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chris mason
11-07-2012, 10:48 PM
Why does Westside conjugate variety work? What are its primary benefits?

Conjugate variety as defined in the Westside template calls for the use of multiple exercises which are either variations of, or totally unique from the classic lifts of the back squat, bench press, and the deadlift. The efficacy of the system is based upon multiple factors. First, the use and rotation of multiple variations of the classic lifts permits the building of the involved musculature while simultaneously mitigating overuse syndrome in the joints and connective tissues. Next, using many different exercises helps to automatically address relative weaknesses. For example, if one’s weakness in the back squat is due to a squat specific mid or lower back weakness and all one does is squat over and over the same weakness will remain a relative weakness and ultimately be a limiting factor in how much the lifter can increase their squat. Each variation of a classic lift will place a unique stress on the main involved musculature and thus automatically target relative weaknesses by heavily stressing them with some degree of frequency. So, in the squat example, if a good morning variation were included in one’s rotation the mid and lower back would be heavily targeted by the good morning exercise thus strengthening them and helping to eliminate them as a relative weakness in the back squat. Finally, when consistently training at or near 100% intensity as is called for with maximum effort (ME) days in the template, the rotation of exercises for said ME work each week helps to preclude neural stagnation or overtraining. It does so by virtue of the fact that even small variations in movement patterns stress the nervous system in unique ways.

Conjugate variety is a key to long term development of great strength and power. If you want to learn more about the Westside strength training system go to www.westside-barbell.com and check out their books and DVDs. You can also check out their Facebook page at http://www.facebook.com/westsidebarbell?fref=ts.

BloodandThunder
11-08-2012, 07:24 AM
Chris,

Came into powerlifting through conjugate and have always loved it.

Do you feel though that a lifter should meet the demands of the variations of his sport with a certain degree of specificity toward peaking? For instance, if Westside was to do a USPA raw meet (walked out squat, no knee wraps, strict depth), do you feel that Circa Max would still be regulated by the box squa or would it involve a taper of high intensity free squatting with little accomodating resistance? I know Amy W. has done meets like Raw Unity with great success, but was just wondering if you feel that peaking/tapering could be improved through any means.

chris mason
11-08-2012, 09:18 AM
Chris,

Came into powerlifting through conjugate and have always loved it.

Do you feel though that a lifter should meet the demands of the variations of his sport with a certain degree of specificity toward peaking? For instance, if Westside was to do a USPA raw meet (walked out squat, no knee wraps, strict depth), do you feel that Circa Max would still be regulated by the box squa or would it involve a taper of high intensity free squatting with little accomodating resistance? I know Amy W. has done meets like Raw Unity with great success, but was just wondering if you feel that peaking/tapering could be improved through any means.

The only real difference I recommend for a raw lifter is the inclusion of a free squat in their ME rotation. In terms of circa-max cycles I would do that with a free squat for a raw lifter, yes. My guess is Louie would not just so you know what the actual master of Westside would do.

One other thing about circa-max, I would reserve that for an advanced lifter only.

BloodandThunder
11-08-2012, 09:31 AM
The only real difference I recommend for a raw lifter is the inclusion of a free squat in their ME rotation. In terms of circa-max cycles I would do that with a free squat for a raw lifter, yes. My guess is Louie would not just so you know what the actual master of Westside would do.

One other thing about circa-max, I would reserve that for an advanced lifter only.

Yep, agreed on that point.

It would be cool if Hoff ever did a raw meet, just for the experiment. I imagine Hoff has the ability long term to break Jon Coles 2364 in wraps at 308, a record that's been around for 40 years, just that he'd have to train for it (although multi is his game). He's gone 1168-959-845 at 275 and hit a 1200S, 965B at 308.

RhodeHouse
11-09-2012, 05:42 AM
I disagree, to some extent. I understand what you say about the variety of lifts targeting relative weaknesses, but explain this to me. If I fall forward in the squat and choose the SSB Squat to address this weakness, then 1 session every 4-6 weeks WILL correct that weakness? This is absolutely not the case. There is no better way to target relative weakness than to hit it over and over and over again. You cannot argue that 1 session with the SSB will correct my weakness of falling forward in the squat.

As for overuse issues... A SSB Squat pattern in the lower body is not different than the squat pattern. The knees bend, the hips go back - it's exactly the same. Overuse injuries are going to occur no matter what method you use because of the nature of the limited movements in powerlifting.

Although Westside produces some great lifters, they were already great before they got there. It's Louie Simmons' coaching, expectations and the atmosphere, more than anything, that produces the great numbers.

BloodandThunder
11-09-2012, 10:42 AM
That's a great point on ME Rotation Rhodes and one of the chief criticisms you read about.

I'd imagine though that it would be the incorporation of targeted supplementals and assistance for volume in parallel with that ME rotation that would produce the desired result, in addition to extra workouts devoted to things like Banded thoracic extensions and upper back work. A rotation of bars during DE squats to could also be incorporated to more specifically target that weakness in a more lift specific way.

One issue that people that decide to run Conjugate is the what the demands of the type of meet you are doing (multi, single, raw), variations (monolift/walkout, quick weighin, short weighin, etc) vs the degree of frequency and lift specificity that's necessary to elicit those results. If a lifter is doing a raw, walked out meet and their free squat technique is subpar, then doing an entire rotation of DE box squats with very little ME/SE free squatting won't fix their problem.

J L S
11-09-2012, 10:52 AM
This could turn into a very very good read if some of the top lifters on this board started inputting their thoughts, and some good debates were thrown back and forth. Like where its headed already. Why not get as much info out there as possible for free, when so many people mis understand the principles and bash on the whole system.

Alex.V
11-09-2012, 01:22 PM
One issue that people that decide to run Conjugate is the what the demands of the type of meet you are doing (multi, single, raw), variations (monolift/walkout, quick weighin, short weighin, etc) vs the degree of frequency and lift specificity that's necessary to elicit those results. If a lifter is doing a raw, walked out meet and their free squat technique is subpar, then doing an entire rotation of DE box squats with very little ME/SE free squatting won't fix their problem.

I think this is the biggest issue. Not that I don't love Westside Conjugate, which IS NOT true conjugate but again a concurrent/complex-parallel training system, but it's deciding WHAT exercises to rotate in that is the biggest weakness. Haphazardly rotating ME exercises with little real thought does nothing to benefit the lifter- assessing specific weaknesses and prescribing the CORRECT variants to specifically address the issue is not a thing most lifters can do on their own.

No reason not to do it, but certainly one reason why the majority of trainees may not benefit as much from the program as they could. Most guys MAY be better served in simply squatting more that rotating in exercises of marginal benefit.

RichMcGuire
11-09-2012, 01:36 PM
I'd imagine though that it would be the incorporation of targeted supplementals and assistance for volume in parallel with that ME rotation that would produce the desired result, in addition to extra workouts devoted to things like Banded thoracic extensions and upper back work.

Since most powerlifting programs include these supplemental weak point assistance work anyways, is it really a valid criticism to say that rotation of different ME lifts is the answer to otherwise always having a relative weakness? To me, it only seems like a valid point if you literally just squatted and did nothing else.

MarcusWild
11-09-2012, 08:30 PM
You need to train with a group. You need someone to watch you lift that can identify your weaknesses. You need a powerlifting gym with the right equipment. If you lack any of those, then it's not going to be that effective. If you have those things, then the results speak for themselves.

RFabsik
11-09-2012, 09:10 PM
You need to train with a group. You need someone to watch you lift that can identify your weaknesses. You need a powerlifting gym with the right equipment. If you lack any of those, then it's not going to be that effective. If you have those things, then the results speak for themselves.

Why does the above only apply to Westside? Wouldn't any program need these to be 100% effective?

Westside programs can be done with just a barbell, a box (you can get a cheap onea t a hardware store) and a set of bands. Yeah the other stuff makes it more fun.
ME lower variety--high bar squat, low bar squat, wide squat, front squat, Zercher, deadlift, sumo deadlift, Romanian Deadlift, Good Mornings, then add box and band variants.

ME upper variety--bench press, close grip bench press, pause bench, board presses (ok I guess you have to buy some 2x4's), overhead press, push press, floor press. If in a non-pl gym, incline press, add dumbell variants, multiply by bands.

There are plenty of exercises that can be done without reverse hypers, GHR's and belt squats.

Wouldn't any program benefit from identification of weaknesses? So if I can't figure out my weaknesses, I should just squat 3x5 and hope things get better?

If after a while you are doing a program and get stuck, you need to change something. So if you've been stuck with your squat for a year, just squatting might not fix it. I think most understand this to some point, Westside just does it proactively instead of reactively.

joey54
11-10-2012, 11:58 AM
Here's a dumb question. Most who train in this style do so in groups. Wouldn't each person be doing their own individual ME lifts suited towards their specific weaknesses? It would be rare to have 3-5 guys who all have the exact same weaknesses in each lift and even more so they would all be on the same rotation, no?

RichMcGuire
11-10-2012, 04:42 PM
but it's deciding WHAT exercises to rotate in that is the biggest weakness. Haphazardly rotating ME exercises with little real thought does nothing to benefit the lifter- assessing specific weaknesses and prescribing the CORRECT variants to specifically address the issue is not a thing most lifters can do on their own.

