T Nation

Looking for an approach to hypertrophy training

The majority of my training in the past has been purely for athletic performance, but I’m now looking to train a bit for appearance. As a formerly weight-classed athlete, the concept of hypertrophy training is totally foreign.

I’m looking to design my own program, incorporating principles from the best hypertrophy programs out there. I’m interested to hear your results and experiences with any of the following programs:

  1. HST
  2. EDT
  3. Waterbury’s Anti-bodybuilding program
  4. OVT
  5. Any of Poliquin’s hypertrophy programs
  6. Any other program that’s given you impressive results.

I’m not on any androgens, so please keep that in mind if recommending a program.

I’ll be having a look on the search engine, but would be interested in any comments you have to offer.


Hey DonM,

A little background info first.

I’m currently 212lb 13%bf 5’9", never used any androgen. My main focus is bodybuilding.

  1. HST - tried it for two cycles but didn’t get much reward from it. I found that I wasn’t really feeling “trained” (I do like DOMS), and I hated the static deconditioning.

  2. EDT - I enjoyed this thouroughly but again didn’t gain a lot from it as far as muscle growth went.

  3. Anti Bodybuilding program - haven’t tried it.

  4. OVT - currently on stage 2 of OVT and enjoying it very much. I have increased in size on arms, chest, back and legs.

In the lower volume part between stage 1 and 2 I did tested my Bench, Squat, Deadlift all on the same day and got 310lbs on each for five relatively easy reps. Very please with that as I wasn’t really trying to do any maxes or anything.

So with OVT it’s increasing size and strength also. CT is a legend…

  1. Never tried any of Poliquins programs.

  2. When I first discovered T-mag, I tried Ian Kings “12 weeks to super strength” and his “Great Guns” workouts. I had been training for about two years before starting these and they gave me the most size gains overall.

Hope that helps… If you haven’t got OVT I have OVT1 and 2 if you need them…


Ever consider just trying them and seeing how they work for you?

Let’s face it, if you’re here, you’re probably in this ‘weight game’ for life, so why not just try the programs yourself?

Then you’ll know exactly how they work for you, rather than relying on outside experience and opinion.

Really…I truly think the best way to do is do the “one program a month” route…this month do the OVT…next month EDT…and so on…it keeps things different and interesting in my opinion

Once you try to incorporate stuff from various training programs, you usually mess up the reasoning behind the way it’s set up.

Either try the programs as written, or do some of that “instinctive” training and go with what you know and learned! You’ll figure out what works and what doesn’t in one way or another.

Stubob - thanks for all the info. Very interesting. I’ve heard the same sort of thing about HST from a few different sources, so I think I’ll give it a miss.

Ike - You’re right that the only way to know is to try them out, but I’m just doing some research that will help me narrow down my choices. Case in point: Stubob’s comments about HST reinforce what I’ve heard from a few others, as well as my own suspicions about the program. Based on this info, I’ll try out other programs rather than potentially wasting weeks on HST.


I liked HST in that I had a set goal to work towards and did gain some strength (but no size) from the program. I also liked that since I was only doing maxes every so often, I was experiencing much less strain on my body.

I’m trying to find OVT and can’t seem to find a link to the article. Can anyone point me in the right direction?

For me, HST proved to be the best program. After 40 years of training, I had pretty much maxed out. HST proved to be the catalyst to get me growing again. A lot of people knock it but I think it is because they add their own “tweaks” to it. As Nate said, that may negate the effectiveness of any program. Try them all and see which one works the best for you. You may find that you need to change approaches several times per year. Just don’t get into the rut that a lot of people do, me included in the past, that you don’t want to switch because what you have been doing is about to take off and show results.

I love Charles Poliquin’s programs and have been using them for years on myself and my clients. They ALWAYS produce results. My main concern is functional hypertrophy, and CP’s programs always make me feel strong as well as big.

Christian has been gaining a lot of my respect as well. I love his Oly style programs and have been incorporating it between cycles of Hyp/Str to increase my speed and power.

No one program is the best. They all work equally well. The key is learning how to periodize them.

For instance, for mainly hypertrophy and functional strength you could go:

3 weeks Poliquin German Body comp, followed by 4 weeks CT OVT, followed by 3 weeks CP Maximal weights, followed by 3 weeks CT Oly program, followed by another hyp program like OVT or one of CP’s accumulation workouts, then reasses what you need and write a new cycle.

HST - Didn’t work for me. I followed it exactly. I felt undertrained, lost strength, gained fat and felt weak when finished. The volume was way too low for me.

EDT - Cool, but after 6 weeks, I went back to using barbells and dumbbells versus the machine recommendations in EDT. I had lost strength and there wasn’t much carryover. If hypertrophy is your only goal, then this is a good program, but it didn’t have as much carryover as I had hoped.

Anti-bodybuilding Program - Haven’t tried it, but sounds good.

OVT - Haven’t tried it but sounds good.

Poliquin - Had some success with his training methods. Good stuff and similar to Ian’s recommendations in many regards. This gives you more options on “designing” your own program.

Renegade Training - After EDT, I decided to get back on Renegade Training. This works the best for me, and I have made great gains in the past few months. Yes, I have lost size and strength, but that’s because I’ve been strictly conditioning. My conditioning is great, and I have gotten much, much leaner than when I was on HST, EDT, etc.

Once I finish my current conditioning program, I’ll be using a Renegade Mass program to get my strength and size back while staying lean.

I prefer something more athletic, and for me, Renegade Training gives me everything I want.

Nate Dogg

Hst was good but damn the workouts got so boring and stagnant, which lead me to go on a one month leave of absence afterwards cause no matter what I did I couldn’t get back into the “saddle” with the same determination as before and couldn’t get back to working out regularly for a month, I will never do boring workouts again where the exercises and reps aren’t changed for a while, it just causes my whole life to downwardspiral when I miss workouts. Call me weak willed but thats exactly what Hst did to me, was good in terms of muscle gains just switch up the exercises every few weeks so you don’t end up unmmotivated like I did.


I think most people will agree that volume is important for hypertrophy training. I like playing with and alternating different approaches to volume, but always keeping high volume constant. For instance, high reps/med.-low sets for 3-4 weeks and then switch to low-med. reps/high sets for 3-4 weeks. With this method the total volume or total reps remain relatively constant between the different phases but the weights and intensity used will differ therefore you’ll develop hypertrophy via growth of the sarcomeres and the sarcoplasma.

aikigreg - here is a link to the OVT routine posted by CT - http://t-forums.t-mag.com/readTopic.do?id=249775

I can’t find OVT stage two on the forum, but I have it on word format if you want to PM me your email address then I can send it on over… same goes for anyone who wants it…

Nate Dogg - I totally agree with you about HST, guess it works for some though…