Search
Get “The Commercial Gym Trainers’ Guide to Dominating the Gym Floor”
Writing Personal Training Programs: The Hypertrophy/Body Composition Phase- Kasey Esser

Writing Personal Training Programs: The Hypertrophy/Body Composition Phase

In the last post, I went over the GPP phase of a system I’ve been using for primarily general population clients.  That phase dealt with cleaning up movement issues that a client will more than likely have when starting a training program.

 

Now that all that is taken care of, it’s time to do WORK!

 

The Hypertrophy/Body Composition phase is where the magic happens with regard to aesthetic changes.  Hypertrophy is the first word in the title because THAT is the primary goal.  Lean muscle mass is absolutely NECESSARY for you to be a fat-burning machine.

Without a foundation of muscle, it’s tough to get your metabolism to a point where you are continually burning fat for the long-haul.

Writing Personal Training Programs: The Hypertrophy/Body Composition Phase- Kasey Esser

 

To paint the picture, let’s say you went to the gym and did cardio for 30 minutes on the elliptical 5x/week.  If you were sedentary beforehand, you will no doubt lose some weight.  Even if you were slightly active, you will probably lose a few pounds.

Compare that to someone who trains with free weights for that same time and frequency.  This person may not see a huge difference in how much they weigh, but they will look a lot better in the mirror because they are actually CHANGING THE STRUCTURE OF THEIR BODY.

In other words, the cardio fanatic will get smaller and the free weight beast will look better.  Plus, the free weight beast is setting themselves up for long-term success by establishing a base of lean mass that will keep them burning calories all day long.  The cardio fanatic does not have this luxury.  They will hit a plateau and fail to make further changes to their body.  It’s inevitable.

That may sound harsh, but if you are interested in transforming your body, simply doing cardio will not do it.  You have to build muscle.  I don’t care who you are.  If that scares you or you would rather do barre class, go ahead.  But don’t expect to see a dramatic change.

(And that’s nothing against barre class, that’s just an example…I like barres…what are they again?)

 Writing Personal Training Programs: The Hypertrophy/Body Composition Phase- Kasey Esser

Now that we’ve cleared that up, let’s move on to what exactly this phase entails.

 

The Desired Result of the Hypertrophy/Body Comp Phase

 

Add lean body mass, while subsequently losing bodyfat

 

Boom, that’s it.

 

Benchmark:

#1:  Probably around 3-5 pounds of muscle gain if the trainee is a blank slate to structured strength-training or around 1-2 if they have a few years of training under their belt

 

Maintenance Benchmark: (what to check at the end of the phase to ensure nothing is being compromised)

#1:  Symmetrical 14 on the FMS

 

 

The Assessment Marker(s)

 

#1:  Before/After Photos

#2:  Bodyfat Calipers

#3:  Bodyweight Scale

 

Photos are the most objective measure because they don’t lie (unless you use Photoshop, you sly devil, you).  How you look is how you look.  The calipers and scale serve a purpose with regard to measuring muscle growth, but the photos will show the EFFECT that muscle growth is having on your appearance.

 

How to Practically Structure a Hypertrophy/Body Composition Program

 

As with the GPP phase, it’s important to establish a weekly training plan.

 

Here is how one would look in this phase;

 

Sunday

AM:  Conditioning

PM:  Foam Roll

 

Monday

AM:  Strength-Train (Lower-Emphasis)

PM:  Rest

 

Tuesday

AM:  Foam Roll

PM:  Rest

 

Wednesday

AM:  Strength-Train (Lower-Emphasis)

PM:  Foam Roll

 

Thursday

AM:  Conditioning

PM:  Foam Roll

 

Friday

AM:  Strength-Train (Upper-Emphasis)

PM:  Rest

 

Saturday

AM:  Foam Roll

PM:  Rest

 

It’s pretty much the same with a 3x/week GPP weekly plan.  The difference will obviously be in the set-up of the individual sessions.

 

The Warm-Up

Because the client was cleared with a solid 14 on the FMS, there really isn’t a need to screen them on anything right when they come in.  You actually don’t need to screen at all during the session or do anything that’s specifically “corrective”.  Just go straight into the warm-up and work on what they need.

I keep the same flow of movements as in the GPP phase, the only difference is that some drills are progressed.  As an example, if they were doing a passive leg lowering drill in GPP, then maybe now you have them do an unassisted leg lower.  Things like that.

Overall, it should still take around 5 minutes, and it could even go quicker now that you are not screening or correcting anything.

 

The Strength Work

 

Alright, let’s build some muscle!

 

In a 3x/week program, I’m looking to have one day revolve around the deadlift, one day revolve around the squat, and the 3rd day centering around the overhead press.  These are the big 3.  Bench press can be substituted for the overhead press, depending on the client.

