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Thread: The Matt Rhodes vs. Westside Thread

  1. #26
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    Good thread so far.

    I train raw and follow a westside template.

    I do lots of box squats and it does carry over very well for me. I rotate paused squats and box squats for DE. Keep in mind I sit back and squat wide. Box Squats also helped with my free squat form tremendously.

    For upper body ME I usually stick between 3-5 reps. This has been a lot more effective for me over singles. I usually do a back down set a well. Lower body Is mostly singles for ME.`

    De upper started working for me when I lightened the weight. Although I often Rotate RE and DE in 3 week cycles.

    There's a little on my take with westside and raw training....
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  2. #27
    Westside Bencher Travis Bell's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by BloodandThunder View Post
    Travis,

    Was Amy W. still at Westside when she did Raw Unity or her other raw meets? Are you aware of how her training differed? She hit the 4th ranked 2007-current Raw Total with wraps at 148. Could be another example
    Yep. Amy has never left Westside. Good point! For some reason she didn't cross my mind lol.


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  3. #28
    Senior Member Jonathan E's Avatar
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    Two questions for anyone who has the knowledge:

    -We've covered that you get 'slower' as you get 'stronger' and thus, some speed work can be beneficial. My question is why do you get slower in the first place? Do they just mean the heavier the weight, the slower it will (obviously) go since it's heavier??

    -As far as proper box squatting technique goes, I thought I read in Louie's book that you are supposed to relax your glutes and hamstrings once you sit down, than tighten up and explode off. Not stay tight through out. Can someone clarify that for me? And I must have been doing them wrong in the past...because I was able to do 100 more lbs than in my raw squat lol..
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    Quote Originally Posted by Whoopipally View Post
    Two questions for anyone who has the knowledge:

    -We've covered that you get 'slower' as you get 'stronger' and thus, some speed work can be beneficial. My question is why do you get slower in the first place? Do they just mean the heavier the weight, the slower it will (obviously) go since it's heavier??
    For me it is a matter of controlling the weight. I squat the best when I'm explosive, but with heavier weights, it tends to drive you down, you subconsciously push back against the effects of gravity on the bar (or at least I do) to maintain tight control of the heavier weight---in other words you get slightly out of line with a lighter weight (even if its relative to your strength) you can correct and it isn't a big deal. you get heavier, the weight can drive you into the wrong direction.

    The second thing is simply tightness/muscle soreness. As I got stronger, I also got alot tighter--- I was sitting in an office chair, I got fatter, I simply couldn't move as well. You can't just drop a squat with tight hamstrings and calves. Add in injuries (we all get them) and specific explosive work ends up being something that has to be done to squat well in my opinion.

    As far as proper box squatting technique goes, I thought I read in Louie's book that you are supposed to relax your glutes and hamstrings once you sit down, than tighten up and explode off. Not stay tight through out. Can someone clarify that for me? And I must have been doing them wrong in the past...because I was able to do 100 more lbs than in my raw squat lol..
    For me its a glute issue.. We used to call it the "butt rocket" (yeah I know, stupid, but whatever) You sit down and back, relax your glutes, then fire the butt rocket and blast off.
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    From Mr. Rhodes:

    "Just because Louis says it, doesn't mean it's the word of God. I don't believe that the best way to build strength is with singles."

    I agree it is wise to question any source or idea, test it for you and find out what works best.

    For home gym posers like me, I feel I rely on the experience of others to guide but not dictate my training decisions. Yet, Rhodes, Louie and many others on this forum will know and have more training than I'll ever have, hence I'll lean on the exepertise.

    In regards to building strength, there are clearly many who have mastered strength without a focus on singles. What do you feel is best for buidling 1RM strength?

  6. #31
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    Quote Originally Posted by Whoopipally View Post
    Two questions for anyone who has the knowledge:

    -We've covered that you get 'slower' as you get 'stronger' and thus, some speed work can be beneficial. My question is why do you get slower in the first place? Do they just mean the heavier the weight, the slower it will (obviously) go since it's heavier??

    -As far as proper box squatting technique goes, I thought I read in Louie's book that you are supposed to relax your glutes and hamstrings once you sit down, than tighten up and explode off. Not stay tight through out. Can someone clarify that for me? And I must have been doing them wrong in the past...because I was able to do 100 more lbs than in my raw squat lol..
    I just strongly disagree that you get slower when you get stronger. As I've gotten stronger my speed and explosive power has gotten better, yet I don't do speed work. Again, Siff's ideas were never tested. They were theories.

  7. #32
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    Quote Originally Posted by RFabsik View Post
    From Mr. Rhodes:

    "Just because Louis says it, doesn't mean it's the word of God. I don't believe that the best way to build strength is with singles."

