T Nation

Transition from Westside to Bodybuilding


So Ive been on WS4SB for almost a year, seen good progress in both strength and size, finally learned to get my eating down right. But I've decided to switch over to bodybuilding and I was wondering what BB program someone who had done a similar transition would recommend and why?


[quote]Mephetic436 wrote:
Ive been on WS4SB for almost a year, seen good progress in both strength and size, finally learned to get my eating down right. But I’ve decided to switch over to bodybuilding[/quote]

What exactly does this mean? Do you plan on competing in the near-future? Are you focusing more on size and less on strength?

If you’ve already seen “good progress in both size and strength,” I wouldn’t change too much.

Let’s look at the basic WS4SB template:

Chest press 3-5 reps
Chest press (different exercise) 3-4x6-10
Rowing exercise 4x10-15
Rear delt/upper back exercise 2-3x10-15
Abs exercise 3-4x8-15

Squat or deadlift variation 5 reps
Unilateral leg exercise 3-4x8-15
Hamstring exercise 3-4x6-10
Grip/forearms 3 sets

Chest exercise 3 sets, high reps
Triceps exercise 3-4x5-10
Pull-up variation 4x8-12
Shoulder/trap exercise 3x10-15
Biceps exercise 3x8-10
Abs exercises Higher rep

To make it more “bodybuilding-specific,” presuming the same three day schedule, I’d try Thibaudeau’s Refined Physique Transformation plan, with just one lactate-training session per week.

It’s a back-chest/legs/shoulders-arms split, so the basic training breakdown will be familiar, but the volume (sets, reps, and number of exercises per bodypart) is different enough that it should spur some more growth.

Try the “intermediate plan,” using 4-5x4-8 for the exercises. If you’re feeling too worn down, you could consider reducing the volume a bit.


To put the difference as briefly as possible, I’d say that it is that for bb’ing purposes, relative to PL’ing purposes you include training at weights that are a lower percentage of 1RM, you include some briefer rest, you include pushing yourself to a greater degree of depletion.

Perhaps a good illustration of this – Pavel Tsatsouline is known for training methods aimed at great strength. His answer for converting something to being for hypertrophy? (Or one of his answers anyway).

Take the same exercise, do it for one set at the heaviest weight you can use for 5 reps when fresh albeit warmed up, rest 3 min, do 5 reps at 10% lighter, then strip the same amount of weight again and with 1 min rest (can be reduced to 30 seconds) do as many further sets of 5 as you can till you’re so fatigued out that you can’t manage another good set of 5.

Now my point is not that this is THE formula (though it’s a good one) but it’s illustrative.

A PL’er would not do this for strength.

But when the goal is size, this kind of approach – using lighter weight, briefer rest, and pushing yourself to a greater degree of depletion – gets the job done.

Doesn’t mean every exercise has to be brief rest, or that light a weight, or to so much depletion. But include these things when in PL’ing or a pure strength-based program, you generally wouldn’t.