alternative energy substrates to protect energy stores, and taking advantage of increased blood flow to muscle tissue.

Background of HST

Author and founder of the Hypertrophy-Specific Training Method and Hypertrophy-Specific Nutrition, Bryan Haycock, began lifting weights in 1978. Hypertrophy-Specific Training or simply HST is a system of training intended to rapidly and efficiently encourage whole body muscle growth. Hypertrophy-Specific Nutrition (HSN) is a dietary and sports supplement company dedicated to bringing to market new and innovative products.

HST calls for frequent workouts because the heightened anabolic effects of training, such as improved protein synthesis, muscle-specific IGF-1 expression, and other factors involved in modulation of short-term protein synthesis, only last for 36-48 hours. There is also increasing evidence of a "summation" effect by exercising while levels of these signals and responses are elevated, as should be expected.

Setting Up Your Exercise Schedule

If your training frequency is not planned with the same scrutiny as other aspects of your routine, you may be wasting time needlessly, whether you are sold on heavy weight and low reps or less weight and more reps. Knowing precisely when your muscles need to be trained again after the previous workout is hard to judge with absolute certainty. Recent research has shown that training a muscle group approximately every 48 hours may be more effective than training it once or twice per week.

Sample Workout

Each body part should be trained using the following exercises:

Body Part Exercise(s)
Legs Squat or leg press and leg curls
Chest Bench and dip
Back Chins and seated or bent over row
Shoulders Lateral raise and shoulder press
Biceps Any one curling movement per session
Triceps Triceps push-down or lying triceps extensions
Torso Crunch or machine

Eating For Mass

Maybe it is your diet that needs some thought if you are not gaining weight. Begin with the nutrients most important to the body when planning your meals. A surplus of calories is necessary for the body to increase its fat-free/water-free mass at the simplest level. To establish your caloric requirements you will need to use a computation or formula. Don't be turned off by the numbers – you don't have to be a math whiz to do these simple calculations.

HST Principles

The laws of hypertrophy that HST is founded on are as follows:

  1. Mechanical load
  2. Acute vs. chronic stimuli
  3. Progressive load
  4. Strategic de-conditioning

Strategic De-Conditioning: Priming the Muscle for Sustained Increases

Your objective when using Hypertrophy-Specific Training methods is to present the muscle with a growth-promoting stimulus while it is actually vulnerable to micro-trauma. Strategic de-conditioning is basically a period of time free from training which is long enough to permit a reversal of some of the acute adaptations in muscle tissue, referring specifically to the repeated bout effect. Training after strategic de-conditioning results in much more rapid gains in size and strength.


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