Reading from the original source will benefit everyone that is interested in HST. If you would like more information please google HST and it will be your first choice.

(courtesy to TheSeeker07, a forum member of HST and these Wiki's)

(credit to hepennypacker52)

Ok, so a lot of people are talking and asking questions about HST (Hypertrophy Specific Training), so I'm going to try to wrap it up as short and as quick as possible, so everyone can get going with their routines. We'll do this in steps.

First off, HST is not just for size, but it's not a strength program from a muscle mag that will add 50lbs to your bench in 8 weeks (did add 10lbs to mine in 4 weeks though). You will gain both size and strength, but with the principles of the program, the size will outweigh the strength. A lot of this also depends on you, and how you respond.

Second off, you need to have a good diet, HST won't add inches to you if you follow a crappy diet, everyone knows this. You would obviously add more size if you were bulking, but some people want to take the fat off, and HST is great for cutting also.

Now, for the do-it-yourself routine creating. Follow these steps:

1)Choose what rep range you want to do. For your first HST cycle I would suggest just the standard 15, 10, and 5 (you'll know what I'm talking about later).

2) Choose 8-12 exercises for your full body that you would like to perform. I myself use only 8, which makes for a nice compact routine. Here is an example of my exercises:

  1. Squat
  2. Bench Press
  3. Stiff Legged Deadlift
  4. Bent Over BB Rows
  5. Seated Shoulder Press
  6. EZ Bar Curls
  7. Lying Tricep Extensions
  8. Standing Calf Raise

3) We'll just assume that you are using 15, 10, and 5 rep weight "blocks". You would take a week to find each of your maxes for every exercise and every rep range. For example, on Monday you would find your 15 rep max for every exercise, Wednesday you would do the 10s, and Friday the 5s.

4) After you figure out your maxes, take 9-14 days off from any training. This is called Strategic Deconditioning (SD). This is taken from the HST website:

"At this point, it is necessary to either increase the load (Progressive load), or decrease the degree of conditioning to the load (Strategic Deconditioning). The muscle is sensitive not only to the absolute load, but also to the change in load (up or down). Therefore, you can get a hypertrophic effect from increasing the load from a previous load, even if the absolute load is not maximum, assuming conditioning (resistance to exercise induced micro-damage) is not to extensive. There is a limit to the number of increments you can add to increase the load. You simply reach your maximum voluntary strength eventually. This is why Strategic Deconditioning is required for continued growth once growth has stopped (all things remaining equal). "

Okay, so you've figured out all of your maxes and are ready to start working out this Monday. Now here's a sum-up of how the routine will go. Each rep range (block) (15, 10, and 5) will each be given 2 weeks of training. It doesn't have to be 2 weeks, but we'll assume this is your first HST "experience" and you are just going to do the standard. Training will be 3 times a week, once a day (we'll use M/W/F for this cycle). Again, some people train 6 days a week or some people do an AM and PM split. Each rep range will get 6 workouts over 2 weeks. Now here's where the weird part comes in (well, against what you probably normally do), you will only train to failure once every 2 weeks (until weeks 7+8, which I'll get to later). Workout #6 will be your routine with all of your maxes.

So what do you do with workouts 1-5? You take your max, and gradually decrease it over the 6 workouts. The amount you increase each workout could be varied, generally 5-20lbs, with bigger bodyparts and compound movements having the bigger increment. I'm not a real strong guy, so for the Squat, Bench Press, and SLDL I increase the weight 10lbs, and for everything else I increase it by 5lbs. This can also be done percent-wise (5-10% increments) So, for example, we'll say your 15 rep max for bench press is 100lbs, and you are using increments of 10lbs. This would be what your weights would look like for bench press:

Workout 1 (Week 1, Monday)- 50lbs
Workout 2 (Week 1, Wednesday)- 60lbs
Workout 3 (Week 1, Friday)- 70lbs
Workout 4 (Week 2, Monday)- 80lbs
Workout 5 (Week 2, Wednesday)- 90lbs
Workout 6 (Week 2, Friday)- 100lbs

Set up your HST routine here with the HST Calculator
Downloadable HST Calculator (requires Excel or OpenOffice)

Ok, so now (hopefully) you know what to do for 6 weeks. Now your at your last workout of the 5s (your maxes for everything). Now it's time for weeks 7 + 8. There are a few ways you can do these weeks. One way is to do negatives with your 2RM for 2 weeks (need a training partner). Another way is to use drop sets. And another way (the way I am using, and probably the simplest), is to repeat workout #6 of the 5s for 2 weeks (M/W/F). Now your cycle will have looked like this

Weeks 1-2: 15s
Weeks 3-4: 10s
Weeks 5-6: 5s
Weeks 7-8: continuation of 5RM

Sets: The amount of sets you use for each workout, like everything else, can be vaired. You can fix you sets, so say you do 2 sets of squats and 1 set of curls, you would do that many sets the whole routine. Another way to do this is to progress the sets. The going trend to do this is 1x15, 2x10, and 3x5. So for the 15s, every exercise would be done with one set, for the 10s everything would be done for 2 sets, and so on. This does NOT include warming up, which should also be a BIG part of your workouts.

See the warming up FAQ

Now you have completed your HST cycle right? Wrong. Time for some more SD for 9-14 days. After that you can either:

1) Do whatever kind of training you want


2) Start another HST cycle because it has worked so well for you. You would generally increase all of your weights 5-10%, depending on the excercise, or you can just re-test your maxes.

You can change the rep ranges, exercises, workouts, and scheduling however you want. Use your first cycle to figure out what you can do better for the next cycle.

-Another note: Some people think that they must do all they can to prevent zig-zagging (repeating the same weights in different rep ranges). I zig-zagged plenty in my first cycle and had great results, so you don't have to worry about it

Well thats HST, as short as I can sum it up. I hope this helps a lot of people, and convinces them to start the best training method I have ever used. Feel free to add things or change things, or ask questions.

One possible alternative method, if you prefer consistently hard workouts, is to start with roughly 50%/1RM per lift and just add ~2.5%/1RM to the bar every workout. You'll start with high reps and end with singles. It will take 20 workouts, or about 7 weeks, to reach your previous 1RM. You can use your final workout in Wk. 7 (workout 21) to test new 1RM's.

Back to the Starting Strength Wiki

Back to The Starting Strength FAQ

Back to "After Starting Strength"

Back to "More Programs"