 

Here is a 3-day template, with a few weekly set and rep progressions shown for the bigger lifts;

 

Day 1

 

A1) Snatch Progression or Lower Body Explosive

3 x 3-5

A2) Core Anti-Extension

2 x 8-10

A3) Mobility Drill (usually related to hinge)

2 x 6-8

 

B1) Deadlift Variation

W1: 2 x 6-8

W2: 4 x 6-8

W3: 4 x 6-8

W4: 3 x 6-8

B2) Thoracic Mobility Drill

 

C1) Vertical Pull

3 x 8-10

C2) 1-Leg Knee-Dominant Static Supported

3 x 8-10 each

C3) Horizontal Press

3 x 8-10

C4) Mobility Drill

2 x 6-8

 

D1) Core Anti-Rotation

3 x 8-10

D2) Carry (for distance)

3 x 40 yards

 

Day 2

 

A1) Squat Variation

W1: 3 x 6-8

W2: 4 x 6-8

W3: 4 x 6-8

W4: 3 x 6-8

A2) Squat Patterning

2-3 x 6-8

 

B1) Horizontal Pull

3 x 8-10

B2) 1-Leg Hip-Dominant

3 x 8-10

B3) Core Anti-Lateral Flexion

3 x 8-10

B4) Mobility Drill

2 x 6-8

 

Day 3

 

A1) Clean Progression or Upper Body Explosive

3 x 3-5

A2) Core Anti-Extension

2 x 8-10

A3) Mobility Drill (usually related to overhead press prep)

2 x 6-8

 

B1) Overhead Press Variation

W1:  3 x 8-10

W2:  4 x 8-10

W3:  4 x 8-10

W4:  3 x 6-8

B2) Core Anti-Rotation

2-3 x 8-10

B3) Mobility Drill

2 x 6-8

 

C1) Vertical Pull

3 x 8-10

C2) Horizontal Press

3 x 8-10

C3) 2-Leg Hip-Dominant

3 x 8-10

C4) Mobility Drill

2 x 6-8

 

D1) Horizontal Pull

3 x 8-10

D2) Carry (for time)

3 x 40 seconds

 

A few notes on the above;

 

#1:  Depending on what the client is looking to accomplish, Olympic lifts are introduced here.  When I say it depends, what I really mean is,

 

Is it going to be worth the client’s time to put in the significant investment it takes to properly learn the Olympic lifts?

 

Like I said, this system is for primarily general population clients.  In a normal O-lift split, there would be a much higher frequency of…Olympic lifting.  So we’re not looking to qualify for any Games, just looking to develop some power and overall athleticism.

If Olympic lifting isn’t the route you want to go, there’s the option of putting in any lower or upper-body explosive drill.  These are typically entry-level drills that will build off of each other in each phase (e.g. box jumps for lower body, medicine ball slams for upper body).

 

#2:  You’ll notice compared to the GPP phase, the volume is quite a bit higher.  That’s because volume is the primary driver of hypertrophy, plus we’re looking to burn some serious calories.

 

#3:  The mobility drills don’t serve the same purpose as in GPP, with regard to influencing the FMS, but they are just as important.  This is because constantly moving is a big proponent of fat-loss.  The downside to constantly moving, however, is that technique tends to suffer.

But when you throw in some straight-forward drills that don’t demand a lot of weight or precision, it solves that issue, while still keeping that person moving.  The possibilities are pretty vast here, so use what you think would be best for your client.

For example, I had a client that needed some serious stress-relief on a consistent basis, so we would do some lateral shuffles with a tennis ball being thrown back-and-forth in their “rest” break.  In other words, it doesn’t have to be a mobility drill, just do something low-level and moderately challenging.

 

 

Conditioning

In GPP, we worked on building an aerobic base.  That is continued here, but with long-duration intervals.  Stealing from Joel Jamieson, these are called “cardiac power intervals”.

A sample workout would be 4 sets of 60 seconds fast on the treadmill, followed by 2 minutes at a slower pace.  Each week, one set would be added, culminating in 7 total sets by the 4th week.

 

Wrap-Up

This phase is 8 weeks, broken into 2 4-week cycles.  In the 2nd 4 weeks, everything is pretty much the same, it’s just the weights get heavier for the primary lifts (deadlift, squat, overhead, and bench press) as a segue into the max strength phase.

With the general population, this phase is where you will probably hang out the majority of the year.  I’ve found it to be very effective at laying the necessary foundation of muscle needed to get aesthetic results throughout the training year and beyond.

 

I hope that was somewhat articulate.  I’ll be back soon with the specifics of the Maximal Strength phase.

Go build some sick lean mass!!!!

 

Dominate All Life,

Kasey, CSCS

 

Cut through the non-sense and pick up some great tips to transform your body by signing up for my

5-Day Body Transformation Secrets Series

I’m on Facebook, Twitter, and YouTube and would love to “meet” you and connect.