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Westside for Skinny Bastards Help


Hey...In about 3-4 weeks i am going to start this program. I am giving myself a few weeks to sort out exercises and read up on the program so i am ready to go when i want to. Now, just want to ask anyone who has done this some Q's as it looks like a more advanced program than what i have attempted before.

Were there any things that were unexpected that you came across that was difficult at all??? For instance, when doing hte max effort, how many sets does one do to get up to that max effort....if i was to do bench for example, i know my max effort for 5 reps is around 200ish so what would be my typical routine for that exercise...5-6 sets roughly, starting at about 100 and go up in 20lbs?? or something different??

thanks for any feedback given...


Hey Jimmy,

I just started this program on Monday. My max bench was 185*4.
My path to that was
Took 2-3 minute break
Took 2-3 minute break

Next week I plan on replacing just the bar with 25s on each side.

This is an unbelievable program that requires a lot of focus and stamina. Keeping hydrated is the most important part.


Hey Jimmy,

Generaly with the Max output days I keep going up in weight as long as i can get 5 reps. As soon as I hit 3, i stop at that weight. The first week you end up doing a fiew extra sets untill you figure out what your max is. A typical Barbell flat bend usualy looks like (for me)

95x10 (warmup)
200x3 (final set)

Hope that helps,



From Dave Tate's Eight Keys article:

"So how many sets and reps should I do for this max effort movement?

Make sure to only do one max effort movement per session. The sets are dependent on how strong you are and how you work up. If you only bench 185 pounds, it wouldn't be wise to start with 135, then jump to 155 for a set and then finish with 185. There's very little volume completed this way. It's better to use a set rep scheme as follows:

2 Board Press (Max 185)

45 pounds for 3 sets of 5 reps

70 for 3 reps

95 for 3 reps

115 for 1 rep

135 for 1 rep

155 for 1 rep

175 for 1 rep

190 for 1 rep

The last one should be an all-out effort. If not, keep working up. There's nothing wrong with missing a weight on the movement. As you can see, the volume is much higher and the work load more productive to strength gains.


I have been training westside style for about a year and what I do is once I get to a certain point (usually 135 for bench) I start adding 10%+/- of my max bench every set until I reach my max effort bench for the day. That is the method that Louie Simmons recommends. I tend to err on the high side when increasing my weights.

My max raw bench is 325lbs., so I will warm up with barx 30, 95x10, 135x5 and then add 40 lbs per set until I reach my goal.

Also in terms of time bettween sets, take as much time as you need to on max effort work. I would not limit myself to 2 or 3 or 5 min. bettween sets. Just make sure you feel well rested before you put in another set, especially at the high end. I will rest up to 10 min bettween sets on ME day. Then blast through your assistance and supplemental work. It may take 30 min more to do your ME days, but when your bench goes up 100lbs in a year like mine did and its well worth it. You can also change up your ME wave.

Remember any westside program is all about personalizing it for yourself. Just experiment with differnet loading patterns, rest times, etc. and keep a log of your lift. It took me about 6 months to get mine system fine tuned and I'm still always changing it. Westside systems are a very dynamic way to train, so you need to really experiment with stuff to see what works for you. Thats what makes them such great training systems. I started with DeFranco's westside for skinny bastards and got tremendous gain from it. Good Luck!


Here are some other ways to do ME work by Jim Wendler:
Old school method:

1x5 @ 50%
1x3 @ 60%
1x2 @ 70%
1x1 @ 80%
1x1 @ 90%
1x1 @ 95%
1x1 @ 100%


This is a three week cycle and uses the same exercise for all three weeks. This is great for all lifters, from intermediate to advanced. For an intermediate lifter, it allows them to get used to an exercise and the form. For an advanced lifter, it allows for a lower intensity for two weeks which gives their bodies time to recover. The percents listed below are estimates for an advanced lifter. An intermediate lifter may be able to use +2.5% on the last set.

Week I
1x5 @ 50%
1x3 @ 60%
1x2 @ 70%
1x1 @ 80%
1x5 @ 82.5%
Week II
1x5 @ 50%
1x3 @ 60%
1x2 @ 70%
1x1 @ 80%
1x1 @ 85%
1x3 @ 90%
Week III
1x5 @ 50%
1x3 @ 60%
1x2 @ 70%
1x1 @ 80%
1x1 @ 90%
1x1 @ 95%
1x1 @ 100%

2 Week Method
Week I
1x5 @ 50%
1x3 @ 60%
1x2 @ 70%
1x1 @ 80%
1x1 @ 85%
1x1 @ 90%
1x1 @ 92.5%
Week II
1x5 @ 50%
1x3 @ 60%
1x2 @ 70%
1x1 @ 80%
1x1 @ 90%
1x1 @ 95%
1x1 @ 100%

You will notice that the first week is done up to 92.5% of your 1RM. You can do this last set, cut it out, or do another set at 90%. The point of this workout is to still handle heavy weight but not mentally and physically fry yourself. Remember that when choosing your attempts.

These are just a few.


guys, thank you so much for that...after reading over the program again, it definately makes more sense for me to really take my time and understand what weight and type of lift to do. I think i may even begin this a little earlier that anticipated as im getting excited. I have gone a bit stale in the OSC program, not that its bad, its great, just feel like a tune up....

