T Nation

Ditch Westside for 5/3/1?

[quote]ALKoHoLiK wrote:
sko wrote:
can you explain what you mean by the last thing? shouldn’t your maxes go up from the beginning?

No because you use 90% of your 1 RM. This program isn’t meant to get you a bigger bench in 6 weeks. Jim even states that in his book.

We all know that sometimes working with 90-95% of your 1rm all the time can lead to injuries and stress on your body. Jim in this book wants you to understand this isn’t a race in Powerlifting, lifting weights is a life long commitment. You are making slow gains (gains none the less).

People worry about jumping up their maxes by like 20-30 pounds in a 8-12 week program and Jim has said in his book,

[i]"People always scoff when I want their bench to go up by 20-25 pounds their first year. They want the program that will put 40 pounds on their bench in 8 weeks. When they say this, I ask them how much their bench went up in the last year, and they hang their heads in shame. I canâ??t understand why someone wouldnâ??t want progress â?? even itâ??s just 5 pounds. Itâ??s better than nothing. Itâ??s progress

The game of lifting isnâ??t an 8-week pursuit. It doesnâ??t last as long as your latest program does. Rather, itâ??s a lifetime pursuit. If you understand this, then progressing slowly isnâ??t a big deal. In fact, this can be a huge weight lifted off your back. Now you can focus on getting those 5 extra pounds rather than 50."[/i][/quote]

Just because you’re working at submaximal poundages doesn’t mean that your max isn’t going up at the same time… Just make sure you get those extra reps on the third set each wave. If you don’t go all-out there, then you may indeed end up making somewhat slow progress…

[quote]Cephalic_Carnage wrote:
Just because you’re working at submaximal poundages doesn’t mean that your max isn’t going up at the same time… Just make sure you get those extra reps on the third set each wave. If you don’t go all-out there, then you may indeed end up making somewhat slow progress…

[/quote]

Yeah I’m not saying that it would not go up. However Jim does state that this isn’t a 8 week cure to get 40lbs on a certain lift.

However thank you for pointing that out, I will check my wording again.

[quote]ALKoHoLiK wrote:
Cephalic_Carnage wrote:
Just because you’re working at submaximal poundages doesn’t mean that your max isn’t going up at the same time… Just make sure you get those extra reps on the third set each wave. If you don’t go all-out there, then you may indeed end up making somewhat slow progress…

Yeah I’m not saying that it would not go up. However Jim does state that this isn’t a 8 week cure to get 40lbs on a certain lift.

However thank you for pointing that out, I will check my wording again.[/quote]

Yeah, wasn’t really meant to sound like I’m patronizing you or anything, I just meant to clarify that your max can (and should) indeed improve right from the start on 5/3/1. People also should spend some time thinking about their assistance templates, as they can play a big role in boosting your strength on the big 3 beyond what the actual 5/3/1 provides (and I’m personally not too fond of most of Jim’s stock a.t.'s).

That being said, for a very weak/skinny/beginner trainee I’d probably still choose a different routine for faster, non-periodized/planned-out progress and weight gain… If he were up for it.

[quote]Cephalic_Carnage wrote:
ALKoHoLiK wrote:
Cephalic_Carnage wrote:
Just because you’re working at submaximal poundages doesn’t mean that your max isn’t going up at the same time… Just make sure you get those extra reps on the third set each wave. If you don’t go all-out there, then you may indeed end up making somewhat slow progress…

Yeah I’m not saying that it would not go up. However Jim does state that this isn’t a 8 week cure to get 40lbs on a certain lift.

However thank you for pointing that out, I will check my wording again.

Yeah, wasn’t really meant to sound like I’m patronizing you or anything, I just meant to clarify that your max can (and should) indeed improve right from the start on 5/3/1. People also should spend some time thinking about their assistance templates, as they can play a big role in boosting your strength on the big 3 beyond what the actual 5/3/1 provides (and I’m personally not too fond of most of Jim’s stock a.t.'s).

That being said, for a very weak/skinny/beginner trainee I’d probably still choose a different routine for faster, non-periodized/planned-out progress and weight gain… If he were up for it.

[/quote]

Precisely.

Hey CC, are you incorporating 5/3/1 into your training now?

