I want to gain strength after this HST cycle


Well-Known Member
I'd like to set up a strength program to do after I finish my HST cycle.

Could someone with some knowledge in this area please help set me up a program that will help me gain strength for the big compounds lifts?
I'm not that knowledgeable about strength training yet, but I wanted to say that I think this is a really good idea. I'm doing similar training right now, a simple 5x5 program, and it's working well already. Having more strength will certainly be useful for future HST cycles since you will be able to use heavier weight and larger increments, hopefully causing even more hypertrophy than in previous cycles...

5x5 could work well for you, but you'll have to pick with variation out of the 700-some different ones that you want to use. There were some links in one of the other threads that were quite informative.
I'm sure someone knowledgeable about this will come along in a bit though.
This is the link to dual factor 5x5 and single factor training previously posted by Chthonian.


I am also interested in gaining strength for some future HST cycles. I would not consider myself knowledgeable in power lifting by any means. This is why I am starting with the "novice" Single Factor training routine. My routine is comprised of Squats, Bench Press, Deadlifts, Weighted Dips, Military Press, and Bent Over Rows. I will be posting my results using this routine so feel welcome to use me as your guinnea pig if you want.

Joe G
That's more or less what my routine looks like as well. Though I added in Good Mornings too, because I pretty much always do those.
Jester, give Bill Starr's 5x5 Single-Factor program a run through. Here's a link to it: http://www.elitefitness.com/forum....ount=15

I know thehamma & Joe G are following the program, so ask them how they've liked it so far. It works well, provided you eat and rest enough to sustain the work loads.

Honestly, many people who have a large degree of strength do well with HST. Training for strength in those lower rep ranges, then switching over to a wider array (15, 10, 5) with HST seems to promote a good deal of hypertrophy.

The routine is flexible. You can do as Totentanz did, and add good mornings. I threw out the flat bench for incline bench presses, and did standing military pressing on Wednesday. I also tossed in chinups with the Wednesday workout, dropping the Wednesday squatting session. Tons of ways to do it. The key is relatively frequent training (2x a week is usually good), some form of training to identify your weaknesses, and progressive loading.

On a final note, the routine isn't made for powerlifting. It's more for athletes - powerlifting is a sport, so they're technically athletes, but when I say athletes, I think of football players and such. The original program used high pulls and power cleans.
Thanks for the responses guys :).. I have some questions stemming from the linked threads:


The weight I'm using for the 5th set on the Monday, is that my 5 rep max?

All the accessory (not big lifts) exercises, what weight do I use for those?

Why are there no chins or rows? My favourite muscle group is the back, and obv. the lower back will get worked, but what about upper? Could I add in the same protocol for rows as they have for squats, bench etc...?

What's a high pull? Never heard that of that exercise? Is it the 'reverse situp' style motion in which you're holding onto rope-pulley - sort of sitting down in a kneeling position and raising the pulley weights using abs..?

Do I take a week off after HST and jump into this? Take 3 days off? I'm assuming that deconditioning isn't a good idea for working at heavy weights right away...?

I'd love to do the Power Cleans, but haven't learnt the technique before. Should I have one of the trainers @ the gym show me, learn it whilst I'm in HST, so I can use it for this program?

Thanks for the help, it's greatly appreciated :)
The weight on Monday, the 5th set, shouldn't start out as your 5 RM. Start a little below it, to give yourself some ramping room.

The entire program is pretty much core lifts. You don't need to do the bicep or tricep exercises. I never bothered, but if vanity is a concern, just pick a weight you're comfortable with and complete the desired sets and reps. Increase the weight when you feel you can. These won't be the prime driver of the program - the compounds will.

For the deadlifts on Wednesday (subbed for cleans) just pick a weight for the fourth set you're comfortable hitting for five reps, and increase weekly. Again, start below your 5 RM.

You can toss in chins on Wednesday if you like. I did. 3-5 sets of 5 reps. Nothing special.

A high pull is an explosive, extreme "shrug" with an extremely wide grip, where the weight is taken from the hang position all the way up like an upright row. Grip is normally double shoulder width or so. It's great for developing the upper back. The back responds the dynamic pulling wonderfully, for whatever reason.

If you feel lethargic or overtrained, take some time off. If you feel joint pain, do a week of 15's to condition the body for heavier loads, then jump right into the 5x5.

Since you're not familiar with the two olympic lift variations used in the routine (high pulls and power cleans) you can sub in bentover rows for the pulls, and deadlifts for the cleans. This will work just fine for your goals. Once you want to start getting explosive then you can worry about using the olympic lifts.

It could be a good idea, though, to learn to do power cleans while training with HST. This will set you up for the future, but again, it's not necessary.
So how far back from my 5RM do I start..?

That's prob. my biggest question. Obviously it will increase (strength training, duh
), but I'd like to get the program set up correct.

How long does the program run for? Until you feel done with it? Strength gains cease?

I'm not too fussed about isolations at all. I only do about 2 weeks worth in an 8 week HST cycle, so if I don't use any at all that's prob. better, keep gym time down.

I'm going to learn power cleans over the next 4 weeks or so. Hopefully that's enough to start getting the technique down pat.

Are high pulls esp. difficult? If it's just a cross between an explosive shrug and a wide grip upright row...?
I'd start back so you hit your 5 RM around week four or so. You can run the program for as long as you want. Keep going until strength stalls, or you feel joint pain. At that point, you can either switch to dual-factor, or break for a bit, then start back up about two or three decrements where you left off.

Example: You start out squatting 205, your max is 220. You increase for a couple weeks, winding up at a squat of 250. You begin to feel joint pain, wish to take time off, or are beginning to plateau. From here, take off a week or so, then start back up at about 235-240 lbs. Begin ramping again. You should break the plateau. If you stall at 250 again, or soon after, drop to 3 reps. This will allow you to progress further for some time.

