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West Side for Jiujitsu Fighter


Hi all. I'm just wondering what are your thoughts as far as using West Side for grapplers. My stats are not mpressive by any means. I just want to get strong without losing my conditioning.I do believe West Side is THE best program out there. I have been reading a lot and I'm excited to start

My stats:
bench press: 265
deadlift: 315
squat: 245

My stack is:
Alpha Male
Metabolic Drive
Surge Recovery
Surge Workout Fuel
Alpha GPC

Any opinions will be greatly appreciated.


I'm assuming that you are actually reffering to ws4sb?

My understanding is that west-side is a program that is designed for people who are only training strength? As in, powerlifters?

And that ws4sb was developed by some football coach for his athletes? As a out of season strength training program?

God, I might be complete wrong...

Either ways it's like 4 or 5 days a week, isn't it? And pretty full on from what I hear.

When does that leave you time to train grappling? How does it leave you the time to recover? How is conditioning work going to fit into your schedule?

I think ws4sb might have an in-season program too. That would probably be more suitable? I dunno, I actually haven't seen it...

My suggestion is-

Train full body 2 or 3 times a week if your recovery allows it.

Deadlift, squat, bench, press and clean. Add some chins/dips/ab work if you feel up for it. Keep sets and reps 3-5.

Remeber that your priorities as any type of "fighter" should be-

Skill skills skills skills skills skills
Conditioning conditioning conditioning conditioning
and then finally- Iron


West side is great there is no denying that.
and has a great methodology.

It also has a TON of volume of big heavy lifting very strenuous for the CNS
and that is going to impact your recovery.
And a true west side program is for people who are not training for other sports-powerlifting being their sport.

I would suggest the Defranco WSFSB III over any of the true west side programs.
same principles gut its geared for athletes who are not powerlifters.

Ive said it before and Ill say it again , tassie just said something like it.

technique, conditioning , iron in that order find room for all three without impairing your recovery

Strength , plays the lesser role in fighting- its not nearly as important as people think.

can I ask how much grappling you do know- one or two days a week?
then do what you like for weights and consider grappling a hobby.

if your more serious with attending classes, and getting matt work in and competing weekly
then west side is not for you.

and I have a few other comments

first that is an awful lot of supplements. like allot.

Second I don't advocate the bench press as a good lift for grapplers.
sounds counter intuitive on a bodybuilding website but its true.

It does not translate to any kind of usable strength- and for most ( me included)
the damage it does to shoulder health and flexibility is pretty high for a lift the does not enhance your
sport performance

straight powerlifting or bodybuilding routines are not conducive for fighting athletes
however well they build strength or size
the toll they take on the body- the recovery they ensure are higher then they need to be



I find this interesting. I rarely, if ever, bench press anymore. If I do, it's once in a while with dumbells, but never with a barbell.

I am convinced that benching incorrectly for as long as I did had a direct impact on my shoulder problems now.

If I could go back to HS football I would tell my coach to fuck himself and the bench, I'm doing pushups.


Irish Ill tell you a secret-

there where no benches at the OTC when I went out there, for the wrestlers

Pull up and stall bars all day, but nary a bench.

I am benching now- cause I never really did, and only with very good form- does it seem remotely healthy.
It is the least beneficial for me, takes the most time to recover from, and impacts my mobility the most.

go figure.



Key locks, north south chokes, escapes from guard, set ups for the take down, sprawls, man handling that little MF'er getting ready to tap.
The Bench does help. A LOT!!!! Only for NO-GI though. If you grapple GI trainning for size is counter productive (to much pump).
But if you have plans on becoming a fighter, power lifting will ruin your striking depending on your hight, lenght of your arms and width of your shoulders.


I agree that power lifting would be detrimental to striking.
I still say bench is a poor choice- it promotes no squeeze strength or hip strength
other things like

weighted pullups
will be far more productive lifts
having good pulling strength , and a powerful grip and hips will help you go further.