[quote]m1sf1t wrote:
Cephalic_Carnage wrote:
ALKoHoLiK wrote:
Cephalic_Carnage wrote:
Just because you’re working at submaximal poundages doesn’t mean that your max isn’t going up at the same time… Just make sure you get those extra reps on the third set each wave. If you don’t go all-out there, then you may indeed end up making somewhat slow progress…

Yeah I’m not saying that it would not go up. However Jim does state that this isn’t a 8 week cure to get 40lbs on a certain lift.

However thank you for pointing that out, I will check my wording again.

Yeah, wasn’t really meant to sound like I’m patronizing you or anything, I just meant to clarify that your max can (and should) indeed improve right from the start on 5/3/1. People also should spend some time thinking about their assistance templates, as they can play a big role in boosting your strength on the big 3 beyond what the actual 5/3/1 provides (and I’m personally not too fond of most of Jim’s stock a.t.'s).

That being said, for a very weak/skinny/beginner trainee I’d probably still choose a different routine for faster, non-periodized/planned-out progress and weight gain… If he were up for it.

Precisely.

Hey CC, are you incorporating 5/3/1 into your training now?[/quote]

Have been doing that roughly since Gerdy started my “how do you train?” thread, but there were some interruptions as well (been doing some experimenting with more traditional PL stuff and some higher frequency work and ended up updating my main approach to beginner training in particular).

[quote]Cephalic_Carnage wrote:

Yeah, wasn’t really meant to sound like I’m patronizing you or anything, I just meant to clarify that your max can (and should) indeed improve right from the start on 5/3/1. People also should spend some time thinking about their assistance templates, as they can play a big role in boosting your strength on the big 3 beyond what the actual 5/3/1 provides (and I’m personally not too fond of most of Jim’s stock a.t.'s).

That being said, for a very weak/skinny/beginner trainee I’d probably still choose a different routine for faster, non-periodized/planned-out progress and weight gain… If he were up for it.

[/quote]

I’m the exact opposite with regards to the assistance. I know people seem to scoff at the “keep it light” mentality of 5/3/1, but the loading is fairly aggressive and it is easy to burn yourself out. I’ve seen (natural) trainees have the most success in terms of strength gains using the more abbreviated templates. Something like say the main lift and then two assistance exercises using 5 straight sets of 10, increasing the poundages on assistance every cycle or so.

[quote]Cephalic_Carnage wrote:
Yeah, wasn’t really meant to sound like I’m patronizing you or anything, I just meant to clarify that your max can (and should) indeed improve right from the start on 5/3/1. People also should spend some time thinking about their assistance templates, as they can play a big role in boosting your strength on the big 3 beyond what the actual 5/3/1 provides (and I’m personally not too fond of most of Jim’s stock a.t.'s).

That being said, for a very weak/skinny/beginner trainee I’d probably still choose a different routine for faster, non-periodized/planned-out progress and weight gain… If he were up for it.[/quote]

Again nothing was taken personal and you weren’t. I appreciate you taking the time tho.

Without to much nut hugging it’s good to read what you write

[quote]Stronghold wrote:
Cephalic_Carnage wrote:

Yeah, wasn’t really meant to sound like I’m patronizing you or anything, I just meant to clarify that your max can (and should) indeed improve right from the start on 5/3/1. People also should spend some time thinking about their assistance templates, as they can play a big role in boosting your strength on the big 3 beyond what the actual 5/3/1 provides (and I’m personally not too fond of most of Jim’s stock a.t.'s).

That being said, for a very weak/skinny/beginner trainee I’d probably still choose a different routine for faster, non-periodized/planned-out progress and weight gain… If he were up for it.

I’m the exact opposite with regards to the assistance. I know people seem to scoff at the “keep it light” mentality of 5/3/1, but the loading is fairly aggressive[/quote] Compared to? I guess if someone isn’t used to deadlifting for moderate to high reps, then he might feel rather drained from that. (but you’re used to it from DC if I’m not mistaken?) Are you talking about the 10% jump loading parameter table or the 5% one? I don’t dig the 5% thing much, that wears me out far too much before my top set.

[quote] and it is easy to burn yourself out. I’ve seen (natural) trainees have the most success in terms of strength gains using the more abbreviated templates. [/quote] Well, I have 2-3 main assistance exercises per training day in there for people on the standard frequency (EOD with weekends off or similar), but usually with a low-volume approach and usually no more than 1-2 work sets, whatever gets them stronger.

