1. ## HST Question

I'm about to start my first HST cycle, but before I do this I have to establish my max. What I'm not sure about is whether I establish all maxs' before I even start a cycle, or if I establish my 15 rep max, do the 15 rep cycle, then establish my 10 rep max etc. etc. Did that make any sense? HA! Could someone clear this up for me?

2. establishing them is futile IMHO.
You should already have a fair estimate on these numbers based on your current lifts.
If you were to attempt to actually establish 5,10,15 rep maxes in various exercises it would take you quite a while (assuming you'd want to be fresh for each)

My experience was that guessing was the easiest, and then on ur second to last day if you think u can do more than do more on the last day.
If you want I have 2 of my HST routines + weights in my journal that you could look at to get an idea

3. My opinion is the complete opposite from Geoff's.

Take about 5 days to have 3 workouts to establish ALL your maxes - 15's, 10's and 5's, BEFORE you start your routine. Think of them as proper workouts, and go and enjoy them. You may be choosing some new lifts and would have no clue what your max is. If you're going to do it, do it right and make sure you have the correct poundages set for your maxes - the main problem is overestimating how much you can lift and hitting failure half way through a cycle.

4. http://www.engr.mun.ca/~butt/mrcalc2.html

I used that cal in order to get a good estimate of maxes, it's worked very well.

5. my point was that in 5 days it would be impossible to get accurate maxes...
say bench for instance.
if you can do 180x10 for instance so you try to max at 250 one day and fail, as far as I'm concerned your done for the day and there is no point in trying to max again.
next week you come in and nail 225, your done for the day
next week you come in and try 235 and fail.
Then you have figured within a 5 lb +/- what your max would be...
doing it all in a 5 day period would give you maxes equally as off as simply guesstimating...

I just used manveets test thinger and it was fairly close, within 7% on the 5 exercises I compared it with using my actual HST numbers, my final 15/10/5 weights in relation to each other.
I'd use that!

6. It's totally possible since one is not going to failure. Your max in HST is not the point at which you fail, it the point at which your rep speed is slowing sufficiently that you could not perform two or three reps more without hitting failure.

7. I was under the impression that the HST 5/10/15 maxes were the highest amount of weight in which you can do all the reps. (without being able to do an extra one!)

8. Aidano,

I'm not sure if I understand what you're saying here, but I want to. If I can bench 260lb five times, then is that not my 5 rep max according to HST?

9. If you can do it 5 times, without seriously straining on the last rep, then take that as your max. The most important point of HST is the progression without hitting failure. Lifting as heavy a max as you can is not so important as setting a max which you can lift FOR CERTAIN - i.e. one which is close to, but not over, your point of failure for a specific number of reps.

10. Gotcha....Thanks for clarifying.

11. Originally Posted by aidano
If you can do it 5 times, without seriously straining on the last rep, then take that as your max. The most important point of HST is the progression without hitting failure. Lifting as heavy a max as you can is not so important as setting a max which you can lift FOR CERTAIN - i.e. one which is close to, but not over, your point of failure for a specific number of reps.
I don't agree with this. Like Geoff said, your max is well...your max. When you can barely get the 5th rep out, THAT is your 5 rep max. The idea is that over the course of the previous five 5's workouts, you will have gained a touch of strength and perhaps the weight you had set at your max is no longer your max once you get there. However, if it is, no big deal. The point is that you shouldn't go to failure before the final workout of each block. If you can avoid it in the final workout as well, I suppose all the better, but it really doesn't matter and you might be selling yourself short by being paranoid about not being able to go to failure.

12. With regard to HST your max is not the absolute highest weight you can squeeze out 5, 10 or 15 reps with. Period. If you do it that way, yes things will likely work out fine because most people gain strength as well as size, but it's not important, it's only important to get close to, but not above your absolute max.

http://www.hypertrophy-specific.com/...ct=ST;f=13;t=3

http://www.hypertrophy-specific.com/...;t=1063;hl=max

13. I don't understand. If I can bench 225x5, why would I set my max at 215 or 220x5? What benefit does that provide?

14. I think that blade guy on the first link is inaccurate when he says
"Undoubtedly, you will rapidly get stronger, making your previously established max inaccurate."
I dont think you get stronger rapidly from HST per se...even if your 5/10/15 maxes are higher than you probably could have done 2 weeks before.
what happens is you give your muscles time to rest so much that they are invariably more fresh, and yes, temoporarily stronger because they aren't fatigued from being worked hard once per week.
So when you hit your 5/10/15 week maxes dont assume that these will be your new workout figures because thats far from the truth, if you maintain these "max sessions" doing them once per week your maxes will invariably drop as your muscles fatigue over time.
Thus the great benefit (and possibly false allure) that is gained from taking the 9-14 day "decondition" which makes you think you've gained sick amounts of strength...
IMHO they are smoke and mirrors which fuels teh HST phenom

15. Originally Posted by Vido
I don't understand. If I can bench 225x5, why would I set my max at 215 or 220x5? What benefit does that provide?
If you can bench 225 x 5 then use that as your max. However making 215 or 220 your max won't have a negative effect, because the benefit comes from progression (by adding a percentage of weight each workout), following a period of strategic deconditioning where your muscles 'forget' about how much they can lift. You just need to be in the ballpark of your max without mistakenly overestimating how much you can lift.

