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Old 02-28-2006, 03:43 AM   #21
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The following posts have been made by Honeypeck32:

Beginner Mass Building Programs

Exercises :


Squat
Stiff-legged Deadlift
Bench Press
Bent Row
Military Press (seated)
EZ Bar Curl
Lying Triceps Extension
Standing Calf Raise (on board)

Sets : 1x15, 2x10, 3x5, 2 weeks of 5RMs

Ideology Explained :

This is a very bread and butter HST routine, and is perfect for any beginner. There's not too much to explain here, you learned everything you need to know in the first two articles. You'll be doing 1 set for the 15s block, 2 sets for the 10s block, and 3 sets for the 5s block. You'll also do 3 sets for the two weeks of 5 rep maxes. Now for exercise explanations :

Squat - the king of all exercises, you need to squat. Squats will hit all parts of your legs, as well as stimulate growth throughout your entire body.

Stiff-legged Deadlift - stiff-legged deadlifts make a perfect combo with squats. You get more emphasis on the hamstrings, as well as your back, whereas the squats will hit your quads and glutes more.

Bench Press - the bench press is known by some as the king of upper body exercises. You'll be hitting your chest, shoulders, and shoulders mainly. The bench press is a great starter exercise for anyone.

Bent Row - this is a great exercise for your lats, as well as your biceps. This is another compound exercise, which work very well for beginners and advanced lifters as well.

Military Press - the best overall shoulder builder. MPs are another great lift for upper body power and size. You'll be doing them seated to place more emphasis on form, rather than using body momentum to do the lift.

EZ Bar Curl - I like using the EZ bar because it is easier on the wrists. Plain 'ol curls (combined with rows) are all that your biceps need to stretch the sleeves.

Lying Triceps Extension - a great exercise for triceps mass. I like doing these with an EZ bar also, because of the less stress on the wrists.

Standing Calf Raise - great overall calf mass builder. Do them on a board for added stretch.


And there you have it. Don't turn down this program just because it looks simple, IT WORKS! Just because a program isn't super complex doesn't mean that you won't gain well off of it. Sometimes, simpler is better.

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Old 02-28-2006, 03:46 AM   #22
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Intermediate Mass Building Programs

Exercises :

Squat
Stiff-legged Deadlift
Incline DB Press
Parallel Bar Dip
Bent Row
Military Press
Partial Curl (bottom to halfway up)
Lying Triceps Extension
Standing Calf Raise (on board)

Sets : 2x10, 2x5, 4 weeks of 5RMs/clusters (10 rep total)

Special methods used :

Cluster reps
Strength test days
Metabolic fatigue sets

Ideology Explained :

Now we're kicking it up a notch, and adding in some new methods. This program is good for those who have done a couple cycles of HST, and are ready to try something new and different. The explanations can be a bit tricky, but you should be able to understand what I'm saying.

The first four weeks are just standard HST, no problems there. You have your two weeks of 10s, and 2 weeks of 5s. The 5RM period is going to be extended, and we're going to be clustering for the most part.

A cluster set is a set in which you take a pre-determined amount of reps, and do small 1-3 rep "clusters" to build up to the desired amount of reps. In this case, you're going to be working up to a total of 10 reps. Once you hit your 10 reps, you're done with that exercise. As for rest in between sets, take as long as you need before you feel ready for the next set. Don't rush this, take as much time as you need. Why do clusters? You'll be able to hit the desired amount of reps with your 5 rep max, but you'll be minimizing CNS fatigue, which can lead to overtraining.

A strength test day is just another word for a 5RM day, and it will determine what weight you use next for your cluster workouts.

After you have built up to your 5RM (end of week 4), you'll be starting with week 5. On Days 1 and 2, you'll use cluster sets and do a total of 10 reps for each exercise (in 1-3 rep clusters of your 5RM). On Day 4, you'll have a strength test day. All you'll do is re-test your 5RMs (keep with 2 sets, 2x5) on every exercise. Then, the following week, you'll cluster on Days 1+2 again, but you'll use the weight from the 5RMs that you just found on Day 3 of the previous week.

Now that you know that, I'll show you what you'll be doing for metabolic fatigue. You will incorporate these sets after the 10s, at the start of the 5s. A metabolic fatigue set is a set of 15 reps, with a relatively light weight. The point here is to get a nice "burn". After you finish the last set for a particular body part, you'll perform a set of 15 reps to get the "burn". You'll do this to add hypoxic stress and increase post workout nutrient shuttling to your muscles. So, once you finish both incline dumbbell press and dips (chest), you'll do a 15 rep set with flat dumbbell flys. The weight should be somewhat heavy, but not extremely straining (ie the weight you would use for a mid-15s HST set). Here's what exercises you will use for metabolic fatigue sets :

Quads - Leg Extension
Hamstrings - Leg Curl
Chest - Flat DB Fly
Lats - Bent Row
Shoulders - Side Lateral Raises
Biceps - EZ Bar Curls
Triceps - Cable Pressdown

Now on to the core program exercise explanations :

Squat - the king of all exercises, you need to squat. Squats will hit all parts of your legs, as well as stimulate growth throughout your entire body.

Stiff-legged Deadlift -
stiff-legged deadlifts make a perfect combo with squats. You get more emphasis on the hamstrings, as well as your back, whereas the squats will hit your quads and glutes more.

Incline DB Press - incline bench press will work your upper chest more, and is a great exercise for chest mass, and the appearance of chest mass.

Weighted Dips - this is a great exercise to combine with incline dumbbell press, it will hit your lower chest and triceps hard.