I just like being able to cover areas such as scapular retraction strength via scap rows (heck, so many people are just plain weak in that area), brachialis via pinwheels (I need those for benching actually, if I slack on brachialis strength, my fairly close bench grip gives me trouble/pain on the bicep side of the elbow) and some weighted ab work or rollouts. That plus tricep work (I don’t think you can get even remotely close to your limit in the bench without that, whether you lift raw or equipped… Particularly if you have longer arms… Long-armed guys also may need a bit more in the ways of delt assistance than just laterals).
Now, on deadlift day, if my trainee does conv. deads or sumo deads and he’s a raw lifter, I have him do some quad work as assistance, and on squat day he gets some ham/low-back assistance stuff. Just 1 exercise usually, plus whatever else you do on leg day (I still have them do whatever curls they do on lower days before squats or after deads, plus the ab work).

It’s really not much if you consider that he’s training as such a low frequency… The assistance work in combination with the main stuff basically means that the trainee will hit the whole body more or less at DC frequency, 3 times in 2 weeks… Or just at regular frequency if recovery is really an issue/for very strong guys (has not yet been necessary).

The 5x10 low weight straight set thing isn’t something I’m personally all that fond of, but everbody has their own preferences, and I let guys do whatever they want for sets/reps on assistance work as long as it allows them to make progress without accumulating too much systematic fatigue. That can be regular BB ramping with large weight-jumps to a top set or several non-failure sets at the same weight or whatever…

I can see how someone trying to stay in a weight-class and thus perhaps eating a little less than is good for their progress (and perhaps not deloading often enough… Seems to be a common theme as everybody thinks they’re the reincarnation of Hercules, and that as long as they’re still making some progress, everything is fine), maybe also having somewhat messy sleep patterns etc might end up burning out… But if those areas are covered? I dunno man, 5/3/1 (with the 10% table) doesn’t feel draining to me at all.
I wouldn’t add 5 assistance exercises per day or anything like that, but recovery-wise, a 5/3/1 main exercise is basically not too different from the same exercise being done with a standard bb ramp (only slightly more demanding perhaps as the weights are closer together, even on the 10 percent table) for me…

[quote]
Something like say the main lift and then two assistance exercises using 5 straight sets of 10, increasing the poundages on assistance every cycle or so.[/quote]

Well, here’s an example of a template I have several guys on that has been working well thus-far:

Bench day:

-Bench/Incline 5/3/1

-Tricep assistance, either Dead Stop Extensions or some such, or In-Humans/SWRGB/Pin CGP/JM Presses (perhaps even in the HS Incline or similar, thanks for making me aware of that variant btw) -> whatever allows you to keep the shoulders out of the exercise to a good degree. If you’re a skinny long-armed guy though, then Power-squat push-presses or some such exercise that covers both the tris and the delts may be done instead…
Gotta work to balance out the shitty leverages after all…

-Back assistance (1-2 exercises, depends on the trainee’s needs, at least one of those exercises will be done with a focus on scap retraction. If he chose extensions for the tris, then back stuff is done before his tri work… I also like rack chins better than regular pullups for many people, particularly the guys who are really heavy already… Easier on my elbows and easier to progress on when using a low frequency imo, plus easier to get your lat size to a point where it makes a real difference on the bench… I do have high lat attachments though and always had to find alternative ways to bring these suckers out… Pullups never did shit for me)

(-laterals? If he wants to… Or inverted rows/face pulls perhaps)

(if the lifter goes with CGP’s or Pin presses as main 5/3/1 movement, then of course instead of tri assistance he gets to do off-the-chest strength or pec assistance)

Deadlift day:

-DL/sumo/whatever 5/3/1. Between that and kroc rows, I think grip should be ok as well as trap size… Though of course one can make whatever changes are necessary in case any of those areas happen to be weak-points of the lifter.

-Pinwheels or some bicep-focused curl instead, your call…

-Quad assistance (hack machine, leg presses, whatever… Even leg extensions if you feel too drained or you’re an equipped, wide-stance squatter and just don’t care too much about your quads).

