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Program recommendations!

Recommendations/thoughts on this program. ANY advice is appreciated and welcome!

A) Activation - depends on main lift
B) Ramp of sorts
C) Density work of sorts
D) Loaded Carry variation - depends on main lift
E) Daily face-pulls maybe?

Schedule will be:
Day 1: Squat - see next post
Day 2: Upper Body Pressing - Either Decline press (One Lift a day) or an HPMASS style ramp where I’d use the push press, incline press, and decline press
Day 3: High Pull - 1 rep max ramping
Day 4: Maybe an “Overhead” Day?

Goals: Build shoulders while keeping them in good health (all deltoids) and upper back (all traps) size with performance training.

Overhead day would look something like this:
A) Power Clean&Jerk variation of sorts (will rotate with blocks, hang, floor, etc)
B) Push Press ramp of sorts
C) Either continuous ramp into a push jerk so that I can continue to add weight and practice with heavier weights in a good overhead position OR density work
D) Maybe clean grip overhead carry
E) Face pulls

My main reason for moving away from the original HPMASS program ( http://www.T-Nation.com/free_online_article/most_recent/look_like_a_bodybuilder_perform_like_an_athlete ) is school. I can’t wait until the summer when I can train twice a day.

But for now, I need to limit the sessions from the normal 90 or so minutes to a solid 50. I know from having tried layers before, the workouts can be almost half that of HPMASS workouts. As soon as I don’t have to sit at school all day and homework for hours at night, I’ll be able to train for longer (or add more sessions).

Here is where I need help:
Day 1: After re-testing my ATG Olympic Back Squat after 6 weeks of HPMASS (255lbs - 30lbs up from last test), I’ve determined that anytime I go really heavy, I can almost feel a future injury. The latest incident was after testing: each set above 215lbs made my low-mid spine ache after racking.
Obviously, this is a problem.

So I’ve been opting for a front squat. For a couple reasons:

  1. Knee dominant movement - unlike the high pull which for me is more hip
  2. The limiting factor is usually holding the bar NOT the low back - unlike the back squat
  3. Looking to build upper back size, I know the front squat can be killer on the thoracic erectors
  4. I’m in love with good posture. Seriously. I often wear my backpack on my front and retract my scapula at school to counteract the excessive kyphotic posture I see in all my classmates.

I don’t want to stop squatting. It’s a great pattern. At the same time, I know that because holding the bar will be a problem using heavier weights, I’m thinking of implementing pin squats on this day. The reasons are:

  1. Overload the legs without hurting myself
  2. Get more comfortable with heavier weights

So here’s applying these thoughts into context on a squat day (where I need recommendations):

A) Jump variation
B) ATG Front Squat - Not sure if I want to risk weekly ramping to a one rep max. I’m leaning towards an HPMASS style ramp that leads into pin squats
B*) Pin Front Squat (top-half) - continuous ramp in weights IF HPMASS style is used
C) Yoke Carry
D) Daily face-pulls

Day 2: I love the decline press. I love the push press.

But shoulder health is extremely important to me. And shoulder size is nice too!

My thoughts were to either do a standard HPMASS style upper body pressing workout (continuous ramping through exercises) or to do a Decline Press and that alone (a build muscle with heavy singles approach most likely).

Day 4 help:
I originally thought to keep this as a standard Neural Charge day or rest day.
A squat, push, pull split is pretty simple and effective right?

Well then I started reading more. I came across to pieces of gold about how healthy external rotation is found here:
http://www.T-Nation.com/strength-training-topics/1767
http://www.T-Nation.com/strength-training-topics/1736

I’ve also fallen in love with the push press. I went up 25lbs on it in 6 weeks of HPMASS and was addicted to doing it 4 (sometimes 5) days a week.

So I figured “why not have a whole day dedicated to everything overhead?”

I wanted to incorporate the push press, possibly the push jerk (in a continuous hpmass ramping style), overhead power holds, and anything else to help build great shoulders - size and health wise.

