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Westside, A Plan

Hey guys, I’m considering finally going fully towards working off the standard westside template. I’ve been doing alot of reading and it FINALLY has all come together and made sense. I always understood the underlying theory, but could never figure out how exactly to make it work. Now I genuinely feel I’m in a position to tie it all together and hopefully make some gains.

I squat medium and pull sumo. Squat, Bench and Deadlift done in single ply gear. Comp maxes of 540/400/550 as a 220lb junior.

With that in mind, I have a two questions…

  1. Rotating lifts, I’m keeping the number low. 2 week cycles, train the lift the first week (multiple 5’s and 3’s, break a record 1 or 3rm the second)

-4 for the bench; bench w/minis, close grip presses, 2 board press and floor press (I’d do high lockout and board work after DE bench)

-3 Squat; Pause squat sans box (probably 3rm), box squat with or without bands and a squat w/ knee wraps (max set of 3)

-3 Deadlift; Rack pull from mid shin, sumo with 35’s and conventional pulls (max 3 or 5)

How does that look?

  1. ME lift volume…
    -I’d say I’d do in the region of 375-400 off a below // box, most recently done 330x5 quite easily and looking to up that to 350 this week. What should I be doing number wise on ME day? Assuming a 375 max… 360, 370, 375, 380.

Does that sound about right?

Thanks in advance!

Good luck man we’ll alllll being watching.

Stay strong

Are you going to do speed work or repitition work on your dynamic day?

Hanley,

I’m sure you know a lot of this stuff already but I’ll share some stuff that I’ve done. I usually work up to a max single on ME days, and this has worked well for me. Others will use more triples, and use singles mainly as tests. As far as your exercise selections for ME lifts, I’d suggest replacing the “squats w/ knee wraps” with something else. Reason being, you can always add wraps and there is essentially no learning curve on them.

A high box squat might be a suitable substitution; this allows you to handle heavier weights throughout the training cycle. As far as your ME upper selections, they look good to me. As far as volume on your ME days, I wouldn’t worry to much. If you go in and bust your ass and constantly move heavier weights you’ll be good.

However, I will most always include a set or a few sets at 90%, following a new PR on my ME days. (This allows 3-5 lifts at or above 90%) By no means do I claim to have it all figured out, but I have been using the Westside template for 8 months now, with great results. Also, be sure to check out elitefts.com and the Q&A and Training Logs there. Those can be a huge help.

[quote]Hanley wrote:
Hey guys, I’m considering finally going fully towards working off the standard westside template. I’ve been doing alot of reading and it FINALLY has all come together and made sense. I always understood the underlying theory, but could never figure out how exactly to make it work. Now I genuinely feel I’m in a position to tie it all together and hopefully make some gains.

I squat medium and pull sumo. Squat, Bench and Deadlift done in single ply gear. Comp maxes of 540/400/550 as a 220lb junior.

With that in mind, I have a two questions…

  1. Rotating lifts, I’m keeping the number low. 2 week cycles, train the lift the first week (multiple 5’s and 3’s, break a record 1 or 3rm the second)

-4 for the bench; bench w/minis, close grip presses, 2 board press and floor press (I’d do high lockout and board work after DE bench)

-3 Squat; Pause squat sans box (probably 3rm), box squat with or without bands and a squat w/ knee wraps (max set of 3)

-3 Deadlift; Rack pull from mid shin, sumo with 35’s and conventional pulls (max 3 or 5)

How does that look?

  1. ME lift volume…
    -I’d say I’d do in the region of 375-400 off a below // box, most recently done 330x5 quite easily and looking to up that to 350 this week. What should I be doing number wise on ME day? Assuming a 375 max… 360, 370, 375, 380.

Does that sound about right?

Thanks in advance![/quote]

I think my computer is broken. Did you just say you were going to switch to Westside? Just kidding, give it a run and see how it treats you.

As far as your questions go…I wouldn’t choose Bench with Mini’s if you are also going to be using the mini’s on your DE day. I’ve been using a reverse band press lately, and really like the overload at the top, and I don’t use a shirt. It should have even better carryover for a shirted lifter.

