T Nation

westside balance

question for the westside gurus…

currently my lower body max effort PRs are increasing at every workout, without fail.

parallel box squat heading towards 650
hit 500 today on the zercher
sumo deads of mats 600+

but my bench is lagging behind… alot.
stuck at around 350…

would you guys ever consider ‘backing’ off on the lower body work to bring up the bench? ie perhaps consolidating my lower body ME work… going for PRs at every second wo, rather than going for them every time, or something similar?

or would you just continue to hammer away at the lower bodyt and take as many PRs as possible? and let the body find its own balance?

also… do westside ever do high rep work on ME squat day, ala DB work on ME bench day???


I’d say to take keep setting the PR’s on Leg days but take a closer look at the causes of your bench stall. Could be your form isn’t up to par and causing the stall (speed, elbows tucked, width of grip)? Is your speed day working for you gaining you the ability to explode off the bottom of your bench? Are there differences in your mentality between upper and lower days (ie. intensity, focus, etc) Do you know what your weak points are for you bench and are you working to improve them or are you just sticking with exercises you like? My guess is your bench issue is either mental or technical but not physical. Take a strong look at what your doing and how your thinking on upper ME day and go from there. Hope this helps…

IF your getting those kinds of results on your sq and dl then for goodness-sakes dont change a damn thing…you just have to find what works for you in the bench…for me its doing board presses and foam presses in my shirt on max effort day and speed wokr and rack lockouts on dyanmic day…but for you it may be something diffirent start looking at what people do for there bench and TRY SOME DIFFIRENT THINGS…bm

YOuve made some very good progress. Keep doing what youve been doing for lower body. You might have to try a bunch of things on upper body days to find what works for you. The bench has been the struggle for me as well.

Man, I feel your pain, I’m stuck at 335 for bench but my squat is going up like crazy. I guess you just find what works for you. I think I lack lat strength and form right now. My triceps are pretty strong, so I guess just figure out where your weakness is and bring it up. Good luck!

That’s one of the things that I think is great about a system like Westside. It forces you to really pay attention to your body and its performance and look for your own answers…

thanks for the responses guys.

i try to attack all aspects of my bench, i rotate close grip inclines, floor presses, 3,4,5 board presses and bottom position rack presses for my ME and assistance work.

im actually stronger in the rack starting @ the bottom than i am on the reg bench…

should i perhaps drop that movement, in favour of more floor/board presses?

my floor and board presses suck, even off a 5 board i cant do what i can with a reg bench

i guess i answered my own question


I have the same problem. My board presses and pin presses are very close to my regular bench. This because I need to improve my triceps strength. I’d imagine that triceps are also your weak length as well…

Like me, just keep hammering away at those board presses, floor presses, and close grip benches…


Not knowing how you structure your workouts, I would advise you to pick the two compound movements you suck the most at and spend a good 8-12 weeks focusing on them by rotating them every 2-3 weeks. I do this all the time with 3 and 4 boards and it works for me. I usually start with the lower board.

I make this comment b/c the list of accesory work you provided made my head spin. You need to pick a couple accesory movements and hammer them until they are at acceptable levels. The challenge becomes introducing enough variety that you don’t stall, but not so much that you lose focus.

Yes, you answered your own question…

Read Dave Tate’s article Bench Press 600lbs. I cannot explain with words how helpful it has been for me. http://t-mag.com/html/body_115b600.html. My bench press was stuck at 315 for 3 months. I implemented some of Dave’s suggestions/guidelines into my bench procedure and after 3 weeks I was flirting with the 400 club. Good luck!

davidan…i think apwsearch just gave some great advice…i have found this to be true in the last year…i used to rotate millions of exersices but have found that only 4 or so of them work for me at all…for the bench it is 1-2-3 board press in my shirt, foam press, decline i do this on my raw day, and 4-5 inch rack lock outs…if your triceps are your weak link do these 4-5 inch rack lock outs just the last few inches of your bench you can handle heavy weight and pause them on the pin and hold them at top for a few seconds it will really help you to learn to handle extra loads…also it may be aok idea to drop the speed work for maybe 5-6 weeks and work on bringing up your raw bench strength…these short raw cycles are working for a lot of big benchers i know…bm

BM: how would you structure the DE days then?

drop the speed work and replace with a second assistance ex in the 80% range or so?

thanks all for the help btw

what we have been doing and this is just for a short period way out from a meet when the 8-10 week mark hit we will go back to normal speed work…but what we are doing is doing declines on dyamic day with a sligth decline it allows us to hit the bar lower on our upper belly wich helps are shirt bench…we go up 5-10 pounds each week for 5 weeks through aout 8 sets…so if you bench 345 a good cycle of 5 weeks would look like this…

week 1 -275x3
wwek 2- 280x3
week 3 - 290 x3
week 4- 300x3
week 5 - 315x3

the after this hit up some heavy sets of 3 on 4 inch rack lock outs or 4-5 borad press…bm

thanks BM

started this week using the floor press with your progression

will report results in 6 weeks time!