Bent Row - this is a great exercise for your lats, as well as your biceps. This is another compound exercise, which work very well for beginners and advanced lifters as well.

Military Press - the best overall shoulder builder. MPs are another great lift for upper body power and size. You'll be doing them seated to place more emphasis on form, rather than using body momentum to do the lift.

Partial Curl
- By going only halfway up, you'll be able to use a much heavier load, while still adding plenty of overall mass to the biceps.

Lying Triceps Extension - a great exercise for triceps mass. I like doing these with an EZ bar also, because of the less stress on the wrists.

Standing Calf Raise - great overall calf mass builder. Do them on a board for added stretch.

There's the intermediate program. You have some new methods implemented, and some minor exercise changes. This is a nice step up from basic HST after you have done a couple of the basic cycles.
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Old 02-28-2006, 03:54 AM   #23
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Advanced Mass Building Programs

Exercises :

Squat
Stiff-legged Deadlift
Incline Bench Press
Parallel Bar Dips
Pendlay Row
Military Press
DB Side Lateral Raises
Partial Curl
Lying Triceps Extension
Standing Calf Raise (on board)

Sets : 3x5 (3 weeks), 4-6 weeks of 5RMs/clusters

Special Methods Used :

-cluster sets
-strength test days
-loaded stretches
-pulses (metabolic fatigue)

Ideology Explained :

This is a fully advanced HST program. This program is NOT recommended for new HST'ers, or new lifters. We are going to be implementing a bunch of new techniques, and introducing a few new exercises.

You're going to be starting right with the 5s. Since you're starting off with a heavy load, you'll take 3 weeks to build up to your 5RM and start off lighter (instead of a two week rep block like standard HST, this will just be a three rep block). After that, we start using cluster sets and strength test days.

A cluster set is a set in which you take a pre-determined amount of reps, and do small 1-3 rep "clusters" to build up to the desired amount of reps. In this case, you're going to be working up to a total of 15 reps. Once you hit your 15 reps, you're done with that exercise. Why do clusters? You'll be able to hit the desired amount of reps with your 5 rep max, but you'll be minimizing CNS fatigue, which can lead to overtraining. So you'll just be doing a lot of small sets, not going to failure.

Strength test days are just 5RM days, and they will determine what weight you use next for your cluster workouts. You'll just do your 3x5 with your 5RMs, just like good 'ol standard HST.

After you have built up to your 5RM (end of week 4), you'll be starting with week 5. On Days 1 and 2, you'll use cluster sets and do a total of 10 reps for each exercise (in 1-3 rep clusters of your 5RM). On Day 4, you'll have a strength test day. All you'll do is re-test your 5RMs (keep with 2 sets, 2x5) on every exercise. Then, the following week, you'll cluster on Days 1+2 again, but you'll use the weight from the 5RMs that you just found on Day 3 of the previous week. This is the pretty straightforward base, now I'll discuss the other extra "features" that you'll be using this whole time.

Now that you know that, I'll show you what you'll be doing for metabolic fatigue. A metabolic fatigue set is a set of high reps (~15), with a relatively light weight. The point here is to get a nice "burn". You'll do this to add hypoxic stress and increase post workout nutrient shuttling to your muscles. So, once you finish both incline dumbbell press and dips (chest), you'll do a 15 rep pulse (covered next) set with flat dumbbell flys. The weight should be somewhat heavy, but not extremely straining (something you would use for a mid-15s HST set). Here's what exercises you will use for metabolic fatigue sets :

Quads - Leg Extension
Hamstrings - Leg Curl
Chest - Flat DB Fly
Lats - Bent DB Row
Shoulders - Side Lateral Raises
Biceps - EZ Bar Curls
Triceps - Cable Pressdown

Now the type of set that you will be doing for metabolic fatigue, is a pulse set. A pulse is a single rep at the top 3-4" of the particular movement (use judgment, it doesn't have to be exactly 4"), and you do the top part of the movement, with a somewhat slow concentric (1-2 seconds), and a somewhat fast eccentric (1/2 second). Don't let the eccentric part of the lift just be dropping the weight, keep it under control. You'll do 1 set of 15 pulses for each exercise, after that body part has been trained. Pulses provide a little better way to add in metabolic fatigue, because there's not as much stress because of the shortened eccentric time of the lift (because you're only lowering the weight a few inches, not the whole way).

The last thing that you'll be adding in to your advanced cycle is loaded stretches. At the end of each muscle group (or workout, your choice)(after metabolic fatigue), you will perform a loaded stretch. A loaded stretch is taking about 60-70% of what you would use for a 6-8 rep set, and going into the stretch portion of certain movements, and holding a deep heavy stretch for about 45-60 seconds. You will do this to stretch the fascia of the muscle to allow more room for growth. Loaded stretching also has other benefits, you can easily find some of them by searching it on google.com (it is also referred to as extreme stretching, and fascia stretching). Keep in mind that loaded stretches will burn, a lot. If you start to feel any pain whatsoever, drop the weights and call it a day. Loaded stretching can be a very dangerous thing if done wrong. Here is what you will do for each body part (note : extreme stretching is done only after you have done your regular and metabolic fatigue sets for that certain bodypart) :

Quads - Take a moderately wide stance in your legs, and squat down so that you are sitting on the ground. Put your hands on the ground behind you, and lean back until you get a deep stretch. Hold for 45-60 seconds.

Hamstrings - Put your leg up on a bench or bar, and grab your toe. Straighten your leg into a deep stretch, and hold for 45-60 seconds.