Also, if you are following a traditional template, then I think 3 Squat ME’s and 3 DL ME movements are probably too many. If you are training each lift for two weeks, that would mean it would be 12 weeks before you train the same lift again. I would pick two of each and stick with that. At some point you may just need to rotate lifts on a weekly basis, but you’ll figure out when that is on your own.

I’m not entirely sure what you mean by the last question. If you are asking for total number of sets, I would say take your last warmup at 90% of your projected max. Then hit a PR, and finally drop the weight to somewhere between 90-95% and hit two to three more singles. If you are feeling strong, then lean towards 95% otherwise, just make sure to get in a couple of lifts over 90%.

So if you were to go for a 380 max, I would warmup as needed (but conserve energy) and make your last warmup 340x1 then hit something like 380x1,360x1,360x1. If you don’t feel strong, go 340x1,380x1,340x1,340x1, and if you feel like a stud, go 340x1,380x1,370x1,360x1,350x1…Too many possibilities, but you should get the idea. Just don’t burn any energy leading up to your Max attempt. A general rule of thumb is to use sets of 8,5,3 and 1. When 8 reps might feel challenging, only do 5…when 3 reps might feel challenging, only do one,etc.

Feel free to fire away with any questions. There’s no shortage of self-proclaimed Westside experts around these parts. :wink:

I think the Westside guys have used in the past (and might still do it) goodmornings as an ME exercise. Also, I’d think about potentially using RDL’s for an ME exercise for your dead training. Anyway, just my .02

[quote]MrZsasz wrote:
Are you going to do speed work or repitition work on your dynamic day?[/quote]

I’ll be doing some DE work. My training is close(ish) to the standard template but have dropped the speed work in favour of RE work recently and I think my bench is suffering because of it. I might possibly just do 3 week waves of DE work, then a week or 2 of RE work going for max reps with dumbbells over 3 sets. Probably use straight chains, RE, straight weight, RE, bands, RE, repeat.

[quote]Migz wrote:
Hanley,

I’m sure you know a lot of this stuff already but I’ll share some stuff that I’ve done. I usually work up to a max single on ME days, and this has worked well for me. Others will use more triples, and use singles mainly as tests. As far as your exercise selections for ME lifts, I’d suggest replacing the “squats w/ knee wraps” with something else. Reason being, you can always add wraps and there is essentially no learning curve on them.

A high box squat might be a suitable substitution; this allows you to handle heavier weights throughout the training cycle. As far as your ME upper selections, they look good to me. As far as volume on your ME days, I wouldn’t worry to much. If you go in and bust your ass and constantly move heavier weights you’ll be good.

However, I will most always include a set or a few sets at 90%, following a new PR on my ME days. (This allows 3-5 lifts at or above 90%) By no means do I claim to have it all figured out, but I have been using the Westside template for 8 months now, with great results. Also, be sure to check out elitefts.com and the Q&A and Training Logs there. Those can be a huge help.[/quote]

Thanks bro. The high box is an option alright. When I miss, it’s about 2 inches above parrell so that could be an idea. I might not even run with a 3rd ME squat exercise, perhaps just 2. I plan on doing a 70,73,76,80% squat wave over 4 weeks for sets of 5 as my first exercise after ME instead of pure hamstring work, so if I was feeling good on a day I could just throw on wraps there too and work up.

So you think hitting a PR and then dropping back a bit but staying above 90% has worked well for you?

What sorta increases in your squat, bench and dead have you seen over the past 8 months if ya don’t mind me asking?

[quote]Modi wrote:

I think my computer is broken. Did you just say you were going to switch to Westside? Just kidding, give it a run and see how it treats you.

As far as your questions go…I wouldn’t choose Bench with Mini’s if you are also going to be using the mini’s on your DE day. I’ve been using a reverse band press lately, and really like the overload at the top, and I don’t use a shirt. It should have even better carryover for a shirted lifter.

Also, if you are following a traditional template, then I think 3 Squat ME’s and 3 DL ME movements are probably too many. If you are training each lift for two weeks, that would mean it would be 12 weeks before you train the same lift again. I would pick two of each and stick with that. At some point you may just need to rotate lifts on a weekly basis, but you’ll figure out when that is on your own.

