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View Full Version : Westside Training: Most important concept you have gotten from training?



icedutah
12-14-2009, 04:31 PM
There's one very important thing I have taken from Westside Barbell training. In regards to Max Effort training. Never do the same max effort (90% plus) exercise in back to back weeks. No more than 3 - 5 sets as well to avoid over training.

Yet when I see peoples training programs and logs they constantly break this idea. I have first hand experience with this back in the day and doing back to back Max lifts. I could tell that I just stalled. Now I never break that "Westside Rule".

Just one real life example is Brian Schwab's logs over on EliteFTS. If you look at his ME bench days all he ever does is puts on his DD shirt and does board presses. Not just him but many lifters and Elite lifters do this. I just sometimes have to say why!?

Travis Bell
12-14-2009, 04:39 PM
Interesting question!

I guess one of the more important concepts that I end up sharing a lot with people is the selection of max effort exercises. Most people see person X doing one ME lift and they figure they should just do it as well.

You need to be smart in picking specific exercises that you are poor at. Too often people just pick a lift that they enjoy doing or are good at already and then wonder why they never progress. The reason is, is that they are never training their weaknesses.

As far as Schwabby's log, I'll just say that what Brian does works exceptionally well for him. Bench is easily one of his best lifts. What you may be confusing is that Brian never really claims to train on a Westside routine. He just does what works for him, which happens to be shirted boards a lot. Don't be mistaken though, he's a crazy strong raw bencher.

The other thing you have to remember is that a lot of these guys spent years and years building up to where they are now. Before now they developed a good base by rotating specific exercises in the right pattern and have developed a specific routine that works well for them and them alone.

Lones Green
12-14-2009, 04:44 PM
Yeah, this is a very cool thread.

I've learned a ton from Westside. When I read the title I immediately thought, "the conjugate method." Kind of goes along with what Travis said. Westside isn't exactly something you can put on paper, it looks different for everyone. The max effort movements and even assistance is geared toward weaknesses, so workouts vary a ton from person to person. It's quite hard to become stagnant on a program with so much change and evolution

Plus things like being able to apply the program to athletes, or anyone, is pretty cool.

JK1
12-14-2009, 04:46 PM
Like Travis said, identification of weak points. You are only as strong as your weakest point in a given lift. If you bring up your weak areas, you will get stronger.

The other thing I've learned is the importance of appropriate deloads. You can beat the **** out of yourself training with a Westside format. Back off a little bit from time to time and you will come back stronger.

NickAus
12-14-2009, 05:10 PM
GOOD THREAD, for me I think the conjugate method is one of the main things that has helped.

I also think training with bands made me stronger at a faster rate than if I had only used straight weight.

The fact that Louie has people work really hard on the lats, upperback, triceps and hamstrings is also a big part of why it works so well IMO.

MarcusWild
12-14-2009, 05:20 PM
I can only pick one?

Doing a second barbell movement as my first accessory. I do this on ME lower, ME upper, and DE upper days. I try to get 3-5 sets of 3-5 reps. When I feel beat up, I just do 3x5 with the same weight. When I feel good, I try to push for a PR on the 3RM or 5RM. On DE lower, I alternate between this and speed pulls.

sayagain
12-14-2009, 05:28 PM
I can only pick one?

Doing a second barbell movement as my first accessory. I do this on ME lower, ME upper, and DE upper days. I try to get 3-5 sets of 3-5 reps. When I feel beat up, I just do 3x5 with the same weight. When I feel good, I try to push for a PR on the 3RM or 5RM. On DE lower, I alternate between this and speed pulls.

That is a great point. Travis always talks about making sure that you get your volume in when doing a Westside style program. This is a great way to do that.

slashkills
12-14-2009, 05:30 PM
the biggest thing for me is lots of volume at higher percentages on ME lifts

robchris
12-14-2009, 05:50 PM
Conjugate is by far the best method... Bands/chains ME,DE, really work well for me! WSB rules!

- On a side note, I think Brain does a lot of bd. presses to limit his range of motion. He had a partial pec tear early in his lifting career and has since modified his full-range work.(I can relate:( )

Travis Bell
12-14-2009, 07:00 PM
- On a side note, I think Brain does a lot of bd. presses to limit his range of motion. He had a partial pec tear early in his lifting career and has since modified his full-range work.(I can relate:( )

My brain does board presses too!

Me thinks smarter makes it does me

Brain board pressed do leave nasty goose bumps though and can cause dain bramage

SEOINAGE
12-14-2009, 07:23 PM
So lets say quads are my weakness in the squat, whats your top pick for assistance work I should be doing?

To the original question, I'm loving the variation I get with westside, what I do also isn't nearly the same as anyone else. I'm having a lot of fun with it though. But I also noticed I had to change ME exercises every week cause If I repeated one it would always be less the next time.

Lones Green
12-14-2009, 07:32 PM
My brain does board presses too!