Chest - Grab a pair of dumbbells, and lay on a bench. Go into the flat DB fly exercise, and sink in to the bottom of the movement. Sink and get a deep stretch for about 45-60 seconds.

Shoulders - Place a bar on a squat rack at your shoulder height. Put your hands on the bar (shoulder width apart), and flex your lats. Lower your shoulders down as far as you can to the floor, and hold for ~30 seconds.

Back - Hang from a pullup bar as long as you can, using wrist straps so your grip doesn't give out first.

Biceps - Lie down on an incline bench with a pair of dumbbells, and lay your arms down in the stretched position of an incline DB curl. Slowly go deep into the stretch, and hold it for 45-60 seconds.

Triceps - Grab a pair of dumbbells and lay down on a flat bench. Get into the fully stretched position of lying triceps extension (bottom of movement), and go deep into the stretch. Hold for 45-60 seconds.

Calves - Stand on a board on one foot, and sink down into the bottom position of a calf raise. Push on your heel with your free foot to get a good stretch. Hold for 45-60 seconds

Those are the loaded stretch exercises, now I'll explain why I chose the main exercises that I did :

Squat - the king of all exercises, you need to squat. Squats will hit all parts of your legs, as well as stimulate growth throughout your entire body.

Stiff-legged Deadlift - stiff-legged deadlifts make a perfect combo with squats. You get more emphasis on the hamstrings, as well as your back, whereas the squats will hit your quads and glutes more.

Incline DB Press - incline bench press will work your upper chest more, and is a great exercise for chest mass, and the apperance of chest mass.

Weighted Dips -
this is a great exercise to combine with incline dumbbell press, it will hit your lower chest and triceps hard.

Pendlay Row - this is like a super-strict bent barbell row. It's just like a bent row, but each rep will start from the floor, and your body will never break 90 degrees (you'll always be bent over at a 90 degree angle, don't move your back any higher than that). Every rep will start dead on the floor, it's not just a touch and go. You'll do this for more isolation, and to make sure that your form is near perfect, and you're using just your lats/arms to raise the weight.

Military Press - the best overall shoulder builder. MPs are another great lift for upper body power and size. You'll be doing them seated to place more emphasis on form, rather than using body momentum to do the lift.

DB Side Lateral Raise - a great exercise to isolate the delts. It's almost like the incline bench/dip combo, but for shoulders.

Partial Curl - By going only halfway up, you'll be able to use a much heavier load, while still adding plenty of overall mass to the biceps.

Lying Triceps Extension - a great exercise for triceps mass. I like doing these with an EZ bar also, because of the less stress on the wrists.

Standing Calf Raise - great overall calf mass builder. Do them on a board for added stretch

Believe it or not, that's it for the advanced program. Right now, you're probably thinking "What did I just read?!" If you're thinking that, go back and read everything again. It's a hard thing to grasp just by reading it once, you'll have to sift through it again and again before you completely know what you're doing. You should see both great size and strength gains from this routine.
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Old 02-28-2006, 03:55 AM   #24
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Programs for Fat Loss


An extremely popular question that pops up is, "What type of HST routine should I do if I want to lose fat?" Well, it's not about the routine, it's about the diet. The HST training will be the SAME, it's just the diet and cardio that will be different. If you want to lose fat while optimizing the amount of muscle you maintain, you'll still choose any of the HST routines above, but your diet and cardio will be different than that of a person who is trying to gain as much muscle as possible.
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Old 02-28-2006, 04:24 AM   #25
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That's some very good information Anuj! Glad this got revived!

Quote:
Originally Posted by anuj247
Programs for Fat Loss


An extremely popular question that pops up is, "What type of HST routine should I do if I want to lose fat?" Well, it's not about the routine, it's about the diet. The HST training will be the SAME, it's just the diet and cardio that will be different. If you want to lose fat while optimizing the amount of muscle you maintain, you'll still choose any of the HST routines above, but your diet and cardio will be different than that of a person who is trying to gain as much muscle as possible.
In regards to an HST routine for fat loss, I'm in the middle of working one up...That at least fits my needs. The only real guidelines I can see with fat loss is to keep the reps high and rest between sets under a minute. As you can see, I'm basically describing a circuit training routine based off of the HST principles. IMO, a 5 rep mesocycle isn't a optimal option because you're a) on a restricted diet, and b) working so heavy will not drive up your heart rate as the higher reps would. I'm reading some material now that has the mesocycles set at 15/12/10/8..Two weeks apiece. Now that's some ball bustin' shit right there.

BTW, the aforementioned is exactly what I'm planning on doing for my cutting phase starting in April. Doing a full body three times a week for cutting leaves a ton of room in-between for cardio (HIIT). :17:

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Old 02-28-2006, 04:34 AM   #26
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Quote:
Originally Posted by 0311
That's some very good information Anuj! Glad this got revived!
thanks...

like i mentioned in my journal... i'm feeling sick of splits and want to shift back to full body routines again....
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Old 02-28-2006, 04:41 AM   #27
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Quote:
Originally Posted by anuj247
thanks...

like i mentioned in my journal... i'm feeling sick of splits and want to shift back to full body routines again....
Totally understandable...I'll give you this one!..But be careful of which program you pick because I'll give you shit if you change it out any time soon! Plus, you got to figure that if your days are restricted in the gym, full body has to be the smartest route to take. If you miss a day, it's managable because you worked the whole body the previous day. :240:
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Old 02-28-2006, 04:52 AM   #28
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Quote:
Originally Posted by 0311
Totally understandable...I'll give you this one!..But be careful of which program you pick because I'll give you shit if you change it out any time soon! Plus, you got to figure that if your days are restricted in the gym, full body has to be the smartest route to take. If you miss a day, it's managable because you worked the whole body the previous day. :240:
YES... YES....

no.. no... with full body routines there is no way i can change.. i'll keep it like chad waterbury's "waterbury method" with many more sets...

but, yes... full body routines rule... i cant do this shit split thing any more... its draining me...

i'll come up with a routine and post it here to hear your version of how it is... just give me some time - like 10 minutes max... i think i have it figured out...
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Old 03-31-2006, 08:00 AM   #29
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ok.. so i've come up with some more info regarding HST...

thought it might be useful to everyone here....