I’m not entirely sure what you mean by the last question. If you are asking for total number of sets, I would say take your last warmup at 90% of your projected max. Then hit a PR, and finally drop the weight to somewhere between 90-95% and hit two to three more singles. If you are feeling strong, then lean towards 95% otherwise, just make sure to get in a couple of lifts over 90%.

So if you were to go for a 380 max, I would warmup as needed (but conserve energy) and make your last warmup 340x1 then hit something like 380x1,360x1,360x1. If you don’t feel strong, go 340x1,380x1,340x1,340x1, and if you feel like a stud, go 340x1,380x1,370x1,360x1,350x1…Too many possibilities, but you should get the idea. Just don’t burn any energy leading up to your Max attempt. A general rule of thumb is to use sets of 8,5,3 and 1. When 8 reps might feel challenging, only do 5…when 3 reps might feel challenging, only do one,etc.

Feel free to fire away with any questions. There’s no shortage of self-proclaimed Westside experts around these parts. ;)[/quote]

Thanks for the tips. Like I said further up, my training is heavily influenced by some of the westside principles so it’s the next logical step to consider. This year will basically be one big long off season so it gives me a chance to play about and try out some things!

You’re probably right about the amount of exercises. Would 4 be enough tho? Box squats, Pause squats, Rack Pulls and Sumo’s with 35 like.

Also, small detail probably, but should I do ME squat for 2 weeks, then ME dead for 2, or just do what I feel like out of those 4 exercises with no set plan once I rotate htem over 8 weeks?

The benching against mini’s has worked well for increasing my bench in the past, so I’m gonna try them again. I’ll only be using them for 2/3 weeks out of 11 at most for DE work, sothat should be ok right?

I don’t really have access to somewhere to set up reverse bands, but I’m trying to come up with ideas as how to rig it up!!

Thanks for the input, I’l try and get my provisional cycle up later.

[quote]StonesAreFun wrote:
I think the Westside guys have used in the past (and might still do it) goodmornings as an ME exercise. Also, I’d think about potentially using RDL’s for an ME exercise for your dead training. Anyway, just my .02[/quote]

I think they’ve dropped them in recent years and use them more as supplemental/assitance work now. I was actually gonna use them as a 4th or 5th exercise, keeping them light, as part of my core work.

Like GM’s and weighed decline sits up, or hanging leg raises or pulldown abs. Do people think that’d work?

The beauty of WS is you can vary what you do all then time and to an extent how you do it. As long as you have days devoted to speed and acceleration and other days devoted to moving maximum weight you are fine and on track.

I do advise as mentioned above only picking one exercise per workout as your primary ME or DE movement. You can add on assistance as needed.

[quote]Hanley wrote:

You’re probably right about the amount of exercises. Would 4 be enough tho? Box squats, Pause squats, Rack Pulls and Sumo’s with 35 like.

Also, small detail probably, but should I do ME squat for 2 weeks, then ME dead for 2, or just do what I feel like out of those 4 exercises with no set plan once I rotate htem over 8 weeks?

The benching against mini’s has worked well for increasing my bench in the past, so I’m gonna try them again. I’ll only be using them for 2/3 weeks out of 11 at most for DE work, sothat should be ok right?

I don’t really have access to somewhere to set up reverse bands, but I’m trying to come up with ideas as how to rig it up!!

Thanks for the input, I’l try and get my provisional cycle up later.[/quote]

4 movements is plenty. I personally think that you need to limit it a bit especially if you are going to use 2 week rotation for reasons Modi already said. It is tough to measure progress if you are rotating more movements then that. Plus, I firmly believe that you should give a movement 3-5 months to see if it really helping you or not.

I try to stick with a set rotation, but I don’t think that it really matter. I have gone in on a day that had flat bench on schedule and decided my shoulders would be better off if I did floor press. I like your plan of Squat/DL/Squat/DL just don’t feel like your locked into it.

I like the minis too, but I never incorporate them directly into ME work. I take heavy singles at least once ever DE cycle. I am not saying to do it one way or another. I am just giving you some ideas.

Can I ask about your ME choices? Pause squats and box squats seem awful similar especially if you are hitting about the same depth. Do have a different type of bar that you can use for one of those?

