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Thread: High volume for presses

  1. #1

    Default High volume for presses

    Guys

    I've been reading around old threads and one common recommendation among experienced lifters is to do a lot of volume on the presses to get good progress as an intermediate, particularly on the bench. For example I've often seen advised two upper body exercises per session.

    I'd be tempted to do something like:

    Monday
    Heavy bench + CGBP

    Wednesday
    Heavy Press + rows

    Friday
    Medium bench + Incline bench

    My question is: wouldn't a program such as this one actually be better described as HMH? Wouldn't it be very hard to recover from? If it isn't that hard, then why is the standard HLM template recommending just 1 UB exercise per day which then seems suboptimal?

    I'd like to improve my presses by a lot because they suck. Squats and pulls will take a back seat. I'm a 34 year old earlyish intermediate, currently on a cut following LP and a cycle of TM (I plan to go on a very slow bulk starting in a few weeks).

  2. #2
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    H L and M are context-specific. A heavy press for an intermediate is still probably a light stimulus to the triceps compared to a bench session. From reading the posts of more qualified people, it seems that lots of "clean" (meaning smooth, without grinding) reps at a load that necessitates the "correct" bar path drives progress. Your example template probably wouldn't help someone drive their press, but might help the bench depending on the circumstances.

  3. #3
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    I'm doing HLM lower-body and HHM upper-body. Getting away with it so far.

    Monday:
    squat heavy, deadlift heavy
    bench/press new 5rm, 2 sets of 5 at -5%, chins 1 set

    Wednesday:
    squat light
    bench/press new 5rm, 2 sets of 5 at -5%, chins 3 sets

    Friday:
    squat medium, deadlift medium
    bench/press 3 sets of 5 at -5%, chins 1 set

    My recovery sucks (51, low T) but right now as an early intermediate I can tolerate more UB than LB stress.

    If/when my shoulders start feeling beat up, I plan to drop back to HMM and maybe lighten the volume sets to -7% or -10%.
    Last edited by cwd; 04-18-2017 at 10:30 AM.

  4. #4
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    My advice would be to put the "heavy" sessions as far apart in a week as possible, not two days apart. If you feel you MUST add a third day of pressing - do it in between the two heavy sessions.

  5. #5

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    Quote Originally Posted by Chebass88 View Post
    My advice would be to put the "heavy" sessions as far apart in a week as possible
    At this point I don't know which of heavy press or medium bench is the "heaviest" in terms of stress...

  6. #6
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    Even a "heavy" press or bench are never going to be all that "heavy" compared to squats and deadlifts, which is why you can get more frequency with them. Smaller muscles are going to recover and lifts that use less muscle mass overall as well as less weight or going to be faster to recover.

    In some folks' minds, a heavy press is looked at as a medium bench.

  7. #7
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    Quote Originally Posted by kanahan View Post
    Guys

    I've been reading around old threads and one common recommendation among experienced lifters is to do a lot of volume on the presses to get good progress as an intermediate, particularly on the bench. For example I've often seen advised two upper body exercises per session.

    I'd be tempted to do something like:

    Monday
    Heavy bench + CGBP

    Wednesday
    Heavy Press + rows

    Friday
    Medium bench + Incline bench

    My question is: wouldn't a program such as this one actually be better described as HMH? Wouldn't it be very hard to recover from? If it isn't that hard, then why is the standard HLM template recommending just 1 UB exercise per day which then seems suboptimal?
    Doing two movements per session doesn't, necessarily, mean this is a high volume programme. At an extreme, you could do a limit single on bench and a close-grip 5RM in your Monday session - heavy yes, but not high volume. Doing eight sets of five on one movement would be a high volume session (for most people).

    In general, volume (weight x reps x sets) is an important driver of progress, along with frequent enough exposure to heavy weights. So, what set / rep schemes are you thinking within the overall framework?

    Most of the people I've seen making good bench progress as late intermediates and beyond are benching 3-4 times a week with some assistance work thrown in (I'd count pressing as assistance in that context). 80+ working reps a week is not uncommon, as long as they are sub-maximal. The exact movement variants used are less important than the total volume, IMO.


    Quote Originally Posted by kanahan View Post
    I'd like to improve my presses by a lot because they suck. Squats and pulls will take a back seat. I'm a 34 year old earlyish intermediate, currently on a cut following LP and a cycle of TM (I plan to go on a very slow bulk starting in a few weeks).
    In your specific circumstance, I'd be tempted to re-run a form of LP once you are gaining weight again, using a HMH set-up with a top set of 5 followed by 2-4 back-offs at 90% for the heavy days, and high rep close-grips or Press (e.g. 5 sets of 6-10, with at least 3 reps in the tank) on the middle day. Microload the 5RMs until it stops progressing then move to a HLM set-up using "x1 @ 8 + lots of volume" type model on heavy day.

  8. #8

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    Regarding sets and reps, I would run cycles of 5 reps x3 sets, 4x4, 3x5 on heavy.

    Similarly on medium I would cycle 6x3 at 75% 1RM, 5x3 at 80%, 4x3 at 85%.

    Probably use same weight on CGBP and incline as medium bench, I've just tried incline today and it feels like I can handle that kind of load. Probably same programming as medium too, or maybe just 5x3 to keep it simple.

    PS: no idea what "1 @8 + lots of volume" means in practice. (In theory, I know)
    Last edited by kanahan; 04-20-2017 at 12:03 PM.

  9. #9
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    Quote Originally Posted by kanahan View Post
    currently on a cut following LP and a cycle of TM (I plan to go on a very slow bulk starting in a few weeks).
    This will make things tricky depending on how your cut is going. When you start your bulk in a few weeks, your presses will be better off.

    I went from benching twice a week, which I thought was more than I could handle, to 3x a week and I thought it would kill my recovery and fry my shoulders. In two weeks of my 3x bench programming, my e1RM shot up 16 pounds and I didn't even gain any weight.

  10. #10
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    Quote Originally Posted by kanahan View Post
    PS: no idea what "1 @8 + lots of volume" means in practice. (In theory, I know)
    So, in practice, this is working up to a reasonably challenging single then doing 8-10 sets across afterwards. I tend to cycle rep ranges. A typical four weeks for me (weights in kg) might be:
    - 165 x 1 + 140 x 5 x 8
    - 167.5 x 1 + 155 x 3 x 8
    - 167.5 x 1 + 160 x 2 x 10 (repeated single as feeling fatigued)
    - 170 x 1 + 165 x 1 x 10

    Medium day is a variant (2 count / 3 count / pin press / Slingshot etc), for 1 @ 8 + 3-4 sets of 3-4 reps

    Light day is close grip for 4-6 sets of 6-12 reps

    Throw in a few Presses and BB rows when time / energy / fatigue allows

    I've added c15kg to my bench in the last two months on this, whilst dropping a little bit of bodyweight

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