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Thread: Too Much Gain in 1 Month?

  1. #21

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    So SS plus decent chinup numbers and you should be set?

  2. #22
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    Quote Originally Posted by samstrength View Post
    So SS plus decent chinup numbers and you should be set?
    I think that is a reasonable place to start, yes.
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  3. #23

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    Quote Originally Posted by Jordan Feigenbaum View Post
    Bench and press both work the shoulder girdle and upper limb musculature sufficient for a novice (previously untrained) to generate a robust hypertrophy stimulus to that musculature.
    I am certainly not saying that a novice won't receive a hypertrophy stimulus to the upper body, just that I think it is less than the lower body.

    To clarify what I meant further, if we talk about this from a pure muscle hypertrophy standpoint, the lower body is the quads, glutes, adductors, and hamstrings. We also have smaller muscle groups and calves, but largely, those are what we are talking about in this context. All of those muscles get a lot of work three times a week on SSLP.

    If we talk about the upper body in the same context, we have a larger array of muscles that we can target. You are right about the shoulder girdle, since that also gets trained three times a week, but what about the chest and biceps, as an example? SSLP trains chest and biceps 1-2 times a week each.

    Squats essentially can produce most of the hypertrophy you would want in the lower body. Even Rip said numerous times, squats are all you need "to do legs". However, there is no equivalent lift for the upper body, i.e. no barbell lift just targets everything sufficiently above the waist. And, since we squat every workout and mix the upper body exercises, we don't get quite the same total amount of hypertrophy between the lower and upper body. Essentially, we target all the muscles in the legs every workout, but we do not target all the muscles in the upper body every workout (see chest and biceps as examples).

    Again, the point is not that you don't get hypertrophy in the upper body. The point is that the lower body will be a bit more developed than the upper body after finishing SSLP. At least that's how I see it.

    Quote Originally Posted by Jordan Feigenbaum View Post
    I disagree. In my article Into the Great Wide Open I discuss slots and exercise frequency. I direct you there for a further fleshing out of that argument.
    If I understand your point here, it is that more or less the same number of upper/lower body slots is performed on SSLP, thus the balance between lower and upper body. If my understanding is correct, I would point out what I mention earlier in that the lower body slots, i.e. squats and deads, completely target the lower body, whereas the upper body slots, on any given day, do not.

    Quote Originally Posted by Jordan Feigenbaum View Post
    Interestingly, my heaviest benches of all time have come after squatting. YMMV.
    Fair enough but... Do you think it was because of the squatting, or in spite of it?

    Quote Originally Posted by Jordan Feigenbaum View Post
    Can you describe a way to press where the musculature of the shoulder girdle and upper limb do not recieve sufficient stress to trigger a hypertrophy response?
    They do. Of course. But, like I mentioned before, the full lower body gets this stimulus 3x a week, while certain muscles of the upper body like the chest, 1-2x a week.

    Quote Originally Posted by Jordan Feigenbaum View Post
    I honestly think that phenotype has a lot to do with chin up/pull up training too, for a novice.
    I'm sure that contributes to it. There's also the issue of not being able to do chins/pull-ups for some novices which can further stymie hypertrophy of those muscles.

  4. #24
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    Quote Originally Posted by quikky View Post
    I am certainly not saying that a novice won't receive a hypertrophy stimulus to the upper body, just that I think it is less than the lower body.
    I disagree. You see, hypertrophy attained/stimulated per session is limited by a many constraints. A few important ones:
    1) total muscle protein synthesis, which is capped at a certain level.
    2) muscle groups stimulated to threshold
    3) Fuel for hypertrophy

    If a session surpasses this threshold then more volume =/= more hypertrophy, rather it just adds unnecessarily to fatigue from a hypertrophy only standpoint.

    To clarify what I meant further, if we talk about this from a pure muscle hypertrophy standpoint, the lower body is the quads, glutes, adductors, and hamstrings. We also have smaller muscle groups and calves, but largely, those are what we are talking about in this context. All of those muscles get a lot of work three times a week on SSLP.
    Sure, 3x/wk frequency wise and 4 slots.

    If we talk about the upper body in the same context, we have a larger array of muscles that we can target. You are right about the shoulder girdle, since that also gets trained three times a week, but what about the chest and biceps, as an example? SSLP trains chest and biceps 1-2 times a week each.
    I would say the biceps don't get sufficiently trained without chins/pullups and/or rows. That said, I think sufficient stress is imparted (or should be imparted) upon the shoulders, triceps, pecs, etc. 3x/wk from pressing and benching. The lats may get sufficiently trained with deadlifts and indirectly through other movements, for a novice, but also likely require pull ups and chins to be fully stimulated for growth.

