T Nation

Strength Circuit for HP Mass Program


In Thib's latest program he recommends a 2 week strength circuit to be used at the end of each workout. He suggests, "To plan a strength circuit, choose 3 big lifts for a muscle group" for 3-5 reps resting 20 seconds in between each exercise

Does that mean something like - squats, bench, and deads.


Select 3 exercises for say, chest and perform them in a circuit fashion. e.g bench, flyes, dips.



I'm gonna say its gotta be the target muscle group, so if your on upper body pressing you'd pick 3 for the shoulders/chest and if you're on legs then 3 for them. My own question, if you're doing a lower body strength circuit should you choose 3 main lifts even though you only are supposed to practice 2 main lifts consistently? or would it be better to add in isolation work for hamstrings, maybe an adductor machine, and some calve raises?


I'd be interested in this as well, because he also says you can do "beach work" at the end of the workout, is this the same or different idea


thibs reply this in another thread, i think is a good example for upper body.

For lower body i will use a similar approach, choosing probably 1 partial ROM movement for quads and hamstrings, and another 1 or 2 exercises for each one performing separate circuits for quads/hams.


The above is NOT a strength-circuit... it is a normal isolation circuit. The strength circuit would use movements for the main emphasis of the workout, for sets of 3-5 reps.

For example if your primary emphasis for a workout was upper body pressing a circuit could look like this:

A1. Bench press 3-5 reps
A2. DB standing shoulder press 3-5 reps
A3. Top-half close-grip bench press 3-5 reps


CT, how do 2 circuits of 3 exercises for 3-5 reps with 85-85% of MTW produce a lot of hypertrophy. I mean: there's not much volume or weight. Is it because of the increased frequency ?

(If the answer's yes, would it still work whilest working out only 3 days a week?)


BTW, 2 weeks out of every 6 week training cycle ?


Each Training cycle is 6 weeks long before you retest your lifts/Change exercises.

You can choose consecutive weeks or 2 separate weeks within the cycle to add the circuit.

Once again as CT has stated numerous times. This is how "HE" trains. I bet there are hundreds of members "Frankensteining" his routine already but I'm going to stick to his guidelines which are very clear.

This is my 4th week on the program and I plan on adding the strength circuit for the final 2 weeks. I figure it will not only help with added strength but it might help boost my numbers up for the following cycle. This might not be optimal but if I find myself feeling sluggish at any point I'll add a Neutral Charge workout to get myself ready.

I hope that helped! Good Luck with your training.


I also plan on adding my strength circuit in on the final two weeks of my 6 week cycle. My question is how important is the exercise selection. For my upper body pressing days im using Standing military, Flat bench, and Dips. For lower body im using the Front Squat and Snatch grip deads. So for my strength circuit for upper body day i was planning on using Seated DB press, Flat DB bench, and Decline DB bench. For lower body day I was planning Leg press, DB Lunges, and maybe a Back squat. Would these lifts suffice? Also do i use the same lifts every day of the strength circuit or choose new ones every day? Lastly how many times do you perform the circuit.



His general recommendations are:

  1. Doing a strength circuit for each muscle group using big lifts


  1. Doing a strength circuit with 1 exercise hitting each muscle group.

There really isn't any need to change the exercises for the circuit. As far as intensity he recommended 80-85% of your MTW's for 3-5 reps for 3 sets.

This is just one variation but there have been many more presented.

Makes sense?


these are to be completed directly after your final regular workout correct? Today I tried this on my lower body emphasis day which I am doing front squats, trap bar dead lift, and over head press, so after that workout; I added 3 rounds of back squat 5 reps, leg press 5 reps, hack squat(feet positioned out in front) 3 reps. I am allowed to do this for one more lower body day this week, and then twice more in another week out of every 6 weeks?



Just a forewarning, Don't get caught up too much with the rules of when you can and can't do them. Coach T offered this this restriction to spare use from the affect of the neutral drain you might get from adding extra volume at the end of the workout.

I think its a great guideline to get started with, once you've completed both weeks see how you feel and make adjustments from there for the next cycle.

