T Nation

Combining SS and Hypertrophy, Bad Idea?


#1

I’m currently in my seventh week of SS but taking 72 hours of recovery. I need more than 48 but 72 is a bit long so I was thinking about doing some light lifting on one of my off days for aesthetics - biceps, triceps, delts, that type of thing. I’m wondering:

A. Is this a bad idea?
B. If not, when should I add it in? The day after my SS workout or the day before?

Thanks!


#2

Just do one more week and then move on to Texas method


#3

-What is your goal?-


#4

Very, very, very relevant question that basically determines what the next step “should” be.

With general regard to adding work to Starting Strength, I stand by what I’ve said before:
"Would it hurt to add some barbell curls and French presses into the routine? Probably not, but then you’re treading an already-thin line. Why not add just a few sets of lateral raises or cable rows? And, as a finisher, some leg curls and calf raises. Before you know it, you’re doing more in a single session than you were doing all week.

If you’re following Starting Strength and get the urge to include more exercises, it’s a good indicator that some combination of your self-discipline, willpower, and/or attention span has reached its limit. At that point, it’s definitely time to re-consider if your actions are truly aligned with your goals."

I’d say adding a separate “aesthetics day” to the Stating Strength training week falls along a similar vein as adding aesthetic work at the end of a session.


#5

I’m trying to serve two masters here and that might not work: SS for strength, extra days for bodybuilding.


#6

Yeah, I was afraid of that.


#7

Strength and hypertrophy are not mutually exclusive, nor is SS a pure “strength program”. It would transcend the limits of absurdity and devolve into pure comedy to suggest that a beginner do a pure strength/peaking program and I don’t think Rippetoe is at the level(yet).

You are caught in this dilemma because of the internetland definitions of “strength training” vs “hypertrophy training”. SS will induce hypertrophy in most muscle groups and give you the benefit of some movement specific training because of the high frequency of performing the lifts(hence the “strength”).

Keeping this specific to your question and without bringing up my dislike for the program itself(which we’ve discussed before), the reason why most of us don’t like it for “hypertrophy training” is because it potentially neglects some muscles, some which provide the aesthetic look, because the degree in which the various muscles are stimulated will depend on your unique leverages and prior muscular strength/weakness since the exercises are limited. For example, you are going to get a nice big ass with wimpy quads if you are hip dominant and your leverages require you to have substantial forward lean while performing the low bar squat.

Now, I don’t see a problem with adding in extra work for muscles which are neglected by doing SS. I would personally do them on a separate day using less CNS demanding exercises so you still get a form of “active rest”. However, understand that performance of these exercises must be challenging since, in the end, we are still attempting to induce growth by forcing adaptation. Don’t just go pumping yourself up. That is internet nonsense.


#8

@dt79 Already crushed it, but to add my 2 cents;

You are having difficulty recovering from the workouts AND have a desire to train other qualities.

Rather than trying to “fix” SS by turning it into something it is not, I feel it would be a smarter move to switch to a program that is designed WITH these goals in mind. 5/3/1, Juggernaut Method, Westside Barbell for Skinny Bastards, Cube, etc, are all programs that allow for more recovery between workouts while at the same time providing an opportunity to train muscle groups with a goal of getting bigger and stronger.


#9

I appreciate the response, and it makes sense. Here [quote=“dt79, post:7, topic:217795”]
it potentially neglects some muscles, some which provide the aesthetic look
[/quote]

is my issue in a nutshell. And this [quote=“dt79, post:7, topic:217795”]
However, understand that performance of these exercises must be challenging since, in the end, we are still attempting to induce growth by forcing adaptation. Don’t just go pumping yourself up.
[/quote]

is my dilemma. Adding a day in between SS workouts is problematic - either you are insufficiently recovered from the previous day’s SS workout, or you compromise the following day’s workout.

Adding in assistance/supplemental exercises on the same day is also problematic when you are working on LP and hitting PR’s every workout, or at least attempting PR’s.

I think Chris has cut to the chase as well when he writes [quote=“Chris_Colucci, post:4, topic:217795”]
If you’re following Starting Strength and get the urge to include more exercises, it’s a good indicator that some combination of your self-discipline, willpower, and/or attention span has reached its limit.
[/quote]

I have program hopped, and SS has gotten to the point that it’s difficult, so I guess both my attention span and will power need to be checked.

Really, the issue is that I’m interested in getting into better “beach” shape because I’m a narcissist. But, I have no interest in getting [quote=“dt79, post:7, topic:217795”]
a nice big ass with wimpy quads
[/quote]

Time to STFU and go lift.


The Pursuit of Mythical Gains
#10

I just did a quick run-through of your log. If I followed it right…

March 29-ish, you had:

Bodyweight 188
Squat 140x5
OHP 95x5
Deadlift 165x5
Bench 145x5

May5-ish, you had:

Bodyweight 196
Squat 250x4
OHP 137x5
Deadlift 255x5
Bench 190x5

And that’s with some kind of elbow issue that messed up your upper body work, and what sounded like a bunch of biking during the week. That’s some very solid strength progress in, basically, a little over a month’s time.