[quote]Hanley wrote:
Thanks for the tips. Like I said further up, my training is heavily influenced by some of the westside principles so it’s the next logical step to consider. This year will basically be one big long off season so it gives me a chance to play about and try out some things!

You’re probably right about the amount of exercises. Would 4 be enough tho? Box squats, Pause squats, Rack Pulls and Sumo’s with 35 like.

Also, small detail probably, but should I do ME squat for 2 weeks, then ME dead for 2, or just do what I feel like out of those 4 exercises with no set plan once I rotate htem over 8 weeks?

The benching against mini’s has worked well for increasing my bench in the past, so I’m gonna try them again. I’ll only be using them for 2/3 weeks out of 11 at most for DE work, sothat should be ok right?

I don’t really have access to somewhere to set up reverse bands, but I’m trying to come up with ideas as how to rig it up!!

Thanks for the input, I’l try and get my provisional cycle up later.[/quote]

Yes, I think 4 is plenty. Remember that you can always use other movements as your supplemental or accessory exercises and train them RE. So if you love a movement, but can’t work it in as an ME, train it with higher reps after your ME movement. OR train it on your RE day.

I go in with a set rotation. The more advanced you are, the more you can just go by feel though. With that said…if your plan says it’s a Squat day, and you know you have a big pull in you, then go in and pull.

I like benching with mini’s, and I’ve even used the light bands for an ME movement, but I wouldn’t train both my ME and DE movements with bands in the same week. You could easily set up your training cycle to avoid this.

Also, I’ve been cycling my DE/RE movements similar to what you mentioned above. I’ve been cycling movements every two weeks…Wks 1&2 DE Chains, Wks 3&4 RE Straight weight, Wks 5&6 DE Bands, Wks 7&8 RE Straight weight. I think DE really does work best with bands and chains, but I also see the benefit of RE work, and taking off the accomodating resistance gives the tendons a bit of a break.

So no way to set up a Reverse Band Bench? I’m assuming you don’t have access to a Power Rack? Or is it the heavy bands that you don’t have?

Anyways, just giving you shit about the Westside comment. I know you are smart enough to evaluate what works and what doesn’t, and I know sure as hell that you aren’t going to just do something because Louie said so. It’s a template, not a program, make it yours.

[quote]Modi wrote:

I think my computer is broken. Did you just say you were going to switch to Westside?[/quote]

haha

i’d like to know how everyone here sets up their bands, especially since most people train in a commercial gym setting?

what do you do? go under the bench? attatch them to dumbells?

Pemdas,

I picked movements that I feel have a high correlation to my regular comp squat. The box squat is a no brainer, but tbh I wasn’t sure abotu the pause squats so I decided to run with it anyway. Got any alternatives? Considering we don’t have any specail bars to play with…

[quote]Modi wrote:

Yes, I think 4 is plenty. Remember that you can always use other movements as your supplemental or accessory exercises and train them RE. So if you love a movement, but can’t work it in as an ME, train it with higher reps after your ME movement. OR train it on your RE day.[/quote]

That’s the plan alright. Follow up ME squats/deadlift with either normal squats, front squats or zerchers. Follow up speed squats and pulls with either conventional deadlifts, stiff legs or sumos. All done for sets of 5 to 6, probably working between 70 and 80%. Possibly more if I feel good on any one week.

I think that’s a nice compromise since one of my greatest reservations about going fully over to the standard template is the lack of work on the comp. lifts ya know? Also, sumo speed pulls are complete tripe imo so I plan on upping the % to about 70 and just pulling 8-10x1 really working hard on set up each time. Sound ok?

[quote]Modi wrote:

I like benching with mini’s, and I’ve even used the light bands for an ME movement, but I wouldn’t train both my ME and DE movements with bands in the same week. You could easily set up your training cycle to avoid this.[/quote]

Exactly what I was planning. No way would I let them run together.

The two week DE cycle might be a better idea… I tend to get beat up benching with bands very quickly, and my elbows dislike straight weight for a long time too. Proably best to run them for two weeks and throw an RE workout in between.

