Old Forum Upper Body Hypertrophy

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Kettlebelephant

Level 6 Valued Member
Hi!

First of all i describe some of my experiences with KBs so far, so that you know where i'm at right now.

So here's the deal. For several reasons i decided to work out at home from now on and do it in a way that's fun for me. I like working out but becides Powercleans and Deadlifts barbell or dumbbell exercises were never fun for me. During my time doing crossfit i was exposed to KBs and i really loved them from the beginning. So i bought my KBs, some books (S&S, ETK, RTK, KB Muscle) and started working out with them. After a little bit of practice i ventured into ROP, but quickly realised that i wasn't ready for it.

My swing is ok (had it videochecked by a local RKC instructor) and i have a very solid press and first clean. It's the downward movement on continuous cleans and snatches that gives me problems, mainly resisting rotation. Therefore i decided two things...

a) Attend a KB course with a certified instructor - i have my seminar next saturday, but the focus is on Swings & TGUs. Myself and the instructor (i had mailcontact with her) both think that i still could benefit from the course so i'll be taken it anyway.

b) Strenghten my body to make it ready for the more complex movements. I want to do this by following S&S until the simpler goal (32Kg). I don't think that just doing the ETK Minimum/S&S for a few weeks and then returning to ROP will do the trick.

Now i come to my main question. I really want to add some meat to my upper body. No bodybuilder style mass, just a little bit, maybe 5 to 10 lbs spread over shoulders, arms, upper chest & upper back. Presses + Pullups will exactly do this, but as i said i'm not ready for the ROP with its amount of cleans and snatches. So i need to find another way to do it.

Can someone help me out with a way to combine a hypertrophy oriented Press+Pullup routine with S&S? I thought of something like 20min EDT of P+P on Mon/Thu and S&S on Tu/Wed/Fr/Sat and rest on Sun. The thing is i'm not an "individual with years of training experience" so i don't now what looks good on paper but would be to much volume in practice.

I'm not set on the EDT thing so i'm open to any suggestions. Just keep in mind that it needs to be in line with my goals and uses KBs only.

I hope you can held me out. Thanks in Advance!

Greetings from Germany

Chris

PS: Please don't suggest something like doing S&S and after some months switch to ROP. I know a lot of people think it's the best to stick to a routine and follow it to the t and i second that, but i don't want to wait months before i can work on that little hypertrophy goal of mine. Besides in S&S Pavel himself says that S&S can be combined with other activities and as you know i'm not trying to blend it with a full blown strenght routine like 5x5 or something like that.
 

Erik Duarte

Level 1 Valued Member
In my experience, nutrition is a big factor. What you eat can determine if you put on 1 pound of muscle in a month or 3. Back to the question. If your goal is for hypertrophy a great way is high volume. I believe I read that a 5 by 5 program is too much? There's so many programs out there for hypertophy and a few dealing with kettlebells. I dont know where you are at with a strength base. A simple 3 sets of 5 can add hypertrophy. Just depends how important and how fast you want to put the muscle on. At t feet 7 inches my arms now measure 15 inches. Not too impressive but I feel it's respectable. I've been on and off training for a long time but the three best programs I've ever done for hypertrophy was the delorme, hear and Dan John's 2,3,5,10. Just my opinion.
 

Kettlebelephant

Level 6 Valued Member
Of course nutrition is a key factor. You can't eat 1000cals a day and expect to grow. Since i take care of my nutrition that's not the question here.

Delorme seems to be impractical with KBs. I'd might be doable, but i'd need smaller bells for that. My 10RM would be 16Kg and therefore i'd need a 12Kg and 8Kg (75% & 50% of 1oRM) for that.

Never heard of "hear" before and couldn't find anything about it.

Considered 2,3,5,10 too but again same problem as with EDT. I don't know how to combine it with S&S hence my original post
 

Kevin W

Level 1 Valued Member
Here is some advice that you will not like.

If your 10 rep maximum for pressing is the 16 kg the problem is that you are too weak. You need to get strong before you ever worry about hypertrophy. Delorme will work a lot better when you use the 32, 24 and 16kg instead of the 16, 12 and 8 kg.

You should do S&S at least as far as completing the one arm swings and TGU with the 24kg. Then go do ROP with the 24. After that you can do whatever and you'll have a basic strength base.

It took you your whole life up to this point to get out of shape, it is going to take at least a few months to start to rebuild. And for combining other programs to S&S - "If you have to ask, you are not experienced enough"
 

Erik Duarte

Level 1 Valued Member
I meant bear routine.  Agree with Kevin. A good strength base will also compliment your hypertrophy program. I know you don't like using barbells but here is an example. Same technique, form, reps, sets. Using 315 lbs vs 185 lbs. Consideri,g the weight, which one would you consider for more of a "hypertrophy" effect?
 