The last thing I failed to mention my thoughts behind were daily face-pulls.

During the HPMASS program, I did these pretty much everyday along with heavy cable rows that focused on the mid back and rear delts. I never feel drained from these ever.
I thought that by doing them every day and rotating my intensity, they’d eventually contribute to a thicker yoke.

That’s it! I know it was a ton of info.
Thank you so much everyone. Keep on lifting!

Colby

Theres no reason you couldnt do the layout you outlined in the first post with 4 workouts of: squat, decline press, high pull and overhead press. No need to make youre overhead day any more complex than any other day. If youre wanting to emphasise shoulders you could always do push press or split jerk as an accessory after decline press. You could also perform the overhead carries several times a week (i.e. with youre pressing and high pull workouts) for extra shoulder stimulus.

After having tendonitis in my elbow/shoulder ive been doing face pulls and band pull aparts between sets of pretty much all my workouts. Doing decline rather than flat bench press will be kinder on your shoulders and so will OHP. As long as youre doing enough pulling work then theres no reason you should have problems (unless your pressing form is off).

Simpler = better: Activation lift, Ramp, Density work, Carries. Done.

Just my thoughts

Tom

Activation, Ramp, Density, Carries (or if you’re me, glute-ham raises) is what I like. Keeping it simple and easy to auto regulate.

[quote]Trevshenko wrote:
Theres no reason you couldnt do the layout you outlined in the first post with 4 workouts of: squat, decline press, high pull and overhead press. No need to make youre overhead day any more complex than any other day. If youre wanting to emphasise shoulders you could always do push press or split jerk as an accessory after decline press. You could also perform the overhead carries several times a week (i.e. with youre pressing and high pull workouts) for extra shoulder stimulus.

After having tendonitis in my elbow/shoulder ive been doing face pulls and band pull aparts between sets of pretty much all my workouts. Doing decline rather than flat bench press will be kinder on your shoulders and so will OHP. As long as youre doing enough pulling work then theres no reason you should have problems (unless your pressing form is off).

Simpler = better: Activation lift, Ramp, Density work, Carries. Done.

Just my thoughts

Tom[/quote]
Thanks for the reply. I know exactly what I’ll be doing for the decline day, sghp day, and the push press day.

But my issue with doing a heavy ramp for squats all the time was safety. As I wrote above, every time I had a max squatting effort, my spine ached.
Obviously, you can conclude that my hips began to rise too fast as my low back was giving out faster than my legs - as expected.

So now I’ll be figuring out a safer ramping style for me.

Any recommendations?

I’d also reccomend KISS. (Keep it simple stupid.) Sounds like you are way overthinking this. Don’t “major in the minors” as Jim Wendler likes to say. I’ve only done Ramp-Density-Carries since sometime in mid December but let me tell you it works like gangbusters. I’ve set 3 or 4 PR’s on my lifts that felt easy all while gaining weight AND getting leaner.

I would just pick one lift for the overhead day. I’m partial to just the standard OHP myself. If you really want to focus on shoulders you could do Push Press as your activation lift on bench/OHP day, then overhead carries everyday like trevshenko suggested. The only wiggle room i allow myself in this program is with the carries; some days i’ll replace them with a couple sets of an assistance lift or do something for a pump, etc.

As for the squat, if your back hurts it’s probably a technique issue. Your back is probably rounding when you get super duper low. ATG is great if you can do it safely but if not only go as low as you can without your back rounding. As long as it’s below parallel it’s legit in my book. Maybe post a form check video here? If you switch to front squats thats fine too.

[quote]Colbstar wrote:

[quote]Trevshenko wrote:
Theres no reason you couldnt do the layout you outlined in the first post with 4 workouts of: squat, decline press, high pull and overhead press. No need to make youre overhead day any more complex than any other day. If youre wanting to emphasise shoulders you could always do push press or split jerk as an accessory after decline press. You could also perform the overhead carries several times a week (i.e. with youre pressing and high pull workouts) for extra shoulder stimulus.

