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HST training - inconsistencies

Hey y’all:

Hoping somebody might have some advice…I just started training via HST method last week. After one week, I find that on some exercises (particularly lower body ones), I have no problem adding weight to each work out. But for some upper body exercises I find it virtually impossible to add weight and STILL achieve 15 reps. for example, the pull ups and dips in particular. I’ve had to scale down my expectations for these body parts as I progress through HST and it’s frustrating. Any suggestions from anybody would be much appreciated. Thanks very much.

You are suposed to find your maxes previously, decondicion for at least 9 days (not enough, in my opinion) and then assign those maxes to the last workout of each two week block, so you will progress TOWARDS your 15/10/5 RM.

Seems like you’ve screwed things up.

first you have to establish 15rm, 10rm & 5rm. Then plug the rep. maxes into the HST calculator along with the 5% of 5rm increments and it gives you the weights to cycle up to.

if you correctly establish your rep. maxes then you should not have any problem increasing weights on all workouts because you start out at so much less.

make sure to use 5% of 5rm for increments.

Once you establish those take a 12 day SD.

Well, if you set up your HST cycle correctly, you should not be having this problem.

Normally you calculate your maxes and do those on the 5th or 6th workout (depending on if you want to shoot for a new max on workout 6). For the other workouts, you have to subtract 5-20lbs off of each lift so that you can steadily work up to your max. The first several workouts are not designed to be to failure.

In the case that your chin max was 15 at body weight, you'd have to basically use the lat pulldown for workouts 1-5. Or do as many full reps as possible and then finish off with just eccentric reps to hit 15.

Here’s what I would do, short of scrapping it testing your maxes, once you run into your 15-rep max divide that weight by .65, that should be close to your 1-rep max. Next take your 1-rep max and multiply by .75, .86, these our estimates of 10 and 5-rep maxes (6th workout of each group) and finally discount back for the previous five workouts (i.e. 75%/80%/85%/90%/95%/100%). If you feel like you have short changed yourself on the 15s, do the multiply 1-rep max by .7 and exchange 12s for 15s.

Everything should be okay, the progressive overload is the important part.

Hey. Thanks to all for responding. I’m hoping you might still be out there to clarify some issues that y’all raised in your responses. Firstly, Restless…I think you’re right…I think I did screw up in following the instructions. I was pressed for time when I started this program, so I only calculated my 15RM off the bat, and then figured when I started the 10 rep cycle and the 5 rep cycle, that’s when I’d calculate my 10RM and 5RM. Secondly, I didn’t realize I had to decondition AFTER taking my baseline measurements. I DID take ONE week off completely just prior to establishing my 15RM , but then two days later, I started into my first HST workout. So, don’t know how much I screwed up there, but it sounds like I did to some degree. Scratch…where did you find the HST calculator? I read up on HST from the HST website, but didn’t see it there. Maybe I didn’t look hard enough…Jason Norcross, can you clarify something you suggested? I understand what you said, regarding figuring out the 15 RM, and then work down from there, in increments of 5-20 pounts. Gotcha. That’s what I’ve been doing. And I’m glad you understand my pull up dilemma (in that my own body weight is my 15RM for pull ups - how can I go lower than my own body weight?) But being a “newbie” I didn’t fully understand your instructions…you recommended that I substitute doing lat pull downs instead of pull ups for workouts 1-5. What about 6? You then recommended an alternative, which I didn’t fully grasp. You said…“Or do as many full reps as possible and then finish off with just eccentric reps to hit 15.” Full reps of the pull ups or the lat pull downs? Thanks for clarifying…Finally, Sammy Jankis…I understood what you were talking about regarding getting my 1RM and then dividing by various figures to achieve 15, 10, 5 rep max. But again, how does this work in exercises using body weight? For example, in the pull ups, my 15 RM is my body weight (160lb). If that’ the weight I should be using by workout #6, then how can I start any lower than my bodyweight? any suggestions?
I want to thank each of you for helping me out. I know my questions my sound ridiculously simple or obvious, but being new at this, unless I ask, I never learn. Appreciate the feedback. Take care and good luck to y’all.

If you workout at a gym, there should be a weight assisted dip/chin machine where you can subtract weight. If not do lat pulldowns and some other chest exercise (decline, incline, flat bench or flyes).

Option 1 - Lat Pulldowns

Assume that you weigh 200 lbs and can do 15 bodyweight pullups for your max.

Workout 1 - Lat PD @ 150 lbs for 15 reps
Workout 2 - Lat PD @ 160 lbs for 15 reps
Workout 3 - Lat PD @ 170 lbs for 15 reps
Workout 4 - Lat PD @ 180 lbs for 15 reps
Workout 5 - Lat PD @ 190 lbs for 15 reps
Workout 6 - Chins @ body weight for 15 reps

Of course, those lat pull numbers may not be perfect, but you get the idea.

