T Nation

Started HP MASS: And God Do I Hurt...


Hey Thibs!

I have just started HP MASS (as you can tell from the subject) and I've gotten a couple of questions/concerns.

---My 3---
Push Press ( 3 RM: 175, MTW: 150)
Incline BB Press (3 RM: 260, MTW: 230)
Decline BB Press ( 3 RM: 285, MTW: 240)

Activation is usually overhead medecine ball throws.

My real concern is this: After I have got to about the 4th or 5th set of my push presses, an area right around where rear delts starts aching, and then full on flame-on hurting. It affects the rest of my workout.

I noticed that if I do some of the ab-strap romboid pulldowns (thib pulldowns?) the pain dissipates for about 30 seconds, but then comes back in full swing.

It sounds like I'm doing something wrong.

After finishing my first exercise (the push press), if I go to the incline press and even get close to my MTW on the first set, (say, 225) as soon as I pick up the bar my arms start shaking and vibrating harder than my ex-girlfriends vibrator. Everything is fine if I do a ramp up to my MTW and then wave load from there. It's starting "cold" on the exercise that has me all messed up.

Did I read something wrong in the articles, or are we really supposed to start the "B" and "C" exercises with our MTW? We don't work up to them at all?

Any help would be appreciated, as I really want to nail this program down.




I think the article says to start with the MTW of your PREVIOUS exercise for your NEXT exercise. So in your example, you would ramp up to your MTW of 150 for the push press and then start on 150 lbs for the incline press. From here, you would ramp up to your MTW for your incline press. Then use THAT for the starting weight of your bench press.

This may help you with your stability/shaking under weights and even the shoulder pain.

I also got some pain when I first started the program last month (particularly in the forearm/wrist region). My body adjusted to it though and the only time I've had serious pain was when I got carried away and did triple wave loading ramps twice a day for a few days straight.



I agree. I just re-watched the Upper Body Mass program overview video, and realized that I was missing Thib's comment about that extended ramp.

The actual written program is a little confusing, as it makes it seem that the second exercise starts with MTW. It even says "Set 1, MTW". Bah!

Still, that shoulder pain really hurts. I will try adjusting my program in hopes that the pain will subside now that I'm doing the ramp correctly.

Any other input would be appreciated!

And thanks -Sigil-!!


Merlin & Sigil,

RE: Correct ramping strategy protocol.

The videos and written programs don't seem to marry up perfectly as you have discovered. I too made the mistake of ramping ALL exercises initially until I read the livespill after each article.
I'm sure that during the livespill UBP and LBP Q&A's that Thib's clarified the ramping protocols for both the upper and lower body pressing days. Have you guys read EVERY SINGLE question that Thibs answered on those livespills? It's awesome info that should clarify everything you need to know.

In a nutshell:
(this is MY understanding of Thib's info. Please correct me Thibs if I am not 100% accurate!)

UpperBP days:
The 3 exercises are similar enough in movement pattern NOT to have to ramp up to MTW on EACH exercise. Just the first. Therefore on your 2nd and 3rd exercises you 'start' with your PRE-DETERMINED MTW and go from there. Thibs points out that it wouldn't necessarily hurt to ramp these exercises but it's not actually required.
*Secondary emphasis LBP exercise: Full ramp to MTW, and then do you sets as prescribed.

LowerBP days:
The two big exercises are different enough that you DO have to ramp BOTH exercises to MTW.
*Secondary emphasis UBP exersise: Full ramp to MTW, and then do your sets as prescribed.

Hope this helps guys and makes sense...


Hmm... I think you have a few things wrong PKS.

Taken from the Upper Body Livespill

jonny142: ... What I meant by starting the movement at the MTW was that it seemed to disagree with the notion that the 3 exercises are a continuous ramp, in the article CT states that the second movement was started with an extra 100lbs on the bar. Im sure it's irrelevant minutia but I like to make sure I have a grasp of all the intricacies of a program before starting it.

Thibs Response:

Christian Thibaudeau: @ jonny: LOOK AT VIDEO: You start the second exercise where you ended the first... e.g. if you picked military press and incline bench, you start the incline bench where you ended the military press and then ramp up to your MTW

^^ See?
Thibs says to ramp from the weight you left off at in the previous exercise, and then work up to the MTW for the current exercise. From there, I believe you do Wave Loading.

However, Thibs does talk about "not needing to ramp to all exercise", but I believe he means the FULL ramp, with feeler set, activation zone and potentiation zone.

TRU76: Do you perform the feeler set, activation zone, and potentiation zone on only the 1st exercise or on all 3 exercises?
Christian Thibaudeau: @ Tru: only on the first exercise... although performing them on all 3 will have no detrimental effect

So, in summary, I believe the program specifies that you must do a FULL ramp (including feeler sets) on the first exercise. Then, after you have reached the MTW for the first exercise and done it's corresponding Wave Loading, you start the second exercise at your first exercise's MTW. You then ramp up (by simple increments of 10-20lbs) to the second exercises MTW, perform your Wave Loading, and then move onto the third exercise in a similar fashion.