High pulls aren't extremely difficult, but they're very effective. Look them up on the net, you can probably find a video showing how to do them, along with some detailed descriptions.
I found an animated gif @ exrx...think I could prob. use my upright row 5RM as 5RM - there's momentum in there.

The Incline Bench/Bench used on the light day isn't working to 5RM is it?

Incrementation I was going to use were:

2.5kgs for bench, rows, chins, high pulls, power cleans (once learnt)

5kgs for deads, squats

I'm going to use Bench, Deads, Rows/Chins, High Pulls.

I prefer deads over squats if possible, and want to have either rows or chins added in.

I'd like to make use of the weighted hypers and sit ups, what sort of rep range and weight should I be using?

How does that sound?
I'm doin the identical routine as Joe G posted. This is my first week and so far I like it. Im doing to arm work HST style. All I have to say is that if you are not used to the deadlifts dont eat anything before you train, and start conservatively because my back, hamstrings, calves,etc. are very very sore. And I wasn't even working out in the ballpark of max effort.

The link to the single-factor program should explain everything, Jester. The light day is done 4x5, you emulate your Monday workout for the first three sets, then you repeat the third set once more. If you do 135, 145, 155, 165, 175 for squats on Monday, you'll do 135, 145, 155, 155 on Wednesday.

You can do high pulls if you want, but don't just jump into the program assuming you'll be able to do them just fine. You'd be better off using rows, since you're more comfortable with them, and learning high pulls along with cleans, then throwing them together for the second run.

You can drop the squats, it just depends on your goals. If your @$$ is as big as you want, and you just want to maintain leg size, or add very little, don't bother with squats. If you want explosive or jumping ability, I'd keep with the squats.

Ab and core work should be done after your main routine. Don't go crazy. If you did it twice a week for a couple sets (2-3) for about 10-15 reps, I think you'll be fine. Honestly, that stuff won't matter much if you're already doing heavy core work. Squats, deadlifts, rows, and chinups will develop your core much more than direct ab or lower back work. I'd use the lower back and ab work if you feel your core is lagging. Otherwise, I'd do it once a week for a few sets. It's honestly an individual thing.
Yeh I read the single factor link, just wanted to check increments and had that lingering qu. about incline.

I might just leave out the high pulls then, go for Bench, Rows, Deads, Squats and throw in chins in the high pulls slot.

Thanks for the all the replies guys, esp. Cthnonian. Can't wait to see how this works out :)
Deads should fill the high pulls slot. Wednesday should go:

Squat - 4x5
Deadlift - 4x5
Incline Bench - 4x5
*Chinup - 3-5x3-5

* Chinups are your call, but that's where I'd throw them in.
Hey, I'm going to start this in 9 days or so, I still have a question about incrementation - both in workouts, and across the weeks.

How large are they? 2.5kgs, 5kgs ? That's pretty much what I'm not sure of.

I understand that I begin the first week of 5x5s about 4 increments back from my 5x5RM, but does that mean I start 10kgs back or 20kgs back?

Elitefitness' sample thread here:

EliteFitness Sample

..says 10lbs or 5kg from one week to the next.

And do I increment each set in a workout by 2.5 or 5kg?

Chthonian, you used the example of 5lbs, just wanna double check that.

Sorry if this seems picky, but I'd like to sort it out in my head :)
Should prob. add, it's the Incline Bench and High Pulls on the "Light Day" that confuse me the most. The link says they should be heavy, but incline naturally will be about 80% of flat (so equivalent is lighter than monday...?)
Let me first add that I do standing overhead presses in place of incline bench pressing. It's a very functional movement that is great for overall power and development. Doing them in olylifting shoes is all the more fun!

Anyway, if you choose incline bench, do the first four sets of Monday's flat bench at 75-80% or so of the weight.

You should use a 5% jump on your triple on Friday. The following Monday, you hit that triple for five reps on your last set. I just increase everything 5% every week, unless I fail. If I fail, I'll simply try at it again once or twice, while bumping up diet, rest, and sex.

In workouts, you should increase the weight steadily to get to your top set. If your planning to use a working weight of 225 lbs. on squats for five reps, you'd do something like this:

135x5, 155x5, 175x5, 195x5, 225x5

That's just an example. The first four sets are more of a warmup than anything. They prep you for the fifth set. There's no set method of going about this. Just make steady incremental jumps in weight. Notice I went by 20 lbs. up to 195 lbs. After that, a 30 lb. jump to 225 after being warmed up shouldn't be a problem.

Also, the warmup weights go up as the working weight (final set) gets higher. If you eventually go from 225 to 270 lbs., you'd obviously spread the increments out to 30-35 lbs. or so, to accomodate. If you're pushing weights above 400 lbs., you can add in extra sets to work up to your working weight. This should go without saying, though.

As for where to start, if you have a max of 225, 5% of that is 10 lbs. or so. Obviously if you're using bigger weights, a 5% jump will be larger, so it could be 5 lbs. or it could be 10 lbs. I'd start at 200, for example. I'd make the jump from 200 to 210, to 220, to 225, then 235 and so on. I mean, it's an individual thing, really. Just try to keep it steady so you don't hit a wall quick. If you felt you had a difficult time the previous week, or on Friday's triple, don't make a 10 lb. jump, even if that does equate to 5% above your previous weight - use a 5 lb. jump!

Finally, if you choose high pulls, deadlifts, or military presses, just pick a weight that's below your 5 RM. There's no other lifts during the week to base these off of, so just take a shot in the dark (shouldn't be hard, after having done HST) and start somewhere below that. Work up each set as you would with other exercises.