Kettlebelephant

Level 6 Valued Member
Your last comment is kind of offensive. Being able to Press more than 1/2 BW, doing pullups for reps and running a sub-20 5k @205lbs is definitely not "out of shape". Sure it's not strong either, but us citizens seem to have a different opinion on strength. Might be because of football where highschoolers rep out 225 benches. In the usual gym in germany, italy etc. you'll seldomly find a guy able to do this. After all we play soccer over here :D But all that is not the topic right now.

I don't argue against anything you said, because there's nothing to say against it. I know that doing a hypertrophy program with a 32 will have much better results than with a 16, it's just logical, but it'd still work. In my OP i even said that i second the approach of completing S&S and then moving to ROP, but that doesn't change the fact that right now the primary goal is the hypertrophy.

If you were to be a PT (and maybe you actually are) and some client would come in your gym hiring you to add some mass to his upper body in say 6-8 weeks, you'd need to change the program, because if you'd tell him that you put him on a program where his goal wouldn't be adressed until like 6 months later, he'd just leave.

Again, to avoid a huge discussion about this, i really appreciate your advise, but the question is not whether it's better to add something to S&S or not. The question is how to add something for the goal of upper body hypertrophy.
 

jca17

Level 5 Valued Member
I’ve experienced hypertrophy just using S&S with focused eating habits. Leopard crawling for distance also upped my appetite and caused some hypertrophy. This is coming from a very skinny person though, so you might be past where those things would help. Since you want to make progress on S&S, you won’t be able to do a full on hypertrophy program (as you point out). Greasing the groove on an extra upper body move throughout the week combined with the right nutrition and at least a gram of protein per target pound of body weight (or 2 grams per kg, you’re in Europe) will help.

I’ve sought hypertrophy for a long time. The bottom line is I didn’t eat enough. The main trick was doing activities that sparked a bigger appetite, and then muscle mass took care of itself. There have been posts on here about successful hypertrophy just through S&S alone (see http://www.strongfirst.com/topic/simple-and-sinister-builds-beyond-belief/).
I’ve had to back off for a while due to a random injury, but I can’t wait to get back.
If you continue compressing rest periods on your getups, or slow down the movement (rather than moving up in weight right away) I’m pretty sure you will see some shoulder/arm hypertrohy. GTG with pushups might be a bit much combined with almost daily getups, but it would also possibly help with upper chest hypertrophy. If you’re strong, grease the one armed pushup.
 

Erik Duarte

Level 1 Valued Member
I don't feel qualified to give out a program. I'm not a personal trainer. The only people I train with are fellow fighters. But If I client that I did not know wanted me to give him a program to put on mass I would first assess where he is at.
 

Erik Duarte

Level 1 Valued Member
But If I had a similar goal. I would try to add compound exercises that hit this area maybe 3 to 4 sets. Reduce the amount I'm doing the ss program
 

Kettlebelephant

Level 6 Valued Member
Edited out my own post... -.-

@Erik i didn't meant you with the PT statement

@jca
Thanks for the input. You really got me thinking with the slowing down and compressing thing. What if i'd modify the TGU and add Presses to it (eg. 1 Floor Press, 1 after the Situp, 1 in the Lunge position, 1 Standing Press). Of course the presses are only added after i feel solid and comfortable with the certain weight.
Then do something like S&S in the evening and Fighter Pullup Program in the morning.
The added Presses should maybe be reduced to 2 or 3 days/week otherwise i would end up with 420 presses/week
 

Erik Duarte

Level 1 Valued Member
The more you add the more of a chance there is of overtraining or injury. The best advice I can give is to keep whatever you are doing or will do simple and listen to your body. I've heard of the fighters pull up being combined with ss before.
 

Kettlebelephant

Level 6 Valued Member
I will do S&S + FPP for the next 90 days and then see where it leads to according to my goals.

Adding FPP shouldn’t be a problem as i’ve too read that a lot of times on the forums, and since i don’t have a physically demanding job or recreational sport plus eating for mass it shouldn’t affect recovery.
 

Erik Duarte

Level 1 Valued Member
It seems legit. I like neutral pull ups as it's easier on my elbows. Assume there could be some nice lay development.
 

