Hypertrophy Specific Training

Anybody have any thoughts on Hypertrophy Specific Training? Any experience with it?

Actually, I am about 7 weeks into my first cycle of HST. It is very impressive. I’m not doing the negatives because it is impossible to do them at home. I am just using my 5RM for an additional week or so.

Here is what HST has done for me so far. On November 13th I weighed 173lbs. This morning, I weighed 186! According to the Tanita I have only increased my BF% by1%(but I hate that thing). I am not using and “assistance” at all. I have put on at least 1/2 inch on each arm (although I haven’t checked in a week) and at least 3/4 inch on each leg. I will be doing full measurements when I finish this cycle.

Although HST is mainly for growth, I have noticed a definite increase in strength. I have surpassed each predetermined max for each rep range. That was something that I wasn’t expecting at all. I will absolutely be doing this again during a fat loss cycle to preserve the muscle I’ve gained. Let me know if you have any more questions. Steve

I got one - where can we find this miricle program?

What program did you use? What exercises, split, etc?

HST is a program designed by Bryan Haycock. You can check out his site at thinkmuscle.com. There is some interesting information there and the reasoning behind HST is very interesting and certainly worth a try sometime.

I used the program layed out by the creator of HST almost to the letter. You can find it at (if the moderators will allow) a site called thinkmuscle. Basically it’s an 8 week program that is broken into 4-2week cycles where you do 15 reps for the first cycle, 10 for the second, 5 for the third, and negatives for the last one. You figure out your maxes for each rep range. From there you decrease the weight so that you can make 5-10lb increases each workout(M,W,F) for 2 weeks, finishing with your predetiermined max. Then you change the rep range. I really can’t do it justice here. There is a ton of info on the site. I hope this helps. Steve

Did I read the ThinkMuscle site correctly or am I misinterpreting something? It seems like in the article Brian is advocating doing 4 sets each of 10 different exercises 3 times a week. That seems like a lot of volume especially when he says it should be done in an hour. Initially I thought he was saying 2 sets of each but his chart is showing 4 sets. Have I gone astray somewhere?

I have been using this program for a few months with good results. You’ll have to fine tune it for warm-ups, whether to do 1 or 2 sets, and how to fit in ab, rotator cuff and extra work for weak parts, but all in all, the principles of frequent strict-form/low-volume loading, load progression, and periodization forwarded are spot on.

Avoids Roids, you misread it. He doesn’t recommend more than 2 sets for any exercise other than an optional light warmup set or two at each person’s discretion.

That chart at the end that has a column reading “Sets 3&4” is confusing, but it doesn’t mean that you should be doing 4 sets. The program advocates 1-2 sets per exercise – the confusing chart is explained in a different article on the site, and is apparnetly meant to aid you in trying to initially determine your maxes before beginning the program. Basically, by my understanding, the chart is meant to instruct you that if you are trying to figure out your 10 rep max, but only make it to 6 reps with the weight you’ve chosen, then decrease the weight 5-10 pounds and try another set.

Read this page:

Article Index haycock/hypertrophy-specific-training-01.htm

It says “Sets will be limited to 1-2 per exercise”

It reminds me of how Arthur Jones trained.

It’s definitely no more than 2 sets per exercise. I mostly did 1 throughout the program with good results. it’s not the volume that causes the growth, it’s the frequency. I wish I had gotten my hands on some Mag-10 during this. From the looks of things, my results would have been much better. Maybe next time.

I don’t know about you fellas, but I think HST is great! :wink:

Seriously, please forgive the ommitions in the original HST article. I threw it together pretty quickly. When the book is finished there will be research presented for every principle that HST is based on. That will make it much easier for people (yes, you too Bill) to judge the merrits of HST based on the research, instead of traditional training dogma.

Brian, I think what you’re doing is very important, moreso if you actually turn out to be right =)

I admit, I’m a big fan of the testosterone guys, both in philosophy and even a lot of their specific training recommendations. However, I HATE when arguments revert to ad hominem or anecdotal evidence. The difference between what Brian is doing and what other ‘miracle programs’ is doing is PROVIDING MECHANISTIC REASONING, and then, hopefully, providing a body of evidence demonstrating: hey, this works.

There are factors being demonstrated in science, in my mind, which are still being ignored by a large percentage of people who advocate specific resistance training programs.