No reason not to do it, but certainly one reason why the majority of trainees may not benefit as much from the program as they could. Most guys MAY be better served in simply squatting more that rotating in exercises of marginal benefit.

Just adding some thought to an interesting thread, but, how hard do you really think it is to figure out where youre weak at? With a benchpress example, it seems pretty easy to me to figure out where/why you miss the lift.

RFabsik
11-10-2012, 08:49 PM
Here's a dumb question. Most who train in this style do so in groups. Wouldn't each person be doing their own individual ME lifts suited towards their specific weaknesses? It would be rare to have 3-5 guys who all have the exact same weaknesses in each lift and even more so they would all be on the same rotation, no?

Hopefully Travis or Chris will step in, but I think most guys in a group will work a few ME exercises together and the assistance work is where things will differ more to address weaknesses and other accessory/GPP work.

MarcusWild
11-11-2012, 01:12 AM
Yeah, you probably at least need to train with a group for most programs. It's even more important when you max twice a week.

We let the person closest to a meet pick ME movements. Although, we have enough people and space there's usually 2-3 options. Plus, it's easy to vary it for each lifter.

Squat: you can vary stance, box vs no box, and remove/add chain
Bench: you can easily vary grip, boards, and add/remove chain
Deadlift: you can easily add/remove a deficit and add/remove chain

We make our best gains when people train as a group. I think the edge from competing against each other is more beneficial than doing a slightly better exercise alone. I almost always do another barbell movement afterwards. I make sure that's focused on improving specific weaknesses.

Ripe1
11-12-2012, 07:01 AM
One thing I'm beginning to accept is that westside does not work for IPF squatters. The walk-out and single-ply/raw gear are against the basics, monolift, wide stance and multi-ply gear. That's just what I've noticed with myself and the guys I train with. Bench and deads are fine but squats need different approach.

BloodandThunder
11-12-2012, 07:18 AM
One thing I'm beginning to accept is that westside does not work for IPF squatters. The walk-out and single-ply/raw gear are against the basics, monolift, wide stance and multi-ply gear. That's just what I've noticed with myself and the guys I train with. Bench and deads are fine but squats need different approach.

See my above point. You need to setup your training to meet the demands of IPF meets. Westside (the model of "Conjugate" that Westside uses and writes about) is mostly tailored for multiply meets. But conjugate as a system can absolutely work for IPF\USAPL style squatters.

chris mason
11-12-2012, 09:20 AM
Yep, agreed on that point.

It would be cool if Hoff ever did a raw meet, just for the experiment. I imagine Hoff has the ability long term to break Jon Coles 2364 in wraps at 308, a record that's been around for 40 years, just that he'd have to train for it (although multi is his game). He's gone 1168-959-845 at 275 and hit a 1200S, 965B at 308.

Hoff is definitely retard strong. He is VERY strong raw right now.

chris mason
11-12-2012, 09:23 AM
I disagree, to some extent. I understand what you say about the variety of lifts targeting relative weaknesses, but explain this to me. If I fall forward in the squat and choose the SSB Squat to address this weakness, then 1 session every 4-6 weeks WILL correct that weakness? This is absolutely not the case. There is no better way to target relative weakness than to hit it over and over and over again. You cannot argue that 1 session with the SSB will correct my weakness of falling forward in the squat.

As for overuse issues... A SSB Squat pattern in the lower body is not different than the squat pattern. The knees bend, the hips go back - it's exactly the same. Overuse injuries are going to occur no matter what method you use because of the nature of the limited movements in powerlifting.

Although Westside produces some great lifters, they were already great before they got there. It's Louie Simmons' coaching, expectations and the atmosphere, more than anything, that produces the great numbers.

You point about what happens when people go to Westside is not accurate. You are right that lifters are very good before they get there, but that is often after years and years of training. Louie then takes them and adds hudreds of lbs to their totals in relatively short order. You can think what you want, but to add hundreds of lbs to elite totals time after time is something very unique and powerful.

chris mason
11-12-2012, 09:24 AM
I think this is the biggest issue. Not that I don't love Westside Conjugate, which IS NOT true conjugate but again a concurrent/complex-parallel training system, but it's deciding WHAT exercises to rotate in that is the biggest weakness. Haphazardly rotating ME exercises with little real thought does nothing to benefit the lifter- assessing specific weaknesses and prescribing the CORRECT variants to specifically address the issue is not a thing most lifters can do on their own.

No reason not to do it, but certainly one reason why the majority of trainees may not benefit as much from the program as they could. Most guys MAY be better served in simply squatting more that rotating in exercises of marginal benefit.

What the best lifters do is find the 4 primary variations that work for them and rotate them. It isn't haphazard.

chris mason
11-12-2012, 09:26 AM
Here's a dumb question. Most who train in this style do so in groups. Wouldn't each person be doing their own individual ME lifts suited towards their specific weaknesses? It would be rare to have 3-5 guys who all have the exact same weaknesses in each lift and even more so they would all be on the same rotation, no?

That is a good question, but the answer is human nature. There are leaders and followers in every group. In addition, the primary benefit of the rotation is to allow the trainee to go 100% week after week without overtraining.

chris mason
11-12-2012, 09:29 AM
One thing I'm beginning to accept is that westside does not work for IPF squatters. The walk-out and single-ply/raw gear are against the basics, monolift, wide stance and multi-ply gear. That's just what I've noticed with myself and the guys I train with. Bench and deads are fine but squats need different approach.

Well, if that were true then guys like Stan Efferding would not be crazy strong. He uses primarily Westside techniques for his powerlifting work. Robert Wilkerson also uses Westside techniques and I am pretty sure he has the higher raw squat on record... He can walk weights out or use the mono.

How about Amy from Westside setting raw records?

Westside lifters primarily only use briefs when training. They don't use knee wraps very often unlike most IPF lifters who will use them most sessions, no? Briefs and a tight pair of wraps offer similar assistance in terms of weight added to the bar from what I have seen.

Alex.V
11-12-2012, 10:05 AM
What the best lifters do is find the 4 primary variations that work for them and rotate them. It isn't haphazard.

My point was in regards to the majority of trainees, not the best lifters.

MarcusWild
11-12-2012, 11:01 PM
I don't buy the not for IPF argument. I've seen it work for everyone from raw female powerlifters to multi ply men. I will say learning it is a bigger time investment than most programs, but it's worth it.

I'd argue the way the Russians train won't work for most people. They start with people that are already the most genetically gifted and "supplement" the hell out of them. Unless you have the same genetics and "supplements", the you'll burnout in their programs.

Most people get good at powerlifting through time, persistent, and hard work. That takes a smart training approach, since they aren't genetic freaks.

RhodeHouse
11-13-2012, 12:49 PM
One thing I'm beginning to accept is that westside does not work for IPF squatters. The walk-out and single-ply/raw gear are against the basics, monolift, wide stance and multi-ply gear. That's just what I've noticed with myself and the guys I train with. Bench and deads are fine but squats need different approach.

That makes no sense. There's not a "special" training program for multi-ply vs. single-ply. It's all the same now, anyways. Any decent powerlifting program will work wether you're raw, rare, single or multi-ply. If you think differently, you might want to take a look at yourself. it's not the program.

RhodeHouse
11-13-2012, 12:51 PM
You point about what happens when people go to Westside is not accurate. You are right that lifters are very good before they get there, but that is often after years and years of training. Louie then takes them and adds hudreds of lbs to their totals in relatively short order. You can think what you want, but to add hundreds of lbs to elite totals time after time is something very unique and powerful.

Doesn't matter where AJ Roberts or Dave Hoff train. They'll be great no matter what. I do agree that Westside adds great numbers, but to say it's the program is just very short-sighted. The atmosphere and expectations play a much bigger role than the program. If the program was that great, everyone who trains as hard as AJ or Hoff would be as strong as them without the group.

Ripe1
11-13-2012, 10:30 PM
I'm sure almost all training systems work if you put effort and thinking in them. But it's not just the little pond I'm in. The last couple of years there hasn't been lifters in the IPF World Champs from Finland who'd use westside. Also, Bullfarm has been running for a little over 10 years and they have produced only 1 National team IPF lifter and they use westside.

BloodandThunder
11-14-2012, 06:50 AM
I'm sure almost all training systems work if you put effort and thinking in them. But it's not just the little pond I'm in. The last couple of years there hasn't been lifters in the IPF World Champs from Finland who'd use westside. Also, Bullfarm has been running for a little over 10 years and they have produced only 1 National team IPF lifter and they use westside.

Bullfarm also is overwhemingly multiply, no? Typically when you lift at a big gym like that, you lift where your teammates lift.

Just because there is little data to support the notion that Westside would not work for IPF lifters does not mean that is a valid point.

For instance, many IPF national contingents have a national coach who designs the training template for their lifters. Many even train out of the same gym and have basic equipment so their training methods are simple and proven. They're hesitant to change the programming that works, yet WS principles will creep into their programs due to the nature of the gear being more extreme (ie. rotating board work).