Rep Speeds

Basically, during the 15's the reps should start out slow and then speed up as you feel the burn begin to kill your strength. After all, the whole point is to flush the muscle with lactic acid.

During the 10's you should go slower when the weight is light. That way it will still be difficult to complete the set. As the weight gets heavier simply increase the tempo to ensure that you complete the set. BE careful not to get too sloppy though. It will do little good to use momentum to move the weight during the 10s.

The first week of 5's should be slow on the way down but still pretty explosive on the way up. Then as the weight nears your 5 rep max you will have no real control over how fast you move the weight. It will generally go slow simply because it is so heavy.

During negatives you should lower the weight in about 2-3 seconds. This may seem too quick to most traditionalists. Research has shown that if you go too slow during negatives you don't get the same growth stimulus. it begins to resemble the effect of isometrics if you go too slow. This is one reason why the old principle of "time under tension" isn't so simple as just time. The action of the muscle while under load is very important when trying to produce a specific effect.

Rest Between Sets

The Rest between sets is determined by the amount of time required to regain sufficient strength to successfully achieve the minimum effective Volume. There is not much to it, and you will not see any dramatic results by varying rest periods (within reason, of course)

Overall, rest periods should be around 1.5-2 minutes.

When moving from one body part to the next try to alternate between opposing or antagonistic body parts – commonly known as antagonistic pairing. E.g. 1 set of chest, rest, 1 set of back, rest, one set of chest, rest, 1 set of back, rest etc. This way your chest, shoulders, and tris can rest while you hit your back and bis. After a while you will find your aerobic capacity going up as this closely resembles sort of a power circuit.

You may shorten rest periods on 15s to attain the lactic acid effect - on the order of 30-60 seconds.

Increase rest periods as you get into the heavier, neural ranges - on 5s and negs you will most likely find it necessary to rest on the order of 2-5 minutes between sets.

Also, shorten rest periods earlier in the workout when you are fresh - then progressively increase rest periods as fatigue accumulates towards the end of the workout.

How To Warm Up

Begin with a general warmup – stationary bike, treadmill or similar for 5 mins at low-moderate intensity – just enough to break a sweat. Then do some light, dynamic stretching – arm rotations and similar.

Continue to:

Specific warmups for first exercise of major muscle groups (legs, chest, back)

15s don't really require warm-ups.

10s - 1 set 5 reps @ 70% of working weight on main exercises. Later exercises for same or auxillary muscle groups don't require warm-ups unless you feel you need it.

5s - 1 set 5 reps @ 50% of working weight

1 set 3 reps @ 70% of working weight

1 set 2-3 reps @ 80% of working weight

1 set 1 rep @ 90% of working weight (optional)

Although it looks like a lot, it is low-volume compared to those that use 20+reps on their warm-up sets. The warmup only serves to increase the core- and local temperature, thus elevating various enzymes and activating the neural system, thus making the muscles work more efficiently. Don’t make the warm-ups into a workout of its own. The above should at most require 15 minutes.

The reps should be easy, producing more of an "active stretch" than a strength challenge. You will find that when you train a body part more frequently, it requires less warm up to feel ready to perform.

Training Frequency

The reason HST calls for more frequent training is because the acute anabolic effects of training, such as increased 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 mounting evidence of a "summation" effect by exercising while levels of these signals and responses are elevated, as should be expected.

This does not mean that the structural repairs to the tissue have been completed. Research has demonstrated that you can train a muscle before it is fully recovered structurally and not inhibit its ability to continue to recover. So, HST uses this evidence and calls for repeated loading (training) every 48 hours or so to keep the anabolic activity of the muscle high, while trying to stay slightly ahead of the structural recovery curve by constantly increasing the load each workout. Staying ahead of the structural recovery curve is really key to elicit real growth in a person who has lifted for quite a while. Of course, injuries can develop over time if care isn't taken to take time to heal, and prepare the tendons for repeated heavy bouts of lifting (SD and 15s serve this purpose in HST).

"Recovery" can refer to several different things.

1) "Recovery" can refer to the structural repair process of fixing the microtrauma. The damaged proteins can takes several days to be repaired and all evidence of damage removed. Even at the end of seven days after significant muscle damage from eccentric muscle actions, you may still see some small fibers regenerating.

2) Strength - this can be acute recovery as in the necessary time to rest between sets. Or it can mean the days that it usually takes to regain baseline strength after muscle damaging exercise.

So the trick is to have the CNS "recover" just in time to hit the muscle again as the acute anabolic effects are wearing off. That way you can stay anabolic more of the time. Training once every 7 days will still allow you to grow, it just takes longer for the gains to accumulate. Training more frequently is more efficient if your goal is just to get bigger

To understand, you have to consider the total volume over time. A week is easiest to consider, so, over the course of a week, it is the total volume that is important. So 9 total sets for chest can be done in one workout or in several workouts. Both will stimulate growth. However, you will be anabolic more of the time if you can actually create that stimulus more often. In the case of HST, 3 times as often. There is a physiological benefit (acute anabolic effects of training) in doing 9 sets as 3 sets X 3 workouts, as opposed to 9 sets all at once - and then nothing for the next 7 days.

