T Nation

Westside and the Deadlift

In looking at WSB I have found alot I like and some I am still trying to figure out. One thing I haven’t figured out is why it appears not to have the same dramatic effect as it does on the Squat and Bench. I am referring to the elite lifters that life at WS. The only difference I can see is that the numbers at WS go up with the lifts that use the most gear. Since the DL really doesn’t have that it appears it stays the same. The WS lifters mostly are in the 700 to 800 range. These are the same numbers as were being put up in the 70’s and 80’s by great like Kazmier, McCormick, Shaw and Rogers to name a few. Does anyone have any explanation for this? And please don’t refer to hand strength as the reason.

In all honesty I think you answered your question - the lifters at WSB work to maximise their lifts and to get the most out their gear. Clearly gear has the greatest translation to the squat and bench (No more highlight when the deadlift record when last year by a guy wearing shorts and vest).

I think if not all, most over at westside wear 2/multiply gear. Gear helps the squat and bench much more than the deadlift. As you get a stretch, eccentric part to the squat and bench but you don’t on the deadlift.

[quote]ThermalWarrior wrote:
(No more highlight when the deadlift record when last year by a guy wearing shorts and vest). [/quote]

Thanks for the reply. Not sure what you meant by this last sentence (no more highlight).
I believe Simmons has many good ideas but what I am thinking is it is really not that revolutionary. Here is what I mean.

Standard Powerlifting Workout

Monday
Heavy bench using 8s, 5s or 3s. Peak 3-6 weeks using 2s and singles
Triceps
Shoulders
Lats

Assistance Reps 3-5 sets 5-8 reps per set. Sometimes up to 12.
Some lifters would do 2 exercises per bodypart which could lead to overtrainig

Tuesday
Heavy Squat
Leg Press
Leg Curls
Calves

Similar on assistance reps and sets as Monday

Thursday
Light Bench 3x8 Problem frequently lifter goes to heavy
Same assistance. Reps maybe same as Monday though should be lighter weight or lighter weight reps in 10-12 range

Friday
Heavy DL
Light Squat working up to light weight for 1x8. Frequently lifter goes to heavy
Maybe some rack work
Assistance similar to squat day

Major differences I see to this and WSB is the additions of a “special exercise”. This exercise replaces heavy bench and and heavy squat. Most important part of this is that the exercise chosen has to focus on lifters weakness and focuses on getting stronger in this area. Only concern would be overtraining particularly for the natural raw lifter.

Speed work (or lifting explosively as it used to be called) is a great idea that should be focused on. The box squats done go back to at least the 1970s maybe 60s. A couple of lifters who developed this where "Peanuts) (can’t remember his last name) and Marv Philips. They did the rocking box squat I see WS lifters utilizing but for more reps and heavier weight.

Also looking at what Dave Tate has written assistance is usually limited to one exercise per bodypart for 3a-5 sets of varying reps. This should help reduce tendency of overtraining. Varying reps is also used on the standard powerlifting routine.

Percentages also a great idea and very beneficial for someone who doesn’t have a coach or the experience to know when they are overdoing it. In watching videos of WS lifters training and listening to Louie explain the system I feel it is more like a way of training that requires a good understanding of lifter weakenesses and different training techniques. I think for many lifters who use it successfully it probably helped them to stop overtraining and focus on their weaknesses instead of just doing any assistance work. The special exercises target the areas that most all of us struggle with and give a way to use exercises that will help them the most.

I think the other big benefit for WSB lifters is having Louie there to watch and coach. That is irreplaceable. I believe most of the lifters there were already elite or well on their way. They had a great base and then the coach made the adjustments necessary to take them to the next level.

So what I have wondered is if WS is really that much of a total revolution or more of an improvement. The reason I question this is because the lifts have gone up as the technology (suits, briefs, shorts) has improved. So it is really all because of the training or much of it from the technology?

I don’t like Westside. A lot of gear and a lot of steroids, that’s about it. They don’t REALLY accomplish anything. What’s the point if you have to use all that junk? Natural, raw lifting will always be best in my book.

oh god please don’t turn this into a gear vs raw debate.

