T Nation

My Proposed WS4SB Routine


Thanks to all the help in my previous thread and after a lot of searching and reading, pretty much all my questions are answered and I am ready to devise a WS4SB routine. I am not yet certain, but I think I will do it as a 4-day routine with the addition of a 2nd leg day (I will experiment and see how my recovery is, since I do cardio on off days).

Just to add: I train abs on off days (3-4x/week) thus they are not included in the workout program itself. I do them together with drills for posture as per the various articles on this site.

Please let me know what you think, and any suggestions or advice. At the same time just two questions I had:
- for grip training, how long should the timed sets be and how much rest in between?
- what are thick bar holds exactly?

Thanks in advance,


BB bench press, work up to 3RM (6-8 sets)
Decline DB press OR ATrainer Flyes (4 sets, 8-10 reps)
Bent-over BB rows (4 sets, 10-12 reps)
Rear delt flyes OR Standing face pulls (3 sets, 12-15 reps)
BB Shrugs (3 sets, 8-10 reps)

+++++ LOWER BODY +++++

Squats, work up to 5RM (6-8 sets)
Barbell reverse lunges (4 sets, 8-12 reps)
Romanian deadlift (4 sets, 6-8 reps)
Seated calf raises (3 sets, 10-15 reps)
Grip training, 3 timed sets


Bodyweight dips (3 sets, max reps)
Rope pushdowns OR Skullcrushers (4 sets, 8-10 reps)
Chins (4 sets, 8-10 reps)
DB shoulder press OR Military press (3 sets, 10-12 reps)
BB curls OR Hammer curls (3 sets, 8-10 reps)
Rackpulls (2 sets, 10-15 reps)

Front Squat at 20-25RM (3 sets, max reps)
One-leg squats, back leg elevated (4 sets, 8-10 reps)
Hamstring curls (3 sets, 8-12 reps)
Donkey calf raises (4 sets, 8-12 reps)
Hip strengthening drills circuit (drills/exercises gathered from various articles on this site to strengthen my weak hip/hip flexor areas)


Doesn't look too bad.

Some suggestions:

1 - Maybe add in a little more horizontal rowing, maybe instead of the rack pulls do some seated rows to keep the shoulder girdle in balance.

2 - Make sure to vary up your max effort lifts every couple weeks to avoid CNS burnout.

Good luck.


Hi There. Thanks for the info. I forgot to add (actually I edited it but didn't seem to show) that I will be changing lifts every 3-4 weeks as per the template.

I was doing some more research and considering an alteration:
-since rackpulls are considered more of a lower body (hip dominant movement) in westside, I would move rackpulls to lower RE day instead of the hip drills (those can be done any time on off days)

-instead of rackpulls on upper RE day, do something like side laterals or, as you suggested, seated cable rows, for 2-3 sets of 12-15 reps.



Hey I love the program, one of the best Ive seen from a forum member, but I would use a 5-8 rm on the front squats. Good luck.



Sorry if I didn't read your previous post, but I don't see any explosive work incorporate in here.

I'm thinking, maybe on the Repitition days, you could first do your explosive work, followed by core rep work on the same exercise.

Just a suggestion, but maybe you could work a little lower in the rep ranges on your repitition days, providing functional hypertrophy + some maintained or added strength + more efficent nervous system.

Last thing! Sorry! I don't think its a good idea to rep to faliure. Use the modified repetition, and rep to 1-2 reps shy of failure.

Just my two cents,

-The Truth


Thanks for the compliment! I was thinking of doing front squats as speed front squats. I believe that would be about 50-60% 1RM. Is that the 5-8RM you suggested?



Thanks for the tip. As mentioned above, I was thinking of making front squats speed front squats (controlled on the way down, explosive up) at around 50-60% 1RM. I am not sure about upper body RE day though. Perhaps for the final exercise I can do something explosive like one of the olympic movements (clean/C&P?).

Yeah, I don't think I will go to failure. I will do it such that the final rep is the last one possible with good form, ie. just before failure. One question - what do you mean by 'modified repetition'?



No, sorry I thought you were doing it for hypertrophy reasons and not speed work. Keep it as is then..


Hi Again. Well my main aim is most definitely hypertrophy. I wasn't sure how to do the lower RE day, hence my debate between these three choices:
-speed eg. 3x8 speed front squats
-repetition eg. 3x max reps front squats
-normal sets eg. 3x8 with 202/303 tempo

Legs are already done to max effort on lower ME day. Would speed work not help with both hypertrophy and explosiveness? Or would hypertrophy not factor in much?



