T Nation

My Problem with WS4SB

In the thread below I mention how all my lifts have been going up while on WS4SB, except my bench has only gone up 25 lbs in 3 months. Almost everyone thought that was kind of low.

http://www.T-Nation.com/tmagnum/readTopic.do?id=2041042

If you look at this thread also, two others are complaining about the same thing:

http://www.T-Nation.com/tmagnum/readTopic.do?id=2068126

There seems to be a reoccurring theme here. I’m getting the impression that rotating lifts, as specified in the WS4SB program, is a bad idea. It seems like everyone is lagging behind when they follow this program.

Personally, I’ve heard nothing but good things for Rippetoe’s program. I think that’s what every beginner should be suggested…even though I haven’t tried it. Do you think WS4SB is overrated? I’m starting to think it’s mostly popular because it’s fun and not necessarily because it gives people the best results.

I thought about replacing the rotating lift with just regular benching. Does that sound like a good idea?

All that matters is that your squat and deadlift are going up. They put on WAY more muscle mass and strength than the bench press.

[quote]funkhauser wrote:
All that matters is that your squat and deadlift are going up. They put on WAY more muscle mass and strength than the bench press.[/quote]

Well, those lifts get rotated too.

Sorry, typical response there.

It seems that from the second thread people were suggesting what you have; to just do flat benching.

I definitely don’t think WS4SB is overrated, but I don’t think it is a particularly good program for beginners.

I would recommend WS4SB for athletes and intermediate lifters that enjoy powerlifting but don’t compete. It can also be a good program for strongman training, or even somebody that just enjoys the weights.

I think Rippetoes program would be better for somebody just getting into lifting. Once a solid foundation is established, they could then progress to WS4SB.

WS4SB is not designed to take advantage of newbie gains. More repetition work is typically needed for a newb to establish the neurological connections involved in lifting.

Also, there is nothing wrong with a 25 lb increase in 3 months, even for a beginner. Only you know if you have been working hard enough to achieve maximum results. At this point, simply going into the gym and busting your butt is more important than any program.

The thing is, it gets suggested for beginners a lot. What I would like to know is how could I modify WS4SB to better reap newbie gains?

The thing I like about WS4SB is that it works nicely considering the type of equipment I have access to at my gym. I tried Rippetoe and it’s a pain in the ass if you don’t have a squat rack. I tried the front squats without a rack, but it was annoying.

I would love to come up with some sort of program that doesn’t depend too heavily on a squat rack, but will also take better advantage of my potential gains. I’d use that program for the meanwhile and once I change gyms then I’ll go with Rippetoe and try to milk it as best I can.

You can still do all of the movements of WS4SB, I just wouldn’t work up to a max every week. Instead, for your main lift of the day, do something more traditional like 3x8-12 or 3x5 or whatever. Just make sure you are adding weight every week and working hard. When you can no longer add weight with one rep scheme, try another. You also have no need to change your lifts every week.

I would also add in another leg day, unless you are training sprints 2x a week or are an in-season athlete.

[quote]tedro wrote:
You can still do all of the movements of WS4SB, I just wouldn’t work up to a max every week. Instead, for your main lift of the day, do something more traditional like 3x8-12 or 3x5 or whatever. Just make sure you are adding weight every week and working hard. When you can no longer add weight with one rep scheme, try another. You also have no need to change your lifts every week.

I would also add in another leg day, unless you are training sprints 2x a week or are an in-season athlete.

[/quote]

First off, thanks for the replies.

Here’s my plan. Do regular WS4SB program, but replace max with traditional BB bench lift. Also, add BB bench to my rep. day. Friday is my max effort leg day. I plan to replace the max effort lift there and just do traditional set/rep of deadlifts. Tuesday will be my new leg day where I’ll do front squats on the smith machine (I’ll experiment a bit more trying to do fronts without the smith…maybe I’ll rotate those) using traditional rep/set. I’m not sure what my other lifts will be on this extra leg day, but I’ll come up with something.

I usually tell people to do rippetoes for a few months then switch to WSFSB with a day for squats, RE upper, deads, ME upper

SImply put I wouldn’t get stronger in the squat/deads only doing lower body once a week.

let’s say it’d look like:

Monday: ME upper
Flat bench
incline db
row/delt supersets
trap excersise

Tuesday:
ME squat variation
unilateral
hammy/pchain movement. (I’d pick romanian DLS or skip)
abs
calves

Thursday:
chain pushups/RE bench bench variation
chin/DB powerclean superset
military press (my favorite bench assesory)
shrug/arms superset
grip/forarms

Friday:
Deadlift (sumo/conventional)
unilateral
abs
calves

Just an opinion. If anyone else wants to edit/make the layout better and repost it go for it.

Well, WS4SB is where I got my back injury, but it’s where I gained the most in my vertical pushing and pulling strength.

I think people simply don’t know how to listen to their body. Why rotate lifts if you are making progress on it? because the program says so?
The article is a take on the westside template. Westside is used predominantly by very advanced lifters who need to rotate often in order to stop from burning out.

A beginner obviously won’t have these issues so it’s just a matter of keeping your lifts and rotating only when you hit a wall.

[quote]Der Candy wrote:
I think people simply don’t know how to listen to their body. Why rotate lifts if you are making progress on it? because the program says so?
The article is a take on the westside template. Westside is used predominantly by very advanced lifters who need to rotate often in order to stop from burning out.
A beginner obviously won’t have these issues so it’s just a matter of keeping your lifts and rotating only when you hit a wall.

[/quote]

I had the same thought, for a beginner making linear progress, why switch the lifts? I think WS4SB will work for a beginner, but you could make much better progress not rotating the lifts until you plateau. I think Rippetoe/SS is much better for a beginner, get as strong as you can on the basic lifts, then worry about assistance exercise by listening to your body.

