Hypertrophic Specific Training (HST)

muscle building

At the Hypertrophic Specific Training it is a training method, which was formerly used by powerlikers to increase strength. The HST is in contrast to the HIT (High Intensity Training) trained with many repetitions and not to muscle failure.

HST is characterized by the short and frequent training sessions. The specific strength exercises in a Hypertrophic Specific Training are not carried out with extremely heavy weights until it comes to a muscle failure, but exercises during HST are intelligently adapted to muscle growth with permanently increased weights. The inventor of HST is the American Brian Haycock, who developed the training method Hypertrophic Specific Training for his sporting advancement. 

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The Four Rules of Hypertrophic Specific Training

With the HST one assumes that a sustainable muscle growth can develop, if one masters the four following basic rules.

1. Mechanical load 
For a muscle to grow, it must be subjected to mechanical stress. Several biological processes such as MAPk or ERK play a major role in hypertrophy. HST tries to integrate these processes, which are important for hypertrophy, into a given training plan with the help of specially developed training rhythms. With Hypertrophic Specific Training, the training weight is continuously increased with each new training day. The weight can remain constant during a new training session, but it must never be reduced. If the weight is actually too heavy in a hypertrophic specific training, then the training weight is not reduced, but only the number of repetitions per exercise.

2. Frequent training load (frequent load) 
In order for mechanical stress in HST to produce sustained muscle hypertrophy, individual muscles need to be trained a lot and often, as scientific studies have shown that an acquired muscle volume shrinks back to baseline in as little as 36 to 48 hours. One should therefore at least 3 training sessions per week for each muscle group comply with HST, since with fewer training sessions, the breaks would be too big and the muscles would thus regress. It is sufficient if one or two sentences are executed per exercise. 

3. Progressive weight increase (progressive load) 
The training weight in a Hypertrophic Specific Training should be continuously increased with each new training session, since it was found that the muscles can adapt to the last load within 48 hours and thus further muscle growth would not be possible. In hypertrophic specific training, in contrast to other comparable training systems, a training is prohibited, which dictates a training unit to muscle failure. 

4. Strategic deconditioning (strategic deconditioning) 
In order to ensure that a high training frequency of at least 3 training sessions per week can be completed dur- ing Hypertrophic Specific Training, it is essential for HST to take regular exercise breaks that are indispensable for the regeneration of the muscles. These rest days are used by HST for the recovery of overused ligaments and tendons and can also be used for aerobic endurance training, which should not last longer than 40 minutes.

In addition to these rules, the following factors are important:

  • 3 full-body workouts per week with mostly compatiblity exercises, so that each exercise involves multiple muscles. 
  • 1-2 sets per exercise.
  • Regeneration days MUST be respected.

HST, like most other training methods, also has an 8-week cycle. This cycle is subdivided into 3-4 x 2-week microcycles.

Explanation Process of the individual microcycles

  1. Week 1 + 2: maximum weight so 15 WHD can be achieved
  2. Week 3 + 4: maximum weight so that 10 WHD can be achieved
  3. Week 5 + 6: maximum weight so 5 WHD can be achieved
  4. Weeks 7 + 8 (Optional) Analog Microcycle 3 with negative training

Rule of thumb for increasing the weight between the individual microcycles

  • Upper body 3-5%
  • Lower body 5-10%

A selection of possible exercises

  • Pull-ups, bench presses, deadlifts, straight-legged deadlifts, dips, squats, lunge squats, shoulder presses, calf raises, barbed barbell, triceps press, crunches, bicep curls