Training arose out of the research looking at both the stimuli
and mechanisms for muscle cell hypertrophy. Hypertrophy-Specific Training
(HST) is based on physiological principles
of hypertrophy first discovered in the laboratory. These principles were
then organized into a "method" of mechanically loading the muscle to
induce hypertrophy. Of course, translating these principles into applicable
methods (sets & reps & schedules) brings in some possibility of error. As
the science continues to explore the exact mechanisms of muscle hypertrophy,
this error will be whittled away.
I didn't start out knowing how muscles grew.
After all, it is a process that cannot be observed with the naked eye.
In the beginning I simply did what others were doing. Then, I began reading
muscle magazines and buying books. Still, I wasn't able to achieve the
level of muscularity I saw so prominently displayed in the magazines.
For about 10 years I trained with all the popular
training styles. I made decent progress in the beginning but as time went
by, I seldom saw changes in the mirror, at least not any I could get anyone
else to notice. But I continued to pursue the art.
As I entered college and graduate school, I
finally had access to real research that was only just then beginning
to take form. The interest in muscle growth is fairly new in academic
circles. As I began to explore the research, it became clear to me that
the routines and traditions I was exposed to as a bodybuilder, were NOT
based on physiological principles on a cellular level.
It was a "fantastic voyage" compared to the
European inspired global view of training. At the microscopic level scientists
were talking about things like "myogenic stem cells", "growth-factors",
"mechanical loading", "synergistic ablation", "smeared Z-lines", "MAPk/ERK"
and many other things hidden to the naked eye. All of these things were
left out of the equation of traditional training routines.
As hypertrophy-specific research progressed
in specificity it was clear that traditional training routines had stumbled
across many important principles of load induced muscle hypertrophy, but
because of their limited perspective (volume and intensity) they failed
to capitalize on some critical truths exposed by research at the cellular
The principles of hypertrophy that HST is based
on are as follows (not an exhaustive list):
1) Mechanical Load
Mechanical Load is necessary to induce muscle hypertrophy. This mechanism
involves but isn't limited to, MAPk/ERK, satellite cells, growth factors,
calcium, and number of other fairly understood factors. It is incorrect
to say "we don't know how muscle grows in response to training".
The whole point of the HST book is not to discuss HST, but to present the
body of research explaining how hypertrophy occurs. Then HST becomes a relatively
obvious conclusion if your goal is hypertrophy.
2) Acute vs. Chronic
In order for the loading to result in significant hypertrophy, the stimulus
must be applied with sufficient frequency
to create a new "environment", as opposed to seemingly random
and acute assaults on the mechanical integrity of the tissue. The downside
of taking a week of rest every time you load a muscle is that many of
the acute responses to training like increased protein synthesis, prostaglandins,
IGF-1 levels, and mRNA levels all return to normal in about 36 hours.
So, you spend 2 days growing and half a week in a semi-anticatabolic state
returning to normal (some people call this recovery), when research shows
us that recovery can take place unabated even if a the muscle is loaded
again in 48 hours. So true anabolism from loading only lasts 2 days at
best once the load is removed. The rest of the time you are simply balancing
nitrogen retention without adding to it.
3) Progressive Load
Over time, the tissue adapts and becomes resistant to the damaging effects
of mechanical load. This adaptation (resistance to the stimulus) can happen
in as little as 48 hours (Repeated Bout Effect
or Rapid Training Effect). As this
happens, hypertrophy will stop, though neural and metabolic adaptations
can and may continue. As opposed to hypertrophy, the foundation for the
development of strength is neuromuscular in nature. Increases in strength
from resistance exercise have been attributed to several neural adaptations
including altered recruitment patterns, rate coding, motor unit synchronization,
reflex potentiation, prime mover antagonist activity, and prime mover
agonist activity. So, aside from incremental changes in the number of
contractile filaments (hypertrophy), voluntary force production (i.e.
strength) is largely a matter of "activating" motor units.
4) Strategic Deconditioning
At this point, it is necessary to either increase the load (Progressive
load), or decrease the degree of conditioning to the load (Strategic
Deconditioning). The muscle is sensitive not only to the absolute
load, but also to the change in load (up or down). Therefore, you can
get a hypertrophic effect from increasing the load from a previous load,
even if the absolute load is not maximum, assuming conditioning (resistance
to exercise induced micro-damage) is not to extensive. There is a limit
to the number of increments you can add to increase the load. You simply
reach your maximum voluntary strength eventually. This is why Strategic
Deconditioning is required for continued growth once growth has
stopped (all things remaining equal).
Continued on next page
Bryan, I can't thank you enough for your article on the above mentioned
[HST]. I am a 36 year old male that has worked out on and off for
many years with marginal results. I am very pleased to tell you
that I have been following your Hypertrophy Specific Training for
6 weeks now and have gained close to 18 pounds of mostly muscle
and my strength has gone through the roof, I was benching maybe
180lbs and now am up to 240+. Once again I thank you for this fantastic
routine and plan to continue using it with continued success."
is only one word to describe the effectiveness of this training
program -REVOLUTIONARY. Who would have thought that something that
appears so simple in design, and so opposite to the current popular
thought could produce such great gains. Bryan, there are people
out there SELLING programs that aren't even half as effective as
this one -so you can bet that alot of us are extremely grateful,
thank you once again."
am thoroughly impressed with this workout. I have lifted off and
on for all of my life and have never had significant gains until
now. If you remember me I am the 6' 165 lb. surfer with bad shoulder
ligs. I have lost the inch off of my waist I wanted to and gained
5lbs.! That is allot for me because I have been trying to gain muscle
mass since high school in the 80's and have never looked so good,
and only one cycle! I am amazed."
of my favorite things about HST is that I know exactly what exercises/sets/reps/weights
I will be using for every workout for 8 weeks. In circuit fashion,
I go through my whole workout in less than 40 minutes- this really
keeps working out interesting. Instead of going all out, every workout
and having debilitating soreness, the low-volume and high-frequency
of the system gives my body a constant, satisfying tightness. I'm
in my 4th week (2nd week of 10's), and I'm 8 lbs heavier- without
any noticeable gain of fat! This is good stuff!"
used HST over the summer with great results. Strength went up during
every 2 week cycle. Total bodyweight went up 10 pounds, with 7-8
being LBM. I was 100% natural up to and including this time. Iím
sure anyone who supplements this program with AAS with experience
incredible gains in mass and strength. Bryan's a cool guy and knows
his stuff, I'll follow his advice any day."