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Thread: A brief explanation of the efficacy of Westside conjugate variety

  1. #76
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    This has turned into quite a thread. Nice discussion.
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  2. #77
    Administrator chris mason's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by JK1 View Post
    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.


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  3. #78
    Senior Member DontTakeEmOff31's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by RhodeHouse View Post
    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?
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  4. #79
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    Quote Originally Posted by chris mason View Post
    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.
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  5. #80
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    Quote Originally Posted by DontTakeEmOff31 View Post
    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.

  6. #81
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    Quote Originally Posted by RhodeHouse View Post
    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)?
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  7. #82
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    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.
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