As Coach T always says, its all about the Fiances of training. We can focus more time in the 80%-85% range with our big lifts or give more time to other things. I would prefer to focus more on improving my efficiency in the bigger lifts.


well also I feel like its ok to drain the nervous system a little more since I am doing lats tomorrow and then a neural charge on monday. Not that I want to have poor workout tomorrow but I won't have to lift any legs(secondary emphasis) until tuesday so they also have more time to recover. We'll see how the workout goes tomorrow but I feel fine(not tired, cranky, or any of the other drained cns symptoms) after lifting 8 hours ago.


you're saying totally oposite of what CT reccomends and says... to drain a CNS a little more... the trick is that CNS stays as fresh as possible, thats why we have NC workouts... how would you know when is just a little bit more, you can fuck up your recovery and progress for a week with that just a little bit more...

simply put, you do strength circuit if you feel exceptionally good after regular workout... its nothing that you have to do...


Well said


I think I just don't know how to say what I mean. Anyway, I did feel great after the normal HP mass routine and thats why I added the extra volume.


My workout today is a great of example of this. I'm lucky enough that my body gives me signs when I'm neurally fatigued. My sinuses get clogged up and I have cold symptoms anytime I approach or exceed my neutral capabilities. (Strange but true)

Today I got through the Vertical Press and Incline Press and was working my way into the bench and I starting showing symptoms and I noticed that I wasn't popping my reps like I normally do. So I finished my intra workout shake and called it a day.

In the past I would have pushed through and paid for it the next couple of weeks. Often times when you push your body past its neural peak you end up playing catch up for weeks at a time. You body wants to recover but the following workouts compound the stress from the one day. I remember there was a period of time when I had cold like symptoms for 3 months just because I kept on pushing for more.

Took me 4+ years to understand these signs.


Yesterday was the start of week 4 for me. Because of the decrease in volume I decided to add in the Strength circuit and Ab blitz for these last two weeks. Anyone else going for this approach? Anyone feel real real amped after the strength circuit? Anyone mind sharing some good exercises for the ab blitz. Coach said he does a weighted and unweighted superset. Yesterday i did power crunches and bicycle crunches.


Phoneixx112, I was thinking of taking a similar approach. The first 3 weeks are dedicated to getting used to the ins and outs of the program. Once the volume drops down in week 4 I was going to start adding in some power circuits and ab work.

Mephisto - I have enjoyed reading your comments and input to this thread. Your advice regarding 'autoregulating' and knowing when to call it a day is definitely key to making progress.


I have also strategically been adding to the routine. I just want to make it clear that I never make a firm plan to do something. I might plan ahead and based on how I feel I'll change or terminate my workout if I'm not feeling up to it. Less is always more so I never force myself to do the additional work, only if I feel 100% up to it.

This is how I plan on setting up my next 6 week cycle

1 - Isolation Circuits and Core Blitz
2 - Strength Circuit
3 - 3rd Day for Upper/Lower Body Press
4 - Isolation Circuits and Core Blitz
5 - Strength Circuit
6 - 3rd Day for Upper/Lower Body Press

This would add up to being: 2 weeks of Core Blitz, 2 weeks of Optional Strength and 2 weeks of Option Isolation Circuits, with a 3rd day for Pressing if I'm feeling up to it.

Weeks 1 and 4 - I don't plan on changing my main exercises so there is zero adjustment to be made here. Since there is a very low amount of volume both these weeks I'm going to so Isolation Circuits over strength circuits. Once again reason being that this is probably the only time I can logically add isolation work until I build my tolerance up for volume. I'm also going to throw in the Core Blitz as well

Weeks 2 and 5 - So far I have found these weeks to be the hardest. I don't see myself doing anything else but what is required but on any given day if I'm feeling good after the main lifts I'll be throwing in a Strength Circuit using the same lifts from the workout.

Weeks 3 and 6 - During these weeks if I perform well and am feeling good I'm going to push for a 3rd day for both Upper and Lower body pressing. So I would end up doing Mon-Wed Upper body Pressing, Thurs, Fri and Sunday Lower body Pressing. This is one scenario that will most likely not happen I tend to play on the safe side when it comes to sparing my nervous system.