Kyrinov

Level 5 Valued Member
A young Gaul once wanted to go to Rome to become a Gladiator.  Having never traveled outside of his native city he went around asking people if they knew how to get to Rome.  Finally he came across an old Tuscan mercenary who had settled in Gaul and had been to Rome many times.  He asked the Gaul "How to I get to Rome?"  The old Tuscan replied "Have you not heard my boy?  All roads lead to Rome.  All you must do is follow the road south of town and keep following it and sooner or later you shall reach Rome.  However, I should warn you that the road is not easy.  The journey will take you three months on horseback, much longer still on foot.  I hope you have taken the time to prepare yourself for the journey and might I suggest some traveling companions?"  The young Gaul became indignant.  "Months!"  He replied, "I can't wait months!  I've got to be in Rome by next week before the Games, I don't have time, energy or resources for a journey of months!  And what will I do when I am weak and tired from the journey?  I shan't be able to fight!  I'll have to wait longer still before I regain my strength.  Please sir, I have a few coins, I'll gladly give them to you if you will tell me how to get to Rome faster."  The Tuscan looked through the boy, waved his hand and turned back to his drink.  "There is no faster way.  You must follow the road one step at a time to reach Rome.  If you cannot do this, how can you hope to reach Rome?"  The Gaul grew red in the face and stormed out of the bar.  Meanwhile a Dishonest Man overheard the conversation.  As the young Gaul passed an alleyway, the Dishonest Man beckoned "psssst!" to him.  He motioned that the young Gaul should enter the alleyway.  The Gaul hesitated and the Dishonest Man said "Are you not the one who needs to be in Rome by next week, strong and rested?"  The Gaul couldn't resist and entered the alleyway.  The Dishonest Man told him that if he gave him his coins, he would give him magic pills that would magically transport him to Rome in the blink of an eye.  "You'll be there in an instant my boy, fit and ready to fight!"  The Gaul couldn't hand his coins over fast enough.  The Dishonest Man grinned and handed him the pills, which he promptly swallowed.  Almost immediately the room began to spin and he fell to the ground.  When the Gaul awoke he found himself with no coins, no coat, no dagger and no shoes...still in his native town, no closer to Rome.
 

Inuk

Level 3 Valued Member
Hello Kettlebelephant.

 

Nothing wrong if you can do 10 press with a 16kg bell, all you need is the right approach. For hypertrophy, you need minimum 6 reps per set. So my advice will be this: First see if you can do 6x6 press & pullups. If you cant, do as many sets you can with reps of 6. When you reach 6x6, ramp up the volume and work your way up to 6 sets of 10 reps.
 

Kettlebelephant

Level 6 Valued Member
@Inunnguag - Thanks but i decided to go with S&S (as it was written) plus Pullups. I mean i'm okay with my body right now and the added mass would be a bonus, sure a very welcomed bonus, but it's not like i'm ashamed of my body and needed that extra hypertrophy for a confidence boost needed mass for a weightclass or something like that. And besides, if i'm not over- or undereating in a big way there certainly will be either no physical change or a change for the better on S&S.

 

@Charles - I like texts like this, but A) i already stated two times that i know that going for the slow&steady approach would be the wiser choice

and B) for every "teaching" story like that you could find another one stating exactly the opposite. A lot of people think of shortcuts as a bad thing because they believe shortcuts don't require hard work and stuff like that. I agree that seeking shortcuts on every aspect in your life is a bad thing, but there should always be a balance. Just look at nature, water always finds the shortest possible way or most animals on our planet just do what they need to do to survive. They only fight, hunt or eat when they really have to and don't waste energy/cals on unecessary stuff.

and C) the story has it's flaws. I'm not the Gaul of your story. I'm not searching for the magic pill that teleports me to Rome (the unrealistic shortcut). I already know the fastest way to get there, which would be the horse (the realistic shortcut). Back to real life i know there's no programm that could pump me up in 2 weeks (maybe drugs, buts that's sooooo out of question) which would be the pill and im not searching for it. But there's a faster way (the horse) than following the slow method of S&S -> ROP which would be the real life equivalent of goinf to Rome by foot and as already mentioned i was searching for the horse not the pills.

Finally i want to add that i really, really like the tone in this forum. I've read through many exercise forums in the past and rarely came across posts like here. You guys actually try to help out , discuss and educate others in a polite way without all that ignorant, insulting talk. Thanks for that.

 

 
 

Inuk

Level 3 Valued Member
And btw, about the Clean.

 

Steve Cotter is on youtube were he teaches the downward movement first, before teaching how to clean. Search for it, no doubt it will help on your continuous cleans.
 

Dave0317

Level 3 Valued Member
Do you have any sets of two kettlebells?  Your hypertrophy options will be limited with one.

There are lots of double KB complex workouts that may work for you.

Ladders of C&J should do the trick also.  Pavel uses these in ROTK, but warns not to start that program until you have met the goals in the ETK Rite of Passage.

Here is another C&J program I like.

http://breakingmuscle.com/kettlebells/adding-muscle-kettlebells-how-i-build-my-grapplers

 

But really, it should be no surprise when you ask about a goal at the StrongFirst forum the answer is almost always..get strong first.
 

AceecA

Level 3 Valued Member
Great story Charles, a lot of truth in there.

Jca17, that is good advice on dealing with the biggest problem for thin guys.

Kettlebelephant, genius tag name.

 
 
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