Like DT said, there’s no real need to try focusing “just” on strength or “just” on hypertrophy because most programs do deliver degrees of both. For sure SS neglects direct work for some bodyparts, but that’s part of its overall design.

Instead of trying to mesh “bodybuilding” work into Starting Strength, I’d consider another program that still includes heavier work along with direct work for all bodyparts. There are tons to choose from, the Waterbury Method is one example.


#11

Yeah, I’m pleased with my progress and I do not feel I have gotten all of my newbie gains yet, so I want to stick with SS and plan to shift to 5/3/1 when I stall. Just wanted to get a little more swole in the meantime.


#12

Plenty of good advice from others already here, but I can’t help adding one more thing:

The program is called Starting Strength. Somehow this always gets lost. The very name implies that this program is not meant to be used forever. It seems that a program with the word Starting in the title should be used as a start before advancing to programs that may be more specific for the trainees’ specific goals.


#13

You gotta keep in mind that all the mythical “beginner gains” are is the rapid acquisition of the SKILL of performing a certain lift. Any time you pick a new lift to train, you will rapidly make progress on that lift from session to session as you continue to get better at it, until you eventually hit a peak ability at the lift. At this point (where progress stalls) is where strength must now be developed in order to further progress on the movement. You will still continue to improve the skill, but the changes will be far less significant, and result in less significant increases as a result of skill improvement, which is why the rate of progression is reduced.

Understanding this; “maximizing beginner gains” doesn’t really have that significant of a benefit compared to simply training intelligently in a manner that improves various physical qualities. Yes, you may not increase the poundage on the bar as quickly, but that’s not an indication of getting stronger slower, simply getting BETTER slower.


#14

Exactly. Also, a beginner will generally experience a faster rate of muscle growth due to being exposed to weight training itself. This rate of muscle growth is dependent on effort and genetics rather than a specific program. Just because you are adding weight to the bar at a faster speed than normal through maximising the rate of neural adaptation does not change this. There is also no such thing as a limited timeframe in which you must acquire these gains or they will be gone. This logic would only exist in a Monty Python sketch.


#15

The “gains” from training are also pretty specific. You’ve been doing the same 3 sets of 5 with a moderately heavy weight for awhile. So in a sense, you’re “advanced.” You’ve mastered this rep scheme.

But if you tried to squat body weight for max reps, you’d be a “beginner” to that style of high rep training. The first time you tried it, it would be tough. You’d be breathing hard, and probably get really sore. The next time you tried to squat body weight for max reps, you’d get a bunch more. You’d still probably add reps fairly easily for a few workouts, as your body adjusted to the new challenge. You’d make newbie gains on the new rep scheme.

Then, as you get used to the high reps, and become “advanced” its harder to recover and keep adding. So then you could rotate back to a more linear scheme, based on adding weight instead of reps. So what you used to do, is now a new challenge again.

It’s the process of continually making gains that grows your muscles and your strength. All good routines use the same exercises. They all let you get better at something. It’s not about the sets Or the reps or the weights you use for this 6 week period. It’s continually finding a new way to challenge yourself and progress.


#16

A few things. First, [quote=“T3hPwnisher, post:13, topic:217795”]
You gotta keep in mind that all the mythical “beginner gains” are is the rapid acquisition of the SKILL of performing a certain lift.
[/quote]

Got it. I feel like getting those beginner gains through linear progress would be more efficient than periodization - at least faster. But I do understand that this is not necessarily adaptation by muscle and a strength increase.

Yes, but a little artificially inflated. I had been squatting more, but on a Smith machine. When I switched over to actual barbell training, I recalculated my maxes and started low, so my starting weight was actually less than what I was capable of for a 5 RM. However, I also got up to 265 before getting some coaching that reset my weight to 235, so, solid progress for sure.

True dat! However, I’ve only been on SS for eight weeks and am still progressing, albeit a bit slower. Since I am still progressing, and have a tendency to program hop, I want to give this a few more weeks before changing, again.

So, in honor of @dt79[quote=“dt79, post:14, topic:217795”]
This logic would only exist in a Monty Python sketch.
[/quote]

time for something completely different. I’m going to abandon the hypertrophy goals for now and focus on strength. I feel that in the long run the increased strength will be more beneficial and will help with adding LBM in the future, and at 6’1" or so, and now 190 @ approximately 15% body fat, I would certainly benefit from LBM.

Thanks.


#17

To clarify, I wasn’t recommending periodization. Unless you are competing, I don’t see a great need for it, at least not in any structured set. I believe you can increase power, strength, and size all at the same time.


#18

I concur wholeheartedly.

You could always even (gasp) design your own routine


#19

At some point, you need to just go in and work on those things you need to work on.


#20

Yes, but, I would need something remotely resembling intelligence regarding programming. I’ve been doing my own routine for thirty odd years and I weigh a buck ninety. Hopefully, someday, when I grow up, I’ll have enough knowledge to write a program. For now, I’m going to follow an expert, controversial and divisive expert, but, what I’m going to use for now.

Repeating the 5/3/1 forum mantra, “Just do the program as written.”

And as far as this [quote=“FlatsFarmer, post:19, topic:217795”]
go in and work on those things you need to work on
[/quote]
I prefer eat, lift, sleep, repeat, which is, of course, the same thing.