Brian Haycock's AM/PM Program

"Here are the exercises I use:

Squat
Leg Ext
Leg Curl
Straight leg calf raise
Chins (wide and narrow)
Dips
Rows (wide and narrow)
Incline Bench
Lateral raises
rear delt work (dumbells)
Dumbell press
Tri Ext
Curls of all kinds

I'll do some crunches too. As well as stationary bike and once in a while I will jog a bit.

Sometimes I will split things up into AM and PM workouts. If I miss the PM I will simply do it the next day. I don't use a training partner so I only do negatives on Chins, Dips, curls, tri Ext, and rear delt work. I usually do 2 sets of 2 exercises for back.I don't go terribly heavy on Squats and Bench. I guess 25 years has taken a bit of a toll on this less-than-genetically-ideal body. In fact, on squats I will start with 20 reps.

Here's my AM/PM split.

AM
Squat
Incline Bench
T-bar row (supported)
Calf (straight leg)
Lateral raises
Bent over laterals
EZ curls
Tri extensions

PM
Leg curl
Leg extension
Millitary press (lowering no further than top of head)
Chins
Dips
Lateral raises
lying rear delt raises (lie on bench on your side)
DB curl
Tri extension
calf raise

I warm up on the bike for at least 6 minutes with a lot of resistance (break a sweat). I do 2 "work sets" after an adequate warmup on each exercise. On off days I do cardio for 20 minutes twice per day, while I'm dieting anyway.

BTW, I'm currently dieting very low carb during the week and carbing up on the weekends. "

Last edited by _Wolf_; 04-01-2006 at 07:38 AM..
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Old 03-31-2006, 08:07 AM   #30
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Planning Your Training Frequency by Brian Haycock

Whether you are sold on heavy weight and low reps, or less weight and more reps, if your training frequency is not planned with the same scrutiny as other aspects of your routine, you may be wasting time unnecessarily. With a little insight into the factors affecting the optimal timing of your workouts, you may just experience more success than you believed you could.

Knowing exactly when your muscles need to be trained again after the previous workout is difficult to judge with absolute certainty. Recent research in the area of muscle damage and recovery is showing results that may surprise you. Science is now showing us things that may change the way you train forever!

When you lift weights, you cause damage to your muscles. This is often referred to as "microtrauma". Microtrauma involves the tearing and shearing of delicate protein structures within your muscle cells. This may sound bad but in reality it is necessary for the initiation of growth after your workout.

This microtrauma may be expected to require you to postpone your next workout until your muscles are back to normal. It is this logic that your average personal trainer will use when he/she tells you to wait, sometimes a full week, before training the same body part again. Recent research however is showing us that putting off your next workout until your muscles have "fully recovered" may not be necessary or even desirable!1,2,3 In a study performed at the University of Alabama4, two groups of subjects performed the same periodized resistance training routine either once per week or three times per week. The results showed that muscle mass increases were greater in the three workout per week group, compared to the one workout per week group. In addition, the strength increases in this group were on average 40% greater! So what does this mean to you? It means the fear of overtraining, which sometimes verges on paranoia, may be preventing you from getting the most gains you can in the gym.

So science is telling us that training a muscle group approximately every 48 hours may be more effective than training it once or twice per week. If you train your whole body three times per week with your current workout routine it might take several hours to complete. I doubt many of us would have time for that. Does this mean you can't reap the benefits of more frequent training? Once again, new research provides us with some answers.

In a study performed at Montclair State University5 researchers investigated the effect of a single set vs. a multiple set routine on increasing upper body strength. They had the subjects perform either one set or three sets of bench press, incline dumbbell press and flat dumbbell flies using ten reps, three times per week for 12 weeks. This kind of study has been done before but this one is particularly valuable because it involved previously "trained" subjects. This is significant because untrained subjects will usually respond positively to virtually any training routine. Just because a training strategy works for beginners doesn't mean it will work for experienced lifters. These researchers found that doing a single set of each exercise was equally effective as doing three sets of the same movements in increasing the subjects one repetition maximum (1RM) on bench press. The take home message is that you needn't do more than a single work set to achieve the same relative gains of doing multiple sets. This makes incorporating a whole body workout into your schedule much more feasible.

A sample whole body workout might look like this:

10-15 minute warmup on bike or treadmill

Squats, 1-2 warm up sets and 1 work set of 6-8 reps

Leg curls, 1 work set of 6-8 reps

Bench press, 1 warm up and 1 work set of 6-8 reps

Chins or pull ups, 1 work set 6-8 reps. (Add weight as necessary)

Dips, 1 work set of 6-8 reps. (Add weight as necessary)

Seated rows, 1 work set of 6-8 reps

Lying tricep extensions, 1 work set of 6-8 reps

Preacher curls, 1 work set of 6-8 reps

You will notice that this type of training relies heavily on compound exercises. This is necessary to keep the number of exercises down. Don't worry about this however; compound exercises should be the foundation of any muscle/strength building program.

This is just some of the research used to create Hypertrophy Specific Training. If you want to get the most out of your efforts in the gym, you have got to incorporate new knowledge as science uncovers it. The message here is that by reducing the volume of sets per exercise, and by increasing the frequency that you train each muscle group, you may experience new gains you thought previously impossible. Through a little bit of trial and error you should be on your way to the physique you've always wanted.