[quote]rabell59 wrote:
So what I have wondered is if WS is really that much of a total revolution or more of an improvement. The reason I question this is because the lifts have gone up as the technology (suits, briefs, shorts) has improved. So it is really all because of the training or much of it from the technology?[/quote]

Westside uses the conjugate template to give them better geared totals. It can be used other ways but they use it their way. Can’t really be said if they’re stronger raw because they don’t compete raw. Maybe they’re getting stronger but it only transfers in gear. You’d know for a fact they’re getting stronger in general because the lifts go up in the gym. So if you really give a shit, you could check to see if they’re floor press records or board press records have gone up. That shows they’ve gotten stronger. But that doesn’t necessarily mean they’ll get stronger in a raw bench, and that’s not they’re goal so they wouldn’t care.

Besides, ever since someone figured out 1-5 reps builds strength, I don’t think there is such a thing as total revolution. The conjugate system is a template for athletic development and when executed correctly it’s fucking awesome.

[quote]Caltene wrote:
I don’t like Westside. A lot of gear and a lot of steroids, that’s about it. They don’t REALLY accomplish anything. What’s the point if you have to use all that junk? Natural, raw lifting will always be best in my book.[/quote]

I train Westside and don’t use multiply (yet) or steroids (yet) and make very good progress from year to year. Maybe you should read up on it so that you get better idea of what you are talking about… or any idea would be a welcomed improvement.

I dont think the advances in gear or even the drugs have anything to do with it. I think there is not a whole lot of emphasis on deadlift training (like the different waves for squats and bench) because of a couple of reasons:

  1. Deadlifts are more stressful so they can’t be trained as often as the other two

  2. At a meet, in a ton of gear, by the time the deadlift rolls around, your are basically just trying to survive. Very few people on this site, let alone this planet, have known the kind of stress a 1,000lb+ squat puts on your body. Add that up with a shirt that allows you to bench press 200+ more pounds than you can without it and its safe to say that you have accumulated some stress. The deadlift numbers are lower because they are fucking exhausted.

With that said, I think the average deadlift for the top 5 guys there is something like 840. That’s still a pretty good deadlift, i guess.

I smell a TROLOLOLOL!

Westside:
a)created an entity with a great culture that brings in the top powerlifters. They train and compete as a TEAM.

b)employs solid fundamentals with a hint of smart innovation. They constantly look to fine tune their methods.

You don’t have to be “revolutionary” to be the best.

[quote]rabell59 wrote:

[quote]ThermalWarrior wrote:
(No more highlight when the deadlift record when last year by a guy wearing shorts and vest). [/quote]

Thanks for the reply. Not sure what you meant by this last sentence (no more highlight).
I believe Simmons has many good ideas but what I am thinking is it is really not that revolutionary. Here is what I mean.

Standard Powerlifting Workout

Monday
Heavy bench using 8s, 5s or 3s. Peak 3-6 weeks using 2s and singles
Triceps
Shoulders
Lats

Assistance Reps 3-5 sets 5-8 reps per set. Sometimes up to 12.
Some lifters would do 2 exercises per bodypart which could lead to overtrainig

Tuesday
Heavy Squat
Leg Press
Leg Curls
Calves

Similar on assistance reps and sets as Monday

Thursday
Light Bench 3x8 Problem frequently lifter goes to heavy
Same assistance. Reps maybe same as Monday though should be lighter weight or lighter weight reps in 10-12 range

Friday
Heavy DL
Light Squat working up to light weight for 1x8. Frequently lifter goes to heavy
Maybe some rack work
Assistance similar to squat day

Major differences I see to this and WSB is the additions of a “special exercise”. This exercise replaces heavy bench and and heavy squat. Most important part of this is that the exercise chosen has to focus on lifters weakness and focuses on getting stronger in this area. Only concern would be overtraining particularly for the natural raw lifter.