-Ab assistance (weighted or rollout-type, both if your abs are weak)

OHP day:

-5/3/1 OHP

-Tri work, whatever area he didn’t cover on bench day (i.e. extensions or presses)

-Back assistance (1-2 exercises, depends, and that’s usually rows and vertical pulling… No rack pulls)

(-laterals in case he wants to)

Squat Day

-Either a bicep-focused curl, or Pinwheels (whatever he didn’t do on DL day, and done first so he can do them some justice… Not like those would actually interfere with ones’ ability to squat heavy)

-Back/Front/Box/whatever Squat 5/3/1 (for raw lifters, that’s basically your quad exercise of the day as well as the main movement)

-Ham/low back assistance exercise (anything he feels up to, from reverse hyper or GH raises to GM’s or SLDL’s… If he does something that doesn’t include the low back, then we usually don’t add any low-back work in unless low-back strength is a weak point)

-Ab exercise


So that’s it… Quite manageable from what I can tell. Just an example template of course.

Lifters usually deload every third week, but can skip the deload every other time or so if they want. I usually don’t have them go longer than 2 cycles without a deload though… Assistance exercises are deloaded either on deload week or during wave 3 if the lifter likes that better.
Protein intake stays high unless there’s some trouble with staying in the weight-class…

(I’m not claiming to be a major authority on PL assistance templates, mind you, I just happened to create a few for myself which worked well and others wanted me to share them… And ended up liking them too, so yeah)

[quote]ALKoHoLiK wrote:
Again nothing was taken personal and you weren’t. I appreciate you taking the time tho.

Without to much nut hugging it’s good to read what you write[/quote]

Thanks, brother.
How are things going for you anyway, training-wise?

It seems to me that there isn’t a lot of merit in ramping up to a top set on assistance exercises after having pushed hard and gotten a rep PR on the main lift. I agree with Jim’s philosophy that, if you really want to build your bench, squat, and deadlift, you need to focus on your bench, squat, and deadlift. I use the 10% jumps.

I will usually have people do something like:

Day 1-
Bench- 5/3/1
Dips- 50 reps
Chins- 30 reps

Day 3-
Squat- 5/3/1
GM’s- 10 x5
Abs

Day 5-
OHP- 5/3/1
Rows- 10 x5
biceps/triceps

Day 7-
Deadlift- 5/3/1
Lunges- 10 x5
Abs

This may not be ideal for bodybuilding, but in terms of getting people strong and building mass in beginners, this has been very effective. The most stress-free and effective method of loading the assistance lifts is to pick a weight for each exercise at the beginning of the first cycle and keeping that weight throughout the cycle. At the beginning of the next cycle, add 5-10 lbs and continue. By adding weight slowly but steadily in this manner, trainees are able to keep the focus on their main lifts, maximize their ability to recover between sessions, and make very sizable long-term progress on their assistance lifts without sacrificing recovery to any degree and ensuring better progress on their main lifts.

[quote]Cephalic_Carnage wrote:
Thanks, brother.
How are things going for you anyway, training-wise?
[/quote]

Great man, I got tendinitis in my elbow from on the lockout movements and low bar squats so I’ve had to take some time as it is pretty flared…

Yourself?

If you aren’t at Westside, you’re not doing westside. Stop spreading fallacy. You can be a Westside guy, but you have to have trained there first.

[quote]Brother Chris wrote:
If you aren’t at Westside, you’re not doing westside. Stop spreading fallacy. You can be a Westside guy, but you have to have trained there first.[/quote]

so then what should one’s program be referred to as if one is copying the training guidelines of the dude named Simmons whose facility is located in London Ohio ?

[quote]marlboroman wrote:
Brother Chris wrote:
If you aren’t at Westside, you’re not doing westside. Stop spreading fallacy. You can be a Westside guy, but you have to have trained there first.

so then what should one’s program be referred to as if one is copying the training guidelines of the dude named Simmons whose facility is located in London Ohio ?[/quote]

His facility isn’t in London, it’s in Grove City, outside of Columbus. Elite is in London.

[quote]Stronghold wrote:
marlboroman wrote:
Brother Chris wrote:
If you aren’t at Westside, you’re not doing westside. Stop spreading fallacy. You can be a Westside guy, but you have to have trained there first.

so then what should one’s program be referred to as if one is copying the training guidelines of the dude named Simmons whose facility is located in London Ohio ?

