CrossFit Discussion Board

CrossFit Discussion Board (
-   Fitness (
-   -   Hypertrophy with CFFB (

Ian Strand 10-18-2009 12:11 PM

Hypertrophy with CFFB
I'll ask this on the CFFB site as well... I apologize if this has been discussed before, but I haven't found any answers specific to my questions.

I am your typical 'hard gainer', but I now realize that this has been a result of never committing to taking in enough calories.

Quick background:

1) Bodybuilding without a clue for years.
2) Started crossfitting maybe 2 years ago. Commitment has never been an issue, but I fight forest fires every summer which doesn't allow any time for working out for about a 3 month period.
3) Recently I have been following the CFFB site, as I enjoy the increased emphasis on strength gains.

Age: 29
Height: 6'1"
Weight: 180lbs, about 6-7% bodyfat.

Question: Along with increasing my calories (I am starting with 1/2 GOMAD, and I'll work up from there, otherwise I eat close to paleo), would increasing the reps involved with the CFFB strength workout be a bit more effective for hypertrophy? I was thinking for days where sets of 1 are prescribed, I would raise this to 5 (and probably reduce the number of sets), and where sets of 5 are prescribed, I would increase this to 10, and change everything in between accordingly.

I was also thinking of adding in a *small* amount of additional lifts (read: isolation. yes, isolation.) after the WODs in order to increase volume.

Thoughts? Suggestions? I would like to get up to 190lbs with the same BF% this winter. I know that my ideas are probably springing from the bodybuilding past in me... but is that such a bad thing?

Steven Low 10-18-2009 01:06 PM

Re: Hypertrophy with CFFB
No, eating more is effective for hypertrophy.

Moving heavy weight is a requisite.

Adding additional movements or increasing reps in well designed programs is always a bad idea. Remember, the goal of CFFB is already to build mass and increase power so.... you're trying to make it do more?

Just work hard, and eat and you will see results.

Honestly, if your numbers on lifts are that low you may be better off on something like Starting Strength.

Ian Strand 10-18-2009 01:54 PM

Re: Hypertrophy with CFFB
Thanks Steven. So, should I ignore all the conventional wisdom out there about rep schemes of 5-10 being most effective for hypertrophy (not trying to be cheeky here, an honest question)?

As far as Starting Strength goes, I have given it a go but I was not able to continue with linear progression (I know, calories calories calories...). However, isn't it mainly a program for beginners? While far from being an elite lifter, this is how my numbers stack up against Crossfit Seattle's spreadsheet:

Deadlift 410 - 2.28 X bodyweight
Squat 275 - 1.53 X bodyweight
Clean 215 - 1.2 X bodyweight
Press 150 - .83 X bodyweight

And so on. Not taking that spreadsheet as gospel, but those numbers put me in the 'Advanced' category (I would actually consider myself an intermediate, however).

Further, I am taking relatively frequent fitness tests these days in attempt to become a structural firefighter, which requires me to maintain a decent level of metcon / cardiovascular fitness (i.e. <9:30 1.5 mile run, plenty of ~6 - 10 minute tests) in order to be competitive. I don't think SS is compatible with this.

Anyways, the main point I took from your post is: don't screw with the CFFB numbers.

Steven Webster 10-18-2009 02:21 PM

Re: Hypertrophy with CFFB
Your question depends on how much of a 'bodybuilder' you want to be. You can bodybuild as Steven Low suggests, but you will not be so much of a pure bodybuilder without concentrated volume and subsequent fatigue. If you are built for endurance it is likely you have a lot of endurance fibers, and you may benefit from high repetitions, not to say that you should concentrate on only high reps.

Starting strength is aggressive overload, which is out of tune with the bodys ability to cope. No-one can carry on adding weight to the bar quickly. At some point you need to stall and stick with a given workload before moving on.

Extra calories is no excuse for shoddy programming. Too many people getting extra big to inflate their numbers. Is all that extra weight necessary, or maybe you can remain small but very strong? Many olympic lifters manage their weight and their strength.

So what's it going to be?

Steven Low 10-18-2009 05:42 PM

Re: Hypertrophy with CFFB
If you're talking about the volume needed for hypertrophy, the metabolic aspect of CFFB is more than enough to stimulate enough damage. Especially at the weights CFFB uses.

Let's also put it this way: all of the biggest BBers move huge amounts of weight. If you can move huge amounts of weight, you WILL get big provided you eat for it.

After you get big and strong and get your numbers up into advanced/elite range add in your isolations if you need any more definition.