I will keep a log (i always do :wink: and let you guys know what happens and i will also take some pics too :wink:





Joe Kenn also wrote an article on his setup for max effort work for his football players out at Arizona State. It is along the same lines as what has been written by Wendler, but it may be worth checking out. He also gives the different percents that the max effort exercises work at compared to the bench and squat. I really like using his percents because it gives you an idea of how to go about the max effort work. Remember, though, that the percents are guidlines and that you may need to adjust it depending on how you feel.


cheers mate, was joe kenn serious :wink: (jo-king) LOL...sorry, that was lame...

is his article here on T-Nation???




im keen to add another leg day to the program, can anyone let me know if they did this and what they added or would recommend...my goal is to add some strength and size (pretty much what everyone else wants i guess) for footy.

ill be more specific, i guess im thinking more hamstring and quad type stuff as well as say sled dragging (which i must acquire). id maybe like to put in some sprints in to. so basically any suggestions and ideas would be greatly appreciated thanks.


I believe that Defranco said that for a second leg day he would use 1 - Unilateral Leg Ex. (3-4x8-12) 2- Posterier Chain Ex 3- Post Chain Ex 4- Abs


cheers buckeye

so ex 2 and 3 are PC...so i could do leg curls, GM's...4 x 8-12 set/rep???

It wouldnt hurt to add in some calf work too hey??


I've been using WS4SB for about a month now, and it has worked great. I wouldn't add the second leg day at first until you see how you recover.

About 5-6 sets on the bench works for me, but as I get closer to my 5RM I only make 10 lb jumps, sometimes what feels like a max isn't.

I'm into serious grip training, so I work on my forearms and grip more than once a week; I would try to do my grip training separately from the leg workout.

If I do deadlifts on ME day, it takes me about 12 sets to get a max, but the deadlift is my best lift (It still sucks by T-Nation standards).

I needed to add triceps work as extra workouts because my triceps can handle way more work than 3 or 4 sets of 10. I can usually do 8-9 sets of 6-8 reps with 80-90% of my 1RM 2 or 3 times a week. Just goes to show that some things will need to be radically different than the original template.

Try it out exactly as prescribed for just one week and you will know what you need to change. Good luck.

BTW, I will be trying part 2 starting Monday. It looks like fun.


On what TopHeavy wrote:

Thanks TH. After reading others replies and looking over the program more, it certainly is tapered to the individual need. I will give it a go as said for the first (or intro) week so then i can start it proper knowing what i want and need to do. FWIW, i will be making sure i hit the big 3, squat, dead and bench (both DB and bar at most angles). Cheers for the help. I will be starting this in a week.


You're welcome. I found the exact second leg day template on Defrancos' website:

Here?s a sample Repetition Lower Body template:

NOTE: Choose exercises from the list that you DIDN?T perform on your 1st lower body day.
A. Unilateral Movement - Perform 3 sets of 15 reps each leg
*Choose from the following list of exercises:
Single leg squats, back leg elevated
Barbell step-ups with knee lift
Barbell reverse lunges
Barbell reverse lunges, front foot elevated
Barbell reverse lunges, front foot elevated (with knee lift)
Low-pulley split squats, front foot elevated
Walking lunges
?Speed-skater? squats (1 and a half rep single leg squats)
Barbell step-ups

B. Posterior Chain / Hamstring movement ? Perform 3-4 sets of 10-15 reps for TWO of the following exercises:
Glute-ham raises
Reverse hyperextensions
Seated or standing good mornings
Leg curls
Romanian deadlifts
Stability ball hamstring lifts

C. Weak Point Training ? Perform 1 exercise for 3-5 sets of a lagging body part
(Common areas include ? upper back, external rotators, abs, grip training, etc.)
Joe D.

Once again good luck with your lifting. This plan worked great for me, but my lifting buddy got even better results. He can now do a 5RM on the bench with what used to be his 1RM only a month ago.


cheers again mate, just what i was looking for...

with the weak point exercise, how many reps for each set?


WSFSB II has a good template for incorporating sprints into the programme.


I'm mostly guessing, but probably higher reps than the other days. For me at least, trying to bring up a lagging muscle with low reps doesn't work as well; it is usually lagging because I don't use it right.

Of course, you could always pyramid down in weight and up the reps on each set, this way you are hitting your weak point from every angle. I've found that pyramids also quickly show you your weaknesses with a certain load/rep scheme. As soon as you find the load and rep range you are worst at, use those exact parameters on this day.

Just as a basic guideline, try for 50 to 75% more reps than what you typically use for that muscle. For example, for my traps I use 8-12 reps on average (I don't go less than 5, even if I am doing hang cleans; I hit my traps heavy when I deadlift or do Farmer's walks for short distances). I go for 15-20 reps per set, and I stop about 4 reps short of failure.
By doing more reps, you will accomplish two things: First, you will learn to do whatever movement you are doing with perfect form. Second, you will help with recovery by bringing more blood into that muscle.

Hope this helps. Later.


cheers all...im just about to go and start my 'trial' week for the WSFSB so i can suss out the program for when i start it proper next week. I will keep you guys informed of my progress, again, cheers.