Have a question regarding max effort training. Lets say, for example, that lifter "X" has a 400lbs 1RM on Bench Press and can do 360 for a 3RM. This same lifter, following conjugate method, decides to do Incline Press for ME work; lets say he is able to do 1RM 300lbs. Question is, wouldnt it be better for this lifter to alternate rep maxes on ME day instead switch the exercises? He would be lifting more overall poundage if he just stuck to flat bench press rather than switching exercises. I always wondered this
My hunch is that geared lifters are required to switch exercises because they cant lift for reps with equipment.
What do you guys think?
Only the strongest survive
My Guess (Key word: guess) and hope someone will correct me if im wrong:
is that even though they're switching exercises with potentially less weight, the carry over will be greater because of the stimulation of different muscle tissues and neurological pathways.
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First, I'm not a advanced Westside Lifter, more of a poser. But from my readings, and experience, lifts that use less weight than the main lift allow a couple of things:
1.) Lower stress, in a sense a limited deload or a way to randomly cycle intensity.
2.) Lifting from an akward position, hence less weight, but allows you to train out of position which will be helpful when you struggle in a main lift. Say if in the bench the bar starts to drift towards your head, the incline work will have built some strength there.
3.) Different muscles get emphasized with different exercises. If you are a big tri bencher, doing inclines might hit the shoulders and the famed pec minor more. If you just did bench all the time, you'll continue to emphasize your bench strengths (which is good), but if your style of bench hasn't helped your weaknesses it still won't hit it.
I usually wear different equipment (ie old, worn, looser, or single ply) for "off season" training" and only wear competition equipment a few weeks before the meet unless I'm trying to do something specific with the equipment (like tonight I squatted in a new Jack suit, but only because the suit is too big and I need to have it tailored. I wanted to get a good feel of it before I sent it to have the tailoring done). For example, I may bench for months in my older bench shirt with a couple of general goals are to double the last meet opener in the looser shirt or hit last meet 3rd attempt in the looser shirt, stuff like that.
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first of all if it works for you, do it
One of the main reasons I think its important to switch exercises every week or every 2 weeks is that its not stressful to do a 1 rm on a random ME lift. Whereas maxing on the competition lifts every week is more psychologically stressful. So you can do an all out max nearly every week of the year and not burn yourself out when its with "special" exercises.
Right now it seems like the in thing is to not do special exercises but if they work for you keep them. There are lots of exercises that build your bench (like inclines, military, board presses) that are useful to do and even though the weight may be less than the competition lift they are useful.
I think everyone can agree deficit deads are very useful, even though its gonna be with less weight.
If you want to follow a program that benches every week but alternates rep maxes there are several that do just that. But thats not westside.
You'd be better off doing both.
Wk 1 - single on exercise 1
wk 2 - 3 rep max on exercise 2
wk 3 - single on exercise 3
wk 4 - 3 rep max on exercise 4
wk 5 - single on exercise 5
wk 5 - repeat and hit 5lb pr on wk 1 exercise
The key is when guys do singles often they don't do enough work sets. Either making jumps too quick or not hitting enough total sets above 90%.
Prior to my first appearance at Westside I thought I understood the program, then I went there and realized how large the volume of work is that Louie was doing on ME day and then it made sense why the PRs were so consistent. I've been there since 2005 and can count on one hand the number of times I've missed a PR
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Yes you want 3-4 sets above 90% but often times guys jump right from say 50% to 90%.
But yes we do more down sets in the bench often at 70-85%. usually 2 or 3 sets.
Travis, two questions: 1)If we are to keep that 60 minute rule, how do you guys go about it on Max effort day? Surely it would take 90+ minute to max on a lift plus assistance work. Do you guys include a second session for special exercises?
2) If you go for a 3RM, how do you work up to that number? (certainly 3-4 sets at 90% wouldnt work)
@kingns: Yes, it wouldnt be the conjugate method. Alternating rep maxes is called "undulating peridiozation" and I got it of Science and Practice of Strength Training a book heavily recommended by Louie. The author goes over two forms of loading (given the fact that traditional linear progression doesnt work very well/long enough) those two forms are : Alternating exercises (Westside style) or alternating rep maxes on the same exercise (my question). I'll test and try both, see which one I like the best
Only the strongest survive
Normally we are done in an hour. Sometimes we hang around for another 30min or so doing mobility stuff or whatever. But the main work is normally done. We keep up a pretty good pace. However if someone needed to push the session a little longer in favor of getting more work done, do it. The work is more important than the time.
You work up to a 3rm the same way you do a 1rm. Warm up and start doing triples. You still want to get the right number of sets in at 90% and over. 90% of your 3rm, not 1rm
Yeah, that's what I thought. 90% of 3RM. Makes perfect sense.
Only the strongest survive
Bench and accessories. We start usually around 8:15 and everyone has pretty much left the gym by 10am.
We have a pretty large group but we split it up into groups of 3-5 guys per group.
I can tell you that Louie would say to stick with 1RM attempts and alternate exercises. If you want maximum absolute strength nothing works better than the 1RM. Now, he will sometimes recommend sets of say 5 for those seeking to focus on adding lean mass, but that is something different.
The alternating exercises has nothing to do with gear, it has to do with CNS accommodation/stagnation and varying the stimulus to alter emphasis.
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