Justin Chebahtah 10-19-2009 09:49 PM

Re: Hypertrophy with CFFB

Originally Posted by Steven Webster (Post 682011)
Starting strength is aggressive overload, which is out of tune with the bodys ability to cope. No-one can carry on adding weight to the bar quickly. At some point you need to stall and stick with a given workload before moving on.

Aggressive for whom? For a novice, it's effective programming since by definition you can recover and "supercompensate" by the next workout. Linear progression does not work past the novice stage as we all know. Or is this what you were saying?

Steven Webster 10-19-2009 11:28 PM

Re: Hypertrophy with CFFB
Justin, a lot of programs will work for a beginner. Starting Strength has frequency, volume, rotation, intensity... most of the elements that make it a good program. I think one requirement is 'always add weight' and always go all out. This is why I think it is aggressive.

I'm not sure what a novice is, but who actually progresses in a truly linear fashion? The body just does not fit with our ideas of what it can and cannot do. Sometimes we force it... but there's always room for manoeuvre; when you cannot lift more weight you can use the same weights and grind out more reps.

How you progress depends on how well you manage fatigue.

Peter Terry Haas 10-20-2009 11:30 AM

Re: Hypertrophy with CFFB
I think Steve's advice is the best. I'm coming off a 10 week hypertrophy cycle from the performance menu. During that time I lifted 5x per week, with only 3 exercises per session, and never more than 5 reps per set. I'm up to 200lbs from 180lbs. I am rather surprised, according to Rip's strength chart I was already intermediate/advanced. I think I gained the weight and put on the strength because I busted *** and ate like a monster.

One of our trainees has been doing paleo + GOMAD. We follow a strength biased template, w/ one lift per day and a short metcon. Our work weights never go over 3 reps. He's gone from 160lbs to 175lbs in 4 weeks. All his lifts have gone up rather dramatically also. He is also setting new PR's in his benchmark workouts.

We have both put on body fat. We joke that we no longer have '6 packs', we have 'power packs'. Once reaching our target bodyweights, we will both modify our diets and cut back down about 5 lbs. I do not think we would have achieved our level of success in such a short amount of time if we had tried to stay in single digit bodyfat.

So again, what Steve said. Move heavy weights. Go short but hard on metcons. And eat more. More than you did yesterday, and more than you ever have before.

Richard Paul Ham-Williams 10-20-2009 11:48 AM

Re: Hypertrophy with CFFB
Hypertrophy can be simple if the right things are done, same with getting stronger.

however, to say that simply eating alot and getting stronger will do it is over simplifying things a little too much.

Especially as a point will come when strength gains halt.

Think of the thousands of people around the world lifting heavy and eating loads - thats a lot of people doing exactly as prescribed here and all you get is alot of strong fat people in gyms.

Bodybuilding (in the sense that you want to build more muscle, not oil up and prance about) is a fine quest if you are trying to build yourself to feel better and perform better. More muscle helps nealry all sports - nearly!

Things to consider are range of motion, skill learning, fatigue, recovery and volume.

High volume of work is not a requirement for hypertrophy, it can be used to reach a goal but high volume is not needed.

Ian Strand 10-20-2009 09:52 PM

Re: Hypertrophy with CFFB
Hey Richard, can you elaborate on "things to consider"? I liked your defintion of "bodybuilding", but you're right - I want to "build" my body with more mass, but am not looking to become a bodybuilder, "oiled up and prancing around".

Steven Webster, I'd like to put on some size for some job specific reasons - more size will make strength increases come much quicker (and strength goes a long way in my job), and frankly I wouldn't mind walking into some of these structural fire interviews weighing 10-15 pounds more than I do now.

As far as eating more goes, I am eating more; beginning with 1/2GOMAD, which seems to already be having a positive effect (I felt really strong today), although it's too early to tell. I'll stick with it for a bit and see how the scale responds; I am not really interested (yet) in taking down a whole gallon a day. On the same token, I am not really concerned about losing the six pack. It will come back.

I'm sticking with CFFB for now, pushing myself hard, documenting everything and drinking that whole milk. I'll see how this week goes. If the scale moves, I'll stick with it. If not, more calories. I'll try to remember to report back with observations and numbers.

All times are GMT -7. The time now is 02:47 PM.

Powered by vBulletin® Version 3.6.8
Copyright ©2000 - 2019, Jelsoft Enterprises Ltd.
CrossFit is a registered trademark of CrossFit Inc.