T Nation

Westside for Skinny Bastards or Something Else?


Hello all. I had a quick question. I have been leaning out for a few months and am finally to a point where I’m happy and ready to stark aiming to bulk up, starting in August. I was just wondering if anyone had had good mass results running Westside for skinny bastards III? I like the program layout in that I feel I can keep some of my athleticism, but at the same time I don’t like separating the squat and deadlift and not doing them both consistently. Overall I just want to get bigger, stronger and flat out look more powerful and strong. So what is are some good programs for adding mass fast? and by fast I do not mean magically over a few weeks, I mean realistically over some months of hard work AND EATING TO GAIN? Is this one the best or do you guys have other programs to recommend for fast strength and mass gains? Thanks in advance to everyone. (If anyone has results from programs they have done and would like to share I would love to see!)


I liked WS4SB while I ran it. Joe DeFranco knows what he’s doing, and the program works.

I don’t quite understand your concern with the squatting and deadlifting. Is your goal to gain mass, or is it to squat and deadlift frequently? If it’s the latter, pick a program that allows you to practice the lifts more until you feel proficient in them and then move on. If you are already proficient in the movements, I think you’ll be fine. I deadlift once every 2 months, and I’ve managed a 650 pull at 200lbs that way.

The various 5/3/1 programs are also great for the goals you have.


Not that it matters, but I’m not a fan of Defranco’s stuff or WS4SB. But I’m a big believer in the importance of overhead work and that program leaves a huge gap there. Of course you’d get results on it, you will on most programs if you run them right as long as they’re not completely ridiculous. But he talks about how bad overhead work is for shoulders, which is patent bs. Benching is way worse on the shoulders. There are plenty of balanced programs that include jumps, throws and/or explosive lifts. You don’t need a different main exercise every couple weeks. Your squat isn’t going to improve if you don’t do it very often. Same with the deadlift. The WS type system isn’t ideal for non-geared lifters. Will WS4SB allow you to gain muscle, sure. Is it optimal for long term progress, no.


Why is overhead work so important?

You can also use ME variations that are very specific to a raw lift.

A sample max effort lower body exercise rotation for raw lifters.
Week 1 - front squat
Week 2 - deadlift with chains
Week 3 - box squat
Week 4 - paused squat

If you got stronger in those, your lifts would go up!! Also I don’t recal OP saying he wants to be a powerlifter… So the need to focus on squat and deadlift specifically is not very high.

Also to OP joe defranco literally trains world class athletes, he knows what we he is doing. Not saying you 100% have to train this way, but you could do ALOT worse than following his methods.


that is a very debatable point, depending on a number of factors


I saw the best increases in my deadlift by only deadlifting once every 2 months. And even then, it was for 1 big rest pause set, rather than sets upon sets.

Some folks really need to constantly practice the lifts to maintain proficiency in them, and so if they get away from those lifts they’ll not be able to lift as much weight at first, but I find that practicing a lift and making a lift stronger are two different concepts. Sometimes one can combine them, but they don’t need to exist at the same time.

If the guys goal is to squat and deadlift the most weight possible and he doesn’t have great proficiency in the lifts, he should probably practice them, but it looked like all he cared about was getting bigger.


Yes the deadlift can be improved without deadlifting much, the squat, not so much (the raw squat at least). Overhead work is important because it can keep your shoulders healthy and keep a balance in your strength. All the old time strong guys did tons of overhead work, as to the majority of the raw guys now. Shoulder problems started becoming more common when people ditched the overhead work and started benching a ton. Rotator injuries were practically unheard of until 25-30 years ago or so.


Actually ,in coaches circles this is a subject of debate. ( Nothing against Defranco on my end, Bringing this up has nothing to do of the validity of his coaching ability or programming)

The bases of the debate stems from the fact that its easy to coach world class talent and get results.This actually would make a good debate if someone wanted to start a thread.


Building mass is largely a matter of including enough volume and as you mentioned already, eating like a carnivorous horse.

I’ve run WSB inspired programs, not WSSB but I was and am able to gain mass whenever I program for it. I work up to triples and 5’s. I think Defranco has you work up to 5’s. Then you do some work for volume. Then you have more assistance work.

I have a hard time imagining how you wouldn’t get bigger/stronger while maintaining some athleticism.

As far as only training squat or deadlift any given week, you could choose a supplementary exercise that’s a variant of the opposite movement you started with. Like this:

Pause Squat up to 5RM (or if your form is still rough and you need to practice, you could work up to a technical max, that is the heaviest weight you can use before unacceptable form breakdown)

Pin Pulls from mid shin height for 5x10 @ around 50% more or less.