T Nation

Tier System or Westside?

High School football for me is over forever, and as i look towards college football next year, my training begins full force again very soon.

Last offseason i used a Westside type routine and like the results i recieved for my legs, but my bench plateud real bad. A friend and linemate of mine used a tier system and like the results. My question is this, what would you recommend for me to become the best lean, mean, football playing machine i can be? The tier system or westside?

Thanks for the help

BD, I would recommend Westside or a version of it. I am partial to it as I train my players this way. As for the bench, here is what we do for max effort bench day:

weeks 1-2 four board press
weeks 3-4 full range close grip
weeks 5-6 three board press
weeks 7-8 full range med. grip
weeks 9-10 two board press
weeks 11-12 comp. or combine width

As you can see, the number of boards drops every other pair of weeks. You try to keep the weight you used on four boards when you hit the three boards three weeks later and so on until you have no boards. On weeks 11-12 you should hit a new PR and a new 225 for reps record the following week.

derek the only problem with that is that i might not have training partners to work with, at least not all the time.

As for the tier system, anyone have a link to info on it? Awhile ago i remeber BigMartin posting on it.

I have had players that experienced similar results. Instead of DE bench, use sets of 10+ (similar to what Joe DeFranco article “Westside for the skinny bastard” suggests) Not only have my athletes increase their strength, but they got bigger due to the increased hypertrophy of the higher reps.

Does anyone know of any advantage or westside over tier or tier over westside. Tier doesnt seem to be too popular.

hey dirk…how was your season…i think the tier system is a better choice right now…take a look at the link below its a easy way to set up a tier…also westside and there tier system go hand in hand…in a simple way of thinking the tier is westside for athletes…coach h over at elite fitness is the creator of the tier he can help you out on any question…


I saw coach Kenn give his pitch to the strength coaches at the NSCA Sports Specific conference this year. It was fairly well received, but seemed a little too progressive for most of the old school guys. Gotta love dogma and the inability to adapt ones thinking…

Great post Big Martin!


[quote]BigDirk wrote:
Does anyone know of any advantage or westside over tier or tier over westside. Tier doesnt seem to be too popular.[/quote]

Depends what your weaknesses are. Since it is very early off-season, you could even do something like GVT if you are needing size.

Also depends on the college program you are going to. Do they use a lot of Oly lifts? If so, you do need to incorporate them.

I would hesitate jumping right into a Westside type program right after the season. Tier training gives time for rejuvination and better cycles the training around sports seasons. Westside is max effort 52 weeks per year.

Why I like the tier:

The tier method is a great application of the conjugate system. It is low volume. Tiers range from 3-5 exercises plus Post Chain (4-6 total exercises, excluding warm up and cool down). My program takes 75 min from warm up to cool down.

The low volume makes it easy to add in any additional work needed, like sprints, agilities, strong man type stuff, extra work for lagging bodyparts, flexibility, GPP, cardio, etc… I think it is a great program for any athlete.

The WSB system is great too, It fries my CNS though, making it hard to fit with other components, like cardio, sprints and agility.

I like the WSB model for pure strength development, ie powerlifting.

The low volume, low frequency makes the tier system great to add in other training methodologies to more specifically suit the athletes needs.

Also it fits well with a CF (Charlie Francis) speed week:
based on field sports (football, etc)

Day 1: CNS intensive Weights Speed/Agility
Day 2: Tempo
Day 3: CNS intensive Weights Speed/Agility
Day 4: Tempo
Day 5: CNS intensive Weights Speed/Agility
Day 6: Tempo

leaving plenty of CNS recovery versus a WSB model

Day 1: CNS Weights Speed
Day 2: CNS Weights tempo
Day 3: Recovery/Tempo
Day 4: CNS Weights Speed
Day 5: CNS Weights tempo
Day 6: off

The advantage of the tier is that you get 3 speed workouts/week versus the WSB 2 speed sessions. In the long run this will add up to a faster ahtlete.

For example in 4 weeks:

16 CNS Intensive Days
8 Speed workouts

12 CNS Intensive Days
12 Speed workouts

The tier/Charlie Francis combo leads to better CNS recovery (T=12 vs W=16), less overtraining risk, and more speed workouts (T=12 vs W=8).

Weight sessions constitute a CNS day. They train CNS for power and strength

Tempo is not CNS intensive allowing recovery

Speed and agility work are also CNS intensive

The only way to catch up on the speed work is to add another speed day. That would be disasterous cause you’d then have 20 CNS intensive days in a month. The athlete would most definitely overtrain.

Considering that the tier trains strength, power, muscle mass if you add a CF based sprint program you are left with a big, strong, explosive, fast mutha. That’s someone who I wouldn’t want to run into

Anyone know where I might find more info on Tier? Big Martins link doesn’t work for me, and I tried a google search to no avail.

Thanks for any help,

spend a few bucks and buy kenn’s book over at elite, it’s the best book I’ve read in a while.

BD, I don’t have a training partner either. I use a spotter when my triples get heavy and on my singles. About 5-6 sets total. There’s always someone around and they don’t have to hang around me because there is a long time between sets. I may end up with three different spotters. It seems the biggest advantage to the tier system according to this post is the ability to do additional work because of the low volume. This is also why Westside is my preference… it is merely a template and the volume is regulated by the user. It seems some here think that Westside is set in stone. Not at all. And we throw in strongman stuff in every Saturday because we don’t use a speed squat day per se.

big martin…the season went well, we lost in the section championship to most likely the best team in the state.

Thanks for all the info, i have a friend of my who im actually gonna lift with (hes a beast benches 405 at 17) and we’re tossing around ideas as to what to do.

Can you re-post the link? It isnt working for me.

I hope you don’t think that I believe the WSB system is set in stone. I’m just basing my opinion off of their basic template. Which I assume was what the question was based off of.

Some have even successfully modified the WSB split to a 3x/week workout. In that case I still see the tier as being a better option because a 3x/week WSB split will have either 1 missing upper or lower workout. Week 1 U/L/U, Week 2 L/U/L. where the tier gives both DE and ME days for the lower and upper body. The quality that is leat trained is least retained. The tier allows more frequent ME and DE work than a 3x/week WSB program, allows more recovery than a traditional 4x/week WSB program.

could somone possibly post a pros/cons advantages/disadvantages of westside vs tier?

Dude, you’re worrying way too much. Just listen to Big Martin and go with the tier system for a few months and see where it takes you.

The seven day period we call a “week” is kind of arbitrary. You could look at the frequency of bodypart breakdown over a 14 day period or a two month period. I wouldn’t fret if you aren’t hitting a given bodypart in something as artificial as a “week”. Also, our lighter 5 rep sets are done in dynamic fashion as are our lighter triples. As far as dynamic lower body… has anyone flipped a 400-500 lb tire or thrown an empty keg. Now THAT’s dynamic posterior chain training. And since we’re training for sport and not powerlifting here, the strongman stuff has a better carry-over than dynamic squats do.

And I didn’t mean to single anyone out with my previous comments about Westside being set in stone.

Strongman stuff is good, I think it could fit into the Total portion of the tier system as well. Just another option.

In reality I like both the tier and WSB templates. In training for sport I have had more success with tier based programs

thanks all, i appreciate the help. Im still not entirely sure, but my buddy really wants to continue with westside, so i figure i will use that for awhile but with some strongman i believe

can any1 hit with some info on the tier system?? i dont really know what it is… only read a cpl posts… the above link doesnt work so anything that outlines the template would help