    . And, since we squat every workout and mix the upper body exercises, we don't get quite the same total amount of hypertrophy between the lower and upper body.
    I disagree with this notion, though you could argue the chest is stimulated less in pressing and may subsequently not reach threshold for hypertrophy- though I doubt it for a novice if loading is sufficient.

    Again, the point is not that you don't get hypertrophy in the upper body. The point is that the lower body will be a bit more developed than the upper body after finishing SSLP. At least that's how I see it.
    I don't necessarily think that's necessarily true always. Rather, I think many come to SS without any sort of formal lower body training and some history of upper body training, e.g. pull ups, pushups, +/- benching and pressing so the threshold is a little higher here, but loading should take care of that for a true novice.

    If my understanding is correct, I would point out what I mention earlier in that the lower body slots, i.e. squats and deads, completely target the lower body, whereas the upper body slots, on any given day, do not.
    I think this where we fundamtentally disagree.



    Fair enough but... Do you think it was because of the squatting, or in spite of it?
    Not sure, but the point is that I do not think it's a huge deal that always compromises results. Rather, I think it's likely that fatigue incurred from squatting sometimes transfers to upper body stuff and sometimes it doesn't. Sometimes other things contribute to fatigue that we don't even think about. It's nuanced, IMO.


    They do. Of course. But, like I mentioned before, the full lower body gets this stimulus 3x a week, while certain muscles of the upper body like the chest, 1-2x a week.
    Again, I think the argument is do they get stimulated to threshold? I think they can in most instances.

    I'm sure that contributes to it. There's also the issue of not being able to do chins/pull-ups for some novices which can further stymie hypertrophy of those muscles.
    I 100% agree here.
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  5. #25

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    Quote Originally Posted by Jordan Feigenbaum View Post
    I disagree. You see, hypertrophy attained/stimulated per session is limited by a many constraints. A few important ones:
    1) total muscle protein synthesis, which is capped at a certain level.
    2) muscle groups stimulated to threshold
    3) Fuel for hypertrophy

    If a session surpasses this threshold then more volume =/= more hypertrophy, rather it just adds unnecessarily to fatigue from a hypertrophy only standpoint.
    I think this part, along with your follow-up statements is where the crux of the issue is for me. We know that we are at threshold for squats, i.e. doing SSLP with 4x a week squats, or higher volume of squats would not be productive. But it seems the line for upper body lifts is not as clear. Are we truly at threshold for, say, chest development?

    Hypothetically, what if a novice did LP but instead focused on bench 3x a week and alternated squats and pulls? What would the bench, as well as related hypertrophy look like at the end, compared to SSLP? I think it would be higher, indicating that it is under-stimulated during SSLP.

    However, the point is perhaps that we have a fixed amount of protein synthesis we can trigger, as you have pointed out, so for novices we choose to focus on more squatting because it delivers a bigger bang for the buck from a strength perspective.

    Quote Originally Posted by Jordan Feigenbaum View Post
    I don't necessarily think that's necessarily true always. Rather, I think many come to SS without any sort of formal lower body training and some history of upper body training, e.g. pull ups, pushups, +/- benching and pressing so the threshold is a little higher here, but loading should take care of that for a true novice.
    I agree with that. There's probably a grand total of one person that started SSLP with a decent squat and a history of lower body training and no upper body training. You can't see legs in the mirror or when wearing pants, why work them out, bro?

    Quote Originally Posted by Jordan Feigenbaum View Post
    Not sure, but the point is that I do not think it's a huge deal that always compromises results. Rather, I think it's likely that fatigue incurred from squatting sometimes transfers to upper body stuff and sometimes it doesn't. Sometimes other things contribute to fatigue that we don't even think about. It's nuanced, IMO.
    Sure. But, I would think that if you measured your bench performance over time, doing the lift in a fresh state vs. after a squat session, over time, you would see better performance when doing the lift fresh.

    Quote Originally Posted by Jordan Feigenbaum View Post
    Again, I think the argument is do they get stimulated to threshold? I think they can in most instances.
    As I pointed out initially, I think this is the precise question we're trying to answer. We know for a fact we can't improve our squat faster on LP. Do we know for a fact we can't improve bench faster? I don't think we do, and I'm leaning towards yes*.

    * - But perhaps not advisable in the context of novice strength progression if the goal is max overall strength in smallest amount of time.

    On a side note, thank you for taking the time to engage in this discussion, I know you are busy. Your responses are educational to me and I appreciate it.

  6. #26

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    This is why beginners get confused. Too much conflicting information if you read too much.

  7. #27
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    Quote Originally Posted by quikky View Post
    I think the program does bias a bit towards the lower body, if one is concerned about such things to begin with. I think we're also talking about the lower body in terms of thighs and ass, and upper body in terms of torso and shoulders. There's also the arms part, and I think most trainees finish SSLP with relatively minor hypertrophy in the arms, which might contribute to the lower body bias perception. If a skinny kid starts SSLP, he will finish with a much bigger ass, but not with much bigger tri's and bi's, bruh.
    I think that you are struggling with this dilemma largely because of silly notions about aesthetics. The image of strong in your head probably isn't generated by looking at strong people, but rather by stylistic preferences in a culture that largely doesn't value or need significant strength.

