T Nation

HPMASS - How Long Should Each Session Be?

Hey CT. Question first: How long should each HPMASS workout be that you prescribed in your original “Look Like a Bodybuilder, Perform like an Athlete”? Specifically the ‘Pressing’ days.

So recently, my friend decided to get a membership at the gym that I go to. Because of this, I decided to stop doing the Built for Bad: Strength Circuit, because of the amount of setup just for me. There is a pretty big strength gap between us, so trying to rack and unrack all of the weights would’ve been quite the ordeal in itself.

I thought about what I’d done in the past. I decided to link him to your “Look Like a Bodybuilder, Perform like an Athlete” article, and he liked the whole concept just as much as I did. We are both really fascinated with the idea that every muscle is different and shouldn’t necessarily be trained the same way. We have been going through the program now for almost a full week and we both love it. I personally am actually calculating the percentages this time so… go me.

We did an upper body pressing workout this morning with one lower body pressing movement. Then we did 2 circuits of max reps for assistance work. Then we did sled work for legs… This whole session took 80 minutes! Both the upper and lower ‘Strength’ portions took a total of 50 minutes. The two circuits took about 10. The sled work took about 20 minutes.

Is this normal? Is it supposed to be this long? After coming off of a week of the crazy quick strength circuit, these are quite long sessions (except the neural charge days. The lat/biceps day takes about 60 minutes.).

I read somewhere in the forum that you wrote in a livespill that these took you about 2 hours! We are only high school students and still have homework, among other extra-curricular activities. Also, I watched an older video of you discussing about cluster training. You brought up a point about how you should try to make your workouts last less than an hour to keep the testosterone to cortisol ratio in balance.

If these sessions are supposed to be this long, do you have any recommendations on how to shorten them? Maybe less ramps? Maybe less sled work? Maybe make it a 10 day cycle so lats/biceps are worked one of the days, but we add more pressing sessions so that we get in more volume per training cycle?

Another question: I was thinking that maybe as long as the main strength portion was about 40 minutes, maybe, just maybe, the T to C ratio wouldn’t have the tendency to shift for the worse - as long as any assistance and sled work done for the rest of the hour doesn’t take any motivation to do (we just do the work).

Should we just stop the program all together? Should we just stop lifting weights altogether? Go take the 5:30 Spin class at the gym instead?! Play on our phones while we sluggishly ride the stationary bike?! I just can’t take it!

Jokes aside, thanks coach.

Colby

  1. Stop whining

  2. The T to C ratio is basically hogwash. While I’m all for fast pace training and normally try to make my workouts as short as possible without any drop in performance, training for 80 minutes (which isn’t really long) will not hurt you… heck when I was at Dave Tate’s compound those big guys workout lasted close to 4 hours.

If you aren’t recovering because you can’t handle the volume, drop the sled work. If you still can’t recover, drop the circuits.

  1. Stop whining

[quote]Christian Thibaudeau wrote:

  1. Stop whining

  2. The T to C ratio is basically hogwash. While I’m all for fast pace training and normally try to make my workouts as short as possible without any drop in performance, training for 80 minutes (which isn’t really long) will not hurt you… heck when I was at Dave Tate’s compound those big guys workout lasted close to 4 hours.

If you aren’t recovering because you can’t handle the volume, drop the sled work. If you still can’t recover, drop the circuits.

  1. Stop whining[/quote]

Take a wild guess and say;

  1. Find something else to occupy your time, and follow the program.

  2. Stop whining

We were just curious. Compared to the super quick pace of the neural charge workouts, long sessions are not bad. Just different. I personally just wanted to know if we were doing it right - like if we needed to pick up the pace big time.

I’m slightly disappointed by the negativity I’ve been getting on this forum. I really love this stuff! It’s awesome knowing that I put in hard work everyday, in and out of the gym.

