T Nation

Westside Basics


I don't know where the thread went, so here are the latest videos.

I don't claim to be an expert of Westside methods, but if you are someone new to powerlifting and/or S&C, this will help you sort out the basic template and understand the difference between "maximum effort" training sessions and "dynamic effort" training sessions.

Squat Rx #17: Westside Basics (Part I)

Squat Rx#17: Westside Basics (Part II)


Or how about you read the Westside for Skinny Bastard articles since it applies better to most people and athletes? Joe DeFranco has videos on his YouTube site as well. :wink:

Much of the "Westside" stuff is for those who compete in powerlifting. WS4SB applies some changes geared toward athletes and even those looking to have some performance with looks (which is what most people want).


Is it just me or is WS4SB just too advanced for new lifters? I tried it once and I burnt out in 2 weeks. It just seems that the combination of high volume work (supplemental lifts and repetition day) and max-effort is just too stressful on the CNS. It's obviously a very effective program for athletes and all, but is it really the best thing for someone with a relatively poor strength base?

Sorry if this post seemed a tad off-topic.


Give it more time. If this is your first go at a westside like template you body is probably in shock and needs a few weeks to get used to it especially if you are not used to doing max effort work. Drop the loads little and ease into it over a few weeks.

Or, you have really bad GPP and should really consider working on it.


Thats probably the real problem.


I do agree that it is for more advanced lifters (i.e. those with a minimum of one year of training). The first time I used it, I felt the same way after three weeks. I also realized I was trying to do the upper end of the volume recommended in the workouts (if it said 3-4 sets, I did 4 sets, usually of 5-6 heavy reps). When I added it all up, I was performing in excess of 20 sets per workout and felt beat up very quickly.

But if you ease into it and stick with the lower volume recommendations (2-3 sets for assistance lifts) and not add more things, your body will get used to it.


Well, how constructive... Did I say WS was for everyone? It seemed to me there was rampant confusion about what WS was and that's why I made the video. Sorry you didn't find it useful.


I never said it wasn't useful. I said Westside is best for those who compete in powerlifting. WS4SB applies to athletes and most of the general population.

For the purposes of summarizing "Westside" the videos did just fine.


By the way, I do not believe most people need to use the good morning as their max-effort lift on lower body day.

There are too many chances for injury, poor form, etc. This applies to most people, although, some who do use Westside and train with Dave Tate, Jim Wendler, Louie Simmons, etc. may still use them in their training. But they are also "elite" lifters in powerlifting.


A lot of non-elite PLers use heavy GMs in their training just fine. I set up outside of the rack for the video, but normally I'd do so inside w. the pins set appropriately - unless you are just a crazy SOB, most people are either going to dump the weight or abandon the attempt after lowering a few inches and realizing that the weight is just too much for them.

The GM gets a bad rap as an exercise that's "too dangerous" IMHO. As with anything, going too heavy, too long, or too soon and having bad form is going to get you in trouble.

Now, if you were to say that you believe that generally speaking, intermediates need more free-squatting in their PL diet, then you'd get little argument from me. But, I think that you can always follow the basic WS template and introduce more free squatting as needed - it's not set in stone.


That's the beauty of it.


Hmm, on the one hand I could take the advise of Louie Simmons, who has coached countless lifters to reach their elite and beyond, who has years of experience, research, and results.

Ooooor, I could take the advice of someone who has been lifting 10+ years and weighs a buck fifty.

Who knows more about what movements to use for developing maximal strength? hmmmmm... Yeah, your right, good morning are bad news!


Maybe you should take a look at Dave Tate's and Jim Wendler's advice concerning the use of GM's as a max-effort lift on the EliteFTS.com web site (Q&A's and articles). They've addressed it numerous times and in several articles about how it's rarely used or recommended anymore.

Don't try to use my 10+ years of lifting experience or the fact that I weigh 150lbs as a reason not to listen to what I said/advise. Nice try though!

By the way, what's the point of commenting on my stats if you have nothing to show for yourself? I have no problem with my stats. Nor should anyone else.


That's a childish way to try to get your point across evansmi. Can't we have a decent level of respect for eachother when we are talking?


Maybe I'm not reading the same things you are, because I don't remember ever seeing them recommend against them - I remember seeing something about not going balls-to-the-walls, but nothing against going heavy.

Not saying they don't exist because, to be honest, I don't pour over their articles like I did years ago, but could you give a link to the articles you're talking about?


Actually from what I've read at Elite Dave and Jim and a lot of the guys with logs have stopped doing the gm as a max effort movement because they are going well in excess of 5-600 lbs. So they have moved them to a supplemental exercise.

As far as I know they still recommend them for weaker lifters.


Oh, and those are great videos Boris. I wish they would have been around when I was first trying to figure out what this "westside" thing was...

Well done.


Question for Jim,

I read your article regarding doing things differently and the one that caught my attention was you would not do Good Mornings as your Max Effort movement. What you wrote makes perfect sense but my question is if GM's are to be used 70% of the time as your ME movement, what would you use otherwise? More squat variations? IE..Zerchers, High Box, Low Box, Powersquat etc or more DL moves??

I like the angle you take on this but am confused as to what should replace them.



Don't worry about that % thing. That means you "might drive a Del Sol," if you catch my drift.

Squat and pull to replace them.

and to clarify...that doesn't mean you can't go heavy on the GM's. It just means you don't max out.


jim i was wondering if you guys still use good mornings for max effort work or if you use at all .

Some people do, but I like doing them as an assistance exercise.


Last note: If you use good mornings for max effort work, then I'd advise you to keep the reps to 3-5. For many years I used singles and triples, and to this day I feel triples worked much better because the load was on the spine for a longer duration and the weight was lower, thus keeping the form and technique tighter.

  • Dave Tate