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Thread: What was the first program you used when you started PL?

  1. #1
    Westside Bencher Travis Bell's Avatar
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    What was the first program you used when you started PL?

    Most of us started out doing something much different than what we are currently doing. As our lifting progressed so did our training.

    Myself I was pretty much doing a bodybuilding routine when I decided to enter my first powerlifting meet. I had pretty much done bodybuilding type stuff since I was 12 and did my first meet when I was 20.

    After my first meet I tried a couple russian routines that were ok but got me into some trouble injury wise. Did this for about 6 months.

    I then trained with a couple of guys who were kinda doing a Westside routine but not really. Followed this group for about 4-5 months before I ended up at Westside Barbell where I've been since.

    Goofing around on my own got me to a 365 raw bench at 198. I had messed around in a single ply shirt and was at about 470 but I'd pretty much hit a wall. I was definitely frustrated by the time I met Louie.

    So what have you guys done? How has it worked for you?


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  2. #2
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    I basically trained like a idiot my first year until i competed. Tons of heavy rack pulls, rack squats, bands and chains together, high rep stuff, everything except bench stuff which i hated haha. It got me to a 500 raw squat and 570 raw deadlift at 217 BW and 17 years old, so i guess it worked pretty good. Once i got into powerlifting more it has always been modified westside. I started at a pretty obese 15 3/4 year old but strong so i guess i had a decent head start. Cut from 285 to 195 then back up to 217 for that meet.

    Nice thread Travis.
    2000 or bust

  3. #3
    illinois fattest lifter theBarzeen's Avatar
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    Bodybuilding from 16-22, went 425-350-540 in my first raw contest at 242 and the following fall I started at Frantz's gym and ran the same program that all of the team was running. It's changed a bit since then but it's not too far off.
    Meet PR's: 1008-750-750 - 2464

    Gym PR's... don't count ... time to do another meet!

  4. #4
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    My first true powerlifting oriented prorgram was WESTSIDE. I was 17 and it was my first week as a freshman in college. I had internet for the first time ever and I remember typing in 'POWERLIFTING" and finding the OLD DEEPSQUATTER website. I read all the Q/A by Dave Tate and Louie that day I bought my first PLUSA magazine from barnes and Nobles that week. I remember reading 'How to bench 500 easy" and bought my first set of chains from the original topper supply co in OHIO and my first Jump stretch bands that week as well direct from Jump stretch. I benched 460 in a EHPHD that year at 220 and 18. I did a few bench meets that year but stopped competing. I came back to powerlifting when I was 22 way in March of 2005 and bench 578. I then found out about metal militia bench training and 4 months later in July of 05 I benched 735.

    Those were the days.
    Best raw meet lifts
    Squat:765 with wraps. / 700 raw with out wraps
    Bench: 525
    Deadlift: 755
    Total: Raw with wraps: 2000. with out wraps: 1925

    Best lifts Equipped
    1050, 840, 715. Total: 2605

    Representing AtLarge Nutrition and EliteFTS

  5. #5
    Senior Member 44pirate's Avatar
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    High school, which goes back to 71-75, pyrimid then into bodybuilding; Frank Zane double split six day routine till I was 24. On and off for the next 18 yrs then my first comp was in 98. Mostly pyramiding style till 2001 when I read about Westside Barbell system. Been doing it since.
    http://www.wannabebig.com/forums/sho...s-Training-Log

    5'`9.5" 238
    Comp Lifts
    2ply Squat 550 10/17/09 Bench 470 10/17/09 DL 480 10/17/09
    Raw Squat 550 10/26/2013 Bench 425 5/14/11 DL 530 10/26/2013

  6. #6
    Wanna Be BIG Joe B's Avatar
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    I used to be a fat slob, and started lifting just to lose weight. After about a year of that and decent success, I changed my focus to strength. I read Starting Strength and did that routine for quite a while, got some great newb gains from it. By the time I did my first powerlifting meet about a year and a half later, I had transitioned to a basic 5x5 routine.

    That was only two years ago but it feels like forever, lol.
    Meet PRs: Squat 455 / Bench 270 / Deadlift 525

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  7. #7
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    I started off in early '09 with the basic WS template (only, no chains or bands cause I didn't have them!).

  8. #8
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    Scott, our numbers and ages we hit them are really similar man. I did 440 in a single @ 18 and 550 in a double @ 19 or 20. But my question to you is how the HELL did you jump to 730 in a few months?? That shits sick lol.
    2000 or bust

  9. #9
    Westside Bencher Travis Bell's Avatar
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    Scott is a tremendous equipped bencher. I still remember watching him at the last Bench Bash for Cash at the Arnold hitting I think it was 840ish? on the same platform with Ryan Kennelly.