    I agree it is wise to question any source or idea, test it for you and find out what works best.

    For home gym posers like me, I feel I rely on the experience of others to guide but not dictate my training decisions. Yet, Rhodes, Louie and many others on this forum will know and have more training than I'll ever have, hence I'll lean on the exepertise.

    In regards to building strength, there are clearly many who have mastered strength without a focus on singles. What do you feel is best for buidling 1RM strength?
    I understand where you're coming from. I did the same thing. I didn't and still rarely use the internet for training advice. I call or correspond directly with someone when I want to clarify something etc...

    That being said, I listened to every word Louie wrote when I first started. As I used the methods I just began to think critically about training. If things didn't make sense I would try to figure out why.

    All types of rep ranges will help increase 1rm strength. The key to being able to express your true 1rm strength means you need to go through a peaking-type phase before you truly test. There are a lot of people who can bang out 10, 12, 15 reps on a main lift, yet they are unable to do the estimated 1rm.

    So, you need to hit some singles, doubles, triples, 5's and 10's to build your body. This is part of why I'm a fan of a linear progression.

  8. #33
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    Quote Originally Posted by JK1 View Post
    For me it is a matter of controlling the weight. I squat the best when I'm explosive, but with heavier weights, it tends to drive you down, you subconsciously push back against the effects of gravity on the bar (or at least I do) to maintain tight control of the heavier weight---in other words you get slightly out of line with a lighter weight (even if its relative to your strength) you can correct and it isn't a big deal. you get heavier, the weight can drive you into the wrong direction.

    The second thing is simply tightness/muscle soreness. As I got stronger, I also got alot tighter--- I was sitting in an office chair, I got fatter, I simply couldn't move as well. You can't just drop a squat with tight hamstrings and calves. Add in injuries (we all get them) and specific explosive work ends up being something that has to be done to squat well in my opinion.



    For me its a glute issue.. We used to call it the "butt rocket" (yeah I know, stupid, but whatever) You sit down and back, relax your glutes, then fire the butt rocket and blast off.
    HAHAHA! The "Butt Rocket". Awesome!

    This is one example that makes ZERO sense to me. In the bottom of a competition squat, you can't relax anything. On the box, you relax and flex? Now, In reality are we just relaxing our glutes? Absoluetly not. Everything is loosening up. Glutes, legs, abs, back... If that happens at the bottom of a competiton squat the bar ends up jacking you in the back of the head and landing on the floor in front of you. So, why would I practice something 8-12 times a week on DE day that is so counter productive and should be counter intuitive to what I would do in competition?

  9. #34
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    Quote Originally Posted by RhodeHouse View Post
    I just strongly disagree that you get slower when you get stronger. As I've gotten stronger my speed and explosive power has gotten better, yet I don't do speed work. Again, Siff's ideas were never tested. They were theories.
    To me if you take your bench from 315 to 405 your going to be faster with 315 lol.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Darracq View Post
    To me if you take your bench from 315 to 405 your going to be faster with 315 lol.
    This is true.

  11. #36
    Cardio bunny Alex.V's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by RhodeHouse View Post
    I just strongly disagree that you get slower when you get stronger. As I've gotten stronger my speed and explosive power has gotten better, yet I don't do speed work. Again, Siff's ideas were never tested. They were theories.
    It's interesting, Matt, I generally agree with nearly everything you've written here regarding modifications to the Westside template- less focus on rotation of max effort lifts (with a greater focus on the competition lifts, performed as they would be in competition), less focus on box squats, etc.- found this better for both myself and many of my athletes.

    What's interesting, though, is the majority of the athletes I train are multi-sport guys- they don't have the luxury of JUST lifting. These guys are cycling, running, swimming, playing hockey, rugby... to get stronger or improve their squats they can't dick around with eight variations of squat, they need to keep hammering the one basic movement. That's neither here nor there, but made me realize that more multifaceted athletes, since they're learning and practicing so many different types of movements, need to be more specific about each one.

