T Nation

Customized WS


Hey Guys. Gotta question for ya'll. I understand that westside is based on a conjugated type periodization, and can be modified for basically, any of your goals, and purposes. How would one customize westside for raw strength and size. I understand there is the Westside for skinny bastards, but just wanted to see the possibilites of tinkering with the WS template and desigining a program based on some of Westside's ideas, along with utilizing the conjugate approach. (Conjugated Block training!) Thanks!


Why would you need to 'tinker' with the Westside template in order to gain raw strength and size? That's what it was designed to do. It doesn't even sound like you know what Westside entails. Go read up.



You wouldn't customise Westside for raw strength and size. That is exactly what it is designed for.


hmmm, if the confusion comes from the 'RAW' part - ie you are under the impression that ws is for equipped pl'ers only, then read the article 'benching like a stripper' at elitefts.com - it details a raw bench template. I think there is a similar article for the sq/dl too.

If the confusion arises over a misconception that ws won't build mass, then all I can do is reassure you that this is not the case. In fact WS + big food makes me grow more than any other training approach.


Actually, Wendler wrote quite a bit on differences between raw and equipped lifting. The truth is that early WS articles and programs were intented for equipped lifters.


Example of WS for football:



What? The Westside PROGRAM can easily be used for both raw and equipped lifters. The only difference would be the technique used during the main lifts and perhaps the supplemental exercise selection (ie more shoulder work for bench).


Well, from what I understand, the original westside is more of a powerlifting approach, and have read somewhere that the Westside can be customized to fit different needs and etc. So I was just wondering how I would go about using the conjugate approach, employing some of westside's principles for a more "focused mass and strength" routine, over the powerlifting essence. An example would be conjugated block training. So yeah, just wondering what other different ways there are from that respect.


Fuck dude, do we have to cram this down your throat? Westside IS focused on mass and strength. What do you think powerlifters are, skinny waifs? No they are massive and strong!

I gained 30 pounds in 8 months, and sent my lifts up 100 pounds or more each. It works.


Have you seen most of the Westside boys? We don't refer to them as "The Mastadons of Westside" because they look like ballerinas. Half of them have tattoos that say "GFH" (Get Fucking Huge). Westside is designed for pure mass and strength. Use the program, and when you get used to it, tweak it for your weak spots.


There seem to be more and more variations on the original Westside template. Read Dave Tate's Art of Program Design here at T-Nation. Jim Wendler's "Going Heavy" over at EliteFts.com is an interesting one; in fact, everything by Wendler recently seems designed to demystify some of the westside methods for us guys who aren't already reasonably advanced powerlifters. There is also Matt Rhodes' training template on the same website (his training log is also available at the forum at nazareth barbell - nazbar.com), and Jason Feruggia has also written of modifications to Westside that have suited him. Basically, go to EliteFts.com and read everything there.


The Westside based PROGRAMS for: a) equipped powerlifting, b) raw powerlifting, c) football/athletics, d) bodybuilding/mass will ultimately be different, althought they will all use the same TEMPLATE. The links I provided, from elitefts.com, deal with those differences.

Apart from exercise selection (ie less good mornings/sitting back for raw lifters, more bottom bench work for raw lifters) there's also a matter of adjusting ME work (5RM or 3RM or 1RM or combinations), whether you need DE work at all (check out latest Ferrugia's article there), whether you need AR or how much of it to apply.


Try not being a dick. The guy is asking a legitimate question that you are giving a shitty answer to. Westside is not "focused on mass". Westside is focused on increasing the 3 competition lifts. Mass is a side effect of the training and is as much influenced by the amount you are eating as anything else. To say Westside is "focused on mass" is incorrect. Don't want to hear it from me? Go over to EFS and read some of the recent Q/A answers where DT goes into this exactly.
In addition, the original articles were primarily written with the focus on equipped lifting. They will work for unequipped lifting but if you want to truly focus on raw lifting there would and should be, some modifications (examples of possible modifications are outlined in Wendler's recent articles).
This type of periodization can be used for most any goal so if you are simply referring to Westside as an overarching programmatic term of art then you are correct but the answers still don't help the original poster who specifically referenced examples of other routines using this programmatic scheme.



Westside will definitely improve the raw strength side of things. If you read through the method carefully you will see that size is important as well so that the powerlifter will have a solid base with which to lift huge weights. Read Dave Tate's "periodisation bible" on this site for more info. I think he covers this in part 2.

I may be wrong, but from what I've read this is probably the main variation you will find on this site of the Westside powerlifting template and was designed mainly for football.

I'm a bit confused with this statement. Westside IS only a form of the conjugate training approach, it's taken the conjugate training principles (once again read the Dave Tate article I mentioned) and been specialised to suit powerlifters. I think you need to approach it from the other direction and see what form of conjugate training will help you reach your goals, and not what variation of Westside you need, do you see what I mean here?

For example, most, if not all, of Chad Waterbury's programs utilise the conjugate approach, but they are certainly not Westside programs. All conjugate training does is train multiple strength qualities at the same time. Chad's programs are probably more targeted and easier to use for simple raw strength and size gains compared to Westside which as someone else mentioned here is geared towards performing the powerlifts.

So if you want to do conjugate training for strength and size I'd suggest make things easy for yourself and either do WSSB or follow the recommended progression of Chad's programs, just doing these alone will give you a couple of years of training without even having to think about tinkering with a template!

Hope this helps,



I am not sure how much reading you have done on Westside, but in one of the earlier .pdf files on Westside's site, Louie Simmons specifically mentions how to modify for more mass.

Basically, increase the number of accessory movements from 3-4 up to 5-6. Also, do more 3-6 rep maxes in place of the 1RM. Do repetition days more often, instead of every 4 weeks, maybe every 2 or 3. These rep days are not the same as in the WSSB variation, they are more traditional bodybuilding style workouts. Timed sets are often used as well.

Also, eat. Eat a lot. Westside raised my metabolism more than any other plan, template, whatever, that I have tried. I gain fat very easily, and I still had to add about 600 calories a day just to maintain my weight (I ate about 2500 calories before I started).

Try the Westside site, you will find quite a bit of info there.



ok well how do u customize WSB for those that just want str and no size?


Little volume and dont eat in excess.

This isn't rocket science.


There is a lot of good advice for you here. If you want some different training ideas, get the manual called "Training Templates" from elitefts.com There are proabably 10 or so different WS programs targeted at specfic goals.


Hey guys, Thanks for all your inputs and answers! Much is appreciated. Ill be sure to check out those articles you guys recommended. 1 Question, the training manuel from Elitefts, is it worth buying? and does it show different approaches of incorporating westside principles, or modifications or whatever. Thanks for your time



Yeah, the manual is good. Keep in mind that westside is a template but it evolves. Louie has said the most important thing is to know how to adjust training for your weaknesses. If you need mass up the reps, If you are slow do more speed work, if you are weak, you need more ME work. EVERYBODY needs stronger abs, triceps, and hams.

You can never do too much upper back work. If you train or compete raw, you need to do a rep day more frequently on ME day, and do some pauses in your training. If something lags, add extra workouts. You can do it, it is just a matter of getting to work.



Hey Jack, Thanks for your response. What does the manuel entail? (Examples). Also, when you said it is a template, but it evolves, what do you mean by that? Am I correct when I say that Westside is a program spawned for a conjugate approach? Thanks!