T Nation

HP Mass: How Do Your Shoulders Feel?


For those of you doing this program how are your shoulders feeling pressing 4 times a week? Also what upper body pressing exercises have you chosen?

Personally, My shoulders have begun been feeling achy in week 2 second upper body pressing workout.

My exercises:

Activation: plyo push up

A: BB Push press
B: Incline DB BP
C: Low incline hammer strength press

My knees and low back have felt fine squatting and deadlifting so frequently.


I have done many weeks of HP mass so far an all have inlcuded OHP and two other variations of bench press(out of incline, flat, decline). My shoulders became achy, they ached constantly, there was no "pain" even during lifting even while they ached. It also felt that I lost flexibility in my left shoulder. I since dropped OHP and now do incline, flat, decline pressing and my shoulders feel great again.

As far as knees/back goes. I'm doing a front squat/back squat combo for my primary lower body exercises and my back feels perfectly fine and my knees were giving me pain for the first few sets each day. I've since added lots of IT band foam rolling(up to 3x per day, Flameout instead of cheap fish oil, circumin(4 pills a day), triflex, and hyaluronic acid to my diet and they have seemed noticeably better, so I don't know what to credit due to that but the combination has definately helped.


By the third week/longest week, everything aches. But kind of in a good way...


Currently finishing week 5.
Activation: Power Snatch
1: OHP
2: Incline BB
3: Flat BB

I have historically terribly instable shoulders from football, have had surgeries on each and one still chronically dislocates (have to put on jackets very carefully). Was skeptical starting this program and started very light (3RM for bench was 290, 3RM for OHP was 155). After the first week felt some minor twinges in the worst shoulder, but was able to adjust grip (moved a bit narrower), and have been thrilled with the results. Granted I had avoided overhead lifts for the most part the past 5 years, but I have been essentially pain free outside of the week 3 'good-aching' Jab1 talked about above.

Can't wait to retest 3RM in a couple of weeks.

A thought for OP - maybe change up your activation exercise to something involving overhead movements - going from plyo pushups to OHP may be causing some of the issues.



My pressing movement B and C are not all that different in pressing angle. I don't care about performance just want mass (my goal is bodybuilding), maybe my shoulders don't feel as good as they could because I'm not pressing from all angles (e.g. flat)?

Should I switch my last movement to a flat press?

@ wombat nation what do you suggest? I can't throw a ball upwards because my gym has low ceilings.


So far I feel great, although I did have to stop week 3 short due to the idiots at Heathrow completely destroying my schedule.

1: Military Press
2: Incline (~30degrees) Press
3: Flat Press

Usually done with staggered assistance work for 1/2-2/3 of the sets. Assistance exercises: MP shrugs, face pulls, seated cable row, reverse pec dec.


Activation: Whatever I feel like. Today is was medicine ball throws at the wall, others might be medicine ball slams, or light weight push press

A: OH Press (3RM 165, MTW 145)
B: Incline Bench (3RM 235, MTW 205)
C: Flat Bench (3RM 255, MTW 225)

Shoulders were in pain during the 3RM test week, but as the days go by, they feel better and better. I'm about to start week 3.

OP: I would say ditch the plyo pushups as your activation. For some reason, I can go pretty heavy on OH Press and feel fine, but if I did just a few BW pushups I get terrible elbow and shoulder pains.


My shoulders actually feel better than they did before I started HP Mass 4 weeks ago. They were a little achy before. No pain at all now. They feel very stable AND mobile at the same time during HP Mass workouts. Awesome feeling.


My experience exactly.

I do do shoulder dislocates before every workout though, I find them to be very helpful


To elaborate a bit on my previous post, I also feel like my shoulders are feeling better than ever... I tend to use a pretty close grip for all pressing.

I have also found that keeping activation and ramping sets to a minimum works better for me, I am actually now doing a fair bit less of both than CT prescribes. I dunno why, it feels like I am fresher when I get to my top sets somehow.


Well I like BB hanging snatches (or I just like typing it), or you could do DB snatches. Also try smuggling the M-ball outside for a few minutes, perhaps? Anyone else have ideas for overhead activation?


I actually feel really good. I switched to this because, although what I was doing was working, it was also destroying my shoulders.

Maybe I'm alone, but I don't treat that "secondary emphasis" stuff as mandatory. So I'm usually only pressing "heavy" twice a week, plus lighter stuff for neural charge workouts. Which seems more than enough to me, especially if I up the volume on those two heavy days. If I feel really good (and I have time), I'll throw in a press on lower body day. Actually it usually comes down to time; I always get in as much volume as time allows (mostly sled stuff).

If you tend to do higher rep and/or isolation work at the end of the pressing days (which I think even Thib recommends for maximum hypertrophy), there's no way you're pressing four times a week and feeling good. If you're just doing the performance stuff, and you're never going over 85% of what you actually could lift, I'd be surprised if you wound up with problems.


I'm not actually doing CT's HP Mass program, but one thing to look at would be the assistance work for your rear delts, traps, and rhomboids.

Too much pressing in comparison to pulling could aggravate your shoulders.


1 arm db clean and press. And for the press, push press the weight up, don't just do a strict press. Works great for pressing activation for me..


My shoulders have been sore for about four weeks; I'm starting week 6 on Monday. Although they are feeling considerably better, so perhaps it's just taking my body longer to adjust to this volume of pressing.


I do chest throws off a brick wall for the warm-up, then OHP, incline bb and flat bench bb, shoulders feel great. i'd switch the last one to flat


my shoulders are kind of a mystery to me even with all the pressing and some isolation stuff my shoulder never feel sore but that do feel kinda overused i really notice it on the back day when my shoulders ususally fatigue before my lats.

does anyone else notice this?

i think my traps ache the most but dont really grow

my legs fine

1) military press
2) inlcine
3) flat