I wrote this blog last night:
Great summary. It seems like the common attacks are:
#1 Westside is for geared lifting.
#2 Box squats do nothing.
#3 Do the basic exercises not special exercises
#4 Speed training/band chain work does nothing jump or throw instead.
You covered all but #4. What are your thoughts on #4?
The only thing I don't like about WS is the box squats. Are they great? Yes. With my arthritis-ridden knees, do I have the body control to make sure I don't compress my spine with heavy weights? No. Great exercise, just not for me. I learned the hard way.
Certainly agree that a lot of the bashing seems to be geared toward promoting people's own products (although I have read Brandon Lily's stuff and he just seems to hate box squats, not Louie's overall methods and that seems to be all he criticises). One thing I have found is I like using a raw squat as a supplemental exercise for reps after the ME movement, either pause squats, front squats or high bar olympic squats as I don't have the bars to switch things up too much in terms of a regular full ROM squat. What would you recommend for raw squats in the ME rotation for guys like me who don't have access to loads of bars etc? I would think (but haven't tried it) that just using a normal power squat every 3 weeks in the rotation would not be recommended but stand to be corrected.
I got suckered in to the no box squat thing. Guess what my squat when down. I am a raw squatter. Getting back into box squatting against bands. That's what blew my squat up in the first place.
Chris, that was a great article.
I still think arguments can be made on both sides. This has been discussed to death; no one 'routine/template/program' is going to be perfect for everybody.
Having said that, I have decided to give box squatting a try again for a few weeks. I tried doing them regularly a year or so ago and didn't really get much out of it, however my low bar form wasn't the greatest then and I squatted with a narrower stance. We'll see what happens this time around.
Best lifts: 615/475/660, Raw w/ Wraps
Great article Chris! You make very good points, all of which are not biased. I read Dan Greens article previously, and while clearly he' s had great success doing what works for him, its also clear that there was an agenda behind his article.
Very well written Chris!
Definitely addressed the different attacks that have been shot at Westside or the conjugate system lately.
Why do people see these as attacks (in the pejorative sense)? I don't read them that way. Was Louie Simmons "attacking" the progressive overload system when he wrote the following or was he just questioning established training methods?
"What's wrong with the progressive overload system, commonly used in the United States? Recall what I said about the force-velocity curve. In the early stages of the progressive overload system, the weights are too light, too light even for velocity work. This can be illustrated by throwing a whiffle ball. No matter how hard you throw it, it just doesn’t go very far, as compared to, say, a baseball. The weight of the baseball is more compatible with applying velocity and force. It's true that muscle hypertrophy is accomplished during this phase, but we are trying to achieve muscle strength, not size.
As the weeks continue in the progressive overload system, the weights reach the 65-82.5% range. For a while you are achieving maximum velocity, providing that you are trying to do so. But as the weights grow heavier, the force factor comes into play. Slowly but surely, you lose that all-important factor - velocity.
So as you can see, with the progressive overload system, it is impossible to maintain max force and velocity simultaneously. An additional negative effect occurs with progressive overload; you have lowered your volume to the point that it can no longer support the work needed to produce positive results at meet time. You may be at your strongest 2-3 weeks before the meet and fall on your face more times than not when it counts. "
Was Dave Tate attacking the western method of periodization when he wrote the Periodization Bible series? There can be no doubt he had an agenda -- he runs a website that he built selling the special equipment one often needs to follow conjugate training.
I guess what I'm saying is that having trained conjugate for 10+ years (now I'm doing something different) I don't see these articles as attacks, but rather the questioning of a training system that has dominated powerlifting since I've been in the sport. I find the debate they've sparked interesting reading, including Chris' article responding. I just wish the debate could remain more civil, on both sides, than it has.
Last edited by burt128; 06-23-2013 at 10:12 AM.
If you want to challenge a system at least have a valid argument.
I like box squats. They are something I do alot of to help my squatting. But I do them almost always really low and I use a narrow stance.
My own thoughts of Westside and others were more of a frustration that lifters think you need bands, chains and a sled to succeed. I also have never liked anyone thinking they have the only method that works.
I however am not comfortable with others seemingly have an agenda as well. "Hey this method is really terrible but boy do I have the program for you." Sounds sketchy.
I am regretting any curmudgeon posts where I should be celebrating the sport of love.
I read the comments this got on PLWatch. The best was probably the guy who said WS didn't work for him so he stopped. Then discovered hitting his triceps hard drove his bench up. Because Louie never says anything about triceps work...
I guess this is just another example of what several of yall have pointed out when people criticize WS, the person doing the criticizing lacks a fundamental understanding of the system and most likely doesn't do enough work after the main lift.
Chris- You are on the money. If I can add something without getting everyone worked up its this- The single biggest BS word in PL today is template. Lifters will take an example and take it to heart like its the 11th fkn commandment. Too many do not think for themselves or pay enough dues under the bar to learn for themselves what they need. But the literal second they dont break a WR after using a certain method for a month or two( apparently no one,understands training continuity either) well that " template" didnt work for them. It doesnt matter if one trains equipped or raw, the hard work that one puts in far outweighs a " template" on a piece of paper.I would like to again say great job on your article. You spoke for a lot of us with it.