Strength Specific Training (SST)

It takes quite a bit of time and effort to piece all the strength research together to form a big comprehensive picture with which to base an SST method. HST was not born overnight, niether would SST. Fortunately, there is a lot more applied strength research out there than there is hypertrophy research. The reason for this is that strength research is used to help countries fair better in international competition. This has been extremely important to most of the world for many decades...especially the Eastern block countries of the 70s and 80s. It is important to distinguish whether strength was the goal of the research or hypertrophy. Contrary to popular belief, they are not synonymous.

Remember, when training for strength, you are training the entire neuromuscular system. This requires special attention to not only the muscle tissue itself, but also to the nervous system and the emotional state of the lifter. These variables require certain training principles to acheive the most predictable increases in strength. But when training for muscular hypertrophy, your focus should only be in the muscle itself. Work it until it is “done”. Like kneading dough. You knead it until it is done. Getting a muscle to grow is a mechanical phenomena. You will also find that your pumps are as good as ever (if your not dieting) when you work a muscle until it is done, no more, no less.

The whole point of HST (which others have already summarized aptly) is to:
1) Increase the frequency of loading each muscle to 3 times per week.

2) Continually increase the load. Zigzagging is fine as long as the general trend over time is upwards. If you don’t, the condition (which is to say, the resistance of the tissue to the mechanical strain of a given weight load) of the muscle will catch up with you and your growth will plateau. Growth with a given load will probably only produce gains for about 4-6 weeks. The lighter the load, the shorter the amount of time it will be able to induce muscle growth.

3) Use Strategic Deconditioning to enable a given load to once again induce muscle hypertrophy. This occurs once the tissue has been resensitized (i.e. made susceptible) to the mechincal strain of load bearing.

These are the principles (or characteristics) that distinguish a hypertrophy-specific program from a strength-specific program. Is it complicated? No. Need it be? No. Is there evidence to support the idea that these principles really do change the effect of a training program from inducing strength to inducing hypertrophy? Of course, otherwise I would never have brought it up.

In order to come up with a method that is "strength-specific" we first have to have an understanding of those factors involved in the production of voluntary strength. Here is a "brief" review of those factors that you must figure out how to manipulate if you are going to develope a strength-specific training method. (I took this from an article I wrote a few years ago so the references are not included. In a future article I will include those and newer references)

As an untrained individual begins a strength training program for the first time they will experience quite dramatic increases in muscular strength. These improvements in strength will continue almost linearly for about 8-12 weeks. The dominating mechanism of these initial strength gains are neurological in nature (Morianti,1979; Sale,1988). These adaptations take place with or without increases in muscle cross sectional area (CSA).

Some ways that a muscle may undergo neural adaptation include cross-education, increases in electromyographic (EMG) activity, reflex potentiation, alterations in the co-contraction of antagonist muscles, and improved coordination of synergist muscles.

The foundation for the development of strength is neuromuscular in nature. Increases in strength from resistance exercise has been attributed to several neural adaptations including altered recruitment patterns, rate coding, motor unit synchronization, reflex potentiation, prime mover antagonist activity, and prime mover agonist activity. Aside from incremental changes in the number of contractile filaments, voluntary force production is largely a matter of "activating" motor units. In order to ascertain the relative contribution of each of these mechanisms, various measurement techniques have been utilized. Hereafter we will briefly discuss each of these mechanisms as they relate to resistance training.

Recruitment of motor units can be measured with Electromyography (EMG). As a muscle contracts, the electrical signal initiated by the motor nerve can be detected with EMG. The intensity or magnitude of this signal is sometimes described as "neural drive". In order to explain increases in strength from resistance exercise, researchers have measured the changes in EMG activity in weight training subjects.

Hakkinen and co-workers have shown that there is an increase in EMG activity with strength training as well as a decrease in EMG activity upon cessation of training (Hakkinen,1983). Fourteen male subjects (20-30 yr) accustomed to weight training went through progressive strength training of combined concentric and eccentric contractions three times per week for 16 wk. The active training period was followed by an eight week detraining period. The training program consisted mainly of dynamic exercises for leg extensors with the loads of 80-120% of one maximum concentric repetition (1RM). Significant improvements in muscle function were observed in early conditioning; however, the increase in maximal force during the very late training period was greatly limited. Marked improvements in muscle strength were accompanied by significant increases in the neural activation (EMG) of the leg extensor muscles. The relationship between EMG and high absolute forces changed during the training period. The occurrence of these changes varied during the course of training. During detraining, there was a decline in EMG activity.

Now those who would argue that increases in strength are solely due to increased recruitment of motor units would have a difficult time defending themselves in light of other research. The is a method of measuring motor unit activity called "Interpolated Twitch Technique", or ITT. ITT is used to determine the extent of activation of the entire muscle. Merton (Merton, 1954) was the first to use this technique to describe whole muscle activation. He showed full activation of the adductor pollicis with fatigue in untrained subjects. Several other studies have since shown a similar ability of untrained subjects to voluntarily fully activate various muscle groups (Bellemare 1983, Chapman 1985, Gandevia 1988, Belanger 1981). This directly contradicts the theory of strength increases due to the ability to activate more motor units.

The activation of motor units is done in an asynchronous fashion, meaning that not all fibers contract at the same time within a given muscle. There is a hierarchy to the order of fiber recruitment in muscle tissue. Because fiber activation is not "analog" or variable in nature, in other words, a fiber is either fully activated or fully quiescent, the brain must control contraction intensity by altering the number of fibers it activates. In general, slow twitch fibers are activated first followed by larger fast twitch fibers. Now when muscles begin to fatigue the asynchronous firing of fibers become more and more synchronized (Butchal, 1950). This allows for greater force production. This synchronization of muscle fibers has been linked to increases in voluntary strength (Milner-Brown, 1975).

