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What Is The HST Workout Program?

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HST stands for Hypertrophy Specific Training. This program is designed to sculpt a person's body more effectively than traditional bodybuilding programs. The program is based on four principles:

Mechanical Load
Progressive Load
Chronic Stimuli
Strategic De-conditioning.

Simply doing bodybuilding exercises does not exactly let you sculpt your body as efficiently. Sure, it may help you shape up when you first start out. Eventually, you'll notice that your muscles are not growing like they should be. You reach a plateau and are basically wasting your time at the gym. You would probably notice very subtle changes in your body, but not to the extent that would make anyone else notice. When you look at yourself in the mirror, you won't see gains, just your reflection.

HST Principles

- Mechanical Load. This is essential to encourage muscle hypertrophy on your body. This involves a number of elements such as satellite cells, calcium, and growth factors to name a few. Basically, it allows you to realize how your muscles grow as a response to how you train.

This is where you are hitting your muscles so hard that they must respond with growth. When loading you need to make sure that you are doing short quick bursts. You shouldn't be doing 30 reps on the bench or 10 sets for that matter. Instead a typical HST program will consist of:

2 Sets of 8-10 reps

This is for everybody part. This is a total body workout. You should use a weight that pushes you to 100% effort. When you finish that 8th, 9th, or 10th rep, you couldn't do another to save your life.

- Chronic Stimulation. To get significant results from loading, there must be an optimal frequency on the stimulus applied to the tissues, instead of acute or random exercises. The most common mistake is loading a muscle and then resting it for a week. Most of the muscle responses to training actually go back to normal levels within 36 hours. Ideally, you can improve muscle hypertrophy after two days of recovery. Research has shown that recovery still occurs even if you load up a muscle in 48 hours. This means anabolism only lasts two days from loading after the load is taken off. If you stretch after working out, it should speed your recovery as well.

- Progressive Load. Eventually, tissues become resistant to damage from mechanical load. As mentioned earlier, this can take place as soon as 48 hours after taking the load off. Strength increase attributed to resistance training is linked to metabolic and neural adaptations. Basically, strength is mostly just stimulating motor units within the muscles, aside from incremental changes with the size of the cells of the muscle.

Record how much weight your are using to complete these programs. I always try to add 3-5 every month on all exercises.

- Strategic Deconditioning. Once the muscles get enough stimuli, it is ideal to either increase your load or lower the degree of conditioning on the load. As long as the conditioning is not very extensive, you would still achieve a hypertrophic effect if you increase your load from the previous load you have become accustomed to, even though it does not amount to the maximum that you can actually train with.

For me this is my light week. Instead of 2 sets per body part, switch to 1 set per body part or double my reps. If I do 1 set, I go for my maximum on power movements for 5-6 reps. Again I try to add 3 pounds every successive "light week".

The HST training program also incorporates several factors like increased number of repetitions to prep muscles for heavier loads, such as lactic acid. Without such, you would be susceptible to injury. These repetitions are designed to help heal strained tendons.

HST also recommends the utilization of compound exercises to enhance the effects of loading up as much muscle as possible with each exercise. It is ideal that you adjust your rep changes 2 weeks apart to accommodate the increase on your load.

Another suggestion is that you limit the amount of sets for each exercise per workout to at most 2. Research has also shown that after the first set, the most that it gives you is burn calories. This way, the sets are distributed to several workouts during the week. This allows for the principle of chronic stimulation to take place.

The difference between HST and strength training programs is that it refutes a number of concepts and practices associated with traditional resistance exercises:

- training with maximum loads to induce effective muscle growth

- not training before a muscle fully recovers

- lowered frequency to increased intensity workouts

- forced reps

- changing workouts to "confuse" the muscles

HST has really changed the way people do strength training. If you're looking to get the best possible results within a relatively short period, you can apply HST principles to your workouts. Try it out and see the results for yourself.

So what does an HST program look like simple:

1. Three days a week with 48 hours of rest in between.

2. Every 2 weeks increase the load and lower the repetition count.

3. Full body workout, 2 sets per body part each week.

4. Make three separate workouts, 1 for each day of the workouts.

Let's say I want to do a 6 week HST routine. Here is how my Mondays will look:

Week 1-2: Everything is 2 sets for 15 reps.

1. Squats

2. Deadlifts

3. Decline Bench Press

4. Dips

5. Pullups

6. Military Press

7. Skull Crushers

8. Reverse Hammer Curls

9. Calf Raises

Week 3 - 4: Repeat the same sequence. Everything is 2 sets for 10 reps.

Week 5 - 6: Repeat the same sequence. Everything is 2 sets for 5 reps.

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