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1-2 Sets For Hypertrophy?


Heresy? Maybe not Bryan Hancock recommends it in his HST program.


Apparently that is all that is need for to stimulate the muscle to go into an anabolic mode. Any more is just traumatizing it and burning calories.



Bryan Haycock and HST...Blah, blah, blah.

I tried his program a few years back. It was gay and didn't work for me.

But there are others who used it and had wonderful gains.



Interesting site......

To clarify:
2 sets per muscle group spread out 3 times a week means the muscle still sees 6 sets per week, but they are spread out 2 at a time.


My HST experience was very fruitful: I made the best strength AND size gains ever. I gained about 10 pounds and all of my lifts increased way beyond the calculated maxes. All this in 8 weeks.


It works fine, and it doesn't have to be incremented as bryan has it. I prefer to do 2 worksets (usually one warmup set) of 2 x 5-8. Not as gay as being a renegade*. Works good.

*Just harrassing you, nate.


EVERYTHING works at some time for some people for some time until it no longer works for them. Everything, no matter how crazy it is, has its place.

But some things are better, for more people, more of the time, for a longer time.

Too many people try to make everything black and white, this works and this doesn't. That is not the case.

Ultimately what matters is what works for you, now. So if you give it a go and it works, keep with it until it don't work. And if it don't work, move on to something else.


Thanks guys, I appreciate all the feedback. I am gonna start the HST with some tweaks i.e 15X2 for 2 weeks, 10X2 for 2 weeks and finally hybridizing it with Bill Starr's 5X5 for 4 weeks.

Currently trying to do a fat loss program using 2x daily 15 min tabatas of mixed pull-ups, mixed push-ups and hill sprints for 4 weeks. I know this isnt a conventional fat loss program but after reading some of Charles Poliquins articles about the effects of GH i am giving it a shot.

Lets see if it results in overtraining.

I know that most ppl say that everything works for sometime, but i feel, and i beg your pardon on this, that is a rather unscientific approach. I feel that some workouts are definitely more efficient than others, and i do acknowledge that change is necessary to spurt new growth but what i am trying to do is to weed out the cream from the crop and take only the best programs and cycle them throughout the year.

So far 1 month of Tabata protocol for fat loss, 1 month of HST for hypertrophy and 1 month of Bill Starr's 5X5 for strength has caught my eye. A period of 'strategic deconditioning' :slight_smile: for a week, and then resuming the cycle again.

I know this has now gone slightly of topic now, but i'd like to hear your thoughts.


Those that had wonderful gains were most likely either complete n00bs or very early into their lifting careers.

HST is a very inferior protocol for hypertrophy.


One reason HST works is that you are training the muscle three times per week.

Two sets are not magical, it's training three times per week that is key. I imagine performing 3 to 6 sets each training session (depending on the trainee) will work, as long as it's three times per week.

As has been established by the great strength coahces of the past such as Bob Hoffman (See history of York Barbell): You must train the muscle three times per week to cause the most amount of hypertrophy!

As of late, Chad Waterbury is also an advocate of this type of training, and he is one very very bright dude!

Check out some of Chads programs. I'd take his advice over most others in this game.


No, it's not, as I fit into neither catagory and had good results.


Yep, three times per week is nothing new. Most of the old school bodybuilders trained that way, Hardgainer is similar to HST.


your plans are all over the board.
If HST really caught your eye, why not give it the absolute trial and do it as indicated? I wonder how many "didn't work for me.." peeps actual did it without their own tweak. It has a lot following. What are your goals and what are your stats? I venture a guess that those too are all over the board.
The principles are sound with HST


Everytime I've ever tried HST (of any other HIT derivative), I've have always gotten tendinitis.

I feel that these sorts of workouts, for me at least, just do not offer enough volume to really challenge the muscles.


hst works because they give you a template to follow with built in progression.

if everyone would follow some form of progression over the long haul, they'd all be seeing some form of gains.

it's amazing how many people go into the gym and do the same shit week after week, month after month, year after year.

sure, you might go to failure and be "hardcore" but really you're just maintaining what you've got. Unless you challenge the body to adapt, it won't. End of story. Smart periodization and progression is a good way to keep the body challenged and adapting. If most lifters understood this, they'd be much better off.

if I remember right, HST is just linear periodization. not necessarily as effective as other methods, but it's a hell of a start for the gym rat who's been pushing the same iron for the last 15 months.


I don't know if three times per week is the key. I have done HST three times per week and got good results. But I had to cut back to twice per week due to a crazy schedule. My strength and size gains were far better than doing it three times.

Well, I everyone's different.


All good points. And not to defend HST because if it didn't work for some, then that's fine. But it does take some tweaking for some and if you looked at the HST board, a lot of people have. But like Stallion said, it offers progression. Lyle said that's why Bryan set it up that way, to give a starting point. All programs have to be individualized to a point. It also doesn't have to be just three times a week. 2x works well, as does 4, but it has to be tweaked. It covers the basics of what is required of Hypertrophy, which is frequency and progressive overload. Hit a muscle often enough and increase the weight over time and provided that you are in a caloric surplus, you will grow.


Not linear, though. There are progressions of percentages with the pretested 15 rep max for two weeks, then progressions with the 10 rep max for two weeks, but that may mean that the last set done on the last workout with 15 reps may be a higher load than that of the first in the 10's.