Example: the OVERWHELMING body of evidence supports that ‘one set to failure’ is equally as effective (in terms of both strength gain AND hypertroph) as ‘multiple sets to failure’ when comparing the exact same exercise. And this applies for both trained AND untrained adults, the former being covered in a series of studies by Pollock (amongst others) that, as far as I can tell, have been utterly ignored by most people (most likely due to his association with MedX before he passed away). I have NEVER seen this explained WHATSOEVER in the testosterone forum or much of anywhere else.

Regardless, I look forward to purchasing this book because I, personally, believe you’re onto something…

I have trained with, and been trained by some of the best. I have been in the game (Olympic weightlifting, Powerlifting, Bodybuilding - all lifetime drug-free and apart of the industry) for a longtime (since age 11…I am now 30). I’ve seen it, and tried it all. And most importantly I have never been injured.

That was until I tried HST. It is the most dangerous program I have ever used.

I followed HST to the letter. I made some of the best gains that I have ever made initially. But it wasn’t until my second go at doing 315 on the incline for 5 one week (at a bodyweight of 180) that I tore my pec. I tore it so badly that with all the blood rushing to my chest, I almost passed out (a level II tear – III you have to get surgery).

Don't get me wrong I have nothing against Brian or Lyle. In fact, we share similar friends (who can verify my level of training and skill) and I have met and talked with each of them personally. I respect their knowledge. But as far as this "theory" of training goes...please be careful. All I can figure is that this program is not intended for someone who trains as intensely as I, or somebody that is natural.

It has been almost a year now, and I am just now getting back to where I was. My doctor who works with professional athletes has been amazed at my recovery, because he felt that I was all but finished. Fortunately, I had enough upstairs to make such a come back. I was lucky, but you may not.

I say this only because you asked. And will continue to do so, out of genuine concern for others.

I apologize for misspelling your name Bryan. Secondly, for some reason, I saw McD and made the mistake of thinking that it was Lyle.

In response to “1” and his bad experience in the gym.

First of all, I am so sorry to hear that you injured your pec while benching. Especially considering the fact that you are obviously pretty strong to do 315 for 5 at a body weight of 180…very impressive. I guess nobody who has torn a pec really expects it to happen to them.

I am also sorry to hear that you feel HST is “dangerous”. If anything most people complain that it is not difficult enough, especially considering that submaximal weights are used for the majority of the program.

I have to voice my opinion though, it is hard to believe that HST was the sole cause for your injury. Don't get me wrong, I hear of people tearing pecs all the time, but none of them have ever used HST. I have used it for years as well (natural with 24 years training experience 5'11" 220) and have never had anyone to blame for an injury but myself. (I tweak my neck all the time doing shrugs...gotta hate that.)

I am still glad to hear of your experience though. I think it is important to hear from people who don’t like it because all I ever hear is about how much success people are having by applying the principles of hypertrophy to their training. I am also glad for the way you shared it (very tactful). You could have been mean and insulting but you weren’t. I am perfectly willing to be criticized and I wouldn’t want people to think otherwise. I’ve been criticized by the smartest as well as the dumbest and have learned “something” everytime. (before everybody writes me to tell me I can’t spell, Yes, I already know")

One final point I would like to make is that, nowhere among the principles of hypertrophy-specific training does it say to throw caution to the wind, or not to use common sense, or even to use poor judgment. On the contrary, HST is about principles that when applied properly and appropriately for each individual, will yield tremendous results.

I am REALLY missing something here…

What inherent “defect” or deficiency in the program led to your injury? My understanding is that the program actually tends to advocate sub-maximal poundages…so I’m confused about the correlation that’s being made…let me apologize beforehand…but the post is confusing, if not “suspicious”, in it’s tone…

I agree w/ Mufasa. Having used HST, I found it to be extremely safe. Working up to the maximum weights with submaximal poundages allowed my body to adapt to the increases without injury or even overtraining.


I’ve read on your message boards that you even reccommend up to 6x week training using HST principles. If I was to employ such a method, would doing 1 set per bodypart be adequate. I just feel that doing more on a daily basis might wear out my CNS. I searched for the answer to this specific question on your site but was not satisfied with the information I found. Thanks for the help.

I completed HST, followed it to a “T” and wasn’t all that impressed. I found the first several workouts in each rep scheme to be so easy, that it was not enough of a stimulus to retain my current level of LBM. By the time I got to the more difficult workouts, I was making gains, but it was like taking two steps back, then taking one step forward. So, overall, I made very little gains in hypertrophy.