Speed work (or lifting explosively as it used to be called) is a great idea that should be focused on. The box squats done go back to at least the 1970s maybe 60s. A couple of lifters who developed this where "Peanuts) (can’t remember his last name) and Marv Philips. They did the rocking box squat I see WS lifters utilizing but for more reps and heavier weight.

Also looking at what Dave Tate has written assistance is usually limited to one exercise per bodypart for 3a-5 sets of varying reps. This should help reduce tendency of overtraining. Varying reps is also used on the standard powerlifting routine.

Percentages also a great idea and very beneficial for someone who doesn’t have a coach or the experience to know when they are overdoing it. In watching videos of WS lifters training and listening to Louie explain the system I feel it is more like a way of training that requires a good understanding of lifter weakenesses and different training techniques. I think for many lifters who use it successfully it probably helped them to stop overtraining and focus on their weaknesses instead of just doing any assistance work. The special exercises target the areas that most all of us struggle with and give a way to use exercises that will help them the most.

I think the other big benefit for WSB lifters is having Louie there to watch and coach. That is irreplaceable. I believe most of the lifters there were already elite or well on their way. They had a great base and then the coach made the adjustments necessary to take them to the next level.

So what I have wondered is if WS is really that much of a total revolution or more of an improvement. The reason I question this is because the lifts have gone up as the technology (suits, briefs, shorts) has improved. So it is really all because of the training or much of it from the technology?[/quote]

I think you have oversimplified the “Westside” method. Let me break down the major differences compared to more traditional schemes.

Consistently lifts at high percentage year round.

Uses HUNDREDS of lifts.

Uses variations of the main lifts, rather than the competitive lifts themselves until near competition.

Uses methods of accomodating resistance ergo: bands/chains, throughout EVERY training cycle.

Higher density of training, such that maximal lifts are performed with relativley little rest, compared to traditional long rest periods between max. lifting.

Typical volume of a maximal effort session in a traditional scheme was 2-4 sets (+/-1) generally speaking. The opposite holds true even going up to twelve sets.

Dynamic Effort methods aka speed sessions every week.

pulling sleds

Larger emphasis placed on GPP than usual.

Greater emphasis on back which led to many variations of good mornings.

Huge variety in barbells used.

I’m too tired to continue.

Oh and I saw louie pull 700 in briefs at 62 years old at Westside, looked pretty strong to me;)

[quote]louiek wrote:

[quote]rabell59 wrote:
So what I have wondered is if WS is really that much of a total revolution or more of an improvement. The reason I question this is because the lifts have gone up as the technology (suits, briefs, shorts) has improved. So it is really all because of the training or much of it from the technology?[/quote]

Westside uses the conjugate template to give them better geared totals. It can be used other ways but they use it their way. Can’t really be said if they’re stronger raw because they don’t compete raw. Maybe they’re getting stronger but it only transfers in gear. You’d know for a fact they’re getting stronger in general because the lifts go up in the gym. So if you really give a shit, you could check to see if they’re floor press records or board press records have gone up. That shows they’ve gotten stronger. But that doesn’t necessarily mean they’ll get stronger in a raw bench, and that’s not they’re goal so they wouldn’t care.

Besides, ever since someone figured out 1-5 reps builds strength, I don’t think there is such a thing as total revolution. The conjugate system is a template for athletic development and when executed correctly it’s fucking awesome.[/quote]

I know you didn’t say anything about raw vs gear but I want to make clear I was not referring to that. The names I mentioned also competed with the gear that was available in their time.

To address what you said let’s first be clear I am not interested in name calling or snide remarks such as “If you give a shit”. I am looking for a discussion not an attack. I find when remarks like this are made the person usually feels personally attacked because the area is something they are completely vested in. As I said I believe the system does work and has great ideas. what I don’t agree with is that it is revolutionary and is the one and only best system. And yes I am sure their lifts are going up and would expect that because of the level of lifters that are there. They already have a solid foundation of training and are going to the next level.