Also, the nature of IPF judging is a huge issue. Watch the recent IPF Senior Worlds. An overwhemingly majority of the lifters train using volume-loading schemes (70-85% intensities waved) and come third attempts, they either smoke the lift or they fail epicly. The reason is twofold:
1) Minimal Max Effort training reduces the ability of the lifter to strain using maximal or supramaximal weights.
2) The depth and competition is so deep that you need to go 8/9 to really have a shot at winning. Consistency, with the strictness of judging, means that max lifting is almost non-existent on the Worlds platform. In ME training, often your technique goes out the window to hit a PR and in the IPF World meets, they red-light lifts for any inconsistency. Technique is paramount so that's why a bulk of the work is done 70-85% with the competition lifts, which is a scheme you don't see very often in a pure WS program where you're rotating core lifts for ME and doing the competition lifts/variants in the 50-70% range.

This, besides the point of tapering off drugs, is why most IPF lifters don't PR much on the World level (and also travel/being unfamiliar to another country, etc). This is exactly the reason I posted to Chris. You need to meet the demands of the competition with your training and so to really make conjugate optimal for a World level IPF lifter, the routine would look a bit different than a pure Westside program.

chris mason
11-14-2012, 09:14 AM
Doesn't matter where AJ Roberts or Dave Hoff train. They'll be great no matter what. I do agree that Westside adds great numbers, but to say it's the program is just very short-sighted. The atmosphere and expectations play a much bigger role than the program. If the program was that great, everyone who trains as hard as AJ or Hoff would be as strong as them without the group.

Listen, I love AJ, but that just isn't true. I met AJ several years before he went to Westside. He was a powerlifter and a good one, but that was it. He was no world beater. He had been training for some time. He was competing at the WPO meet the last, or 2nd to last year when I first met him in person. Anyway, he was no noob when he got to Westside yet he upped his best multi-ply total by something like 400 lbs AFTER being there for just a couple of years. It was no accident. So no, I don't believe he would have reached the heights he did without Westside.

As for Hoff, we can't really say because he started with Louie as a teen.

chris mason
11-14-2012, 09:20 AM
I'm sure almost all training systems work if you put effort and thinking in them. But it's not just the little pond I'm in. The last couple of years there hasn't been lifters in the IPF World Champs from Finland who'd use westside. Also, Bullfarm has been running for a little over 10 years and they have produced only 1 National team IPF lifter and they use westside.

As Blood mentioned I would be willing to be that has a lot to do with they compete in multi-ply meets. They have some retard strong guys who would very likely do quite well in the IPF if they chose to.

BloodandThunder
11-14-2012, 09:48 AM
To give a small example, I handled a lifter that placed 9th at USAPL Collegiate Nationals (one of the deepest and strictest meets) in the country going 7/9, 272.5kg/182.5/240. After visiting Westside and structuring a conjugate program for his needs, he placed 2nd at his class the following year going 307.5/215/252.5 with a 6/9 performance that was nowhere near his potential for that meet day (travel/gear issues/etc).

Point - He got stronger at maximal lifting and in his gear yet was less technically proficient and missing attempts. He customized his routine to meet the demands of his application despite part time work/full course load/preparing for job search and a gym that's not exactly PLer friendly.

I think it would be a fun experiment for Louie to take in a Class 1 USAPL lifter and see if given a few years and the same type of gear, he/she could win nationals and place top 3 at IPF Senior Worlds.

Travis Bell
11-14-2012, 11:18 AM
Doesn't matter where AJ Roberts or Dave Hoff train. They'll be great no matter what. I do agree that Westside adds great numbers, but to say it's the program is just very short-sighted. The atmosphere and expectations play a much bigger role than the program. If the program was that great, everyone who trains as hard as AJ or Hoff would be as strong as them without the group.


Like chris, I'm going to have to disagree there. You can't put it quite that simply. It'd be the same as me saying that if your logic were true, there'd be a lot more guys outside of Westside hitting 2800 and 2900. Aj would wholeheartedly agree that he'd not have hit the numbers he did without Louie or Westside.

Shane Hammock has added several hundred lbs to his total and will add quite a few more. Jake Anderson is a good example as well.

My best bench raw before going there was 385 and equipped was 470. Although I've been there quite some time, it's 575 raw now and 835 equipped. There is NO way I'd have been able to continually make those gains over that long period of time without Louie or the Westside program.

patricky
11-14-2012, 07:43 PM
I personally had a lot more success with Sheiko than Westside. And Sheiko is like the exact opposite. Meh maybe it would've been different if I actually trained there.

Travis Bell
11-14-2012, 07:53 PM
I personally had a lot more success with Sheiko than Westside. And Sheiko is like the exact opposite. Meh maybe it would've been different if I actually trained there.

User error is also a very common problem as well. Not saying you actually did do it wrong, but it's a good possiblity. There are a lot of misconceptions about the program out there, half read articles and misunderstood conversations that create a lot of opinions about Westside that are not true.

RFabsik
11-14-2012, 09:41 PM
User error is also a very common problem as well. Not saying you actually did do it wrong, but it's a good possiblity. There are a lot of misconceptions about the program out there, half read articles and misunderstood conversations that create a lot of opinions about Westside that are not true.

Are there any common misconceptions you'd want to debunk?

Rock1984
11-15-2012, 02:22 AM
Great contributions, guys.
I agree with B&T analysis of IPF style of lifting requiring a very high technical consistency not to get red lighted.

But there are a lot of uber-strong mofos using WS/conjugate, and it would be great to see them go against the IPF top dogs.
I also think that, with a bit of re-designing, a WS style template could be very successfully used in the IPF realm: you narrow down the variations, pound away at the core lifts and maybe don't go nuts all the time on ME days, and here you have your WS IPF program.

Here in Italy, we have a couple of teams that produced some great lifters this way (Silvio Crisafi - 290 bench @ 110 in a full meet, and Antonietta Orsini, World Games 2nd place and IPF HoF, come to mind)

An Hoff-Barkhatov challenge would be Epic.

Travis Bell
11-15-2012, 08:04 AM
Are there any common misconceptions you'd want to debunk?

haha well we are kinda looking at one right here in this discussion. All of a sudden there is an opinion that Westside doesn't work for IPF'ers because it requires sloppy form. That is just not even remotely true. Ever seen Dave Hoff squat? He's a technical masterpiece.

The biggest ones I tend to run into is people not knowing how to run a complete ME or DE workout. Normally just flat out not enough work. Especially in the bench and squat workouts. Guys make too big of jumps and hit their max too quickly and then don't follow it up with enough work on either down sets with heavy weight or appropriate accessory work.

There are countless other things I run into but largely they begin from people who just don't want to work hard enough, yet want to claim they train Westside.

vdizenzo
11-15-2012, 08:41 AM
I have benched 600 raw in mutliple weight classes and over 800 raw in multiple weight classes using conjugate training.

BloodandThunder
11-15-2012, 09:04 AM
haha well we are kinda looking at one right here in this discussion. All of a sudden there is an opinion that Westside doesn't work for IPF'ers because it requires sloppy form. That is just not even remotely true. Ever seen Dave Hoff squat? He's a technical masterpiece.

I think I may have worded my response but it was not my intention that WS requires "sloppy form." Also, yes Hoff is a great technician but he also is one of the best lifters ever and trains under the man who developed this system. I don't really like the overzealousness of the IPF in judging, but Hoff would have to adapt to that judging (his overpulls and tendency to fall back on his pulls would be redlighted for example despite his awesome strength). I've been to countless meets from raw to single to multi and I see many lifters who train using WS principles who are very poor technicians and rely more on brute maximal strength. Are they doing WS the way it was intended, no most likely. My comment was strictly toward people who don't train at WS or under Louie's guidance. This is why many of them end up 5/9 or 6/9 at the end of the day.

I'm specifically talking about one application, a world meet with the deepest competition and strictest judging. Single is a different game than multi since the potential carryover is far less (despite single improving drastically in recent years). Unless the lifter is a pure freak and has a significant advantage like the Russian 59 kg winner, IPF World Champs need to hit 7/9 or better almost every time. Their attempt selection and training revolves around this. They have developed systems of volume loading with the main lifts and little variation to ensure not one nitpick will be made available to the IPF judges to redlight. Again, you don't see much maximal lifting on this platform and very often, not many WRs are made either (lifters often total far more out of World platform competition). It's also why you don't see many of these lifters getting ridiculous carryover. Many of them in fact also lifted at the IPF Raw World Cup or whatever it's called this year. They're just very strong raw, don't change anything about their technique once in gear, and just train for the win. It's laughable how much better multi guys are at getting the most of their gear which is a credit to them and being the best at their game. For example, these are the good attempts for each of the IPF Worlds winners and how they performed near their 2nd place competition. If you look at the results, several classes had the top 5-6 lifters within 20 kg of each other and 1 attempt can be the difference between gold and 5th place.

59 kg - 7/9 (won by 70 kg but WR total - 2nd went 6/9)
66 kg - 8/9 (won 52 kg but WR total - 2nd went 5/9)
74 kg - 9/9 (won by 16 kg - 2nd went 5/9)
83 kg - 8/9 (won by 10 kg - 2nd went 7/9)
93 kg - 6/9 (won by 15 kg - 2nd went 6/9)
105 kg - 7/9 (won by BW - tied 2nd went 7/9
120 kg - 7/9 (won by 2.5 kg - 2nd went 8/9)
120+ - 7/9 (won by 2.5 kg - 2nd went 8/9)

chris mason
11-15-2012, 11:20 AM
Ok, how about this, let's see these IPF studs man-up and do a multi-ply meet with less stringent judging. Let's see how they do. Everything else is conjecture. On the flip side, a lot of Westside practitioners or Westside principle using lifters have competed raw and done well (even set records).

