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Ask the Guru

Lyle McDonald BSc.
Lyle is a researcher and coach who has worked with bodybuilders, powerlifters and other athletes on all aspects of their training, diet, and supplementation.
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Lyle On FST-7 Training

Question: What do you think about Hany Rambod’s FST-7 training system?

Answer: FST-7 is a system that involves both heavy weight training (heavy sets in the 8–12 repetition range) but follows up each body part with 7 sets of 7 (hence the name) with a short rest period (30–45 seconds) with a goal of stretching the fascia to allow for more growth. Hany seems to recommend compound movements for the heavy work and more isolation work for the final 7 sets of 7.

As is always the case, I think there are good things and bad things about this system. In a lot of ways, it’s nothing truly “new” (but what is at this point?). Various training systems have used the combination of heavy tension work (heavy sets in the 5–12 repetition range) followed by “pump” work. One of the earliest was advocated by John McCallum, in which you followed 3 heavy sets of 5 with 8 sets of 8 within 30 seconds.

And fundamentally there’s nothing wrong with this. Tension is the key stimulator for growth, but pump work/fatigue training has some additional benefits. Whether this type of training truly stretches the fascia is up to debate (John Parillo used to follow his pump training with fascial stretching or planing), but tight fascia may limit growth and can certainly cause injuries. And whether or not it’s truly stretching the fascia, this type of pump training certainly has other potential growth benefits.

I think the biggest problem I have with the FST-7 system as outlined is that the volume would be excessive for most naturals. I also don’t care for the low training frequency. In my experience, most naturals don’t grow optimally training everything once per week. I’d rather see less volume per workout (perhaps 3–4 heavy sets followed by 4 sets of 7 on a short rest to get about 60 total repetitions) and a slightly higher training frequency (body parts twice per week or every fifth day) under non-assisted conditions.

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