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Westside Advice


I'm training Westside currently and just wanted to get some general advise. I've read (from Dave) some recommendations where they use about 4 exercises, for pretty low volume. Other things like his 8 Keys article, makes me think I need more volume.I just want some general advise, anything is appreciated. My lifts are not that impressive, but I'll post em for what it's worth. 335/245/380 (wish those were kg, ill get there) @ 180, 5'9"

I follow the ME, DE, RE model of course. After ME or DE for Bench day I hit:

Heavy Triceps (JM or band presses) no more than 8 reps

Rear Delts, high volume -face pulls, hang n swings, etc

***Back, Mostly heavy DB rows, but I've realized my ability to perform pullups sucks now. Its not much relative to others, but I can kroc row 110 each side, but 10 pullups is about going to failure, its sad really.

Every other week I may add verticle presses, DB, BB, etc, low volume.

Bicep work for elbows, then stretch everything.

Legs is the same kind of format. ME or DE then:

hammies, ghr variations, pulls or dimel deadlift, etc

Quads or glutes, will alternate during week (lacking a lot on quads) Leg press, FS, heavy single leg work is my go to usually

Core- GM for volume, ab roller, etc. I always finish with practice expanding my stomach and holding air. May add a DB, too.

Thanks ahead of time, I really appreciate it.


I can tell you what has worked for me, but it can be highly individualized so keep that in mind.

Max Effort Upper:
Typically I always do full range bench press working up to heavy 5,3,2 and sometimes singles, this depends on how I feel.
I follow that up with either close grip bench, JM press, 2 board press, or floor press to hit my triceps heavily. I typically do around 5 sets of 5-6 reps with heavy weights.
I will then do some form of DB row, chest supported row, cable row, pullup, or lat pulldown. I usually do back work for 3-5x10 with moderately heavy weights. (I work specifically on getting a pump in my back, often this mean not using an exaggerated motion. I don't release my arms at the bottom of the movement and I don't pull to the point that my biceps get involved. Some view this as partial reps, but fuck 'em, it works for me. Think bodybuilder)
I follow that up with some form of facepull, pull apart, rear delt flys, or some form up shrugging or high pulling. (Any high pulling is done explosively for low reps. Any other upper back movement is done for 3-5x10)
Finish up with Biceps for 3x8-10.
*I occasionally superset my lat work with my upper back work.

"Dynamic Effort" Upper: (In quotes because I rarely do your typical dynamic effort pressing)
Most of the time I will either work up higher reps, work up to a weight I can do for 3x5, heavier overhead pressing, and on the rare occasion I will do your standard speed benching with bands or chains for 8x3. (I find that volume works MUCH better for me when building my bench press.
Assistance pressing movement. Some type of pushups, DB/KB pressing, or dips done for 3-4x8-12. Sometimes I will mix a barbell movement in there for the same rep range.
Lats and Upper back done the same as above.
Triceps isolation done for 3-5x10.

Max Effort Lower:
Heavy squatting of some sort (Usually straight weight with various bars. Free squats unless my knees hurt. Work up similar to heavy benching.)
Goodmorning or deadlift variations (block pulls, deficit deadlifts, seated/standing GMs) Deadlifts I usually work up to a heavy 5 or 3, good mornings I will do for straight sets of 3-5x6-10. This all depends on how I feel and if I feel up to deadlifting.
Next I do either reverse hypers, 45 degree back raise, glute ham raises (use plates, chains, or bands for added resistance. occasionally superset lower back with hamstrings) I usually do these for 3-5x10 but I have a tendancy to get a little stupid on these and do 20 rep type shit.
Abs or Obliques (train heavy for low reps, train lighter for high reps, and everything in between)

Dynamic Effort Lower:
Speed squatting against bands or chains or work put to a semi heavy 5 for a few sets (Speed squats are always done to a box).
Speed deadlifting (always against band or chains, always done from floor) I do these for 5-8x1. Some people like to mix up stances but I can't pull sumo to save my life so all my pulling is done conventional.
Leg Pressing, split squats, steps ups, reverse hyper, glute ham raises, back extension. Wing it, do what you need to work on, super set or dont super set, get creative with it keep intensity high though. Typically done for 3-5x10 but again I tend to do stupid stuff on these.
Abs or obliques (same as above).

