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Started Westside Template - Questions


I started a 'nuts and bolts' westside template and was wondering if I could get some suggestions.

I maxed out before I started it, and based the percentages on that. What I found is some seem too light and some too heavy (i know, adjust the load then, duh!).

For example, my max in the dead lift was 405. So for singles 90% and higher for ME is 365. When I 'work' up to a max though, it ended up being at 385, and I ended up with basically 2 sets >= 90%. Should I base the 90% figure on my 'work up to' max or my real one? I'm assuming my 'work up to' max.

For the 405 I wore a belt, and the 385 I didn't. I generally only wear a belt on max days, but I'm wondering now with the Westside style if on the ME days I should be wearing a belt? Or at least for the singles and doubles?

My DE bench day went well and I think I was too explosive, I'm planning on just increasing the load some with that, I'm thinking that is fine (was at 55% max).

Along with belt usage, I was wondering about some other equipment. Knee wraps, wrist wraps. I have some old knee wraps (didnt use them for my last max). Should these get used on ME days or just once in awhile? I don't have wrist wraps but think I might get some, at least for the heavier bench days.

I'm just trying to ease the wear and tear on the body.

Thanks for the help and if you have any other questions about me/my training let me know.



Alot of these are feel questions. I typically where a belt when I start to get close to the max sets. I have never used wrist or knee wraps, but I would say that you proabaly should save those for a meet of some time unless your wrists and knees are beat up.

There is no sense hurting yourself with an aching body part when you have the means to prevent it. Tough to make progress when you can't get into the gym.

As far as the number of reps above 90% base that off of the max for the day. You won't be able to set PR's every day so you have to live with a few days where you don't have it.

I believe that Buddy Morris said that max effort days are simply your best effort for that day, because there are alot of factors that go into wether you set a PR or not.

Good luck, it's a great training system.


I would recommend wearing a belt only on the squat and deadlift and only as you start to approach 80%+ of your 1RM. The belt is great as you go real heavy, but you want to slowly build up the supporting muscles.

Your work up to and your "real" maxes should be the same. The fact that they are more than 10% different causes me to think that you are probably closer to your "work up to" max and I would use that for your percentages. I don't know how you are working up to your max, but it should be something like:

50% of 1 RM x 5
60% of 1 RM x 3
70% of 1 RM x 1
100% 105%(?)


Wow thanks for the quick responses. I was about to go to bed but figured I would check if mine got posted, it dind't just get posted but got two replies already! Hats off to the mods for being so quick!

I think I will put on the belt for higher percentage sets then. That's what I was thinking anyway.

To geoffsherman:

I think the belt gives me a little, plus I get somewhat fatigued from the work sets. So for the ME day none of the 'work up' sets should be close to failure? I was going for the 5's and 3's until I knew I wouldn't be able to get that with the next weight jump. Maybe I am going too close to what I could do for the 5's and 3's.

What I did today for ME Squat

bar x 5
135 x 5
185 x 5
225 x 5 or 3 (forgot already)
265 x 3
295 x 1
305 x 1
315 x 1

I maxed with a belt few wks prior at 345.

Judging by your percentages, I am doing too many reps at the higher intensities. That could account for the larger discrepency between my "real" and "work up to" maxes.


Dragging a sled will close the gap between your "worked up to sets" and your "real maxes". It develops loads of workload capacity. I use it constantly and now the guys at my unit call me "The Bad Man" because I wear them all out daily when I lead our PT sessions. I go all-out with them for about 45-50 minutes and one person is able to keep up (he's a mutant). I noticed that I can keep a very high intensity on my ME days and fatigue very little, whereas I used to get crushed just doing the work sets last year. Try it out! (Spike helps)


In my experience, using the belt has led to it being a crutch. I won't use the belt at all unless I'm attempting a PR, or unless I've been in a shock microcycle with frequent max work and am very worn down. Even then I won't use it until I hit about 90%. I feel stronger than ever without it. I wouldn't even bother with the belt until I get to 2x bodyweight in the squat or the DL. That's just me though.

In general, my thoughts are absolutely minimize the amount of equipment you wear until you absolutely need to have it, for being beat up, or otherwise. It tends to help you out, and besides that equipment can lead me to some soft tissue issues, because I'll think that I'm stronger than I turn out to be, and my tendons and soft tissue take a beating from the overload. I like to condition my body to the heavy work, so it feels relatively easy when I've got the belt, etc on. Again, that's just my individual experience.

Explosive is good on DE day. 55% is about right, you can cycle the percentage up in 3-4 week waves from there.


I'm assuming that if you are maxing at 345 on squat and 405 on deadlift that you are not a very big guy. So in that case, i probably wouldn't worry about how many lifts you have in the 90% range. What i would do is go up hit a max taking about 20-25lb jumps. Then come back down and hit a few sets of 5. This will make you hella strong and help you put on some size too. You probably dont have the work capacity right now to be hitting on those lifts in the 90% range.

For dynamic days beginers need to use around 60-65%1RM especially since its a raw max and not a geared max. The article that say 50% are based on a geared max, alot of people get 100-200lbs out of their suit. So you can imagine you would use more weight taking 50% of 150lbs over your raw max. So use 60-70% probably, if you feel slow stay on the lower end, if you feel ok, you can move up a little.


I wouldnt definately also get some wrist straps, they help keep your wrist healthy. Dont worry about knee wraps untill you start competing.


Yes I agree my GPP might be a little low. Although I was showing everyone up this summer when I helped tear shingles off a house. :slight_smile:

I actually tried to help this out by doing a higher rep Waterbury program. I think it helped (lost some fat too) but it also hurt my maxes so they are off 20-30lbs. :frowning:

I'll try the belt on the last couple singles, since that will probably help me eek out a few more lbs. Maybe I will cycle it in and out every other month or so...

I guess I did forget my stats. Here goes:

Height - 5'11
Weight - 180ish
BF% - 12-13%
Bench - 245 (275 best)
Squat - 345 (365 best)
Dead - 405 (425 best)

So relative to who I am standing next to, I can be big...

Maybe I will cycle in some lower rep sets after my ME exercise too.

So I will add in some GPP, go by speed and up it some on DE days too. I will have to look into some wrist wraps too. Any recommendations? I seem to remember Cressey saying he liked a certain brand but can't remember now.

Thanks for the help. Any more recommendations with my stats up now are encouraged. I was thinking of doing a meet this summer, so I thought I would transition to a Westside template to help out. (I know with my maxes I have a ways to go)