Whether due to age or genetics, some people naturally have more trouble than others building muscle.
In addition bodybuilders and professional models are often more interested in building muscle mass than they are with developing strength.
Hypertrophy Specific Training or HST is an excellent option in any of these cases, as it has been proven effective at helping people of all body types increase the size of their muscles.
What Is Hypertrophy Specific Training?
Hypertrophy Specific Training is a fitness program based solely on muscle gains.
It was founded by Bryan Haycock, who developed it based upon scientific research. HST involves four core principles:
- Mechanical Load – involves using heavy weights to call both slow and fast-twitch muscle fibers into action.
- Acute vs. Chronic Stimuli – a concept that suggests more frequent training sessions provide better opportunities for growth.
- Progressive Load – You must constantly add more weight to the bar in order to continue challenging the muscles.
- Strategic Deconditioning – All athletes will eventually reach a point at which it is impossible to lift any more weight. When this happens, a planned break will “decondition” your body so that when you begin lifting again, you will once again start noticing gains.
HST Workout Characteristics
HST workouts should include:
- Compound exercises to maximize the load on the muscles.
- Three full-body workouts per week, performed on non-consecutive training days.
- Complete rest on “off” days.
- Adding more weight to the bar during every workout whenever possible.
- Decreasing the number of repetitions you perform every two weeks.
You will also perform only one or two sets of each exercise during every workout.
Hypertrophy Specific Training Cycle
HST workouts are grouped into eight-week cycles that are broken down into four, two-week increments.
During the first two weeks, you will perform 15 repetitions of each exercise, but will decrease that number to ten repetitions in weeks three and four.
Only five repetitions are performed during weeks five and six. On the seventh and eighth weeks, you may continue performing only five repetitions, or may include negative work.
Negative work involves performing only the muscle-lengthening phase of a particular exercise, and is sometimes referred to as “eccentric training”.
For instance, focusing on the part of a dumbbell curl when you lower the weight back to the starting position.
In Between Cycles: Strategic De-conditioning Phase
At the end of your eight-week cycle, you will enter the strategic de-conditioning phase.
There is no set amount of time for this phase; however, many bodybuilding coaches recommend between 9-12 days.
This will allow for a slight de-conditioning of the muscles without causing a reversal in mass.
Upon beginning the cycle again, you will notice a slight decrease in the amount of weight you can lift.
This is normal, and you will likely find you are meeting or exceeding your previous goal again during the first two-week period of your next cycle.
An HST workout can be enjoyed anywhere, and requires very little personal training knowledge.
If you are training for a competition or simply want a better physique, hypertrophy specific training can help you enjoy greater gains and achieve the look you desire.