Geoff, I would listen to Blade, he knows what he's talking about.

16. Originally Posted by aidano
Geoff, I would listen to Blade, he knows what he's talking about.
what he said is a half truth...thats all...even Einstein was capable of that

17. Originally Posted by geoffgarcia
Thus the great benefit (and possibly false allure) that is gained from taking the 9-14 day "decondition" which makes you think you've gained sick amounts of strength...
IMHO they are smoke and mirrors which fuels teh HST phenom
I don't follow you here. My 5 rep max on my bench press has gone up 10 lbs, are you saying I've imagined it and it was that high before I started HST?

18. Originally Posted by aidano
My 5 rep max on my bench press has gone up 10 lbs, are you saying I've imagined it and it was that high before I started HST?
exactly...
well not that you imagined it, just you didn't know you had the reserves till u were at 100%. If your constantly in a weakend state and training at 90% then you get 90% max
Take some time off, rest, get to 100% and you'll get a 100% max

Take your max today, for a 5 rep whateva, take 2-3 weeks off.
Come back and redo your 5 rep max and you'll see that 10lb gain right there
its a simple matter of rest for your muscles that will allow them to do more...

19. Cool. Well I guess I'll find out in the months ahead since I plan on doing another couple of cycles at least. I also plan on my 5 rep max on BP going up at least 20 lbs

20. cool!
I'm not saying you dont gain strength over the 6 week period...I'm just saying its not as awesome as many make it out to be (including blade in that post).

21. Fair enough. I wouldn't trumpet it as a strength program either, but it may help getting over plateaus.

22. I’m not sure if this will help, but I’ve noticed some confusion going on here.

1) A max is a max (a.k.a. RM). Whatever you can lift for the target number of reps is your max. If you can bench 315lbs for 5 reps and no more, then 315lbs is your 5RM.

Now, is it absolutely critical that you schedule your EXACT 5RM, or 15RM, or 10RM? Absolutely not. There is nothing magical about the number of reps a person does. What’s more important is that the weight is first, adequate to induce growth, and second, heavier than the last time you trained that muscle. Organizing HST into distinct 2 week blocks is a way for people to plan out their progressive load in an orderly manner. To claim that there was something magical about 15 reps or 5 reps would be ludicrous.

2) Training to failure. There is nothing wrong with training to failure as long as it doesn’t interfere with your next workout. The more you train to failure the longer it will take your CNS to recover. If it still hasn’t recovered by the time you train again and you can’t use the weight you were supposed to, your not helping yourself by going to failure all the time.

“Failure” is primarily a CNS phenomenon. The muscle tissue itself is able to recover despite continued loading, however, it can take several days for your strength to recover. So, the goal with HST is to accommodate CNS fatigue while continually increasing the weight.

3) Strength gains. HST stands for “Hypertrophy-Specific Training”. As such, the method is established specifically to induce the fastest rate of growth you can get from ordinary means in the gym. The strength increases that most people experience are a side effect of the hypertrophy.

Generally, the people who do not experience significant strength gains have been training upwards of 10 years and are already close to their natural limits. The only others who don’t experience strength gains are those that “over do it”, thinking they aren’t training hard enough so they up the weight loads to where they are constantly training to failure.

23. Bryan,
I hope you don't mind, I have a bunch of questions that I've had running through my head about HST that I'd love to ask you!

I now understand the CNS relationship with training to failure, and the purpose of dropping the reps during each cycle...but I have a few questions for ya on other things in there...

1) what I'm confused about is why is there a need to increase the weight during each 2 week cycle. If the decondition aims at getting rid of the repeated bout effect, once you do 5 days of training at lighter weights aren't you just building this back up? thus actually reducing potential hypertrophy from the final max sessions?
why wouldn't a person be better off doing each 2 week cycle at those max levels (still training 3x per week full body)? Would this build up the RBE faster?
If so, what about reducing it to a 1 week cycle instead of 2? so a 3 weeks on followed by 1 week off, repeat typa thing?

2) I've read you mention that muscle recovery can take place in 48 hours.
Based on that, I'm wondering what you'd think of a 2 day full body routine 6 days a week. Perhaps an upper body on day 1 and lower body on day 2 and a 7th day for rest.
so
day 1 upper
2 lower
3 upper
4 lower
5 upper
6 lower
7 rest

Did you just go with the 3 day full body because a 6 day would be less than ideal for the avg lifter?
I'm curious because by the end of the max weight days I am so energy depleted that I feel the last few sets are almost a waste and I was thinking that if they could be broken up (while maintaining the same volume levels) it might be better and allow a person to get more hypertrophy.

24. I'm new to this HST training. Just started my first cycle on monday. The de-conditioning was a little wierd. Didn't like taking that much time off from working out.

Anyways, the way I see it, even if you don't establish your proper 5, 10 or 15 rep max in your first round of HST, by your second or at most your third round you should be at them. By increasing the weights you used in the previous rounds you should be coming closer or at your rep max's. I wouldn't worry too much about establishing them exactly for your first round of HST. You will figure them out quick enough.

melt

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