I am relatively fast on my deadlifts and can lock out a squat very hard but I'm slow out of the bottom of the squat. I have been playing with plyometrics like box jumps from a low box on my off days to see if it helps at all. When it comes to benching I just try to be explosive on all my pressing movements, main lift or assistance lift. I find that volume helps my bench press more than anything. (I bench with my pinkies just inside the rings, so it's a relatively close grip which is why I like to train triceps hard and heavy a lot. I also find that lots of volume for my shoulders work well also.)

It should also be noted that I primarily lift raw. I have a slingshot and some loose fitting briefs, but I rarely ever use them.

Sorry if this was messy to read but I hope it helps.


It sounds like you have a basic understanding of the structure. Whats really more important is what your ME exercises are and what kind of supplementary / assistance movements you're going to use to keep those moving. This is highly individualized and is generally why it's better to follow a West Side routine with more experienced people -- just because they can usually spot weak points and know how to address them.


that's exactly what I was looking for, I just wanted to make sure I wasn't being a dumbass... Would you make any suggestions on how to progress from here? I don't really have anyone to help out, aside from resources/ppl on here. Maybe post videos and ask which ME/DE/accessory movements I should use?


That would work.


Thanks guys, i'll get on the videos and see where that goes


Hey man,
Not sure where you are in Virginia but we're in Winchester. I have a group of guys who have been doing the conjugate method for a few years with pretty good success. Like FrankJL said, once we started learning how to identify weak points and build our accessory work around those weak areas things started moving much faster. I still go to Columbus to train with Matt Wenning and New York to train wihth Bill Crawford as much as possible to get more input. Shoot me a line, I'll be happy to help out however I can.



Hmm... I might have to borrow this idea if I decide to try westside style conjugate method training again. I tried it alone and I never could figure what exercises work best for me. I also found it hard to gauge progress because I didn't know which lifts were the best indicator lifts for me and I only tested the comp. lifts every 8-12 weeks. I'm interested in seeing if this will work for you. Good luck.


Here's my "Westside" template:

Week 1 - work up to 3 singles at 90%+
Week 2 - work up to 3xF at 65-75%
Week 3 - work up 3 singles at 90%+ w/ 2-board press
Week 4 - DB press 3xF

Week 1 - 4" deficit pulls 3 singles at 90%+
Week 2 - sumo pulls (or conventional if you are a sumo lifter) 3x3x80%
Week 3 - 4" elevated pulls 3 singles at 90%+
Week 4 - floor pulls 3 singles (85/92.5/100+)

I also add in speed bench and speed pulls on different days. Speed bench days get heavy 4-board or rack lockout work for triceps.

I generally do 4 sets each on triceps/shoulders/lats/forearms in the 10-15 range. I do 4-8 sets of glute/legs and 8-10 sets on ab/oblique work each workout.

I don't squat for competition, but if you do -

Week 1 - triples up to 3 singles at 90%+
Week 2 - 3x3x80%
Week 3 - wide stance box squat triples up to 3 singles at 90%+
Week 4 - dead squats for triples till you can't do a triple (dead squats are hard so keep it at a triple so your form doesn't break down trying to hit a max single)

  • This will keep your training maxed out but varied w/ some rest in between. Most guys can't handle the workload of maxing out every week regardless of the movements changing regularly. Remember, this is a very advanced program and done by lifters who can recover very quickly thru artificial means. Listen to your body and brain.

Westside is a good template, but you could also benefit from modifying the 531 for powerlifting version just as well and probably not burn out as quickly. I also have a template for that one.


Modified 531 Training

Week 1
Wednesday 3x3x80% + 3 singles at 90%+
Sunday 8x3x50% w/ bands
Week 2
Wednesday 3xFx65-75%
Sunday 8x3x55% w/ bands
Week 3
Wednesday 5x75% 3x80% 1x85% + 3 singles at 90%+
Sunday 8x3x60% w/ bands
Week 4
Wednesday 2-board 3 singles at 90%+
Sunday DB press 3xF

  • Triceps (skulls/Tate press/close grip 4 board/rolling skulls/overhead ext/dips/kickbacks/crossover ext/push downs)
  • Shoulders/chest (overhead press/lateral raise/front raise/rear fly/incline variation/pushups)
  • Upper back (db row/t-bar row/cable row/chins/pull-ups/chest supported rows/lat pull downs/face pulls/shrugs)
  • Forearms (reverse curl/hammer curl/wrist curl forward and backward)

Week 1
Tuesday 3x3x80% + 3 singles at 90%+
Saturday 5-8 singles x 50%
Week 2
Tuesday 3x5x75%
Saturday 5-8 singles x 55%
Week 3
Tuesday 5x75% 3x80% 1x85% + 3 singles at 90%+
Saturday 5-8 singles x 60%
Week 4
Tuesday 4? deficit pulls
Sumo pulls

  • Legs / Glutes (band leg curl/hyper bench/SLDL/good morning variations/pull-thru/front and back squat/leg press)
  • Abs (side bends/reverse crunch/abs roller/pull downs/leg raise)

Speed days are Saturday/Sunday. Just a slightly different template I use from time to time using Wendler's math. It also has it's benefits.