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  10. #10
    Senior Member big ragu's Avatar
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    5,3,1-I started it 3 weeks ago! I've lifted weights for years, but never with powerlifting in mind. It started as a weight loss tool, then just for fun. Now I have some weight goals I want to hit.
    Take a look at my journal, keep me on the right path: http://www.wannabebig.com/forums/sho...-5-3-1-Journal

  11. #11
    Super Moderator vdizenzo's Avatar
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    I'm so ancient, I started using cement filled weights in my basement. Followed a basic bb program from a magazine. Jr and Sr yr of HS we started using the Bigger, Faster, Stronger program. That taught me the wonders of squatting, benching, and deadlifting. That program made the biggest impact on my training. It taught me the value of basic compound movements.


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  12. #12
    Moderator joey54's Avatar
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    Not powerlifting, but we used the bigger, stronger, faster program Vincent mentions above for high school football. After high school I got away from it and probably should have followed it through college. One thing for sure, the amount of great information available on the Internet now is amazing. Wasn't like that 10+ years ago.


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    Just get under the bar!

  13. #13
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    Quote Originally Posted by Travis Bell View Post
    Scott is a tremendous equipped bencher. I still remember watching him at the last Bench Bash for Cash at the Arnold hitting I think it was 840ish? on the same platform with Ryan Kennelly.
    I "WAS" one LOL Thanks though!

    I actually just looked at a pic of myself from the day after the ARNOLD at some bar in OHIO as a puffy, soft 305lber.

    Ahh the good old days.......
    Best raw meet lifts
    Squat:765 with wraps. / 700 raw with out wraps
    Bench: 525
    Deadlift: 755
    Total: Raw with wraps: 2000. with out wraps: 1925

    Best lifts Equipped
    1050, 840, 715. Total: 2605

    Representing AtLarge Nutrition and EliteFTS

  14. #14
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    Quote Originally Posted by Stumprrp View Post
    Scott, our numbers and ages we hit them are really similar man. I did 440 in a single @ 18 and 550 in a double @ 19 or 20. But my question to you is how the HELL did you jump to 730 in a few months?? That shits sick lol.
    proper fitting gear and training partners with alot of faith in me caused the big jump. I was given a karin Kline double denim that was altered about 10 times and had a 8 inch chest plate. It was either bench 735 on get ripped in half by the shirt LOL.
    Best raw meet lifts
    Squat:765 with wraps. / 700 raw with out wraps
    Bench: 525
    Deadlift: 755
    Total: Raw with wraps: 2000. with out wraps: 1925

    Best lifts Equipped
    1050, 840, 715. Total: 2605

    Representing AtLarge Nutrition and EliteFTS

  15. #15
    Westside Bencher Travis Bell's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by vdizenzo View Post
    I'm so ancient, I started using cement filled weights in my basement. Followed a basic bb program from a magazine. Jr and Sr yr of HS we started using the Bigger, Faster, Stronger program. That taught me the wonders of squatting, benching, and deadlifting. That program made the biggest impact on my training. It taught me the value of basic compound movements.
    I think BFS was pretty much the go to program for highschools for quite some time. There were some strong fundamentals that really gave people some good bases to bounce off of going further!

    We all read the BB mags back in the day though lol. Everyone wanted to look like Arnold haha. Aaaannnd then I saw my first 405lb bench press and I forgot about bodybuilding.

    Quote Originally Posted by ScottYard View Post
    I "WAS" one LOL Thanks though!

    I actually just looked at a pic of myself from the day after the ARNOLD at some bar in OHIO as a puffy, soft 305lber.

    Ahh the good old days.......
    haha Scott I'd bet dollars to doughnuts you would pick up the new shirts pretty quick. You had some super strong technique back then. When I switched from single ply to multi, I too went right into a Karen Klein DD and loved it. Really struggled in the other shirts until I found the SDP.

    Not trying to convince you to switch back I guess. Everyone knows I love raw benching as well.


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  16. #16
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    Thanks Travis!

    Get working towards that 600 raw!!!
    Best raw meet lifts
    Squat:765 with wraps. / 700 raw with out wraps
    Bench: 525
    Deadlift: 755
    Total: Raw with wraps: 2000. with out wraps: 1925

    Best lifts Equipped
    1050, 840, 715. Total: 2605

    Representing AtLarge Nutrition and EliteFTS

  17. #17
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    Quote Originally Posted by vdizenzo View Post
    I'm so ancient, I started using cement filled weights in my basement. Followed a basic bb program from a magazine. Jr and Sr yr of HS we started using the Bigger, Faster, Stronger program. That taught me the wonders of squatting, benching, and deadlifting. That program made the biggest impact on my training. It taught me the value of basic compound movements.


    Nah, you aren't that old Vin... I used those weights too.

    Actually my first "weights" were bars made from old metal bars and pipes, tires filled with concrete, concrete blocks, and big rocks... and of course growing up on the farm 50 lb sacks of fertilizer and feed... I still cringe at the thought of unloading those damned semis full of fertilizer and feed.