After having tendonitis in my elbow/shoulder ive been doing face pulls and band pull aparts between sets of pretty much all my workouts. Doing decline rather than flat bench press will be kinder on your shoulders and so will OHP. As long as youre doing enough pulling work then theres no reason you should have problems (unless your pressing form is off).

Simpler = better: Activation lift, Ramp, Density work, Carries. Done.

Just my thoughts

Tom[/quote]
Thanks for the reply. I know exactly what I’ll be doing for the decline day, sghp day, and the push press day.

But my issue with doing a heavy ramp for squats all the time was safety. As I wrote above, every time I had a max squatting effort, my spine ached.
Obviously, you can conclude that my hips began to rise too fast as my low back was giving out faster than my legs - as expected.

So now I’ll be figuring out a safer ramping style for me.

Any recommendations?
[/quote]

One thing i had to adjust to when i started this program, the ramps shouldn’t really be “max effort”. Stop when your rep speed slows down drastically or they start to look more like good mornings, etc. The top set shouldn’t be life or death. I know it’s easy to want to chase a big PR but if you’re conservative they happen naturally.

You can also do a 10 day cycle (see the strong man example where CT made a program), where it’s push, legs, pull and the push days alternate between OH work and bench press. I agree with keeping it simple. Just get stronger and make your workouts more dense, get in proper peri, eat plenty, and gets lots of rest and you will do well. I also remind myself during the ramp…dominate the weight…muscles recover quickly, especially with Biotest’s peri workout supplements, the nervous system can take up to 10 days. I hope that helps. I love ramp, density, carries though…very simple, very effective.

[quote]boswick wrote:
One thing i had to adjust to when i started this program, the ramps shouldn’t really be “max effort”. Stop when your rep speed slows down drastically or they start to look more like good mornings, etc. The top set shouldn’t be life or death. I know it’s easy to want to chase a big PR but if you’re conservative they happen naturally.
[/quote]
That sounds more like something my speed. I think I’ll just, like you said, stay conservative and only pick a weight I know I’ll be able to accelerate quickly with.
I agree 100% that simpler is better. I don’t think that my concerns for keeping safe were unnecessary though.

Thanks so much for the input - and everyone else as well!

[quote]sput79 wrote:
You can also do a 10 day cycle (see the strong man example where CT made a program)[/quote]
Post a link?

[quote]Colbstar wrote:

[quote]Trevshenko wrote:
Theres no reason you couldnt do the layout you outlined in the first post with 4 workouts of: squat, decline press, high pull and overhead press. No need to make youre overhead day any more complex than any other day. If youre wanting to emphasise shoulders you could always do push press or split jerk as an accessory after decline press. You could also perform the overhead carries several times a week (i.e. with youre pressing and high pull workouts) for extra shoulder stimulus.

After having tendonitis in my elbow/shoulder ive been doing face pulls and band pull aparts between sets of pretty much all my workouts. Doing decline rather than flat bench press will be kinder on your shoulders and so will OHP. As long as youre doing enough pulling work then theres no reason you should have problems (unless your pressing form is off).

Simpler = better: Activation lift, Ramp, Density work, Carries. Done.

Just my thoughts

Tom[/quote]
Thanks for the reply. I know exactly what I’ll be doing for the decline day, sghp day, and the push press day.

But my issue with doing a heavy ramp for squats all the time was safety. As I wrote above, every time I had a max squatting effort, my spine ached.
Obviously, you can conclude that my hips began to rise too fast as my low back was giving out faster than my legs - as expected.

So now I’ll be figuring out a safer ramping style for me.

Any recommendations?
[/quote]

Its probably not the ramping style thats the problem then really. Its either gonna be an underlying injury/issue you have with your back. OR more likely your squatting form needs addressing, get it sorted then you should be able to do it no problem :slight_smile:

Strongman 10 day layer

very well put.

I didn’t want to create a new topic. Need some advices for choosing program. I have been training with 531 princibles over a year but now i would like to change for CT’s methods.

My question is should I use the max muscle layering or just a push/pull split?