Now although increases in motor unit synchronization have been reported with training, studies involving artificial stimulation show that force development with asynchronous stimulation is greater and smoother (Clamann, 1988). In addition, researchers have shown that the rate of force development in brief maximal contractions is faster in voluntary than in evoked contractions (Miller, 1981). So from these studies we see that although synchronization of motor units can increase with training, asynchronous motor unit activation is more advantageous to rate and magnitude of force development than is synchronous activation.

Increases in "reflex potentiation" have also been linked to resistance training (Sale & Upton 1983, Sale & MacDougall 1983) as well as decreases with immobilization (Sale, 1982). The actual benefit, if any, of this adaptation is unclear. An increase in reflex potentiation would contribute to the voluntary EMG signal augmenting the motor or neuronal drive. Nevertheless, because untrained individuals have been shown to be able to fully recruit their motor units, the purpose of increased reflex potential remains undecided.

Finally, that activity of prime mover agonists and antagonists plays a role in directed voluntary strength. The obvious role of agonists is to assist the prime mover by guidance and stabilization. This could be termed "coordination". It is well known that any unaccustomed exercise requires practice in order to develop sufficient coordination to allow maximum efficiency of muscular effort. The role of antagonistic muscle groups is more complicated. They serve to prevent damage through co-contraction as well as ensure less resistance through relaxation to prime mover contractility.

The protective mechanisms function by way of golgi tendon organs (GTO). The GTO is sensitive to force output or tension within the muscle. They are located at the musculo-tendonous junction and is contained within a compressible collagenous capsule. Fibers of the GTO are connected directly to muscle fibers as well as to Type "Ib" inhibitory neurons within the muscle. The physical structure of the GTO allows it to be sensitive to stretch or load present in the muscle. Think of the notorious "Chinese finger trap". You first stick you fingers in each end. Then as you pull your fingers apart, the structure of the woven tube causes it shrink (or in the case of GTO it compresses) in diameter in order to stretch. The GTO works very much like this. When the collagen around the GTO is compressed because of contraction or stretch by the muscle, the Ib neurons generate an impulse that is proportional to the amount of GTO deformation. In this way the GTO can decrease contraction of a muscle being stretched in order to protect it from being torn. Likewise, GTO are thought to prevent unusually high contractions of a muscle in order to protect it from tearing itself apart. So in an antagonist muscle, the GTO can serve to inhibit co-contraction, facilitating contraction of the prime mover. In a prime mover, the GTO acts to prevent torn pecs, biceps and whatever else you are using to lift insanely heavy weights.

Another neuronal structure regulating involuntary muscle activity is the muscle spindle. The muscle spindle is found in greater abundance in the muscle belly as apposed to the musculotendonous junction. The muscle spindle also responds to stretch. However, the spindle is less like a Chinese finger trap and more like spring. When the muscle undergoes stretch, the center of the spindle is stretched. These spindles contain neurons that are sensitive to this stretching. Unlike with the GTO, when a muscle spindle is stretched its excitatory neurons fire in order to counteract the stretch.

When a stretch is imposed on a muscle, the Type-I sensory neuron sends impulses into the spinal cord and connects with interneurons, generating an excitatory local-graded potential that is sent back to the muscle being stretched. If the stretch is of sufficient magnitude and/or rate, a local graded impulse will be sent back to the same muscle with sufficient strength to initiate a contraction via alpha motoneurons. This reflex arc in known as the "stretch-reflex" and is characterized by a quick muscular contraction following a rapid stretch of the same muscle. Now this stretch reflex primarily functions in slow twitch muscle fibers.

Alterations in the sensitivity of these two regulatory mechanisms have been seen with training. Carolan (Carolan, 1992) showed a decrease in antagonist co-activation of the lex extensors with training. On the other hand, increases in co-activation have been seen in longitudinal studies comparing explosive trained athletes to non-explosive trained athletes (Osternig 1986, Barrata 1988). These somewhat contradictory results may reflect the possibility that co-activation alterations are very specific in nature and depend on things such as contraction velocity, range of motion, and training specific effects.

The nature of these changes are determined by the nature of the stimulus. If you regularly allow only very slow contractions of a given muscle (such as with Super Slow methods), that muscle will improve its ability to contract slowly, at times at the expense of its ability to contract rapidly and powerfully. If you train a muscle for endurance, it will improve the oxidative capacity and fatigue resistance of muscle fibers, and even begin to change the contractile properties of all fibers in favor of endurance-type activity. All this due to chronic, and specific neural activity patterns.

Zig-zagging or undulating loads, vs. linear increments

When setting up your HST cycle with the proper increments, you may notice that the first workouts of a new microcycle (rep range) uses lighter loads than the last workouts of the previous microcycle. Or if your 15RM and your 10RM aren't that far apart, you will be repeating some weight loads as you go from block to block. This is what we call "zigzagging". I have yet to see a difference in gains from those allowing zigzagging of their weights, and those who don't.

Zig-zagging is fine as long as the general trend over time is upwards. If not, the conditioning of the muscle (which is to say, the resistance of the tissue to the mechanical strain of a given weight load) will catch up with you, and your growth will plateau. Growth with a given load will probably only produce gains for about 4-6 weeks. The lighter the load, the shorter the amount of time it will be able to induce muscle growth.