    ....back to the quoted section. You make a good point here, but for guys who AREN'T improving much and don't understand explosiveness, they DO get slower. You're a football coach, among other things. Your athletes KNOW speed, they KNOW power and explosiveness. So many gym monkeys don't- even guys who just lift to get strong and have for years still have that nagging "slow and controlled" mantra in their head (Oly lifters tend to be an exception). Many guys stare in absolute shock at anybody blasting up moderate weight sets or dive bombing squats (not that I usually recommend this, but you get the idea), because they're used to "heavy weight is supposed to be slow". True, pro powerlifters of Westside caliber may not need to be taught explosiveness, but for a lot of more mid-level dudes, I think it always has its place. A lot of guys who've gotten fairly far but have finally hit a wall while being slow and controlled, and need to spend months and months learning how to be fast and powerful.
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  12. #37
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    I think for a geared lifter box squats are key to developing that explosiveness in the hole where the suit stops you. However i do think a lifter should take a few free weight squats on max day as well as doing raw assistance work. I literally took 0 free weight attempts my last meet cycle and only put the suit bottoms on a few times to overload with reverse bands and hit a pretty easy full gear squat in the meet.
    2000 or bust

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    I've trained Westside style for the last few years after over a decade of training other methods. Nothing I've done has worked as well for increasing my 1RM as Westside. I think the 1RM work is incredibly important. Matt said if you want to get good at something you should do it as often as possible. What I want to get good at is pushing maximal weight so that is what I repeat. When I lift with my crew we do a 1RM exercise then an assistance exercise that sounds a lot like the ME exercise Matt described (full out effort for 3-6 reps, maintaining the same exercise for 3 weeks then rotating to a new one). We then work on lighter assistance work. I think the problem people have with Westside is they don't realize how much work aside from their 1RM ME lift needs to be done.

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    Quote Originally Posted by mike95763 View Post
    I've trained Westside style for the last few years after over a decade of training other methods. Nothing I've done has worked as well for increasing my 1RM as Westside. I think the 1RM work is incredibly important. Matt said if you want to get good at something you should do it as often as possible. What I want to get good at is pushing maximal weight so that is what I repeat. When I lift with my crew we do a 1RM exercise then an assistance exercise that sounds a lot like the ME exercise Matt described (full out effort for 3-6 reps, maintaining the same exercise for 3 weeks then rotating to a new one). We then work on lighter assistance work. I think the problem people have with Westside is they don't realize how much work aside from their 1RM ME lift needs to be done.
    This is where my partners and I messed up a little on the traditional westside split. There was no secondary barbell movements. It would be for example max good mornings then right to GHRs and other assistance.
    2000 or bust

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    Quote Originally Posted by Alex.V View Post
    It's interesting, Matt, I generally agree with nearly everything you've written here regarding modifications to the Westside template- less focus on rotation of max effort lifts (with a greater focus on the competition lifts, performed as they would be in competition), less focus on box squats, etc.- found this better for both myself and many of my athletes.

    What's interesting, though, is the majority of the athletes I train are multi-sport guys- they don't have the luxury of JUST lifting. These guys are cycling, running, swimming, playing hockey, rugby... to get stronger or improve their squats they can't dick around with eight variations of squat, they need to keep hammering the one basic movement. That's neither here nor there, but made me realize that more multifaceted athletes, since they're learning and practicing so many different types of movements, need to be more specific about each one.

    ....back to the quoted section. You make a good point here, but for guys who AREN'T improving much and don't understand explosiveness, they DO get slower. You're a football coach, among other things. Your athletes KNOW speed, they KNOW power and explosiveness. So many gym monkeys don't- even guys who just lift to get strong and have for years still have that nagging "slow and controlled" mantra in their head (Oly lifters tend to be an exception). Many guys stare in absolute shock at anybody blasting up moderate weight sets or dive bombing squats (not that I usually recommend this, but you get the idea), because they're used to "heavy weight is supposed to be slow". True, pro powerlifters of Westside caliber may not need to be taught explosiveness, but for a lot of more mid-level dudes, I think it always has its place. A lot of guys who've gotten fairly far but have finally hit a wall while being slow and controlled, and need to spend months and months learning how to be fast and powerful.
    Dead on with athletes. They just need to squat.

    I also agree that if you are slow, by fiber type make up, then speed work has it's place, for sure. If you're a grinder as a lifter, you'll probably never be fast. But, you can learn to exert as much force as possible against the bar. It may not move faster, but it will move.

    Not sure if I just made sense. "Red, White and Blue" by Lynyrd Skynyrd is blasting in the weight room right now!

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    The only thing i can really say is look at westside lifters. They have the largest group of huge totaling guys (and gals) in the country. I personally get bored easily so changing up routines is a must, or i would just stick to this.
    2000 or bust

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    Quote Originally Posted by Stumprrp View Post
    The only thing i can really say is look at westside lifters. They have the largest group of huge totaling guys (and gals) in the country. I personally get bored easily so changing up routines is a must, or i would just stick to this.
    That's very true. I can't think of any other gym that has a track record like they do. I think this is not only about the training methods but the training environment. And I am not trying to downplay the importance of westside training, it obviously works and works damn well. I just think that you cannot downplay how important a training environment like westside is.