    I was so happy when I got actual metal plates.. after a summer of hard work, showing hogs and helping show cattle at the county fairs, I could afford a real "Olympic set"...and I still have those plates and the metal powerrack I got 2 years later that replaced the wooden one I built.


    I started out lifting weights wanting to do bodybuilding. I tried to follow Arnold's program, in his Encyclopedia of a Modern Bodybuilder, but I beat myself to pieces with that stuff. I somehow drifted to a "Power bodybuilding routine" in Weider's Ultimate Bodybuilding book, gained good size, but still was thinking I could get cut and ripped and all that crap.

    I got involved with boxing, kickboxing, and martial arts in college.. I also tore my left rotator cuff as a college freshman and somehow or the other ended up following a Mentzer/Dorian Yates type program (why i dont' know, I think I liked the idea of 2 sets or something). At some point, I decided I'd rather be strong than pretty (I think it was about when I hit 255 lbs or so and realized I was slow as shit as a boxer, but I could hit hard)... so I would follow a progressive overload type program to play around with local gym type powerlifting meets. I bombed out of so many meets I can't count them, but I was a gym hero, so I'd do something small, bomb out, and then beat myself up Mentzer/Yates style in the "off season".

    My first real training as a powerlifter was following Grimwoods 16 week meet prep program. I actually followed that program through the rest of undergrad and until I got into veterinary school. I kept lifting weights during vet school the year after, then my internship, but I didn't do anything remotely competition related. At that point I'd torn both rotator cuffs, I had messed up both knees, it hurt to walk most days and I was lucky if I could pick my arm up over my head.

    I got back on the Grimwood Program in my mid/late 20s, but couldnt' make it the 16 weeks without falling apart. I'd make it about 4-5 weeks tops, the lose my shit and fall apart I dropped out of meets because prep just didn't go right. I was lucky though, because I was living by Columbus Ohio at that point, so I knew people who knew Louie Simmons and people from Westside. They started me thinking.....

    Unfortunately I moved to NYC for my residency, and sort of left that train of thought behind for about a year. In NYC I met up someone I still consider one of the strongest people I've ever met (watching him rip 600+ lbs off the floor, in his mid 60's, after one total hip replacement and waiting for the second one still impresses the shit out of me today). In NYC I finally started settling into the training I'm now using now. I bought everything off Elitefts.com---all of the original ebooks, you can't get anymore, the westside training VCR tapes---yes the tapes, so that'll tell you how long ago that was. I watched the tapes until they wouldn't play anymore. I read every one of Louies articles. I then read the articles Lou referenced. I decided the only way I could get strong was to use the one thing I had, that I hadn't used in the past.. my brain.

    I ripped video after training video after training video apart and kept notebooks of my fuckups in the gym. I did a few bench only meets and played around..and had fun being a so-so lifter. I told myself I had bad knees, I had messed up my shoulders, I couldn't do full power anymore..... and i believed my own stupidity.

    But what really got me back on the platform as a full meet powerlifter was a brain tumor scare. I didnt have a tumor.. but after getting stuck in an MRI, I decided if I was going to be big, I was going to be strong, and if I was going to be strong I was going to be strong right... so, I went back to all the videos, the books, the notes I'd taken in NYC and I reread them..and I used my brain again. I also got back onto the platform doing full power and I started meeting people. That was what ultimately led me to where I am today.

    I train with a basic "westside" template. I've beat the living shit out of myself over the last few decades, but I'll get PR's on the platform the next meet I do. That much I know. I know thatfor one simple reason too. Its not necessarily the program that makes the lifter. It is the thought processes that allow you to objectively evaluate a program, chose one that compliments your desired training, objectively assessing weak points, and how hard you push yourself in the gym. I've got the notebooks from 10 years ago where I wrote down goal weights as weights I now use on my "DE" days. You gotta put in the work to make any program work.
    Finally ELITE @ SHW..

    Single ply: 931 squat, 760 bench, 530 deadlift and 2180 total
    Multi ply: 960 squat, 770 bench, 550 deadlift and 2250 total.

    The next stop: PRO total.

    HOO's Gym: building the strongest gym in the South, one plate at a time.

  18. #18
    Senior Member Paulo_Santos's Avatar
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    My first real program was Westside, which I butchered pretty badly. After some coaching, I'm finally on the right track with it. Looking back, I wish I had started with something easier like Stronglifts or Madcows.

  19. #19
    Wannabebig Member
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    old school linear periodizaton, used to for the first 10 years, loved it
    best multi ply total 2600 @ 308 in 2007. 1110 sq 780 bench 710 deadlift
    best single ply total 2550 @ SHW in 2012. 1000 sq 800 bench 750 deadlift
    Goal now is to finish my career unequipped and hit something big..GOD willing

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