BloodandThunder
11-15-2012, 11:51 AM
Ok, how about this, let's see these IPF studs man-up and do a multi-ply meet with less stringent judging. Let's see how they do. Everything else is conjecture. On the flip side, a lot of Westside practitioners or Westside principle using lifters have competed raw and done well (even set records).

Doesn't really happen just as many multi guys stick to multi. Time spent on raw/single will pull away from time spent on multi. IPF guys stick to a pretty strict schedule of meets (country championships/regional championships/worlds) so they'd have little time to prepare long term for a multi meet and from experience it shows that you need alot of time to transition into multi.

One example would be Belyaev. Did a WPC meet multiply (hit the 13th highest total ever at the time) but failed to set the world on fire like many thought since he set both raw and single ply WRs. It would take a lot of time to learn the gear but again, unless he was using a conjugate system I don't think he would have reached his potential in that avenue. Wade Hooper also lifted in the WPO. Kutcher was a monster too although I'm not entirely clear on his training methods early in his IPF career. You take a guy like Malanchiev who has squatted 992 raw and his single ply best was not even a 100 lbs over that. So noone knows how much he would get or if he would ever outbest Thompson in multiply using his system of training.

All three variations of the sport are different as drag racing, NASCAR racing, and formula one are all different. Some have an easier time transitioning from one to the other (and I believe conjugate is best for doing so). Again I realize not many here care about the IPF Worlds, but it'd be a cool experiment to see Louie put someone through to the top as his system has been proven across raw and multiply time and time again. Again it all goes with my point that you have to meet the demands of the application that you intend. Conjugate is very flexible with this as opposed to other systems.

Travis Bell
11-15-2012, 03:15 PM
B and T, Dave has done that twice in his entire life. He doesn't have a "tendency" really.

I understand what you were trying to say, but I still disagree. I just don't think you can group everyone who trains Westside and doesn't train under our gym and say that they go 5/9. That's a SUPER general statement, but still doesn't prove anything about the Westside method.

What you are pointing at has much more to do with attempt selection than strength itself. There are FAR too many variables that play into that to make an accurate and educated assessment of Westside compared to Russian training. It'd be a waste of time.

Justin Randal
11-15-2012, 03:31 PM
I disagree, to some extent. I understand what you say about the variety of lifts targeting relative weaknesses, but explain this to me. If I fall forward in the squat and choose the SSB Squat to address this weakness, then 1 session every 4-6 weeks WILL correct that weakness? This is absolutely not the case. There is no better way to target relative weakness than to hit it over and over and over again. You cannot argue that 1 session with the SSB will correct my weakness of falling forward in the squat.



I think you may be missing the "Overall" theme he is presenting. He never said you have to wait 6 weeks between particular exercises. That's the beauty of conjugate, you constantly vary workouts to ensure you are strong over all but can increase the frequency of a particular exercise if you feel it's necessary to overcome a weakness. The whole point is to seek out weakness and overcome it.


All arguments/conjecture aside, I totalled 1493 raw in Dec of 2009 and started running Westside in Feb of 2010. I totalled 1922 raw just over 2 years later (March 2012) adding well over 400 pounds to my total in said period! In "MY" personal experience Conjugate works!

joey54
11-15-2012, 09:06 PM
I think you may be missing the "Overall" theme he is presenting. He never said you have to wait 6 weeks between particular exercises. That's the beauty of conjugate, you constantly vary workouts to ensure you are strong over all but can increase the frequency of a particular exercise if you feel it's necessary to overcome a weakness. The whole point is to seek out weakness and overcome it.



All arguments/conjecture aside, I totalled 1493 raw in Dec of 2009 and started running Westside in Feb of 2010. I totalled 1922 raw just over 2 years later (March 2012) adding well over 400 pounds to my total in said period! In "MY" personal experience Conjugate works!

How much weight did you gain during that time period and did you introduce vitamin S into the equation?

Justin Randal
11-15-2012, 09:41 PM
I put on about 15 pounds but traded a bit of weight as well. And no, I didn't change my supplementation habits.

patricky
11-15-2012, 10:35 PM
I might run another cycle of Westside. I got my front squat from 127kg to 162kg in 3 weeks.

How much weight should I add each ME day?

BloodandThunder
11-16-2012, 07:09 AM
B and T, Dave has done that twice in his entire life. He doesn't have a "tendency" really.

I understand what you were trying to say, but I still disagree. I just don't think you can group everyone who trains Westside and doesn't train under our gym and say that they go 5/9. That's a SUPER general statement, but still doesn't prove anything about the Westside method.

What you are pointing at has much more to do with attempt selection than strength itself. There are FAR too many variables that play into that to make an accurate and educated assessment of Westside compared to Russian training. It'd be a waste of time.

Understood and appreciate the criticism. Most of the lifters in general that I mention that use WS principles I've watched over the years typically fail weights that they are more than capable of handling (2nds/modest 3rds) and aren't just poor attempt selections. Whereas the application I've discussed you typically never see a grinding 3rd attempt (lifters either make their competition overreach to secure a lead thus ensuring their opponent has to take a weight they're not capable of doing). I guess the specific area I was leading the 5 or 6/9 point to is submaximal weight attempts. This is exactly one criticism I make of volume loading schemes is the lack of ME work and the roll of a handler in understanding what their lifter is capable of doing.

That's just an observation and I agree there are many many variables at play. It's a great topic though.

MarcusWild
11-17-2012, 03:56 PM
I think multi ply lifting is less consistent overall. The more carry over from gear the more variables that can impact performance. There's not much margin to go from 300 lbs of squat gear carryover to 250 lbs. The same goes for bench press.

chris mason
11-17-2012, 05:31 PM
Understood and appreciate the criticism. Most of the lifters in general that I mention that use WS principles I've watched over the years typically fail weights that they are more than capable of handling (2nds/modest 3rds) and aren't just poor attempt selections. Whereas the application I've discussed you typically never see a grinding 3rd attempt (lifters either make their competition overreach to secure a lead thus ensuring their opponent has to take a weight they're not capable of doing). I guess the specific area I was leading the 5 or 6/9 point to is submaximal weight attempts. This is exactly one criticism I make of volume loading schemes is the lack of ME work and the roll of a handler in understanding what their lifter is capable of doing.

That's just an observation and I agree there are many many variables at play. It's a great topic though.

I think you are confusing a problem with multi-ply gear and the training system. I think you see more bombing in multi-ply because of the exact opposite argument you are presenting. Form and technique have to be especially perfect at the highest levels of multi-ply because getting just a little out of the groove can spell disaster.

JK1
11-18-2012, 01:16 AM
I disagree, to some extent. I understand what you say about the variety of lifts targeting relative weaknesses, but explain this to me. If I fall forward in the squat and choose the SSB Squat to address this weakness, then 1 session every 4-6 weeks WILL correct that weakness? This is absolutely not the case. There is no better way to target relative weakness than to hit it over and over and over again. You cannot argue that 1 session with the SSB will correct my weakness of falling forward in the squat.

As for overuse issues... A SSB Squat pattern in the lower body is not different than the squat pattern. The knees bend, the hips go back - it's exactly the same. Overuse injuries are going to occur no matter what method you use because of the nature of the limited movements in powerlifting.

Although Westside produces some great lifters, they were already great before they got there. It's Louie Simmons' coaching, expectations and the atmosphere, more than anything, that produces the great numbers.


Rhodes, to answer your first question..please correct me if you disagree with what I'm writing here. I don't think this question has has been answered yet, or if it was I missed it. One week WILL NOT fix a weakness, there is more to it than that. The key component with determining the Max Effort exercise rotation is the level of the lifter. From how I understand the training method, only the most advanced lifters are changing ME movements every week, and even then, they may or may not do that. If you read Lou's writings in PLUSA or the Book of Methods or the Squat/Deadlift manual they all three say to not keep a max effort exercise more than 21 days. That mythical 21 day point is the point of accomodation and is also associated with the natural circadian rhythms of humans (basically these revolve around a 21 day hormonal, physiological, and psychological cycle, although it isn't exactly 21 days, that is the average point).

I think a lot of people watch Westside training videos or they catch snippits and they don't keep on a 3 week rotation, they like the variety and immediately go to the never ending exercise rotation and then ultimately don't fix the weak point. I think its much better for a beginning lifter to start out on a 3 week rotation, then stick to that until they find that on that 3rd week they can't break a PR for that exercise. I've seen guys in my gym set a PR on week 1, set a 20 lb PR on week 2, and then set another 20 lb PR on week 3. On the 4th week, they always fall apart. Why? In my mind because their body has accomodated and the have overextended their ability.

When a lifter starts setting a PR on week 1, then another on week 2, then on week 3, they fall apart, they have progressed to the point where they need to be changing exercises every 2 weeks. There will be a point where they set a PR on week 1, but on week 2, can't even tie that PR. That is the point where they need to go into the rotation of changing an exercise every week. The key at that point is how they construct the rotation for their weak points---ME work and accessory work should both be focused on addressing weaknesses. It is a balance that will vary by individual lifters to a degree.