You can go about 7-14 days before you begin to lose some of the adaptation to previous higher loads. So one week will not cause you to lose ground. But by the end of two weeks with lighter loads, your muscles will begin to adapt to those lighter loads.

Keep in mind that these time frames are "soft" meaning that there are many variables that can effect things. But in general, 7-14 days of lighter than previous loads will not allow that much un-adaptive response. Utilizing changes in rep speeds and modes of contraction will also make the lighter loads more effective.

Do not sacrifice the size of the increments to reduce the overlap/zig-zag - it is better (to some extent) to repeat two (or even three) workouts at the same loads. Some people's RMs are so close together that this is needed.

The reason HST works even though sometimes the weight zig-zags is because of the frequency. HST dictates that you train the same muscle every 48 hours, or at least 3 times per week. Most other training programs dictate that you allow what they call “full recovery” before training the muscle again, which is usually 6-7 days rest for that muscle.

If you were to zig-zag your weights on a traditional routine the way HST allows, you would have to decrease your weights for at least 3 weeks just to accommodate the weight increments. While using HST, zig-zagging your weights only requires 1 week to get back to your previous weight loads. If using a traditional routine you wouldn’t train at all during this period! A little CNS recovery during the zag doesn’t hurt anybody either.

If you are uncomfortable with the beginning weights for small muscle groups such as shoulders biceps triceps etc, simply decrease the number of increments and use each weight load twice. An example of this:

Mon - using 35 lbs
Wed - using 35 lbs
Fri - using 40 lbs
Mon - using 40 lbs
Wed - using 45 lbs
Fri - using 45 lbs

That way the weight is still increasing each week, and everybody is happy.

Why not set up the cycle by starting at your 5RM, and then working backwards in 5% increments?

I hesitate to use the term "micro-cycle" simply because it gives people the wrong impression about what HST is, but for ease of communication I'll use it.

Starting at your 5RM and working backwards is essentially what people do when they try to avoid zigzagging the weight as they work their way along. The only problem you run into is not knowing how many reps to use each workout. You will have to guess how many reps is good for whatever weight you are using that day.

Then you will be tempted to use "instinctive training", which dictates that you do whatever number of reps or sets and exercises you feel like doing that day. Its kind of a slippery slope...Pretty soon you will be training "instinctively" all the time. Unfortunately, your muscle tissue doesn't have instincts, nor does it communicate to our brains concerning its hypertrophic activity. It only communicates fatigue and/or pain...both being neurological factors.

Finding your 15, 10, and 5RM is a way of knowing where you are. By having these figures, you know what you are capable of lifting at various rep ranges. This allows you to plan your training to ensure consistent increases in load.

The 15's serve another purpose however and that's to address any chronic pain issues in the joints and to prepare them for more frequent heavy loading later.

There is nothing magical about using 15s, 10s, and 5s. Some people have used 15,12,10,8, and 5s, changing reps each week. This creates quite a bit more fatigue in well-trained lifters though and can begin to interfere with their training.

Finally, there isn't anything bad about repeating weights over a short period of time, say 2-4 weeks. Sure, that particular load will show diminishing effects over time, but it is still causing an effect as long as your frequency is high enough. Also, due to the delayed recovery pattern of the CNS, most people experience significant strength gains when the weight and reps drop periodically, allowing additional recovery of the CNS. This however isn’t required for growth, it only makes the experience more enjoyable for many people.

There are several people here who have opted to get rid of the zigzagging. Their results are mixed. Most report that they end up using a greater percentage of their RMs throughout the entire cycle. Due to the high frequency, this has produced more fatigue than they expected and didn’t help their results any.

So bottom line - feel free to adjust your weights so that there is no zigzagging or repeating of the weights. There is nothing contraindicated with that “technically speaking”. However, it is unlikely you will experience greater results than if you simply base your weights on your 15,10 and 5RMs. This is because the frequency of training negates the effects of repeating a weight now and then.

HST is laid out in 2 week blocks of 6 workouts (=increments) because this is what it generally takes you to go from one RM to another (e.g. from 15RM to 10RM, or from 10RM to 5RM). This doesn't apply to everyone though, so in order to keep the increments as linear as possible (reduce zig-zag) you can, as mentioned, repeat workouts. The other option is simply to reduce the estimated 15RM and/or 10RM, then make up the slack on the bottom end by repeating workouts (to avoid starting out at too light weights for your liking). Since the object of 15s is to induce lactic acid, you can increase the metabolic work by slowing down the reps to compensate for the lower load.

Again - the frequency and progression after SD is what makes you grow, not hitting any predetermined RM - which in itself is affected by a number of factors (almost) unrelated to hypertrophy.

Which is better - zig-zagging or repeating loads

Zig-zagging will result in less fatigue and more strength without losing ground size wise.

Repeating workouts isn't necessarily bad either. I recommend you repeat your 5RM for a couple additional weeks (6 workouts) at the end of the cycle (if you can't do negs) just to get as much growth out of that weight load as possible before you SD.

I seriously doubt this answer is going to satisfy you. You’re simply going to have to try it both ways on two different cycles to see which way you prefer. Do 1 entire cycle using your 15, 10, and 5 RMs. DO NOT ESTIMATE THEM! Find them a week in advance using each and every exercise you plan on using. Monday find your 15s, Wed find your 10s, Fri or Sat find your 5s.

Then do another cycle where you only use your 5RM and adjust your weight increments so there is no zigzagging, repeating weights where necessary.

Then come back and tell us which one you like better and why.
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