Me thinks smarter makes it does me

Brain board pressed do leave nasty goose bumps though and can cause dain bramage

LOL!!!

Lones Green
12-14-2009, 07:32 PM
So lets say quads are my weakness in the squat, whats your top pick for assistance work I should be doing?

To the original question, I'm loving the variation I get with westside, what I do also isn't nearly the same as anyone else. I'm having a lot of fun with it though. But I also noticed I had to change ME exercises every week cause If I repeated one it would always be less the next time.

Bulgarian split squats would be good, maybe some high rep leg press. Hack squats and leg extensions both can be tough on the knees.

You want to keep the majority of the work on your posterior chain though, when you sit back and practice proper form, your posterior chain should be the key player to your squat

robchris
12-14-2009, 08:59 PM
My brain does board presses too!

Me thinks smarter makes it does me

Brain board pressed do leave nasty goose bumps though and can cause dain bramage

Who the he** is Tarvis Belk?

Sorry for the typo's bro... And all this time I thought Vinnie was the teacher on this board! LMAO!!:)

chris mason
12-14-2009, 09:03 PM
I'd sat conjugate variety and assistance work.

SEOINAGE
12-14-2009, 09:17 PM
Bulgarian split squats would be good, maybe some high rep leg press. Hack squats and leg extensions both can be tough on the knees.

You want to keep the majority of the work on your posterior chain though, when you sit back and practice proper form, your posterior chain should be the key player to your squat

I'll try some of those, did some front squats after my speed banded box squat and a little deadlift. Reason I ask is I don't see a ton of emphasis on the quads which I understand, but I feel like my quads don't get any work since I have been powerlifting and squatting wide and sitting back properly, and i thought a little quad work would be good to keep my knees healthy by having htem strong enough when I do daily activities. maybe I'm being stupid.

douglasoh5
12-14-2009, 09:19 PM
well I lift with alot of EX siders and Id say Iv learned that you need to train heavy but know when to back off...and dont kill yourself of assistance **** all the time

poopoo333
12-14-2009, 10:31 PM
There's one very important thing I have taken from Westside Barbell training. In regards to Max Effort training. Never do the same max effort (90% plus) exercise in back to back weeks. No more than 3 - 5 sets as well to avoid over training.

Yet when I see peoples training programs and logs they constantly break this idea. I have first hand experience with this back in the day and doing back to back Max lifts. I could tell that I just stalled. Now I never break that "Westside Rule".

Just one real life example is Brian Schwab's logs over on EliteFTS. If you look at his ME bench days all he ever does is puts on his DD shirt and does board presses. Not just him but many lifters and Elite lifters do this. I just sometimes have to say why!?

The thing you mention about back to back ME movements.. didn't know that was a "Westside Rule". I have been doing 2 week cycles, and always on the 2nd week I hit bigger numbers then I do on the first week.

C-Sobrino
12-15-2009, 08:01 AM
The thing you mention about back to back ME movements.. didn't know that was a "Westside Rule". I have been doing 2 week cycles, and always on the 2nd week I hit bigger numbers then I do on the first week.

I think it depends on the person and the emphasis. I know there's a conversation where Buddy Morris tells Dave Tate and Jim Wendler he has athletes use an exercise 3 weeks before changing. If you're getting progress, keep doing what you're doing... As far as I understand, if you picked the right ME exercise, then progress will mean progress on your competition lift.

AdamBAG
12-15-2009, 08:19 AM
I agree with what the other guys have said already, so I will just add a few things.

You have to tweak the system to fit your needs. For example, I've found that a good ME bench rotation for me is week one full range raw, week two partial range raw, week three shirt work. That way I keep my raw strength up and get shirt technique done w/o burning myself out in the gear.

Another thing I learned is to focus on lifting with maximum effort and not focusing on breaking a PR. Breaking a PR should be a bonus. You need to work up to a heavy/tough triple before you go to singles. That way you get more volume in. A lot of guys when they first start with conjugate training focus too much on breaking a max single and basically slack off on the sets leading up to the attempt of a PR. I got a lot stronger when I focused on going to a balls out triple and then if I still felt good going to some singles. If I feel like crap after that triple then I've strained enough that day.

Darracq
12-15-2009, 09:11 AM
For the guys that have done WS for at least a couple years and drug free, how often do you hit prs on your raw bench lifts. Sometimes i wonder if doing low reps for years if i need to do something else I know it mush work for a lot of guys or they woudnt do it.

AdamBAG
12-15-2009, 09:23 AM
For the guys that have done WS for at least a couple years and drug free, how often do you hit prs on your raw bench lifts. Sometimes i wonder if doing low reps for years if i need to do something else I know it mush work for a lot of guys or they woudnt do it.

Sometimes I hit a PR and sometimes I don't. I don't usually do the same raw lifts in a rotation of 3 or 4 exercises like some people do. I use more variety, so I might not do the same exercise for 2 or 3 months. For example, I may have floor press in the rotation, but I'll vary it with bands/chains/straight weight etc.

