RE Newbie-Questions-progression, approaches, reps, weights, cycles, challenges, etc

Discussion in 'Basic Training Principles and Methods' started by steve259, Mar 17, 2013.

  1. steve259

    steve259 New Member

    Hi. Is this the area where there are no dumb questions? :) i'm making my second foray into HST. my first experience with it was around 2005 i think. i can't even remember why i went away from it (though i'm starting to quickly see my challenges with it again). but now that i'm back to the sites and the forums i'm remembering how MUCH information there is and how complicated it seems to be to me. i'm a 53 year old hardgainer with very poor bodybuilding genetics - 170 lbs at about 20% bodyfat ... and on top of that ... bad joints (knee/shoulder). i apologize if the answer to my questions are somewhere on the forum but i couldn't find them.
    1) i'm confused about how the progression goes. is the goal just continuous progression throughout the 4 cycles and the reps decrease every 2 weeks? for example (let's say this is dumbell bench on an A/B setup - so dum bench every other workout): 5, 10, 15 (15 reps - 2 week cycle 1) , then 20, 25, 30, (10 reps - 2 week cycle 2), then 35, 40, 45 (5 reps - 2 week cycle 3), then 50, 55, 60 (negatives - 2 week cycle 4) (?)
    a) of course, personally, even if i started at 5 pounds like in the example, i'm not going to be able to get that high with my weights. so if i cant achieve continuous progression, can i even do HST since i'm never going to be strong enough for continuous progression? b) Is it possible to increase the reps instead of the poundage (and keep weight constant)? so in the example: 2 week cycle one becomes 5 lbs - reps 5 then 10 then 15; 2 week cycle 2: 10 lbs with 5 then 10 the 15; 2 week cycle 3 15 lbs with 5, 10, 15; 2 week cycle 4 20 lbs with 5, 10, 15 reps (?). there's progression but it doesn't appear to be the correct type of progression (?)
    c) if i calculated the maxes and all, i would be starting every exercise with negative poundages (?)
    2) also, what happens on the next overall 8 week cycle after strategic deconditioning? let's say the answer above is yes, continuous progression is the goal and one could achieve that. where do the reps and weights go? on the original example above, after achieving 60 on the negatives on 2 week cycle 4, where would you start after SD? would you go back to say 10 on the first set of 15's (slightly higher than the 5's you started with on the previous 8 week cycle) and then go back up, theoretically ending at 65's for the last negatives?
    3) Also, since i have bad joints, i'm not going to be able to go negative and 5 is probably a bit too "heavy" (relatively) for me as well. can the reps all be shifted higher than the 15, 10, 5, neg (like 25/20/15/10 or even 30/25/20/15) or does that defeat the whole purpose and theory behind HST?
    4) ironman talks about an approach where the positive is performed in 1-1.5 seconds and the negative is slowed down to about 7 seconds with the theory being an emphasis on the eccentric movement and thus more cellular damage, but with less stress to the joints as a negative. could that approach be substituted for the negatives part of the overall 8 week cycle? however, to do that the weights would have to be decreased from the previous 2 week cycle instead of increased (theoretically the 5's weights would have to be reduced for that approach not increased for a pure negatives approach) (?).
    5) could volume be used as a progression variable? slowly increase volume over the 8 week cycle instead of, or mixed with, weight progression (or even reps progression)?
    5a) relatedly but separate, would it be of any value to split the body into upper and lower, workout 6 days a week, and increase the volume somewhat since you're only working half your body at a time? or is that asking for trouble with overtraining for a 53 year old hardgainer?
    6) has there been any adjustments to the approach/theory since 2005?
    7) so, it's not "all about the pump" like some (arnold being one of them i believe) said? :)
    well, that's alot of questions, and hopefully not overly stupid, annoying, or redundant questions.
    HST seems very confusing to me and there seem to be a lot of challenges for me personally (?).
  2. Jester

    Jester Well-Known Member

    Hi Steve, welcome back. First a couple of quick things:

    - There are no 'hard-gainers' in the traditional usage of the term. Either your diet or training were a bit off, but you can gain like anyone else can. We're all sporting the same genetic code, difference such as hair colour etc are one thing, but muscles and physiology function the same way unless they're a major health defect (for the most part). Why does this matter? Psychology and motivation - you want/need to be in a 'can do' frame of mind :)

    - Try and space out the paragraphs please - just makes it a lot easier to read :p

    So ... obviously lower strength levels (your maxes) means it's harder to plan the progression. My advice is to reduce the # of increments.

    If your bench max was 50kgs for 5RM, instead of starting incredibly low, reduce the # of increments and use the same load twice

    e.g. 45-45-47.5-47.5-50-50 for your 6 workouts in the 5's.

    You can just continue working at your 5RM rather than do negatives. I do not recommend that 'ironman' protocol at all. That seems like an excellent way to detrain your CNS and strain it more than necessary. What you 'feel' is not directly correlated or connected to the stresses being place upon the muscle.

    Load is the progression used. Training according to volume is an incredibly bad way to train, furthermore there's an increasing body of studies that show working sets beyond the 2nd (and some say the first) are essentially useless for building muscle.

    Try to use BB's rather than DB's if your strength levels are low. You'll be lifting a greater weight and will be able to increment more effectively.

    Yes, you can use different load ranges than 15-10-5-neg, you could do 12-8-4-2, or 20-15-10-8, to accommodate your injuries.

    This would be somewhat easier if you could post you 15-10-5 maxes for the exercises you plan of using.

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