I think I'm a lifter at that point in my training, in that I can break a record on week 1, but on week 2, I may struggle to tie it or I barely break it, so now I rotate ever week. I have had an elite total for a couple of years now, in both single ply and multiply, so that is a factor too. That every week rotation is one with cumulative weeks included--basically 12 week periods where I work that one specific weak point. Say I'm weak in my bench lockout from the 3 board level up.. week 1 is reverse bands, week 2 is floor presses of pins, week 3 is 2-3 board work in a shirt, week 4 is scheduled deload week (no ME Work, rehab work instead and regular DE work), then on week 5, I normally will start the exercise rotation over again for at least one full 4 week rotation and attempt to break all the records I set the first 4 weeks through. Depending on what kind of PR's I set, how I'm feeling, and where I am in meet prep, I then will do it again for a 3rd rotation before I change ME exercises. That varies a bit, but thats the idea I try to follow if I'm not getting ready for a meet. .

That to me is how you use a Westside training template to fix weak points. You can't fix them by focusing on one single exercise done in one workout. You have to have a big picture idea of what your weakness is and how you are going to address that weak point, then address it.

Personally have put over 400 lbs on my meet squat, almost 400 lbs on my meet bench, and we won't talk about deadlifts, but over 600 on my meet total in the last 6 years training that way.... as a mid 30's, fat, overworked, stressed out, Type I diabetic who had been stuck at the same numbers for years. So in my mind, there is a method to the madness, a method that definitely works, if you understand it and follow it. You just need to think in terms of big picture, not one single workout. This type of training is a method of training, not a routine.

JK1
11-18-2012, 01:37 AM
Doesn't matter where AJ Roberts or Dave Hoff train. They'll be great no matter what. I do agree that Westside adds great numbers, but to say it's the program is just very short-sighted. The atmosphere and expectations play a much bigger role than the program. If the program was that great, everyone who trains as hard as AJ or Hoff would be as strong as them without the group.


I disagree with this.. like the others. The atmosphere is very important but the method definitely works, you just have to work hard to understand it.

That said, I've also seen the Westside template we use just beat the hell out of some completely newbie lifters--my wife included when she first used it. When we stepped back and gave them a solid chance to build a base, gain a few lbs of muscle,then the gains started and did not stop. Lifters using this method need to have a base level of strength or they need to be monitored very carefully to prevent beating themselves up. If I have a completely untrained beginner come to the gym (or someone with hit and miss training) I always make them do at least 1, usually 2-3 twelve week cycles of 5,3,1. Why? to build base strength, to learn exercise form, get an idea of how strong they are, and to give them a chance to get to know everyone else without getting into the way.

Once they have the base strength, I think the sky is the limit after that.

44pirate
11-18-2012, 05:17 AM
Rhodes, to answer your first question..please correct me if you disagree with what I'm writing here. I don't think this question has has been answered yet, or if it was I missed it. One week WILL NOT fix a weakness, there is more to it than that. The key component with determining the Max Effort exercise rotation is the level of the lifter. From how I understand the training method, only the most advanced lifters are changing ME movements every week, and even then, they may or may not do that. If you read Lou's writings in PLUSA or the Book of Methods or the Squat/Deadlift manual they all three say to not keep a max effort exercise more than 21 days. That mythical 21 day point is the point of accomodation and is also associated with the natural circadian rhythms of humans (basically these revolve around a 21 day hormonal, physiological, and psychological cycle, although it isn't exactly 21 days, that is the average point).

I think a lot of people watch Westside training videos or they catch snippits and they don't keep on a 3 week rotation, they like the variety and immediately go to the never ending exercise rotation and then ultimately don't fix the weak point. I think its much better for a beginning lifter to start out on a 3 week rotation, then stick to that until they find that on that 3rd week they can't break a PR for that exercise. I've seen guys in my gym set a PR on week 1, set a 20 lb PR on week 2, and then set another 20 lb PR on week 3. On the 4th week, they always fall apart. Why? In my mind because their body has accomodated and the have overextended their ability.

When a lifter starts setting a PR on week 1, then another on week 2, then on week 3, they fall apart, they have progressed to the point where they need to be changing exercises every 2 weeks. There will be a point where they set a PR on week 1, but on week 2, can't even tie that PR. That is the point where they need to go into the rotation of changing an exercise every week. The key at that point is how they construct the rotation for their weak points---ME work and accessory work should both be focused on addressing weaknesses. It is a balance that will vary by individual lifters to a degree.

I think I'm a lifter at that point in my training, in that I can break a record on week 1, but on week 2, I may struggle to tie it or I barely break it, so now I rotate ever week. I have had an elite total for a couple of years now, in both single ply and multiply, so that is a factor too. That every week rotation is one with cumulative weeks included--basically 12 week periods where I work that one specific weak point. Say I'm weak in my bench lockout from the 3 board level up.. week 1 is reverse bands, week 2 is floor presses of pins, week 3 is 2-3 board work in a shirt, week 4 is scheduled deload week (no ME Work, rehab work instead and regular DE work), then on week 5, I normally will start the exercise rotation over again for at least one full 4 week rotation and attempt to break all the records I set the first 4 weeks through. Depending on what kind of PR's I set, how I'm feeling, and where I am in meet prep, I then will do it again for a 3rd rotation before I change ME exercises. That varies a bit, but thats the idea I try to follow if I'm not getting ready for a meet. .

That to me is how you use a Westside training template to fix weak points. You can't fix them by focusing on one single exercise done in one workout. You have to have a big picture idea of what your weakness is and how you are going to address that weak point, then address it.

Personally have put over 400 lbs on my meet squat, almost 400 lbs on my meet bench, and we won't talk about deadlifts, but over 600 on my meet total in the last 6 years training that way.... as a mid 30's, fat, overworked, stressed out, Type I diabetic who had been stuck at the same numbers for years. So in my mind, there is a method to the madness, a method that definitely works, if you understand it and follow it. You just need to think in terms of big picture, not one single workout. This type of training is a method of training, not a routine.

Finally put into perspective.

Ripe1
11-18-2012, 11:55 AM
JK, that clarified the picture a lot for me.

Now, what's the deal with deadlifts these days? How much, when, how and why? It used to be that squats fix your pull. I take it nowadays the approach is different?

JK1
11-18-2012, 12:03 PM
JK, that clarified the picture a lot for me.

Now, what's the deal with deadlifts these days? How much, when, how and why? It used to be that squats fix your pull. I take it nowadays the approach is different?

I'm not the person to answer that question. I've struggled too much with bad leverages (short arms, big gut, long torso), bad grip (messed up right forearm/hand), and a bad attitude (anything that heavy just needs to stay on the floor) to really give you the answer I think you are looking for.


I will say this, the last 2 times I've talked to Lou about deadlifts, the bottom line was deadlift.... find that weak point and work the hell out of it. So as a result I'm pulling almost every week with a ME deadlift variation every 3 weeks. I'm also working deadlifts on DE squat days with slightly higher percentages--a wave up to 80 or even 85% for 10 singles. Slowly but surely I'm seeing an improvement. Its not the 100+ lb difference I see between pulling with or without straps, but its slowly getting better.

Judas
11-19-2012, 03:59 AM
Rhodes, to answer your first question..please correct me if you disagree with what I'm writing here. I don't think this question has has been answered yet, or if it was I missed it. One week WILL NOT fix a weakness, there is more to it than that. The key component with determining the Max Effort exercise rotation is the level of the lifter. From how I understand the training method, only the most advanced lifters are changing ME movements every week, and even then, they may or may not do that. If you read Lou's writings in PLUSA or the Book of Methods or the Squat/Deadlift manual they all three say to not keep a max effort exercise more than 21 days. That mythical 21 day point is the point of accomodation and is also associated with the natural circadian rhythms of humans (basically these revolve around a 21 day hormonal, physiological, and psychological cycle, although it isn't exactly 21 days, that is the average point).

I think a lot of people watch Westside training videos or they catch snippits and they don't keep on a 3 week rotation, they like the variety and immediately go to the never ending exercise rotation and then ultimately don't fix the weak point. I think its much better for a beginning lifter to start out on a 3 week rotation, then stick to that until they find that on that 3rd week they can't break a PR for that exercise. I've seen guys in my gym set a PR on week 1, set a 20 lb PR on week 2, and then set another 20 lb PR on week 3. On the 4th week, they always fall apart. Why? In my mind because their body has accomodated and the have overextended their ability.

When a lifter starts setting a PR on week 1, then another on week 2, then on week 3, they fall apart, they have progressed to the point where they need to be changing exercises every 2 weeks. There will be a point where they set a PR on week 1, but on week 2, can't even tie that PR. That is the point where they need to go into the rotation of changing an exercise every week. The key at that point is how they construct the rotation for their weak points---ME work and accessory work should both be focused on addressing weaknesses. It is a balance that will vary by individual lifters to a degree.



Okay... now this is interesting to me. With this 21 day period, as in, a good lifter should be ready for a change-up after 21 days, does this number change based on how many times a week one trains? Say, with WSB, you're hitting the upper body twice a week... so thats 6 sessions in that 21 days. Has this observation proved true with more or less sessions per week? Lets say i'm recovering just fine with 3 sessions a week... so 9 in 21 days, will the added sessions move that adaptation period up? What if i did only 1 session a week, so 3 in 21 days, does it move back?

Just curious in that 3-week idea. Like, wondering if it might apply to an extreme Sheiko type program with upwards ov 4 sessions per week...