Regardless… Thank you for both of y’all replies.

im an old school guy, so if i offend you, i do sincerly apologize. but here goes.
you in high school. you have lots of. years ahead of you.
just the fact that you are training is a GREAT THING!
it’s more than most at your age.
you still have to find yourself. you will not become ct or arnold in 1 year.
and honestly, you probably really dont know what it feels like to “overdo it”

im sure you think you do, when every muscle in your body is screaming at you for putting them through all this work. and they stay sore for days on end. so much so, that you think you really killed it in the gym. thats bs.
its what you do about it that counts.
so, pick a program, any program, and do it. dont overthink it.

focus on learning the proper “form” when lifting. that you can take with you for the rest of your life.
read some discussions with younger lifters like yourself also.
here


honestly. dont think so hard.
take the same energy you are using to “should we do this or should we do that”, and apply it to lifting.
in the end you will be a lot happier

and 1 more thing. i never met anyone who, at your age watches the clock to see how long the session lasts.
when i took my kids to disney, they never got tired, never! i’d go the distance with them cause i know what it’s like to do something you love as a younster. YOU NEVER GET TIRED!
my wife, she ran back to the hotel and tried to get us to hve n early dinner. my kids and i were there from before they opened til fter they closed!
woke up the next day and did it again. and again.
HAVE FUN!
training is great. it will carry you for the rest of your life.

[quote]Colbstar wrote:
We were just curious. Compared to the super quick pace of the neural charge workouts, long sessions are not bad. Just different. I personally just wanted to know if we were doing it right - like if we needed to pick up the pace big time.

I’m slightly disappointed by the negativity I’ve been getting on this forum. I really love this stuff! It’s awesome knowing that I put in hard work everyday, in and out of the gym.

Regardless… Thank you for both of y’all replies.
[/quote]

I randomly clicked on this post and I agree with you, CT was kind of a dick. That program wasn’t very good in the first place, and wasn’t very clear on how it was supposed to be laid out, which is why T-Nation dumped it pretty quickly after it was released. It was supposed to be the “next big thing” just like everything else they release, but then a month later it was nowhere to be heard.

IIRC, if you did the upper body days correctly, you would do an OHP movement, an incline movement, and a bench movement, followed by a lower bodymovement. All would be ramped and followed in the set/rep/percentage scheme prescribed. By Week 3 you would be in the gym like 2.5 hours. This was without any of the assistance work or the sled work (going from memory).

Maybe that works for some guys, most people it didn’t. It was poorly prescribed and poorly expalined, IMO.

But don’t throw the baby out with the bath water. It is a pretty nice setup if you tailor it correctly to your needs. I would just ramp one of the exercises are prescribed, and then do a little bit of work (like maybe the “warmup” or whatever it was called) for the other two, then the same “warmup” for the lower body. This was for upper body day. Then the opposite for lower body day (prescribed sets for squat, then the “warmups” for the deadlift, then sled work). I actually saw pretty good results like this. I really wish the program had been laid out better, but I was never able to get a firm answer if this was what was intended because they moved on to the newest latest and agreatest program a couple months later.

Negativity aside, whatever you do, don’t get programming ADD like a lot of us have done (yours truly). Keep focused on the big lifts and getting stronger, it doesn’t need to get complicated this early. Stay positive and excited about every opportunity to train. Don’t overthink every nuance or possibility. Keep it simple, focused, and fun.

These are all things I remind myself to do at 31 with a ton of progress to make still :slight_smile:

[quote]VTBalla34 wrote:
By Week 3 you would be in the gym like 2.5 hours. This was without any of the assistance work or the sled work (going from memory).

Maybe that works for some guys, most people it didn’t. [/quote]

Count me in as one of the people it works for…

Doing HP Mass with 3 hour sessions and everything has given me near supernatural results. I can’t wait until I can get back to it.

To the OP: Focus, train hard and fast, and don’t fucking worry about how long it takes.

And dude, high school (and college) is THE time to train your face off.

You have so much freakin free time compared to the 9-5 most people have to work. Fuck all your extra-curricular activities and get huge/strong/whatever it is you want.

If you don’t have time on your hands to work with right now, then maybe you should be asking about how to improve your time management skills instead of how to shorten your training sessions…

A lot of my motivation to train with this program is because of two main reasons:

  1. It embraces an awesome idea that every muscle is different.
    Ever since I was little, I’ve been fascinated with the human body. Obsessed almost. I think we are the most beautiful things on this earth. I love functions. Ideas. Movement. Emotion. And everything in between.

  2. It calls for training everyday.
    With previous programs, they all called for rest days. On these days, once I finished my homework and was done practicing my sax or whatever, I would play Battlefield 3 until my eyes hurt (ended up only being about 2 hours or so, but at night this discomfort tends to happen quickly)! The next day, I always felt worse.