No power rack’s the problem. All out benching and squatting is done off the IPF world champ racks (the ER ones). There’s one of the old Hoffman iso racks (http://www.oldtimestrongman.com/images8/york_powerrack.gif) braced about 4 feet out from the wall so I have an idea on how to set up reverse bands there. Hopefully it’s a workable idea.

Haha it’s to be expected in fairness. I’m gonna give it until my next meet in July to determine whether or not I can make it work . That should be long enough to see some results right?

One of the changes that I’ve made to the program is that if I pick a Squat variation for my ME movement I’ll follow it with a DL variation, and vice versa. Then when I hit DE/RE day I’ll hit a DL variation first and Squat second. I’ve seen some good results in the past year.

My bench had stalled for a bit, and I’m in the process of giving it a jump start, so I’m not going to hand out too much advice there until I know that mine is moving in the right direction.

I think you should have a good idea by July whether it’s working for you or not.

[quote]All2ez wrote:
i’d like to know how everyone here sets up their bands, especially since most people train in a commercial gym setting?

what do you do? go under the bench? attatch them to dumbells?[/quote]

Dumbells, with 5’s or 2.5’s wedged around them to keep them from rolling around. Works like a charm. Just make sure they are heavy enough or you will have a real clusterfuck moment on your hands.

[quote]Modi wrote:
One of the changes that I’ve made to the program is that if I pick a Squat variation for my ME movement I’ll follow it with a DL variation, and vice versa. Then when I hit DE/RE day I’ll hit a DL variation first and Squat second. I’ve seen some good results in the past year.

My bench had stalled for a bit, and I’m in the process of giving it a jump start, so I’m not going to hand out too much advice there until I know that mine is moving in the right direction.

I think you should have a good idea by July whether it’s working for you or not.[/quote]

That’s a good idea in the first paragraph, and it was something I was thinking about too. I’m still not sure what way I’m gonna go. I guess doing it your way would mean I’m squatting and deadlift in some form 2x a week, which presumably would be better for progrees (since I’ve responded well to multiple training sessions per week on the same lift).

How much have you gained on your lifts since ya started westside if ya don’t mind me asking??

[quote]Hanley wrote:
Modi wrote:
One of the changes that I’ve made to the program is that if I pick a Squat variation for my ME movement I’ll follow it with a DL variation, and vice versa. Then when I hit DE/RE day I’ll hit a DL variation first and Squat second. I’ve seen some good results in the past year.

My bench had stalled for a bit, and I’m in the process of giving it a jump start, so I’m not going to hand out too much advice there until I know that mine is moving in the right direction.

I think you should have a good idea by July whether it’s working for you or not.

That’s a good idea in the first paragraph, and it was something I was thinking about too. I’m still not sure what way I’m gonna go. I guess doing it your way would mean I’m squatting and deadlift in some form 2x a week, which presumably would be better for progrees (since I’ve responded well to multiple training sessions per week on the same lift).

How much have you gained on your lifts since ya started westside if ya don’t mind me asking??[/quote]

Sorry, missed your question.

I started competing last Feb. I squatted an easy 370. I didn’t know it was going to be a Full Meet, so I hadn’t tested a max in quite some time. I hit a 340 bench, and I also DL’ed 525 at that meet, and that was a 25lb PR.

My last meet was in December, and I hit a 501 Squat, 358 Bench and 601 Deadlift.

Just to give you an idea of some recent gym lifts…I hit a 505 Squat a couple of weeks ago using a 14" box for depth, but my hammies have blown up from all the squatting and DLing, and unfortunately the 14" box is a little above parallel now, so I’ll test that again soon using a lower box. I just hit a 365 paused bench, and would have locked out a 380 touch and go, but my spotter touched it, so I’m not counting it. And I got a 610 DL, but couldn’t lock it out without a hitch, but certainly got it much closer than before.

I always make sure that even though I’m squatting and pulling twice in the same week, that they are different movements. I might use a wide stance Squat early in the week, and a front squat later in the week, or a Sumo Deadlift early, and a Deficit Dead later in the week. I have 4 or 5 Squats and 4 or 5 pulls that I rotate in some for or another.

Again, I’m not offering Bench advice until I know that it’s going up again.