Regarding how exhausted people are by the time they get to the deadlift look at some of the totals Kaz and Coan put up before the advent of all this high tech gear. It was just as exhausting for them and yet they put up some amazing numbers. If the gear is adding 200 pounds as was stated for the squat you will see that both of these men would probably have been lifting those numbers.

My point is their are a number of proven systems out there and all have the same basic foundation. Some will work better than others. I think the thing about WS is that needs to be realized is it is not a set protocol. It is meant to be tweaked and frequently is even by WS based on what I have seen and heard. I am trying to point out the basic philosophy instead of just the system if that makes sense.

The other point I am making is that WS appears to be great if you look at the Squat and Bench which have had major changes due to gear but without it it does not have the dramatic gains. Yes a 840 DL is an incredible lift for most anyone but that number has been around for over 20 years with only a handful of men exceeding it. If you look at the Squat and Bench numbers from 20 years ago it is an amazing difference by a fairly large number of lifters. So is it the system or the gear? Back to the original question.

[quote]StormTheBeach wrote:

[quote]Caltene wrote:
I don’t like Westside. A lot of gear and a lot of steroids, that’s about it. They don’t REALLY accomplish anything. What’s the point if you have to use all that junk? Natural, raw lifting will always be best in my book.[/quote]

I train Westside and don’t use multiply (yet) or steroids (yet) and make very good progress from year to year. Maybe you should read up on it so that you get better idea of what you are talking about… or any idea would be a welcomed improvement.[/quote]

I’m talking about the actual Westside lifters. You can’t call yourself “Westside” just because you read some articles and don’t even train there. Nice try though.:slight_smile:

[quote]colt44 wrote:

[quote]rabell59 wrote:

[quote]ThermalWarrior wrote:
(No more highlight when the deadlift record when last year by a guy wearing shorts and vest). [/quote]

Thanks for the reply. Not sure what you meant by this last sentence (no more highlight).
I believe Simmons has many good ideas but what I am thinking is it is really not that revolutionary. Here is what I mean.

Standard Powerlifting Workout

Monday
Heavy bench using 8s, 5s or 3s. Peak 3-6 weeks using 2s and singles
Triceps
Shoulders
Lats

Assistance Reps 3-5 sets 5-8 reps per set. Sometimes up to 12.
Some lifters would do 2 exercises per bodypart which could lead to overtrainig

Tuesday
Heavy Squat
Leg Press
Leg Curls
Calves

Similar on assistance reps and sets as Monday

Thursday
Light Bench 3x8 Problem frequently lifter goes to heavy
Same assistance. Reps maybe same as Monday though should be lighter weight or lighter weight reps in 10-12 range

Friday
Heavy DL
Light Squat working up to light weight for 1x8. Frequently lifter goes to heavy
Maybe some rack work
Assistance similar to squat day

Major differences I see to this and WSB is the additions of a “special exercise”. This exercise replaces heavy bench and and heavy squat. Most important part of this is that the exercise chosen has to focus on lifters weakness and focuses on getting stronger in this area. Only concern would be overtraining particularly for the natural raw lifter.

Speed work (or lifting explosively as it used to be called) is a great idea that should be focused on. The box squats done go back to at least the 1970s maybe 60s. A couple of lifters who developed this where "Peanuts) (can’t remember his last name) and Marv Philips. They did the rocking box squat I see WS lifters utilizing but for more reps and heavier weight.

Also looking at what Dave Tate has written assistance is usually limited to one exercise per bodypart for 3a-5 sets of varying reps. This should help reduce tendency of overtraining. Varying reps is also used on the standard powerlifting routine.

Percentages also a great idea and very beneficial for someone who doesn’t have a coach or the experience to know when they are overdoing it. In watching videos of WS lifters training and listening to Louie explain the system I feel it is more like a way of training that requires a good understanding of lifter weakenesses and different training techniques. I think for many lifters who use it successfully it probably helped them to stop overtraining and focus on their weaknesses instead of just doing any assistance work. The special exercises target the areas that most all of us struggle with and give a way to use exercises that will help them the most.

