Growth Stimulus vs. Hypertrophy Training
So here’s the thing, I’ve been in this iron game for quite a while now, and I’ve seen a lot.
From fancy trends in fitness workouts that get endorsed by some celebrity, to pieces of equipment that claim to help you isolate fat loss in certain areas all the way to the latest breakthrough in performance-enhancing supplementation. While some of these trends have some legitimate claims, many fall by the wayside fairly quickly because they simply do not live up to expectations.
The one tried-and-true method to get you in shape, which in my opinion will never disappear, is weight training. It’s tough, it works and it should never be. I truly believe that the men and women who laid the foundation for what we know as the Fitness Industry got it right from the beginning – nothing fancy, just pure hard work and dedication with the weights.
Over the years the simple act of lifting weights has taken on new meaning and our need as a society to compartmentalize things and label everything has taken over and dictated what our workouts should look like and be called. I’ve had a chance to take a look at two types of workouts, of which in theory sound complicated and difficult to perform, but in actuality are probably not far from what you have already been doing if you’ve been training long enough.
And for whatever reason, these workouts have been given a specific name but have a lot in common. I’m going to talk about Growth Stimulus Training and Hypertrophy Specific Training this week and try to show you that both are very similar with similar names yet are put out there as two different types of training.
What is Growth Stimulus Training?
GST is a program that is designed to cater to those who use numbers and percentages as a means to stay focused and to continue progressing each week with a low-volume approach. The workouts themselves focus on multi-joint compound lifts with very little emphasis on isolation movements.
GST was created for those looking to achieve greater overall size and strength versus focusing on a particular muscle group on any given day. The workout is split into a 4-day rotation in which each day focuses on either pressing, lifting, pulling or squatting movements. There is a mandatory 24-hour rest period in between workouts and there should be no muscle overlap in training days to avoid interrupting the recovery period from the last workout.
Sample GST Routine
Workout 1: Squat Training
Core Lift: Barbell Front Squat
Supplement Lift 1: Walking BB Lunge
Supplement Lift 2: Single Leg Press
Workout 2: Pull Training
Core Lift: Multi-Grip Pull-Up
Supplement Lift 1: Flat Bench DB Row
Supplement Lift 2: Close-Grip Seated Cable Row
Workout 3: Lift Training
Core Lift: Conventional BB Deadlift
Supplement Lift 1: BB Good Mornings
Supplement Lift 2: Cable Pull Through
Workout 4: Press Training
Core Lift: Incline BB Press
Supplement Lift 1: Dips
Supplement Lift 2: Flat DB Press
What is Hypertrophy Specific Training?
HST training stems from the research that focuses on the stimuli and mechanisms responsible for muscle cell growth. The foundation and principles came from laboratory research and experimentation with different resistance stimuli and the resulting effects on muscle cells.
Progressive overload, compound movements and low-volume workouts make up the basis of this program. Max lifts are recorded in the initial phase of the program and the poundages that will be used are recorded each week. The suggested training split is Monday, Wednesday, Friday with a focus on grouping pressing muscle groups, then pulling muscle groups and finally lower body, with the other days being rest days for recovery.
The focus of this training program is on building overall size and strength by taking a scientific approach to building muscle knowing how muscle is made.
How Do these Programs Differ?
Not by much. The name, while it may look different, says the same thing. Digging a little deeper, the only real difference I could find is in the HST training. HST suggests a mandatory one week strategic deconditioning period in which you give your body a rest due to reaching an involuntary strength barrier, meaning you can’t add anymore weight to your lifts because it’s just not possible and you can’t perform the lift itself with any additional weight.
How Are these Programs the Same?
The basis of both programs is almost identical. Overload the muscle for a short period of time, allow growth to occur during rest days, keep track of the weights, sets and reps you are doing and try to beat those numbers each week. The emphasis is on overall muscle growth and not specific body parts, while limiting the volume of the exercises performed.
Which Program is Right for You?
If your goal is to get bigger and stronger in all areas of your physique, then both programs are right for you. Chances are, you are looking at this, saying to yourself, hey I already do this I just didn’t know it had a name. If you like the idea of training more frequently, then going with GST training is best because it follows a 4-workout-per-week split, versus the three-a-week with HST. If time is an issue and you are limited in the times you can hit the gym, go with HST. Regardless, your entire body will be trained over the course of the week with both.
Due to the nature of these programs, you’ll need to recover fairly quickly in between workouts, so you’ll want to use ALLMAX Glutamine, along with Isoflex and Krush Loaded. The compound lifts will be taxing on your joints, so throw in some ALLFLEX and right before bed have a CASEIN-FX protein shake to keep the muscle repairing while at rest.