My particular case... i still only bench every 4 days, so almost twice a week, but i'll squat heavy as much as 5-6 times a week, and deadlift heavy as much as 3-4 times a week.

navid123
11-19-2012, 10:14 AM
Judas- it has nothing to do with how many days a week you train. In WSB they have one max effort upper and one max effort lower. For the beginner trainee the same max effort exercise cannot be used for over 3 weeks.

RFabsik
11-19-2012, 12:10 PM
Switching max effort every 21 days/3 weeks is to prevent burnout from a neurological perspective. Doing the heavy singles is straining to the nervous system. You still hit the rest of your body hard with the assistance work, but not hitting the same neurological pathways as the ME work.

Now on a high volume high frequency program, part of the goal is to refine technique and build practice in squatting or benching frequently. The higher frequency might be tolerable because you are not doing full ME work, so you can recover to some extent from the less demanding work. I don't mean Sheiko isn't demanding (just in terms of %'s of a 1RM), it's tough work, and many can't handle it if they don't rest, recover and eat properly.

So ME work hammers the nervous system in one shot.
Sheiko/high volume/high frequency hits the nervous system hard, but tries not to hit is so hard so you can train more frequently. I also wonder if the body adapts to the frequency allowing you to do more, more often--if you don't burn it out.

JK1
11-19-2012, 01:46 PM
Okay... now this is interesting to me. With this 21 day period, as in, a good lifter should be ready for a change-up after 21 days, does this number change based on how many times a week one trains? Say, with WSB, you're hitting the upper body twice a week... so thats 6 sessions in that 21 days. Has this observation proved true with more or less sessions per week? Lets say i'm recovering just fine with 3 sessions a week... so 9 in 21 days, will the added sessions move that adaptation period up? What if i did only 1 session a week, so 3 in 21 days, does it move back?

Just curious in that 3-week idea. Like, wondering if it might apply to an extreme Sheiko type program with upwards ov 4 sessions per week...

My particular case... i still only bench every 4 days, so almost twice a week, but i'll squat heavy as much as 5-6 times a week, and deadlift heavy as much as 3-4 times a week.

You are thinking too much. 21 days is based on the nervous system and accomodation. To put it a different way, after 21 days the nervous system--the body--- has either adapted or it starts to shut down. The more advanced the lifter, the more rapidly that adaption occurs. That's why advanced lifters may have to change every week.

The number of times you can train is also based on your ability to adapt--or your general physical preparedness (GPP). Westside training, as I understand it is based on one ME workout for upper body, one ME workout for lower body and a DE/RE workout for each also,anything else is too much. That is 4 main training sessions a week.

Lou talks about "extra workouts" which I've done.. for example when I jacked up my back a couple of years ago, I did sets of reverse hypers every day. 3-4 sets, that was it... or after I tore my calf I did 3-4 sets of GHR's sometimes twice a day, most days of the week. I also would do abs... those kinds of things. The deal is you don't tax your body with those workouts, you get blood flowing. That is very different than the training of a ME or a DE workout. You can also really overdo it. If you read Lou's writings, he's very straightforward about the reason for doing DE vs multiple ME sessions a week. They started doing DE work because they found that the lifters simply could not handle multiple ME workouts. They beat themselves up. I know I've talked to him about it, because for a while I tried to deadlift ME on DE squat day and then bench on ME and then squat on ME days.. in essence what I was doing was wrong. I was working ME work 3 days a week, then only one real DE day---the light bench day. What happened to me was I fell apart. Strength stagnated, I couldn't make the gains I'd made before, my deadlift regressed, then I got sick right before the meet I was supposed to be doing and ended up dropping out of the meet. I ended up completely resetting things, went back to ME good morning/squat/deadlift variation, ME bench, DE squat/deadlift, DE bench and strength picked right back up again.

Sheiko to me is a completely different animal than Westside. My general idea with a ME workout is that if I want to do another one that week, then I didn't train hard enough in the first one. Sheiko has lifters not pushing to an absolute max, breaking a record every workout, so in some regards, it allows a lifter to train more frequently without breaking down. That said, I also know more than one person who tried Sheiko who fell apart as they got into it.

I personally think being aware of the adaption time phenomena is a good thing, but I don't think you should try to compare westside templates to Sheiko. Like I said, they are two different animals.

Judas
11-19-2012, 06:06 PM
Hmm... interesting. I'm just gonna keep that number in mind when i devise my programs for the next lil while and see what happens.

Jonathan E
11-19-2012, 11:02 PM
This 3-week, 21-day, etc rule interests me. I have Louie's Book. I am 95% certain he advised rotating ME movements every week. But at the same time, I have done Chris' DT training which does the 3 week ME rotation and that seemed to work too...is it possible Louie was just trying to simplify it in his book by saying rotate every week??

navid123
11-19-2012, 11:20 PM
ME exercises can be rotated anywhere from 1-3 weeks. It depends on how fast you adapt .

chris mason
11-19-2012, 11:26 PM
FYI, the man who invented the method has beginners rotate ME movements weekly, not every 3 weeks. The 3 week quotes you see from him are directed more to accessory movements.

JK1
11-20-2012, 12:39 AM
FYI, the man who invented the method has beginners rotate ME movements weekly, not every 3 weeks. The 3 week quotes you see from him are directed more to accessory movements.
Chris, do you know when this changed or am I missing something? I know there is some conflict between what Lou writes and how Dave Tate wrote up the methods because Dave focused more on 3 week waves for all aspects of training-- ME work, DE work, accessory work, etc. Dave also contradicted himself and said that accessory work could be done for 5-6 weeks if I remember correctly. The 3 week Max effort wave is described in the old Westside VHS training video the best if I remember right. Lou spent a lot of time talking about the pendulum wave for DE work in the Book of Methods, but if you read it closely, that chapter is basically an exact copy of the Periodization article he published a few years ago. He kind of danced around ME work in that article

I'm asking specifically because the conversation I mentioned above that I had with him would have been a couple of years ago,so I don't know, I may have missed something. We were talking about my wife and why he thought she got so beat up training with a relatively basic template and the value of just focusing on her adding muscle as a primary goal.

RhodeHouse
11-20-2012, 06:58 AM
I have benched 600 raw in mutliple weight classes and over 800 raw in multiple weight classes using conjugate training.

I agree. i would also argue that your record with Westside isn't "winning". You have missed more weights than hit in contests. Your goal for 600 in 3 weight classes has a lot more losses than wins. A football coach with more losses than wins gets fired.

Just playing Devil's Advocate.

RhodeHouse
11-20-2012, 07:00 AM
I think you may be missing the "Overall" theme he is presenting. He never said you have to wait 6 weeks between particular exercises. That's the beauty of conjugate, you constantly vary workouts to ensure you are strong over all but can increase the frequency of a particular exercise if you feel it's necessary to overcome a weakness. The whole point is to seek out weakness and overcome it.


All arguments/conjecture aside, I totalled 1493 raw in Dec of 2009 and started running Westside in Feb of 2010. I totalled 1922 raw just over 2 years later (March 2012) adding well over 400 pounds to my total in said period! In "MY" personal experience Conjugate works!

No, I didn't miss anything.

RhodeHouse
11-20-2012, 07:04 AM
Rhodes, to answer your first question..please correct me if you disagree with what I'm writing here. I don't think this question has has been answered yet, or if it was I missed it. One week WILL NOT fix a weakness, there is more to it than that. The key component with determining the Max Effort exercise rotation is the level of the lifter. From how I understand the training method, only the most advanced lifters are changing ME movements every week, and even then, they may or may not do that. If you read Lou's writings in PLUSA or the Book of Methods or the Squat/Deadlift manual they all three say to not keep a max effort exercise more than 21 days. That mythical 21 day point is the point of accomodation and is also associated with the natural circadian rhythms of humans (basically these revolve around a 21 day hormonal, physiological, and psychological cycle, although it isn't exactly 21 days, that is the average point).

I think a lot of people watch Westside training videos or they catch snippits and they don't keep on a 3 week rotation, they like the variety and immediately go to the never ending exercise rotation and then ultimately don't fix the weak point. I think its much better for a beginning lifter to start out on a 3 week rotation, then stick to that until they find that on that 3rd week they can't break a PR for that exercise. I've seen guys in my gym set a PR on week 1, set a 20 lb PR on week 2, and then set another 20 lb PR on week 3. On the 4th week, they always fall apart. Why? In my mind because their body has accomodated and the have overextended their ability.

When a lifter starts setting a PR on week 1, then another on week 2, then on week 3, they fall apart, they have progressed to the point where they need to be changing exercises every 2 weeks. There will be a point where they set a PR on week 1, but on week 2, can't even tie that PR. That is the point where they need to go into the rotation of changing an exercise every week. The key at that point is how they construct the rotation for their weak points---ME work and accessory work should both be focused on addressing weaknesses. It is a balance that will vary by individual lifters to a degree.

I think I'm a lifter at that point in my training, in that I can break a record on week 1, but on week 2, I may struggle to tie it or I barely break it, so now I rotate ever week. I have had an elite total for a couple of years now, in both single ply and multiply, so that is a factor too. That every week rotation is one with cumulative weeks included--basically 12 week periods where I work that one specific weak point. Say I'm weak in my bench lockout from the 3 board level up.. week 1 is reverse bands, week 2 is floor presses of pins, week 3 is 2-3 board work in a shirt, week 4 is scheduled deload week (no ME Work, rehab work instead and regular DE work), then on week 5, I normally will start the exercise rotation over again for at least one full 4 week rotation and attempt to break all the records I set the first 4 weeks through. Depending on what kind of PR's I set, how I'm feeling, and where I am in meet prep, I then will do it again for a 3rd rotation before I change ME exercises. That varies a bit, but thats the idea I try to follow if I'm not getting ready for a meet. .