    Looking "strong" for guys is really no different than looking "sexy" for women. A sexy woman should be a great lay, but most people with experience in such matters know that the visual ideals don't necessarily line up with the performance...and visuals are actually important to be sexy in a way that is unlike being strong.

    I'd argue that arm size and hip to shoulder to waist ratios are totally overemphasized in our culture as an ideal of looking strong and that they don't match up to what dudes look like when they are actually strong. Don't get me wrong. I want a decent gun show and don't want a gut, but I don't think optimizing arm training (in the pure sense of making them as strong and big as possible) is actually going to make anyone stronger and in a sense the dudes who look ideal to most of us are carrying around "unnecessary" hypertrophy, in the sense that it isn't significantly helping their lifts/making them stronger.

    Basically, maybe strong people are supposed to have what you picture as disproportionately big asses and disproportionately small arms?

  8. #28

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    Quote Originally Posted by Jordan Feigenbaum View Post
    Of course they can based on exposure, volume, etc. That said, I would say your pear shaped result is due to many factors- not "Starting Strength" programming per se.

    So, I think we should stop this right here and make you guys actually think about a given week and volume exposure.
    Upper body : 3x/wk, 45 reps + chins and pull ups
    Lower body 3x/wk, 50 reps
    You excluded the power clean. Does it do a better job at providing stimulus to whole lower body or the whole upper body and why? I lean towards lower body since hip and knee extension will create most of the momentum. And loading knee and hip extension is what causes LB development. Upper body needs movement in various directions.

    This is not a lot of emphasis on squatting IMO or blatantly favoring the lower body.

    Upper Body- 6x/wk
    Lower body- 6x/wk

    But no one would say my program is "squat dominant'. Can you please explain your argument?
    I compared the number of UB to LB exercises of programs that claimed to improve physique.

    WSFSB: 3.33:1
    70s big lp entry phase: 2:1
    BBB: 2:1
    GSLP arm plug in: 2:1
    One Main PPST: 2:1
    PHAT: 1.41:1
    SS (pc excluded): 1:1
    GSLP Base: 1:1

    Programming tends to favor a ratio greater than 1:1 when physique/UB is a stronger consideration.
    I would say 1:1 is still a fairly strong emphasis on the lower body (or a lack of upper body emphasis).


    What do you mean by "more unfavorable"? What are favorable proportions? I would love for a guy to get up to squatting 405 x 5 x 3 and benching 275 x 5 x 3 (or so) on advanced novice or LP. I doubt this would be "unfavorable proportions".
    You stated that a trainee should only think about physique until a "significant amount" of muscle is acquired. I used a 400 pound squat as proxy for that (could be too low).

    Let's say a trainee at the end of lp experiences an amount of lower body development that he is already quite satisfied with by his own aesthetic standards. This is not the case with his upper body. He also ended lp with a 300 pound squat. He would then have to continue building his squat up to 400 pounds. By that time his thighs and ass will be even bigger in circumference. I would find this unfavorable and a bit discouraging thb.

    Under favorable proportions I mean the V-Taper, developed arms in relation to thighs, not overly developed glutes, mass on the shoulder girdle, chest, back etc

    This does not support your point. There are people who have never trained seriously and do all sorts of shit and look better than anyone who has ever posted here. What is your point?
    I did SS in bodybuilding gym. Virtually nobody was pear shaped there. Never noticed anyone squatting 3x a week there either. If they did I would have met them at the power rack since I spend all my time there. Most of them squatted once or twice a week and a fair amount never squatted at all (they favored machines or didn't want the LB growth).

    The point I was trying to make is that you can have better odds than SS gives you at developing your upper body in relation to your lower body. This takes into account the low 1:1 ratio and the chin-up/pull-up progress which can be hit or miss.

  9. #29
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    So, I think missing from this conversation is the overall systemic affect Squats and Deadlifts have on the whole body, especially for a novice lifter. These lifts in particular seem to force a significant increase of mass on the entire body in most males when loaded progressively and provided with adequate fuel and sleep. I work with a guy who follows a more traditional body building routine with lots of upper body work, lots of volume, lots of isolation work, and absolutely no compound lifts. We are similar height, similar training histories (if you can call it that), similar age, and similar builds. I pretty much only squat, pull, press and do chins. I weigh about 40 pounds more, have a larger chest, larger arms, and significantly larger legs. Additionally, his posterior chain is clearly lacking in development.

    Bottom line: regardless of genetics and build, if you want upper body size, squats and pulls need to be a frequent staple in your programming.