Option 2

Since you are hitting concentric failure, but can easily continue to do eccentric reps, you could use a progression similar to this.

Workout 1 - 10 full chins + 5 eccentric chins
Workout 2 - 11 full chins + 4 eccentric chins
Workout 3 - 12 full chins + 3 eccentric chins
Workout 4 - 13 full chins + 2 eccentric chins
Workout 5 - 14 full chins + 1 eccentric chin
Workout 6 - 15 full chins

Let me know if this clarifies your question.

thanks SO much for taking the time to help me through this. I really appreciate it. So, I like the program you outlined for concentric/eccentric pullups. To be honest, I hate the idea of “wimping out” and relying on lat pulls downs. Despite being a newbie, I think I’ve learned that pullups are a more effective choice for back work than lat pull downs. (yes?) So, I hate to give up on the pullups. Today, I’m supposed to hit the gym for workout #5 of my first HST cycle. According to your routine, today, I’d be doing 14 full chins and 1 eccentric chin. I know the difference between concentric and eccentric, but I’m assuming that to do an eccentric pull up, I’d need a spotter to get me up (or used an assisted pull up machine)? Also, what about weight? Am I assuming that the weight I’d be using is simply my own body weight?
As for next week, when I start the 10rep max, can you make any predictions on how 10 rep training is compared to 15 rep training? In other words, might I be able to better handle my body weight PLUS extra weight with a 10 rep routine? Again, Jason, I really appreciate your time. Thanks and take care.

Well, honestly I think you might best be served my recalculation all your maxes and really planning out a good HST cycle.

But if you are planning to continue, here goes:

For the eccentric chins, use your legs to help you jump up to the top and then slowly let yourself down.

For the 10s, 5s and negs, if you haven't calculated your 10RM, 5RM and 2RM in the chin, it's tough to say how the next cycles will work. You can estimate things based on ratios (there was an article by Dennis Weis about this at the end of last year). You will likely need to begin weighted chins right off the bat for your 10s, even if it is just 5 extra pounds.

My advice, finish out your 15s, redo your 10, 5 and 2RMs, rest 9 days, then start with your 10s. You should do this right.

Jason: thanks again. I am taking your advice and starting all over again. What I’m planning to do, (and let me know if this is the RIGHT approach) is tomorrow, hit the gym and do ALL my rep max’s (15,10,5) and then sit out the week until the following monday, and then start all over again. Would this be the right protocol? final question, can I be testing out ALL my rep max’s in the same workout (15’s, 10’s, and 5’s). If I calculate my 15RM, won’t I be too exhausted at that point to get an accurate 10RM and then 5RM? Again, Jason, thank you for all the advice. You’ve been a big help for me.

When I actually set up correctly for HST, I took about 2 weeks to really get the correct 10, 15 and 5RM’s. Don’t worry, these workouts are actually pretty productive.

Remember that once you calculate your maxes, you don't have to do it again if you stick with the HST protocol, you can just adjust the poundages based on results from your most recent cycle.

With that said, take a few workout - at least 3 and calculate your various rep maxes - so like MWF and then take the weekend and all next week off and then start over with your 15s.

The testing doesn't have to be exhausting. Haycock has a good table in his HST articles that tells you to add or subtract a bit of weight depending on how close or far you were off your target.

For instance, you think your 10RM bench press is 200 lbs. You warm-up, throw 200 on the bar and crank out 12 reps. Instead of adding weight and doing another test, you can use Haycock's table to add 10 lbs (or whatever the correct value from the table).

Finally, I want to commend you for realizing your mistake and choosing to fix it rather than trying to just work through it.

Hey Jason:

A big thank you for taking the time to help me out with this. I am really grateful for the attention you’ve given me this evening. This is why I’ve become a huge devotee of T-mag… for the help, support and encouragement of great people online, who are as interested in helping the “newbies” as much as the vets. My goal is to be able to one day know as much as y’all, so that I can assist and reinforce others as you have done this evening. I’ll be happy to keep you posted on my HST developments, and might very well be needing some more advice as I retool my HST protocol. I hope this year brings you new peaks of performance and growth. Thanks.

You’re welcome! Please keep me posted on your progress. Sharing results and experience helps us all.

I would reset everything, taking a full 12 days SD after properly finding maxes.z

On the other hand, if all you did after that week was finding you 15 RM then not much of a repeated boot effect will have taken place, and after all, 15’s are not really there for hypertrophy as much as they are for injury prevention, especially given the insufficient SD you did. To achieve hypertrophy from such light loads a much larger degree of decondicioning has to take place.

In my opinion, your cycle is more or less destined to poor results due to your lack of proper planning, and while it still can be used as a learning experience, some more study on the HST principles would surely help a great deal in what concerns to potential results from this training method.

About chins and dips, you can perform bouth resting one or both legs on a bench and try to allow some progression like this, or you can also use bodyweight for the two full weeks. Incrementing is not as crucial during 15's as it is during the rest of the cycle.