Maxes are pretty small at this point so I was wondering will i make better gains by training several big lifts at one session than just one big and assitance with the max muscle layering? Max muscle layering and only one main lift sounds very intresting to try but should I leave it to future?

Thanks in advance.

EDIT: Sorry for bad background info.

BW 84kg
maxes: Deadlift 200kg, bench 90, press 85, frontsquat 120,SGHP 70 (SGHP has not been in my program but now I am going to include it)

For the PUSH/PULL program, i came up something like this:
Day1 PUSH
PushPres 3x3
BenchPress 3x3
FrontSquat 3x3

Day2 PULL
SGHihgPull 3x3
PullUp 3x3
BB ROW 4x6
FacePull 3x8-12

After 3x3 work, week1 3x6 backoff sets, week2 1HDL, week3 2HDL, week4 max pump. For 3x3 progression, after getting 3x3 with two sessions in a row, add weight. 3x3 work also may involve some ramping if feeling strong.

Is strenght work for pullups a good option? Or should i just do 50 per session? At the moment pull up max with bw is 12reps.

I was on 531 like you, and really wanted to focus more on what CT practices/preaches. I also felt I was leaving a lot on the table with the pace of 531. My issue is very similar to yours, so here’s what I did.

First, CT gave me a great “starter” program: Bench, Squat, Deadlift 3x3, then 3x6 -20%. Did this 3x a week, with assistance focusing on shoulders, legs, and back. Ran that until the accumulated volume in one session was too much. My weight/maxes were around yours when that happened.

I felt like I still had/have a lot of potential with multi-compound sessions, as opposed to a “BB-style” split. I’ve got a Push/Pull going now that is similar to what you laid out:
Push - Bench, Front Squat, OHP, Leg press, Inc DB press, assistance (lat/front raises, whatever)
Pull - Power Clean, Deadlift, SGHP, some kind of row, some kind of hammy work, facepull, hyperextensions.
Big lifts are still 3x3, then 3x6 -20%, and assistance/secondary lifts are 4x8-4x12.

I still get to hit everything at least 2x a week, but I’m opting to wait on layers until the gains from 3x3/3x6 slow down. Other than your layers plan (and me having more assistance volume than you, mainly to satisfy my inner volume-junkie), the programs look relatively similar and I’m really enjoying it thus far.

Thanks for tips.

Maybe I will also use the 3x6 backoffs, if some lift stalls then use the HDL set or two. Then go back to 3x6 when can increase the 3x3 weight.

I was thinking leave deadlift out of this first version, because it is so much a head from other lifts. After this first “strenght” period 6-10 weeks, I will take it back. Was it 2-3 weeks for some opposite program?

Got both workouts done once. Pull day has some time left over so I plan to add 3 to 5 sets of carries.

Also maybe changing pullup progression that CT adviced at the pullup topic. And after 3-4 weeks changing pullups to chins, I have also arms behind other muscles.

Deadlift is also my best lift, as my body is pretty much built for it (and sadly, not for much else). I wouldn’t ignore it though; there are tons of ways to increase intensity beyond just weight on the bar. Maybe try adding speed, reps, or pulling from different heights/deficits. Could even do traditional pull on Pull Day 1, and Sumo/SLDL on Pull Day 2 just to keep it fresh.

I still find I make good gains on 3x3 -> 3x6, and I use CT’s programming: Add weight (5#) when you hit all reps for the week. If you miss a rep, keep that weight for the next week. Honestly, my weights have been going up so fast that I’m adding even 10# per week sometimes, so there is definitely a lot of room to milk this (for me, anyway). If I can’t quite get the triple, or feel unsure that I can go up, I’ll keep weight the same, but add reps or weight to the 3x6 sets to build capacity. Kinda like the “never miss a rep” approach; be 80%+ sure you can hit your rep or don’t even do it.

If you have extra time on Pull day, adding/keeping deadlifts as mentioned above should take care of that. Or you could work on core/posterior chain stuff like hypers and med ball slams.