    *** I know, I know, I am a genetic outlier

  10. #30
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    Quote Originally Posted by quikky View Post
    I think this part, along with your follow-up statements is where the crux of the issue is for me. We know that we are at threshold for squats, i.e. doing SSLP with 4x a week squats, or higher volume of squats would not be productive. But it seems the line for upper body lifts is not as clear. Are we truly at threshold for, say, chest development?
    I believe we are, yes, and I don't think I've heard/read a counter argument that is strong...yet. But we're still typing so maybe we'll get there...

    Hypothetically, what if a novice did LP but instead focused on bench 3x a week and alternated squats and pulls? What would the bench, as well as related hypertrophy look like at the end, compared to SSLP? I think it would be higher, indicating that it is under-stimulated during SSLP.
    I think it would be the same hypertrophy wise, but stronger bench strength. Why do you think this? If you can articulate why here, perhaps you will make your case, but if you can't...well, then...we're just typing away here.....

    However, the point is perhaps that we have a fixed amount of protein synthesis we can trigger, as you have pointed out, so for novices we choose to focus on more squatting because it delivers a bigger bang for the buck from a strength perspective.
    I'm not sure how you connected "fixed amount of protein synthesis" to "this is why we focus on the squat", because I wouldn't say SSLP focuses on the squat anymore than my current RPE type program "focuses on the squat" and I certainly don't think SSLP was created secondary to the knowledge of muscle protein synthesis thresholds.

    Sure. But, I would think that if you measured your bench performance over time, doing the lift in a fresh state vs. after a squat session, over time, you would see better performance when doing the lift fresh.
    Having run multiple blocks of training with bench set up like this, I have not experienced that so, for now I will disagree and further - to circle back to your initial statement vs. veering off course- do you think that a heavier bench press (done under less fatigue) = more hypertrophy? I VEHEMENTLY disagree with this based on known physiological principles about training.

    As I pointed out initially, I think this is the precise question we're trying to answer. We know for a fact we can't improve our squat faster on LP. Do we know for a fact we can't improve bench faster? I don't think we do, and I'm leaning towards yes*.
    That wasn't the initial concern- it was about size and an overdeveloped lower body (aesthetics wise), right?


    Quote Originally Posted by samstrength View Post
    This is why beginners get confused. Too much conflicting information if you read too much.
    I suppose that is possible.


    Quote Originally Posted by Drone View Post
    You excluded the power clean. Does it do a better job at providing stimulus to whole lower body or the whole upper body and why?
    Neither really tbh given the lack of eccentric. In general, I think the traps and back get some good work from a isometric standpoint, but as far as hypertrophy stimulus, probably not a good choice overall.

    I lean towards lower body since hip and knee extension will create most of the momentum. And loading knee and hip extension is what causes LB development. Upper body needs movement in various directions.
    How do you figure upper body needs movement in various directions?


    I compared the number of UB to LB exercises of programs that claimed to improve physique.

    WSFSB: 3.33:1
    70s big lp entry phase: 2:1
    BBB: 2:1
    GSLP arm plug in: 2:1
    One Main PPST: 2:1
    PHAT: 1.41:1
    SS (pc excluded): 1:1
    GSLP Base: 1:1

    Programming tends to favor a ratio greater than 1:1 when physique/UB is a stronger consideration.
    I would say 1:1 is still a fairly strong emphasis on the lower body (or a lack of upper body emphasis).
    I think this ignores how bodies actually grow during a novice progression.

    You stated that a trainee should only think about physique until a "significant amount" of muscle is acquired. I used a 400 pound squat as proxy for that (could be too low).
    That tells me nothing about their muscular development, really.

    Let's say a trainee at the end of lp experiences an amount of lower body development that he is already quite satisfied with by his own aesthetic standards. This is not the case with his upper body. He also ended lp with a 300 pound squat. He would then have to continue building his squat up to 400 pounds. By that time his thighs and ass will be even bigger in circumference. I would find this unfavorable and a bit discouraging thb.
    You assume that his legs need to grow to get stronger? You also assume that his upper body will not have progressed at the maximal rate possible as a novice. Why? Do you think that upper body requires more volume and exposure to training from the get go, even when previously untrained? If so, why?

    Under favorable proportions I mean the V-Taper, developed arms in relation to thighs, not overly developed glutes, mass on the shoulder girdle, chest, back etc
    What are overly developed glutes and how the f is someone going to get a V taper if they have no muscle mass?

    I did SS in bodybuilding gym. Virtually nobody was pear shaped there. Never noticed anyone squatting 3x a week there either. If they did I would have met them at the power rack since I spend all my time there. Most of them squatted once or twice a week and a fair amount never squatted at all (they favored machines or didn't want the LB growth).
    Well, I think that settles it. Might your experience be colored by some other confounding variables?
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