I really think manhandling that MF'r is not really a good display of technique. :slight_smile:

youll find as the competition increases, having a big bench press will matter less and less
cause thats what people should train for , the best
not the hobbyist.



I followed a Westside based plan while training Jiu-Jitsu. I put on a good amount of weight and strength which made a positive impact on my grappling up to a point.

The downsides were:

1) I was fatigued to the point where I had to decide between Jiu-Jitsu and lifting for most days of the week, if I trained BJJ I would stall on my lifts, if I lifted then I'd be to run down to train grappling effectively.

2) At a certain point my thighs got so hypertrophied that it negatively affected my submissions, sweeps and positioning using my legs (triangles, armbars, swimming my legs in for guard retention, etc.).

What I'm doing now, which seems to give me more energy for BJJ (and in general) and allows for some strength maintenance/increases, is to lift with a very low volume. That way I'm not run down for class and I still get some strength work in.

The very, very best people I train with don't lift at all (except those on steroids) they just train BJJ a lot, and for the sport they are very strong from all the training.


Ok guys to answer a few questions... I'm BJJ purple belt. I've done the Pan Ams, the Worlds twice, NAGA, Grapplers Quest, etc... I have been doing full body workouts for the past five weeks and feel great. I just thought the West Side method or a variation of it would be cool. I would also like to compete in some powerlifting events. I like to climb, hike, etc... BJJ is my life but I love to be active and competitive (win or lose). I just thought it'd be kinda cool to do West Side.

Now, where can I find DeFranco's variations as applied to other sports?
BTW, I train BJJ 5 times a week and I was doing caveman twice before competition, but I do feel the need to get stronger. This has shown in the mat too, my strength increase with benches, deads and squats and push presses. For conditioning I do sleds and circuits much a la caveman or TFW... Thanks guys


Thanks for the reply....

pan ams and Purple are certainly more than respectable.
Nice work.

For WSFSBIII try this link


Its for 4 days a week- you could probably shoe horn it in with 5 days of BJJ.
See how your recovery goes.

good luck



just my .02

Westside is a little rough for the fighters I've known who have tried it. Mainly because of the volume. I've heard better responses about the Wendler 5/3/1. They do it on a 3-day schedule, but it's originally set up for 4. I'm actually going to start applying it myself. Might want to consider that an option as well for getting stronger.


Man, I'll be interested to hear how you go with training ws4sb and rolling 5 days a week.

Sound brutal to me. I really hope you can handle carbs.

Oh and KMC, I only included bench in my list of exercises because of, you know, tradition. People just want to bench for some reason. If you look like you lift, people will ask you what you bench.

I personally don't do it anymore either. Too hard on the shoulders for a striker. Not really sure if with good technique a grappler would have so much trouble?

Strict press's are my mainstay for upperbody strength. So much more useful. Variations like db neutral grip to keep the shoulders happy, push-press to break plateau's. Keeps it interesting. And weighted push-ups for more specific tri-chest work. They also promote healthy shoulders. Never felt better than when I dropped bench.

Soo yeah, ws4sb could be good, but I think really brutal on recovery. If you are thinking about doing some powerlifting events this will get you there. But for jj strength I think there are better options.
Keep us updated on how it's going.


Funny Anderson Silva benches, Machida benches, just off the top of my head.


Well good for them, what's your point? That benching makes you a good fighter? These guys are good fighters whether they bench or not. They would be good fighters, although perhaps not as competitive, if they did no specific strength training at all.

There are a hell of alot of top level athletes in many different sports who do quarter squats, and their knees are just fine, for the moment at least. Does that mean we should all consider the switch from ATG to quarters?

So sure, benching can be used in strength training for fighters, and to good effect. Good luck to those that can use it with no ill effect. But for many, many people, benching is not the best option, in terms of shoulder stability or in functional strength.