I believe the secondary exercise (legs, on the upper body day) requires a full "feeler" set and corresponding ramp (e.g. FULL ramp).


Goddammit!...grrr, now I have to go back and re-read all the Livespills again! lol
Seriously I could have sworn Thibs corrected someone somewhere more recently to do the Upper Body Pressing days like I outlined and not just start the next exercise with the weight you finished the last one with. or I just may be losing my marbles
It may have even been in the lower body spill or in another thread. I'll find it.


Merlin, hopefully Thib's can shed some light on this...

-Off the LB spill:
"THIBS: @ AT ALL OF THOSE WHO ASKED ABOUT RAMPING BOTH LB MOVEMENS: YES Ramp up both. With the upper body you can start the second movement where you ended the first one because the lifts are closely connected. When you have a squat and a dead you must ramp up both."

-Off th UB spill:
"TRU76: Do you perform the feeler set, activation zone, and potentiation zone on only the 1st exercise or on all 3 exercises?
THIBS:@ Tru: only on the first exercise... although performing them on all 3 will have no detrimental effect"

I interpret TRU76's question as 'do I need to RAMP on all three UBP exercises'? (as the feeler set, activation zone, and potentiation zone sets would BE a ramp IMO)...Thibs sez NO.
Again, IMO, in this context, when Thibs sez "With the upper body you can start the second movement where you ended the first one because the lifts are closely connected" means there's no need to ramp again and you 'start' at the MTW for that movement.

THIBS HELP! :slight_smile:


If the 2nd movement is very similar to the first movement and puts you in a more advantageous position than the 1st movement then you would just start the ramp of the 2nd movement where you left off with for the 1st movement.

EX: Military press - mtw 140, incline press - mtw 180, flat bench press - mtw 220

Start military with feeler sets, then go on to activation, potentiation and finally mtw. Once you reach the MTW you do the recommended wave sets that are close to the weight of your MTW.

Incline press is next and since you already did military and it puts you in a more advantageous position (can lift more weight) and is a very similar movement you would start the ramp of incline where you left off with military. So no feeler sets but you should end up going through the force curve which would include potentiation and activation and end with mtw and wave loading.

Bench press is next - same deal as incline over military. Bench is similar and your in a stronger position. So continue ramp where incline left off.

Lower body - If your doing squat and deadlift for your movements you would do the full ramping (including feeler sets and everything else) for both movements since they are not an incredibly similar movement.

If you were doing front squat and back squat for your movements (or romanian DL and Conv DL) you would start with the hardest movement first (one you can use the least weight on). You would start the ramp from the beginning (starting with a feeler set) with the first exercise and reach your MTW and then do your wave loading. Then for the next movement you would just continue the ramp where you left off with the first movement since they are very similar movement patterns.



I think you are confusing the two different ramps.

The first exercise of the UB requires a full ramp, with feeler sets, activation and potentiation. The next exercises do not require feelers sets and the like. You simply ramp from your ending MTW on the previous exercise.

Essentially, there are two different forms of ramping in the UB portion. One on the first exercise, another (different) ramp on the remaining exercises.

Jonmb11 has done an excellent job of describing the full process. Thanks Jon!


No problem at all.


Ah-hah! I get it now. I didn't realize there were two different types of ramps. Thanks Merlin, that makes perfect sense now!

And thanks heaps for the great explanation Jonmb11!

*BTW, I am about to start week 6 and am LOVING the program? U guys?


Just started. Can't really say anything yet, as I'm still getting it down (obviously).

I'd love to hear Thib's comments on my shoulder pain. We'll see if he sees this.


Get ready, the first couple of weeks seem relatively easy, but week 3 is much tougher!
I'm at the end of week 5 and all the raw deads and front squats I'm doin are pretty brutal. Powerdrive is my very bestest buddy at the moment!

RE your shoulder pain: Mine has actually gone away even tho I start with the standing Military push press >then Incline 45degree >then Flat Bench. Before this program, I previously always had nagging shoulder pain -no doubt due to all the Lat/Bench internal rotator work I was doing causing muscular imbalances. I obviously wasn't doing enough balancing trap, rhomboid external rotation work as I am now with this program.

Good luck with the shoulder pain man!


what vibrator did your ex had ???


what vibrator did your ex had ???


Your shoulder pain should go away after the first week or week and a half. I had the same problem when I first started, but my body adjusted and I don't have any shoulder pain now. I was experiencing some forearm pain, but it is slowly going away now as well. Stick with it Merlin!! I personally love this program. I have put on about 7-8 pounds of muscle through week 5.



Thanks for the heads up! Looks like I will stick with it as you did. I just hope it goes away soon.