That to me is how you use a Westside training template to fix weak points. You can't fix them by focusing on one single exercise done in one workout. You have to have a big picture idea of what your weakness is and how you are going to address that weak point, then address it.

Personally have put over 400 lbs on my meet squat, almost 400 lbs on my meet bench, and we won't talk about deadlifts, but over 600 on my meet total in the last 6 years training that way.... as a mid 30's, fat, overworked, stressed out, Type I diabetic who had been stuck at the same numbers for years. So in my mind, there is a method to the madness, a method that definitely works, if you understand it and follow it. You just need to think in terms of big picture, not one single workout. This type of training is a method of training, not a routine.

I understand the program. If the lifter accomodates every 21 days (more or less) explain how Olympic lifters train the same 2 movements multiple times a week, in some cases, and don't accomodate? They obviously train other lifts and variations of those lifts, but the Snatch and the clean and jerk are practiced every week.

I'm not saying Westside doesn't work. I'm saying the program is good, but it's not JUST the program that makes Westside great.

Travis Bell
11-20-2012, 07:10 AM
Actually many of them don't train other lifts.

Either way though it's not the same comparison because on a Westside training schedule you're working up to 100% twice a week. You don't do that with Oly lifting. Kind of an apples to oranges comparison.

You still give the best handoffs in history though.

RFabsik
11-20-2012, 09:13 AM
I'm asking specifically because the conversation I mentioned above that I had with him would have been a couple of years ago,so I don't know, I may have missed something. We were talking about my wife and why he thought she got so beat up training with a relatively basic template and the value of just focusing on her adding muscle as a primary goal.

When I went to the CF Powerlifting Cert at Westside, Louie was clear to switch every week for ME work to all of us from the beginner to the more experienced. I think the 3 week ME exercise evolved over time to changing every week for the advanced to now being recommended for everyone to switch every week. As Louies says, Westside is constantly evolving.

In regards to accessory work, Chris answered this for me at another board, but you can keep the same accessory work as long as you are improving in that exercise. Once it stalls, switch, then down the road you can come back to it once somthiing else stalls.

chris mason
11-20-2012, 09:47 AM
Chris, do you know when this changed or am I missing something? I know there is some conflict between what Lou writes and how Dave Tate wrote up the methods because Dave focused more on 3 week waves for all aspects of training-- ME work, DE work, accessory work, etc. Dave also contradicted himself and said that accessory work could be done for 5-6 weeks if I remember correctly. The 3 week Max effort wave is described in the old Westside VHS training video the best if I remember right. Lou spent a lot of time talking about the pendulum wave for DE work in the Book of Methods, but if you read it closely, that chapter is basically an exact copy of the Periodization article he published a few years ago. He kind of danced around ME work in that article

I'm asking specifically because the conversation I mentioned above that I had with him would have been a couple of years ago,so I don't know, I may have missed something. We were talking about my wife and why he thought she got so beat up training with a relatively basic template and the value of just focusing on her adding muscle as a primary goal.

Conversation with who, Louie or Tate?

Dave Tate is not Westside and he is not Louie Simmons. Tate built his business off of the Westside name, but he hasn't trained there in many years. Westside is constantly adapting and trying new things.

I am speaking from personal conversations I have had with Louie.

Pendulum waves for DE work are still used and have nothing to do with ME work.

Now, a 3 week wave is used as a part of Circa-Max training, but that is different than the standard ME template.

What I can tell you is that Louie believes in rotating ME exercises weekly for typically 4 week cycles. He uses the same methods for beginners as for advanced athletes.

chris mason
11-20-2012, 09:50 AM
I agree. i would also argue that your record with Westside isn't "winning". You have missed more weights than hit in contests. Your goal for 600 in 3 weight classes has a lot more losses than wins. A football coach with more losses than wins gets fired.

Just playing Devil's Advocate.

Are you talking about his raw lifting or shirted? Shirted lifting has a lot more bombs especially as you reach the extremes. That has nothing to do with the training system and everything to do with the shirts themselves.

JK1
11-20-2012, 03:12 PM
Conversation with who, Louie or Tate?

Dave Tate is not Westside and he is not Louie Simmons. Tate built his business off of the Westside name, but he hasn't trained there in many years. Westside is constantly adapting and trying new things.

I am speaking from personal conversations I have had with Louie.

Pendulum waves for DE work are still used and have nothing to do with ME work.

Now, a 3 week wave is used as a part of Circa-Max training, but that is different than the standard ME template.

What I can tell you is that Louie believes in rotating ME exercises weekly for typically 4 week cycles. He uses the same methods for beginners as for advanced athletes.


I was speaking from conversation I had with Louie, not Dave Tate. I had asked him about the things Dave had written, we were discussing training and how to approach it vs what we (specifically my wife and myself too) had been doing in the gym.

chris mason
11-20-2012, 09:48 PM
I was speaking from conversation I had with Louie, not Dave Tate. I had asked him about the things Dave had written, we were discussing training and how to approach it vs what we (specifically my wife and myself too) had been doing in the gym.

Ok, so clarify for me what he said about what your wife should do (please).

JK1
11-21-2012, 01:07 AM
Ok, so clarify for me what he said about what your wife should do (please).

Ok, I'm going from memory from a couple of years ago with this conversation, so bear with me. I'll write down the high points of the entire conversation, because we did kind of skip around a bit. There was talk of pitbulls and his operating a crane. We were sitting by each other near the announcers table. My wife was lifting at that meet, so we were talking between handoffs and during the lul in between flights.

What I specifically asked about was how she seemed to just get beat to pieces after a while when she started on a Westside template while I did the exact opposite. We both followed the program in Dave Tates "basic training" manual initially. My lifts took off like a rocket. She gained, but then stalled out, then more or less fell apart--an insane work schedule, injury (she had a partial groin tear from a horse spooking and nearly throwing her), and studying for her second board specialty didn't help any, we realized and understand that. I asked him about how we tried different things, changing the ME exercises, deloads, and finally settled on her working on just raw strength working on a 5,3,1 template for several months to just build a base to work on from there before going back to a Westside template. My wife is about as physically opposite of me as two people can be. If we were animals, I'd be a fat rhino, she's a skinny giraffe. I asked Lou about that, about how to approach training because of that physical difference and potential differences in people with differences in base strength---not athletes,but tall skinny people vs short fat people more or less. If I remember right, I had totaled my first Elite at that point, so I was, in my mind, also a much more advanced lifter, which I asked about if that made a difference.

We talked about cycling all lifts in 3 week waves, I distinctly remember Lou saying that lifts should not be performed longer than 3 weeks (21 days) because of the body accommodating and after 3 weeks of training the same lift, progression stops. He did say that it was best if I (I understood this to be just me, not a general rule for all lifters) changed ME exercises every week but there might value in my wife working additional weeks--no more than 3 weeks in a row-- because it gave her a chance to learn proper exercise form and most importantly build much needed muscle mass and base strength. I asked about her ME work, if she was actually not working to a maximum, but instead working somewhere in the 80-85% capacity, typical of a beginner not really being able to push themselves hard yet. He kind of dodged that question and said that the idea was to set a record and then break that record, just never work more than 3 weeks. He did say that the goal of ME work should be to set a record and gave several variations of how we could subtly change exercises to focus on weak points and keep setting records.

He also talked about circamax, but honestly, at that time I was not doing circamax in any form and I walked away from that part of the conversation more confused than ever about what he was talking about.

My take home message from the conversation was with a lifter at my level, change the exercises every week for ME work and never keep an exercise more than 3 weeks in a row---this is for DE,ME, and/or accessory work, but especially for DE and accessory work. At the same time a beginner lifter who seriously needed to work on just adding muscle mass may benefit from setting a record, then the next week trying to break that record, and break it again on the third week. The important thing was to never train an exercise more than 3 weeks, because after 3 weeks accommodation occurs and regression begins.

This stuck in my head because it fit with what I'd seen with myself trying to follow Tate's basic "Westside" template as I got stronger. Basically it really clicked home to me... it was like a light bulb went off and I was looking at training differently after that. Initially, that 3 weeks of ME exercises were great, I was setting records every week, but as I got stronger and stronger, I would set a record the first week, break it the second week, then not be able to tie it the third week. When I asked Lou about that, his answer was "of course, you are getting stronger". Even now, to me that was a typical Louie Simmons yoda phrase, but it was something I chewed on for weeks afterward.

There were other things discussed--like one of the Westside lifters missing the lifts they did. Lou called it about the time they grabbed the bar. It impressed me, because he was right on every one. I've since learned to look for those subtle little things that will make or break a lift with my own training partners, so I'm not as amazed by that anymore, but then I thought it was really impressive then. He also complimented my wife on effort on the platform,even with the lifts she didn't get. That to me was also a big compliment to me considering the meet.

JosephITA
11-21-2012, 01:33 AM
Goodmoring to all,

I'm completely new of this board, I'm an italian weak lifter.