This is not anything close to Westside. It is just pretty basic undulating periodization with some exercise variations thrown in.

I use Westside and don't use artificial means of recovery and still recover just fine between workouts. There are so many people that have gotten ridiculously strong, regardless of gear and steroids, using just the Westside System. Without "modifications" or whatever other words people use on the internet to get around not understanding a program.

It is definintely not just for advanced lifters. It is for smart lifters.


I think most folks that try it don't do the necessary work to recover (prowler, SMR, stretching/mobility, taking a walk with a weight vest, etc...) and thus they trash themselves over and over.


I'd say this is pretty accurate. I know I have trouble finding time to get anything other than SMR/Stretching/Mobility in. I'd be interested to see this other component laid out from those who run Westside.

Right now I run:
Monday: ME Bench
Tues: Upper back work/core work
Wed: ME Squat
Thurs: Off
Fri: DE Bench
Sat: DE Squat
Sun: Off

I figure the most appropriate time to add in prowler work would be on Sundays and I could walk with a weight vest most mornings I suppose. Thoughts?


Get it in whenever you can. Keep in mind that you are training many skills at once so the emphasis needs to shift every once an a while. For example, you want to add in prowler work and weighted walking to increase GPP right? If your GPP sucks and you add in more work on top of what you are doing already to increase your GPP you are going to crash and burn. I suggest planning out a cycle with the focus of increaseing GPP with a secondary emphasis on the actual powerlifts. Using the principles of the Westside Method, it is pretty easy to do this in your next training cycle:

DE Squat/Deads/Benches- lower the percentages, increase the sets, decrease the rest periods. I like to shoot for at least 25 sets of 2-3 reps with around 50% and switch the bars every week on bench and squats. Try to beat your time every week. Week 1 might be 25 sets with the SSB in 25minutes. So, the following week, try to beat the 25 sets in 25 minutes with a cambered bar. Still focus on speed. Try not to focus on how bad you want to throw up.

Max Efforts- Stick with 3rms and 5rms

RE work- Super high reps and very general exercises- this would be a good place to add in the prowler.

I would suggest something like that set-up for at least one cycle, then start adding in prowler work on one or two off days.

As far as the mobility work, just pick a muscle group you want to stretch and stretch the shit out of it for 5 minutes. Then go on with your day. Pick a different muscle group the next time and do the same thing. You be surprised how much you can get in a day.


Westside is still periodization no matter how you wanna slice it. They still work in waves. And when we talk "Westside", we talk conjugate method which IS variations of the main lifts that are periodized and rotation of supportive exercises. So to say the template is not WS is garbage. So I'll say this correctly - it is the conjugate method.


Conjugate =/= undulating.

I would post up my Westside split, but seeing as it's my very first go at Westside, I'll save myself the embarrassment. It's great seeing other people post up what they have, though, so I can tweak my program little by little and see how it works.


The conjugate method is just part of the entire westside system. That would be like saying, I'm doing Westside because I accommodate resistance with bands on every exercise or just because I use weight releasers (reactive method). Read Myslanski's paper on the cojugate sequence system. It's more that just variation in exercises.

You are 100% correct. Westside is a form a periodization. This is a big reason why a lot of lifters "burn out" and think you need to be on steroids or only use multi ply for it to work. Because they do exaclty the same training scheme for months or even years. You don't always max out. You don't always do Dynamic work for speed.

We should get some people together on here that actually know how this shit works and start a thread about how to actually set-up and PROGRESS the Westside System.


Where'd you come up with this one? I've trained with a lot of drug free lifters who haven't had a problem recovering despite maxing out every week. I don't have any special or artificial recovery methods other than stretching frequently and foam rolling. Well, that and drinking a lot of whiskey every Friday night.


There is a direct correlation between bourbon consupmtion and maximal strength.


Holy shit that is a great idea.