I personally don't believe that using drugs or not matters. You just need to control your volume and deload properly. I do not use and have trained WSB methods for the last two years with no problems.

Darracq
12-15-2009, 09:35 AM
Sometimes I hit a PR and sometimes I don't. I don't usually do the same raw lifts in a rotation of 3 or 4 exercises like some people do. I use more variety, so I might not do the same exercise for 2 or 3 months. For example, I may have floor press in the rotation, but I'll vary it with bands/chains/straight weight etc.

I personally don't believe that using drugs or not matters. You just need to control your volume and deload properly. I do not use and have trained WSB methods for the last two years with no problems.



I dont compete i just want to get as strong as i can raw, so that might make a difference not sure. I seem to do better if i hit prs i know things are working i think i would go nuts not doing the same lifts for months lol. MY gains are at a snails pace so i dont expect to hit a lot of prs though.
Do you think a 3 lift rotation is to small and then a deload week.

Ermantroudt
12-15-2009, 10:09 AM
Most important thing I took away from Elite and WSB-put 100% into what you are doing; train hard, do all the work, not just what you like, be mentally strong-it will carry you to new heights.

poopoo333
12-15-2009, 10:22 AM
While on the subject, for the raw lifter is it recommended to do a full range bench press as a ME movement at anytime?

Travis Bell
12-15-2009, 10:24 AM
For the guys that have done WS for at least a couple years and drug free, how often do you hit prs on your raw bench lifts. Sometimes i wonder if doing low reps for years if i need to do something else I know it mush work for a lot of guys or they woudnt do it.

I haven't missed a PR in the gym for several years now

Darracq
12-15-2009, 10:27 AM
I haven't missed a PR in the gym for several years now

Thats awesome, how many lifts do you have in your rotation?

Travis Bell
12-15-2009, 10:28 AM
Thats awesome, how many lifts do you have in your rotation?

No specific number. Most times 4-6

chris mason
12-15-2009, 10:55 AM
To be clear, I find it best to stick with an ME exercise for 2-3 weeks prior to switching.

Kiaran
12-15-2009, 11:25 AM
Most important thing I have learned is to find the movements you really suck at and make them the things you don't suck at. Not just any movement though. You have to find the ones that you not only suck at, but as they increase, so do your big three. This is much harder than it sounds and at times is like trying to hit a moving target. When you find a movement that works, milk it for all it's worth.

The other thing I found incredibly important is to deload before you feel like deloading. By the time I really feel like I need to deload, it's often too late and I'm already suffering the consequences. For me, this is about every fourth or fifth week (fourth week if I'm honest, lol).

What I still struggle with is what to do when you hit that fail for a PR on a ME lift one week, switch to one of your others the next week and fail on that too. It feels like wasted weeks and is sort of like "damn, now what?" Do you change up the rep-range, or is it time to find new ME lifts for your training?

icedutah
12-15-2009, 11:28 AM
Well it's not really an exact rule. But I have always seen changing ME movements each week as the recommended thing to do for an advanced lifter. Beginners generally will do better though sticking the same lift for 2-3 weeks then switching since they will not adapt as quickly as an advanced lifter.

Now I am not sure how people determine what is advanced and what is a beginner. You gotta find out for yourself.


The thing you mention about back to back ME movements.. didn't know that was a "Westside Rule". I have been doing 2 week cycles, and always on the 2nd week I hit bigger numbers then I do on the first week.

Pete22
12-15-2009, 11:43 AM
While on the subject, for the raw lifter is it recommended to do a full range bench press as a ME movement at anytime?

Sure. Throw in bands, reverse bands, chains, and you have plenty of variations too.

Lones Green
12-15-2009, 12:09 PM
While on the subject, for the raw lifter is it recommended to do a full range bench press as a ME movement at anytime?

Yeah, you can take a look at Travis' log here for some good ideas. He trains raw 99% of the time, although a bit differently than training for a raw bench. Feel free to ask questions in that log, I think it'd be a lot of help.

KarlMarx
12-15-2009, 12:56 PM
I'd just like to add to that finding the ME lifts that increase gains and do so safely is even harder than just increasing gains.

For instance, I was training the heck out of my shoulders and they got real fussy and I had to back off of them for at least 6 months. OUCH!

But that made me focus on strengthening tri's and lats which have helped me just as much.

I guess what I am saying is, because you can push something to increase your max doesn't always make it the best exercise, you also have to make sure you remain balanced in terms of development and some muscles can take more frequent heavy work than others.

I'd love o have one of the more experienced guys check out my lifts and prescribes some exercises for me! But I am way the heck down south here in Texas.

Mike Pelosi
12-15-2009, 06:32 PM
The best thing I've gotten from Westside is learning how to grind against weight. Alot people don't necessarily quit a lift but don't know how to push through it. Watching the Westside Tapes, those guys grind. I've also gotten from Westside that just about everything works when you train hard.