I'd like to say 2-3 words about my experience on West Side.

I do use a west side template, I appreciate a lot DE work for developing speed and..power at the lockout.
but

I've found a lot of problem with ME exercise. If I go up with singles, they beat me really hard after 2-3 weeks and I'm really sore in the next 2-3 weeks. This make very difficult to me to plan a meet cycle. I have to say that training alone it means that most of the time I choose the exercise that maybe don't hit my weakness are.
An year ago I decided to have a coach and I went for Brian Shwab. He teached me how to choose the weights and we stuck with the meet exercices + partrials. This helped me a lot but..it is not a west side.

Judas
11-23-2012, 04:41 AM
Actually many of them don't train other lifts.

There was a brief period in time where Abadjiev (Bulgarian god ov weightlifting coaches) tried that... snatch, C&J, front and back squat, and he'd always thought that someday that might work (even to the point ov dropping back squats too), but he soon brought back a few more movements to address weaknesses. So, it just didn't work. Aside from them, there were/are really no systems that espouse ONLY doing the comp lifts and the two squats. None that produce elite lifters anyways. Even the most spartan systems rotate/throw in certain assistance variants.


Either way though it's not the same comparison because on a Westside training schedule you're working up to 100% twice a week. You don't do that with Oly lifting. Kind of an apples to oranges comparison.

However... what he DID do, and with staggering success, is just what you said... go to 100%, every day, in both lifts, and usually squats, 7 days a week. Only injuries might limit the intensity. The elite in his golden era would go to or close to 100% in each movement, multiple times a DAY. Naim Suleymanoglu circa 1986 posted up one weekly routine where he'd train 9 times in one DAY 4 days a week... near maxes in front and back squats and snatch (3 sessions) and to a max or PR in the other 6 sessions in both snatch and C&J. The other 3 days in that week he'd only train 7 sessions per day, (2 squat, 3 snatch, 2 C&J), and again, most or all sessions going to a max or 'daily max'. I'm guessing he was the most extreme example, but i might be wrong. Obviously we are not talking about clean lifters here.

My sometimes-weightlifting coach i used to go to deals mostly in high school kids, and his programs are pretty savage. He'll max out a lifter in 1-3 (big) exercises at least 4 days a week (6 training days in a week), and has certain blocks in his routines where they'll max every day in at least 1 movement... for a couple weeks on end. He builds BEASTS. All clean, all kids, usually.


You still give the best handoffs in history though.

Haha, what the hell...???

ScottYard
11-24-2012, 04:19 PM
This has turned into quite a thread. Nice discussion.

chris mason
11-25-2012, 11:29 PM
Ok, I'm going from memory from a couple of years ago with this conversation, so bear with me. I'll write down the high points of the entire conversation, because we did kind of skip around a bit. There was talk of pitbulls and his operating a crane. We were sitting by each other near the announcers table. My wife was lifting at that meet, so we were talking between handoffs and during the lul in between flights.

What I specifically asked about was how she seemed to just get beat to pieces after a while when she started on a Westside template while I did the exact opposite. We both followed the program in Dave Tates "basic training" manual initially. My lifts took off like a rocket. She gained, but then stalled out, then more or less fell apart--an insane work schedule, injury (she had a partial groin tear from a horse spooking and nearly throwing her), and studying for her second board specialty didn't help any, we realized and understand that. I asked him about how we tried different things, changing the ME exercises, deloads, and finally settled on her working on just raw strength working on a 5,3,1 template for several months to just build a base to work on from there before going back to a Westside template. My wife is about as physically opposite of me as two people can be. If we were animals, I'd be a fat rhino, she's a skinny giraffe. I asked Lou about that, about how to approach training because of that physical difference and potential differences in people with differences in base strength---not athletes,but tall skinny people vs short fat people more or less. If I remember right, I had totaled my first Elite at that point, so I was, in my mind, also a much more advanced lifter, which I asked about if that made a difference.

We talked about cycling all lifts in 3 week waves, I distinctly remember Lou saying that lifts should not be performed longer than 3 weeks (21 days) because of the body accommodating and after 3 weeks of training the same lift, progression stops. He did say that it was best if I (I understood this to be just me, not a general rule for all lifters) changed ME exercises every week but there might value in my wife working additional weeks--no more than 3 weeks in a row-- because it gave her a chance to learn proper exercise form and most importantly build much needed muscle mass and base strength. I asked about her ME work, if she was actually not working to a maximum, but instead working somewhere in the 80-85% capacity, typical of a beginner not really being able to push themselves hard yet. He kind of dodged that question and said that the idea was to set a record and then break that record, just never work more than 3 weeks. He did say that the goal of ME work should be to set a record and gave several variations of how we could subtly change exercises to focus on weak points and keep setting records.

He also talked about circamax, but honestly, at that time I was not doing circamax in any form and I walked away from that part of the conversation more confused than ever about what he was talking about.

My take home message from the conversation was with a lifter at my level, change the exercises every week for ME work and never keep an exercise more than 3 weeks in a row---this is for DE,ME, and/or accessory work, but especially for DE and accessory work. At the same time a beginner lifter who seriously needed to work on just adding muscle mass may benefit from setting a record, then the next week trying to break that record, and break it again on the third week. The important thing was to never train an exercise more than 3 weeks, because after 3 weeks accommodation occurs and regression begins.

This stuck in my head because it fit with what I'd seen with myself trying to follow Tate's basic "Westside" template as I got stronger. Basically it really clicked home to me... it was like a light bulb went off and I was looking at training differently after that. Initially, that 3 weeks of ME exercises were great, I was setting records every week, but as I got stronger and stronger, I would set a record the first week, break it the second week, then not be able to tie it the third week. When I asked Lou about that, his answer was "of course, you are getting stronger". Even now, to me that was a typical Louie Simmons yoda phrase, but it was something I chewed on for weeks afterward.

There were other things discussed--like one of the Westside lifters missing the lifts they did. Lou called it about the time they grabbed the bar. It impressed me, because he was right on every one. I've since learned to look for those subtle little things that will make or break a lift with my own training partners, so I'm not as amazed by that anymore, but then I thought it was really impressive then. He also complimented my wife on effort on the platform,even with the lifts she didn't get. That to me was also a big compliment to me considering the meet.

Thank you. In short, I think you took perhaps a conversational concession from Louie and placed more importance on it than he intended. Louie is quite adamant, at least heretofore, about switching ME exercises weekly.

Now, he does believe in 3-4 weeks resulting in accomodation as that is what he has seen over and over in his gym, but if you alternating ME exercises weekly then that concept does not apply to them.

DontTakeEmOff31
11-26-2012, 02:06 PM
I understand the program. If the lifter accomodates every 21 days (more or less) explain how Olympic lifters train the same 2 movements multiple times a week, in some cases, and don't accomodate? They obviously train other lifts and variations of those lifts, but the Snatch and the clean and jerk are practiced every week.

I'm not saying Westside doesn't work. I'm saying the program is good, but it's not JUST the program that makes Westside great.

Out of curiosity what program would you suggest for competitive powerlifting then. A 5/3/1 template with more emphasis on heavy singles?

JK1
11-26-2012, 11:48 PM
Thank you. In short, I think you took perhaps a conversational concession from Louie and placed more importance on it than he intended. Louie is quite adamant, at least heretofore, about switching ME exercises weekly.

Now, he does believe in 3-4 weeks resulting in accomodation as that is what he has seen over and over in his gym, but if you alternating ME exercises weekly then that concept does not apply to them.

Chris, I'll be the first one to admit that... the thing is what we have been doing, works, and has worked for more than one lifter, so in my mind there is something positive to take from how I understood him.

RhodeHouse
11-28-2012, 06:46 AM
Out of curiosity what program would you suggest for competitive powerlifting then. A 5/3/1 template with more emphasis on heavy singles?

I thijnk 5/3/1 is ok for beginners. I like a block type program. I'm not totally against Westside, especially for geared lifting. i just don't agree with the changing of lifts every week. You can't get good in the shirt if you don't train in the shirt.

I always go back to sports. If you want to get good at free throw shooting, you need to practice it while you're tired and breathing heavy, like in a game. If you want to be good at squatting - squat. not variations. Squat. It makes sense in every other sport in the world. Why is powerlifting different? It's not.

BloodandThunder
11-28-2012, 07:31 AM
I thijnk 5/3/1 is ok for beginners. I like a block type program. I'm not totally against Westside, especially for geared lifting. i just don't agree with the changing of lifts every week. You can't get good in the shirt if you don't train in the shirt.

I always go back to sports. If you want to get good at free throw shooting, you need to practice it while you're tired and breathing heavy, like in a game. If you want to be good at squatting - squat. not variations. Squat. It makes sense in every other sport in the world. Why is powerlifting different? It's not.

Offhand, Chris or Travis, has Louie ever experimented with a system that fuses the ideas of block down (main lifts/box squats) but uses a system of rotation for supplementals/accessory? Setting up a system of training the primary movements in accum/transmut/realiz... mostly by Prilepin's, yet rotates supplementals in a higher Rep Max (say 5-6RM far out, 2-3RM closer)?

MarcusWild
11-28-2012, 09:27 AM
There's articles where Louie talks about how to incorporate block periodization with Westside. They just don't use fancy words like accumulation phase, etc.