Question guys: Can I get a link to Wendler's? Also, reasons why I bench... I remember an article by Dave Tate from a while back and one of the things he mentions is that as an athlete you want to be strong. If you can bench, deadlift and squat big then you're strong. Obviously I have no delusions of becoming West Side's next star but I do want to reach my potential.

I think if I have a big bench it's an indicator of strong triceps, delts, back, etc. It also may indicate how explosive I am. That is important in sports. Compensatory accleration. If I can reach let's say a 315 bench and apply that explosiveness to a lesser weight that is a good thing. IMHO it's totally translatable to sport. Imagine applying that kind of pressure when you're on top passing the guard. It'd be preetty cool, if anything just to experiment.

Also, my routines at the gym include (besides the three major lifts): pull throughs, good mornings, close grip benches, board presses, floor presses, etc...
I would do GHR and reverse hypers but it's next to impossible to find a gym with that kind of eqipment.


Stop taking Alpha Male and HOT-ROX at the same time. Both have a full dose of Carbolin 19. Save the Alpha Male for a bulk and HOT-ROX for a cut. If you want/need the same t-booster during the cut, add TRIBEX.


Way to over react, it's just funny how someone like Silva with really long arms can bench, but people on here have trouble. I think Silva trains a lot more than any poster on here. I think people overreact with fatigue levels, they get paranoid. Conditioning gimme a break unless the guys fighting or has a competition coming up why would he do tons of conditioning.


Because without good conditioning you can't train your skills hard. Without good conditioning your strength is useless because you quickly lose the ability to use your strength. Without good conditioning you lose your ability to apply your skills.

Using your logic, if someone doesn't have a fight or competition comming up why would you train strength?
Or hell, why would you train skills? I mean, can't all three of these things be picked up like a month before a fight? Or is it just conditioning that you can just suddenly build up?

Anderson silva obviously has very good genetics. He also pays (or has sponsers who pay) for top level strength coaches to over-see his form and general program on a day to day basis. He also has other specialists making sure he gets the right nutrition, supplements, rest, recovery, medical care etc etc etc to help him continue at the top level.

Also, he doesn't have another day job that he has to worry about.

"over-react with fatigue levels"-
Both Irish and I have had partial shoulder dislocations at least partly due to "fatigue levels". I myself have suffered from half a dozen of so partials, and one full dislocation over a year and a half.

I was only benching 3x5, 3 times a fortnight. My form was pretty solid, as solid as it could get without expensive, professional tuition. But scince dropping bench from my program I no longer suffer from chronic rotator cuff "fatigue" (read- "pain and loss of movement") and have had no further dislocations.

I'm sorry that I over-react when my shoulder is flopping around out of it's socket. I'm sorry if all I have is non-conclusive evidence to suggest that benching was making my shoulders hurt (i.e. I bench, my shoulders hurt, I stop benching, my shoulder stops hurting) and that my experiences have made me paranoid about benching.

And I said, sure, the bench can be a part of a fighters program, and good luck to those who use it. It's can be used to good effect to build high levels of upper body strength. How applicable this strength is to real life is under debate.

My point was that for many people it is not the best option . I think KMC's point was that it's not the most useful or appropriate upper body strength exercise considering that the guy is a grappler.

I am failing to see your point, other than "if some ufc guy can do it, you must be a pussy/scared/paranoid/have bad form if you can't"

Which isn't a point that you've made well.


Ok guys...let's leave the sentiments out of this debate. I was wondering if West Side or a variation would be useful that's all. I think training varies from people to people and I love learning new ways. No reason to get upset. This is a journey. I don't believe in never, ever, always, etc... let's keep an open mind.

I think we all have many useful things to contribute. I personally haven't had any problems benching. I tried to give a logical explanation as to why i do it. Now I would like to hear some advice whether good or bad, useful or not. I learn from everybody. Thanks brothers!


BTW, I really don't care to know how Silva trains or any UFC guys. I've seen them, I do train with some and really it doesn't apply to grappling so well. I'm not into a fad like cross fit or caveman. I want a program that's proven to work. Thanks