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How Long Before Using Westside?

How many months/years do you need to be lifting before you can start doin a westside type program?

I started after 2 years of western-type periodization .

but there’s no specific parameter/timespan involved that I know of

nice axe-kick in your avatar

im just curious im starting the Bill Starr 5x5 program and was wondering if there was a recomendation as to when to move on to a more advanced program like westside.

Westside can work for anyone. The best recommendation is when you have a solid foundation of strength. What that is is largely up to you. I’d say at least 1.5x bodyweight on every lift, if not 2x.

However, if you decide to do it before, I would suggest for your benching, instead of a dynamic effort day have a rep day, ala Defranco.

alright thats what i was looking for thanks.

I think you move on to a periodized program when linear progression dosen’t work anymore. It varies from person to person.

Two options: use westside when you stop making gains on bill starr (or whatever program you happen to be using) or use westside from teh very beginning. I think it was Dave Tate that said that Chuck had just always lifted conjugate, and it didnt seem to hurt him (then again, chuck is one of two westside guys that louie’s ever called a genetic freak)

If you’re going to start with conjugate from the beginning, I’d suggest making sure that you get a lot of “bodybuilding” assistance work in after the main movement. Most people lack mass…and just strength in general…when they start a Westside template. Improving both those things will help your form and you’ll make faster progress.

There is nothing inherently advanced about Westside.

What are the basics of the Westside template:

1.) Always raising GPP through a variety of assistance exercises.
2.) Lower volume, higher intensity loading on one day.
3.) Higher volume, lower intensity loading on another day.

Westside doesn’t necessarily mean a circa-max phase with 400 pounds band tension or maxing out on a new exercise every single week.

I basically started on a Westside template from the beginning and have been more or less using it the whole time. When I started out, I did the same max-effort exercise for three weeks in a row and did sets of 5 rather than 1. I did the dynamic-effort, however technique was emphasized more than speed. Something like 8 sets of 3 with 65% can be great for a beginning lifter to work on technique and get a fair amount of volume in.

If you read Louie’s stuff, over anything else he preaches raising GPP and raising all qualities of strength. He often talks about the methods he is using with his top guys but the core of the program will work spectacularly for even a very beginner.

For a very novice lifter, you can use sled dragging as a max-effort exercise so there is no worry about subjecting a beginner to a max squat and you build technique and strength on the “dynamic” (aka “technique”) days and focus on building muscle mass with the assistance lifts.

I’d been training for about 3 years, and after starting westside i made progress, but not much. I was working up to a max lift every week on a 3 week cycle, and doing a dynamic day. I think i agree with gone heavy here, i think you need a good strength base to get the most benefit.

As a comparison, i think i’ve got better increases in strength from DC training than westside. That could be because i was doing a terrible job with westside, but i think its because i didn’t have enough of a strength base for the max effort work to truly be max effort. I would have been better off sticking with 3 or 5 rep maximums. As an indication, my bench was nearly 1.5x bodyweight, squat 1.65 and deadlift nearly 2x. (haha, i’ve been benching for a lot longer than squatting)

Well, live and learn. Looking forward to getting enough of a strength base to start it again, i’m sure that i’ll be much more impressed with a 5% increase when i’m lifting twice as much.

I think you can start Westside any time you’d like, but if you are a beginner, I’d make a few changes. I’d stick with the same ME movement for 2-3 weeks, and I, too, would replace the DE Upper with RE Upper.

As a raw bencher, I replaced DE Upper with RE upper. Now I have an RE day, but focus on an overhead movement first (Shoulder Press, High Incline, Overhead Press from Pins, etc.)

I think I’m well past the beginner stages, and I have tried rotating ME movements every week with minimal success. My best progress was sticking with a movement for 2-3 weeks and just rotating 2 big movements (Squat/Box Squat and Bench/Board Press).

Right now on ME days I’m working up to a 5RM on week 1, 3RM on week 2 and 1RM on week 3 with good success. I have also done this working up to 3,2,1 on successive weeks.

Start it whenever as long as you have the form on all the lifts down. The weights used are obviously relative to that person.

After taking a long time off of benching due to shoulder issues (finally fixed it) I am doing a Rep day on upper body and feel it’s way more beneficial than the DE Upper day since I’m a terrible barbell bencher.

I have got the best results lower body on the traditional ME DE Lower days working to only 1 RM on ME days.

Technically I just wrote out my next 6 weeks of work using a Tradition Westside lower and the WS4SB upper program (just to try something new)


good advice thanks for your responses thus far