First off, that is definitly a pretty good program, I would agree that you should replace rack pulls with side lateral raises- rack pulls are more of a lower body exercise.

As for dynamic work, remember that there are three types of effort primarily used in the Westside template ME, RE and DE. For best results, you want to use all of them at some point, however, keep in mind your goal (hypertrophy). Remember that hypertrophy begets strength begets speed begets hypertophy... It's a big loop, so you do need to work all aspects of it. However, you do want to set your program up so you are maximizing hypertrophy gains. You might want to think about this way then:

In a 5-week block:

Week 1
Monday ME Lower
Tuesday RE Upper
Thursday RE Lower
Friday ME Upper

Week 2
Monday ME Lower
Tuesday DE Upper
Thursday DE Lower
Friday ME Upper

Week 3
Monday RE Lower
Tusday DE Upper
Thursday DE Lower
Friday RE Upper

Week 4
Monday ME Lower
Tuesday RE Upper
Thursday RE Lower
Friday ME Upper

Week 5
Unload Week

So you are working 8 total upper and lower body sessions in 4 weeks, 3 of them ME days, 3 of them RE days and 2 of them DE days.

For your DE Days, I would do 10 sets of 2 speed bench or squat/dead. Bands are also a good choice here to help increase the stored eccentric energy and help you work on exploding off the chest/out of the hole.

The DE days won't seem like too much, but you will see the results in terms of increased speed on your lifts, which will result in bigger lifts, which will result in increased hypertrophy.

Good luck and let us know what kind of progress you make.


Well, that basically is the modified repetition method. Instead of going to muscular failure, the modified verison calls for the set to stop when form starts to break down (1-2 reps shy of failure).

I actually like your setup, looks very solid. Let me know if you have any more questions.

-The Truth


Thanks for the comments guys! It feels so good to see all the research and reading paying off. I can't even imagine how on earth I came up with certain programs I have used in the past (prior to discovering T-Nation)!

jtrinsey - that looks like a great plan, as I wanted to fit in a deloading week every 4-5 weeks anyway.

Just to a few things to finish it off:

  1. for the RE/ME/DE days I would simply change that first exercise, and keep the rest as per the WS4SB template, correct?

  2. the differences between them would be:
    ME = work up to 3-5RM
    RE = use 20-25RM for as many reps as possible, reaching 1-2 before failure, 3 sets
    DE = speed movement (controlled eccentric, explosive concentric as quick as possible)

  3. built on point 2 above - how many sets and reps should DE have (I assume 2-3 sets, 8-10 reps?)

Thanks once again,


  1. Yep
  2. Yep
  3. You actually have it backwards. On DE days you generally go 8-10 sets of 2-3 reps. It hardly feels like anything but the important part is bar speed. Here is an example of a DE Squat/deadlift day from Bob Youngs posted on elitefts


I would urge you to ignore the technicalities and just follow the program. You can tweak as needed, just start and get off the forum.


Well the comments were at least helpful for a while.

It is these details which differentiate programs. And to be honest, there is quite a big difference between ME DE and RE lifts.

BTW I am in the middle of a Waterbury Method cycle at the moment. Planning ahead really for the new year program.


Thanks. I did a quick search on that site on the Q&A and found a lot of answers and great tips.

I took another read through De Franco's original article and he states there "I?ve substituted dynamic-effort days with repetition days...found it to be one of the keys to success for muscular growth...this modified program was put together for athletes who lack muscle mass...the repetition method is an incredible way to elicit muscular hypertrophy...packing on some muscle mass by means of the repetition method lays a great foundation for the more advanced dynamic days to come"

Since this is the first time I am doing such a routine I was thinking of doing 2-3 x 4 week cycles with just ME and RE, and then move onto throwing DE into the mix.

As mentioned above I am still busy with a WM variation so planning ahead for the new year routine at the moment.



If you switch from dips to some sort of horizontal pressing on your RE upper-body day, consider moving your shoulder pressing to your ME day. I say this because if you're doing a lot of reps with (for example) bench press your shoulders may be too tired to get in a good amount of shoulder press work. Speaking as a skinny bastard the heavy shoulder work is definitely worth it. The opposite may be true for more advanced lifters, but for me the repetition effort day takes a lot more out of me in terms of fatigue and soreness than the ME day.


Yeah I agree with that as well.