I think the other big benefit for WSB lifters is having Louie there to watch and coach. That is irreplaceable. I believe most of the lifters there were already elite or well on their way. They had a great base and then the coach made the adjustments necessary to take them to the next level.

So what I have wondered is if WS is really that much of a total revolution or more of an improvement. The reason I question this is because the lifts have gone up as the technology (suits, briefs, shorts) has improved. So it is really all because of the training or much of it from the technology?[/quote]

I think you have oversimplified the “Westside” method. Let me break down the major differences compared to more traditional schemes.

Consistently lifts at high percentage year round.

Uses HUNDREDS of lifts.

Uses variations of the main lifts, rather than the competitive lifts themselves until near competition.

Uses methods of accomodating resistance ergo: bands/chains, throughout EVERY training cycle.

Higher density of training, such that maximal lifts are performed with relativley little rest, compared to traditional long rest periods between max. lifting.

Typical volume of a maximal effort session in a traditional scheme was 2-4 sets (+/-1) generally speaking. The opposite holds true even going up to twelve sets.

Dynamic Effort methods aka speed sessions every week.

pulling sleds

Larger emphasis placed on GPP than usual.

Greater emphasis on back which led to many variations of good mornings.

Huge variety in barbells used.

I’m too tired to continue.

Oh and I saw louie pull 700 in briefs at 62 years old at Westside, looked pretty strong to me;)

[/quote]

I agree the special exercises have been a great addition and very original. Several of the items you listed relate to these and I felt this was implied. I should have been more clear. As far as rest periods I thought that on max efforts WS can go up to 5 minutes or longer. Also on speed day the videos I have seen of actual WS lifters doing them show upwards of 8 to 10 people rotating in so I question if the 45 to 60 second time period is a fast rule. I haven’t been there I am only going on what they have posted.
The 720 pull by Louie is impressive by any account and as I have said they do have some very good numbers regarding the DL. The question I have is again why the DL number has not increased like the Squat and Bench which are both heavily influenced by the gear technology.

This is a good system. I am not saying it isn’t. What I am asking if it is so good as some people say and the best system out there why does it not translate over to DL. Principles should apply to all lifts not just two. And again the two that are focused on, which produce these incredible numbers, are both based on gear technology.

I have also included more in my answer to louiek earlier.

I started this thread because I keep reading people trashing other systems and seeming to indicate that WS is the holy grail of powerlifting training. As I have said I think it is a good system with alot of great points that I have listed and you have expanded upon. But what I don’t see is that some people don’t seem to get the principles and focus only on the execution. I am just trying to see if I am missing something because the DL numbers keep standing out to me as a glaring exception.

[quote]rabell59 wrote:

[quote]ThermalWarrior wrote:
(No more highlight when the deadlift record when last year by a guy wearing shorts and vest). [/quote]I think the other big benefit for WSB lifters is having Louie there to watch and coach. That is irreplaceable. I believe most of the lifters there were already elite or well on their way. They had a great base and then the coach made the adjustments necessary to take them to the next level.

So what I have wondered is if WS is really that much of a total revolution or more of an improvement. The reason I question this is because the lifts have gone up as the technology (suits, briefs, shorts) has improved. So it is really all because of the training or much of it from the technology?[/quote]
I “train Westside” but even I think that these lifters could be doing something else and still get just as strong. A lot of it would be atmosphere and having Louie there.

But anyway. I think there’s an AJ Roberts video where he talks about them deciding to deadlift every week like Finnish or Norwegian lifters also using Westside. They saw improvements but it’s hard on your body. I think that’s really it; doing max deadlifts every week is just very stressful on the body.