[quote]anoddparadigm wrote:
Der Candy wrote:
I think people simply don’t know how to listen to their body. Why rotate lifts if you are making progress on it? because the program says so?
The article is a take on the westside template. Westside is used predominantly by very advanced lifters who need to rotate often in order to stop from burning out.
A beginner obviously won’t have these issues so it’s just a matter of keeping your lifts and rotating only when you hit a wall.

I had the same thought, for a beginner making linear progress, why switch the lifts? I think WS4SB will work for a beginner, but you could make much better progress not rotating the lifts until you plateau. I think Rippetoe/SS is much better for a beginner, get as strong as you can on the basic lifts, then worry about assistance exercise by listening to your body.[/quote]

That’s what I’m saying too. However, when I first came here people suggested Rippetoe or WS4SB and no one said I shouldn’t rotate. It’s only three months into the program that I’m realizing it’s not very useful rotating lifts. WS4SB tends to be advertised as a beginner program and that’s why I think it should come with a caveat.

[quote]zephead4747 wrote:
I usually tell people to do rippetoes for a few months then switch to WSFSB with a day for squats, RE upper, deads, ME upper

SImply put I wouldn’t get stronger in the squat/deads only doing lower body once a week.

let’s say it’d look like:

Monday: ME upper
Flat bench
incline db
row/delt supersets
trap excersise

Tuesday:
ME squat variation
unilateral
hammy/pchain movement. (I’d pick romanian DLS or skip)
abs
calves

Thursday:
chain pushups/RE bench bench variation
chin/DB powerclean superset
military press (my favorite bench assesory)
shrug/arms superset
grip/forarms

Friday:
Deadlift (sumo/conventional)
unilateral
abs
calves

Just an opinion. If anyone else wants to edit/make the layout better and repost it go for it.[/quote]

Looks good. Although, I’m still using the original WS4SB template not WS4SB III. At the six month point I plan to switch to III. However, still a good template to work with. Also, I’ve never tried Romanian Deadlifts, but I will do them on Tuesdays.

A quick question…if I do 3x5 deadlifts on Friday, what weight should I do it at…i.e. what % of my 1 rep max.

[quote]Der Candy wrote:
I think people simply don’t know how to listen to their body. Why rotate lifts if you are making progress on it? because the program says so?
The article is a take on the westside template. Westside is used predominantly by very advanced lifters who need to rotate often in order to stop from burning out.

A beginner obviously won’t have these issues so it’s just a matter of keeping your lifts and rotating only when you hit a wall.

[/quote]

I agree with what you are saying, but most of the time a beginner is not going to be skilled enough to really listen to their body. They just don’t have enough experience.

The main difference between applying this template to an advanced lifter and a beginner is that an advance lifter has to rotate every week to avoid burning out and a beginner can go as long as 4 or 5 weeks. In my experience, people new to westside and or max effort work can get away with 4 week rotations for 2-3 months, but it quickly drops off after that. The sweet spot seems to be two weeks for people doing mainly a 3-5RM and that is what the program(WS4SB) reflects.

[quote]Digity wrote:
In the thread below I mention how all my lifts have been going up while on WS4SB, except my bench has only gone up 25 lbs in 3 months. Almost everyone thought that was kind of low.

http://www.T-Nation.com/tmagnum/readTopic.do?id=2041042

If you look at this thread also, two others are complaining about the same thing:

http://www.T-Nation.com/tmagnum/readTopic.do?id=2068126

There seems to be a reoccurring theme here. I’m getting the impression that rotating lifts, as specified in the WS4SB program, is a bad idea. It seems like everyone is lagging behind when they follow this program.

Personally, I’ve heard nothing but good things for Rippetoe’s program. I think that’s what every beginner should be suggested…even though I haven’t tried it. Do you think WS4SB is overrated? I’m starting to think it’s mostly popular because it’s fun and not necessarily because it gives people the best results.

I thought about replacing the rotating lift with just regular benching. Does that sound like a good idea?
[/quote]

25lb is a monster increase in bench for a 3 month period. What exactly were you expecting. If you keep expecting huge gains like that then you are in for some serious disappointment cause it is only going to get harder.

The people complaining about their bench probably just aren’t build to bench. I am one of them. I can put 50lb on my squat and only see 5-10lb on my bench. Such is life.

[quote]Digity wrote:
zephead4747 wrote:
I usually tell people to do rippetoes for a few months then switch to WSFSB with a day for squats, RE upper, deads, ME upper

SImply put I wouldn’t get stronger in the squat/deads only doing lower body once a week.

let’s say it’d look like:

Monday: ME upper
Flat bench
incline db
row/delt supersets
trap excersise

Tuesday:
ME squat variation
unilateral
hammy/pchain movement. (I’d pick romanian DLS or skip)
abs
calves

Thursday:
chain pushups/RE bench bench variation
chin/DB powerclean superset
military press (my favorite bench assesory)
shrug/arms superset
grip/forarms

Friday:
Deadlift (sumo/conventional)
unilateral
abs
calves

Just an opinion. If anyone else wants to edit/make the layout better and repost it go for it.

Looks good. Although, I’m still using the original WS4SB template not WS4SB III. At the six month point I plan to switch to III. However, still a good template to work with. Also, I’ve never tried Romanian Deadlifts, but I will do them on Tuesdays.

A quick question…if I do 3x5 deadlifts on Friday, what weight should I do it at…i.e. what % of my 1 rep max.[/quote]

I only do my warmups in sets. everything ove 90% is done in singles. I would only do the romanians if you don’t feel like your doing enough work. instead of having a supplementary pchain lift. you have a day with a pchain lift as the core lift.