My original question sprouted from a place of curiosity, not irritability.

And YES! I am totally focused on form, safety, and getting stronger! Trust me when I say that shoulder problems run in the family and I’m doing EVERYTHING in my power to keep them healthy!

Thank you to everyone for the replies/advice/support. :slight_smile:

Colby

While length of workouts isn’t a make or break issue (particularly in HS or college), I’ve done this program for three different cycles, and LOVED it…the only problem was I have 1 hour in which to train…and HPMass took more than that during weeks three and six, so I couldn’t continue to use it. I still use some of the concepts, though: explosive lifting, perfect reps, 3 rep waves (mostly for volume after my main strength work if I’m doing something like 5/3/1).

The program, as it was laid out, was supposed to have as little time in between sets as possible: just enough to get the best performance, not more. For Pressing days, I’d finish at like 50 minutes in Weeks 1 and 4, 60 minutes in Weeks 2 and 5, and 70-80 in Weeks 3 and 6. It wasn’t out of the ordinary for me to cut the leg portion short on those days to something like this: 3RTMx3, TM-20x3, TM-10x3, TMx3, TM-20x3. I also did assistance work in between main sets, which 1) cut down workout time and 2) actually cut down rest time (I felt ready to go sooner).

[quote]VTBalla34 wrote:

IIRC, if you did the upper body days correctly, you would do an OHP movement, an incline movement, and a bench movement, followed by a lower bodymovement. All would be ramped and followed in the set/rep/percentage scheme prescribed. By Week 3 you would be in the gym like 2.5 hours. This was without any of the assistance work or the sled work (going from memory).

[/quote]

I have my workout notes here, it just so happens, which include a printout of the program. First, your pressing days were supposed to be set up so that your last pressing exercise would be the heaviest (but everyone is different, so you may have to switch it up). CT gave some variations for OH, bench 1 and bench 2. The idea was that the lighter movement would serve to ramp up the CNS for the heavier movements. You’d actually ramp to your TM for Exercise 1, and then use the weights from that exercise to ramp to TM for Exercise 2, and then repeat. I agree with VT on lack of clarity with leg work on pressing days (which sets/reps to use? do you ramp up?), so in general, I just used the sets/reps from Week 1/4, and alternated squat and DL.

I’d venture a guess that while certainly not bad or wrong, the length of your workouts is probably due to either 1) taking too much time b/w sets, 2) your body isn’t used to quick recovery so you need more time, or 3) you’re not used to reading your body’s signs that its ready. I remember a discussion on the old LiveSpill during that time about auto-regulation. Essentially, CT warned us that while it is an excellent means of increasing training economy and efficiency, it takes some practice to read your body properly. This is why the Neural Charge workouts are so awesome: not only do they get your CNS going, but they ALSO help you determine your body’s signs for readiness.

I’ve been experimenting with a HPMass style of training now that I have plenty of time and can train 2x a day.

CT - curious on your thoughts about this.

Basically goal is to:

  1. Achieve full mastery of barbell compound lifts
  2. Amass lots of volume at a “decent” weight for strength and hypertrophy
  3. Fun as hell due to autoregulatory nature

So maybe 5-6x a week, hitting each compound movement (squat, deadlift, SGHP, bench press, incline tilt) 3x a week.

Ramp up to 1-3RM, take some weight off do a bunch of sets. Maybe cluster, maybe waveload. Do sort of what you “feel”, so long as you keep the perceived intensity (“pace”) up.

Obviously this sounds like too much of a blank canvas but I’m stil respecting your basic ramp to max/density work and it affords ample practice for the barbell movements (2 a day).

Kind of like HPMass blended with layers?

[quote]Colbstar wrote:
I’m slightly disappointed by the negativity I’ve been getting on this forum. I really love this stuff! It’s awesome knowing that I put in hard work everyday, in and out of the gym.
[/quote]

I know at first it sounds like there’s a lot of negativity on this forum, but there’s not.

What you will get here (and have gotten) is a lot of people challenging the way you think about things, challenging your approach, challenging your attitude. Being challenged is not the same as being put down or insulted, even if it feels that way at first.

Just keep that in mind as you read stuff here.