[quote]Caltene wrote:

[quote]StormTheBeach wrote:

[quote]Caltene wrote:
I don’t like Westside. A lot of gear and a lot of steroids, that’s about it. They don’t REALLY accomplish anything. What’s the point if you have to use all that junk? Natural, raw lifting will always be best in my book.[/quote]

I train Westside and don’t use multiply (yet) or steroids (yet) and make very good progress from year to year. Maybe you should read up on it so that you get better idea of what you are talking about… or any idea would be a welcomed improvement.[/quote]

I’m talking about the actual Westside lifters. You can’t call yourself “Westside” just because you read some articles and don’t even train there. Nice try though.:)[/quote]

Cool man. How long have you been there? Since I can’t say that I train using Westside’s principles because I don’t train there (and I wasn’t pretending I was. I guess passing the cert. and having an open invitation from Louie to come back and train any time I want to doesn’t mean much to someone of your intellect and phyical calibur) You must have been training there for most of your natural life to be able to have such an opinion.

[quote]StormTheBeach wrote:
I dont think the advances in gear or even the drugs have anything to do with it. I think there is not a whole lot of emphasis on deadlift training (like the different waves for squats and bench) because of a couple of reasons:

  1. Deadlifts are more stressful so they can’t be trained as often as the other two

  2. At a meet, in a ton of gear, by the time the deadlift rolls around, your are basically just trying to survive. Very few people on this site, let alone this planet, have known the kind of stress a 1,000lb+ squat puts on your body. Add that up with a shirt that allows you to bench press 200+ more pounds than you can without it and its safe to say that you have accumulated some stress. The deadlift numbers are lower because they are fucking exhausted.

With that said, I think the average deadlift for the top 5 guys there is something like 840. That’s still a pretty good deadlift, i guess.[/quote]

I agree deadlifts are stressful but I think squats are as stressful if not more. That may depend on the individual lifter, some are built more to squat vs deadlift and vice versa.

Regarding the deadlift being the last lift then based on that logic if the squat or bench were made the last lift those numbers would not be going up then because the lifter would be to exhausted.

[quote]cubuff2028 wrote:
Westside:
a)created an entity with a great culture that brings in the top powerlifters. They train and compete as a TEAM.

b)employs solid fundamentals with a hint of smart innovation. They constantly look to fine tune their methods.

You don’t have to be “revolutionary” to be the best.

[/quote]

I completely agree they are a great team. There have been other gyms or areas in the past who have done this same thing. I think Louie has done it the best though over a long period of time. Right now they are the best team because of the atmosphere and coaching and using solid training principles that are adjusted to each lifter to address the weaknesses each has, which is what any system should do. Where I think it becomes more difficult is as the lifter progresses then for many good coaching becomes key.

5x5 and 3x3 are good systems but can only take you so far if the lifter doesn’t start addressing the weaknesses that will crop up. For some it also causes overtraining very quickly.

[quote]michael_xyz wrote:

[quote]rabell59 wrote:

[quote]ThermalWarrior wrote:
(No more highlight when the deadlift record when last year by a guy wearing shorts and vest). [/quote]I think the other big benefit for WSB lifters is having Louie there to watch and coach. That is irreplaceable. I believe most of the lifters there were already elite or well on their way. They had a great base and then the coach made the adjustments necessary to take them to the next level.

So what I have wondered is if WS is really that much of a total revolution or more of an improvement. The reason I question this is because the lifts have gone up as the technology (suits, briefs, shorts) has improved. So it is really all because of the training or much of it from the technology?[/quote]
I “train Westside” but even I think that these lifters could be doing something else and still get just as strong. A lot of it would be atmosphere and having Louie there.

But anyway. I think there’s an AJ Roberts video where he talks about them deciding to deadlift every week like Finnish or Norwegian lifters also using Westside. They saw improvements but it’s hard on your body. I think that’s really it; doing max deadlifts every week is just very stressful on the body. [/quote]

Thanks for the response. It sounds like what I have been thinking. Good system with some great innovative ideas. Will work if you follow and understand it and adjust it to whatever your weakness is.

Ragarding deadlifts I agree for many it is very taxing. I deadlift once per week and have never found it to be as taxing as squats. Not sure why but just a comfortable lift that I love and do well in. Squats, for me, are absolutely exhausting.