His facility isn’t in London, it’s in Grove City, outside of Columbus. Elite is in London.[/quote]

I stand corrected

[quote]Brother Chris wrote:
If you aren’t at Westside, you’re not doing westside. Stop spreading fallacy. You can be a Westside guy, but you have to have trained there first.[/quote]

This is dumb. Its still westside. There are two reasons you see all these threads about why 5/3/1 is better than westside blah blah blah.

  1. All the bros on this site know that 5/3/1 is currently the in thing to do, so everyone and their sister is recommending it.

  2. 5/3/1 is a program, Westside is a system or template. You cant be a complete moron and get results on westside, but you can with a program.

I agree. Stop spreading fallacy, because you haven’t made gains. It isn’t Westside’ fault, its your fault that you didn’t get stronger.

[quote]dankid wrote:
Brother Chris wrote:
If you aren’t at Westside, you’re not doing westside. Stop spreading fallacy. You can be a Westside guy, but you have to have trained there first.

This is dumb. Its still westside. There are two reasons you see all these threads about why 5/3/1 is better than westside blah blah blah.

  1. All the bros on this site know that 5/3/1 is currently the in thing to do, so everyone and their sister is recommending it.

  2. 5/3/1 is a program, Westside is a system or template. You cant be a complete moron and get results on westside, but you can with a program.

I agree. Stop spreading fallacy, because you haven’t made gains. It isn’t Westside’ fault, its your fault that you didn’t get stronger.[/quote]

Troll tactic #33: Refer to anyone stronger, more experienced, or more successful than you as a “bro”.

Now, since you want to flaunt your superior knowledge of training science and application, Dantroll, please explain the exact mechanism by which Westside’s style of programming facilitates strength gains (science). Now, please list your best lifts (application).

Now, as to what “Westside” is or isn’t…you have to realize that if you train at WSB, you do exactly what Louie tells you to, and nothing different. Therefore, to really train “Westside”, you have to train AT WSB or under the tutelage of Louie.

Now, I doubt either of these are true given the fact you bench roughly your own bodyweight and aren’t even a fucking powerlifter. You’re a fucking keyboard warrior and a t-shirt collecting wannabe.

You will respond to this post with troll tactic #34: Ignore. Ignore logical arguments contrary to your own. Ignore attempts to establish any credibility on your behalf.

[quote]Stronghold wrote:
dankid wrote:
Brother Chris wrote:
If you aren’t at Westside, you’re not doing westside. Stop spreading fallacy. You can be a Westside guy, but you have to have trained there first.

This is dumb. Its still westside. There are two reasons you see all these threads about why 5/3/1 is better than westside blah blah blah.

  1. All the bros on this site know that 5/3/1 is currently the in thing to do, so everyone and their sister is recommending it.

  2. 5/3/1 is a program, Westside is a system or template. You cant be a complete moron and get results on westside, but you can with a program.

I agree. Stop spreading fallacy, because you haven’t made gains. It isn’t Westside’ fault, its your fault that you didn’t get stronger.

Troll tactic #33: Refer to anyone stronger, more experienced, or more successful than you as a “bro”.

Now, since you want to flaunt your superior knowledge of training science and application, Dantroll, please explain the exact mechanism by which Westside’s style of programming facilitates strength gains (science). Now, please list your best lifts (application).

Now, as to what “Westside” is or isn’t…you have to realize that if you train at WSB, you do exactly what Louie tells you to, and nothing different. Therefore, to really train “Westside”, you have to train AT WSB or under the tutelage of Louie.

Now, I doubt either of these are true given the fact you bench roughly your own bodyweight and aren’t even a fucking powerlifter. You’re a fucking keyboard warrior and a t-shirt collecting wannabe.

You will respond to this post with troll tactic #34: Ignore. Ignore logical arguments contrary to your own. Ignore attempts to establish any credibility on your behalf.[/quote]

^^^^^ Says the annonymous troll at the other end of the internet.

OP - How long have you been doing westside?

What did you do before westside that had your lifts higher?

[quote]dankid wrote:

  1. All the bros on this site know that 5/3/1 is currently the in thing to do, so everyone and their sister is recommending it.[/quote]

Yuck. Very poor performance on your sarcasm.

Lol, honestly? Lets see, Jim creates and uses a “Program” shit he must be a moron. Hell I’ve seen people constantly do different types of programs and see very little progress.

About the useful thing you’ve said in this entire thread