    I agree with most of what Matt has said on this thread and have found following a similar protocol in my own training has produced the best results for me.

  18. #43
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    Quote Originally Posted by Stumprrp View Post
    The only thing i can really say is look at westside lifters. They have the largest group of huge totaling guys (and gals) in the country. I personally get bored easily so changing up routines is a must, or i would just stick to this.
    There are a ton of lifters at Westside. At one point I trained with 6 guys. One benched 700+, one benched 800+ and one benched 900+. I'd say percentage-wise, we were much better than Westside. Now, this was about 5 years ago when our 900lb bencher was the 8th to ever bench it.

    However, I cannot adn never have said that Westside isn't a great gym. Probably the best in the country. I also believe part of the Wetside success comes from the atmosphere and the expectations that are put on the lifters there.
    Last edited by RhodeHouse; 03-07-2013 at 03:35 PM.

  19. #44
    Senior Member Paulo_Santos's Avatar
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    This thread has been a great read. After reading the Cube ebook and reading Matt Rhode's posts I'm going to do a couple of cycles without any box squats and I'm doing the speed lifts without any bands or chains. I'll just do 8 sets of 3 at 60% as Brandon Lilly recommends in the Cube. My next meet isn't until August, so I have enough time to play around and try a couple of things and see how they work for me. I want to see if this makes a difference for a raw lifter. I may start a log and see how things go.

  20. #45
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    Quote Originally Posted by RhodeHouse View Post
    I understand where you're coming from. I did the same thing. I didn't and still rarely use the internet for training advice. I call or correspond directly with someone when I want to clarify something etc...

    That being said, I listened to every word Louie wrote when I first started. As I used the methods I just began to think critically about training. If things didn't make sense I would try to figure out why.

    All types of rep ranges will help increase 1rm strength. The key to being able to express your true 1rm strength means you need to go through a peaking-type phase before you truly test. There are a lot of people who can bang out 10, 12, 15 reps on a main lift, yet they are unable to do the estimated 1rm.

    So, you need to hit some singles, doubles, triples, 5's and 10's to build your body. This is part of why I'm a fan of a linear progression.
    Why do you feel being able to express your true 1RM requires a peaking phase?


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  21. #46
    Senior Member Jonathan E's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by JK1 View Post
    For me it is a matter of controlling the weight. I squat the best when I'm explosive, but with heavier weights, it tends to drive you down, you subconsciously push back against the effects of gravity on the bar (or at least I do) to maintain tight control of the heavier weight---in other words you get slightly out of line with a lighter weight (even if its relative to your strength) you can correct and it isn't a big deal. you get heavier, the weight can drive you into the wrong direction.

    The second thing is simply tightness/muscle soreness. As I got stronger, I also got alot tighter--- I was sitting in an office chair, I got fatter, I simply couldn't move as well. You can't just drop a squat with tight hamstrings and calves. Add in injuries (we all get them) and specific explosive work ends up being something that has to be done to squat well in my opinion.
    Yeah, both of those explanations make sense, thank man.
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    Senior Member Jonathan E's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by RhodeHouse View Post
    I just strongly disagree that you get slower when you get stronger. As I've gotten stronger my speed and explosive power has gotten better, yet I don't do speed work. Again, Siff's ideas were never tested. They were theories.
    I can definitely see your side too. If you're getting stronger, weight that was hard in the past will go up more explosively because of that. As an 'athlete', I think a lot of it had to do with keeping up with stiffness and injuries (especially with me and football) as some others have said.
    Last edited by Jonathan E; 03-07-2013 at 09:22 PM.
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    Quote Originally Posted by chris mason View Post
    Why do you feel being able to express your true 1RM requires a peaking phase?
    Handling a Max lift is a lot different on the mind and body than rep maxes. With maximal weights the room for error is so much less. And, it only makes sense that if you're going to take a 1RM that you train accordingly. Not to mention, doing reps is different than doing singles. My doubles and triples are performed a little differently that my singles.

  24. #49
    Westside Bencher Travis Bell's Avatar
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    Fair enough, however your technique for doing singles is much different than when doing reps.

    Your form will stay tight for the first one but it's going to break down each rep after that. It's just inevitable.


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    Quote Originally Posted by Travis Bell View Post
    Fair enough, however your technique for doing singles is much different than when doing reps.

    Your form will stay tight for the first one but it's going to break down each rep after that. It's just inevitable.
    Do you find there is a point of diminishing returns for this? Like, does form stay stable with doubles at least, or even triples? Or is it that anything about a single you cant put maximum focus into?

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