T Nation

Westside ME For Strength?


Are max effort exercises for developing strength, or are they for finding out weaknesses?

In the periodization bible part 2 Dave Tate says that max effort exerises are for developing strength, but some lifters tell me that MEs are really for finding one's weaknesses instead of for developing strength.

If accessory and supplemental lifts are supposed to help bring up the max effort lifts, why are they trained using the repetition method?- which is for hypertrophy according to one of Dave Tate's articles.

The article says one thing, but sometimes people say another thing, no wonder Westside is confusing to some of us.

Can someone help clarify things for me?


LOL well then now you have confused me cause I never thought of it this way. I think for beginners/intermediate it's more for developing strength and then for the advanced trainees its to find out their weakness then wor on a specific exercise to bring it up. And your supplemental exercise is supposed to be a heavier one that emphasizes lets say the triceps (for ME bench day) and then if you do an accessory it's supposed to be used with the repitition method. I always wondered though is it beneficial to do heavy rows...like a 3x3 on rows??

Oh and on elitefts. theres an article about Accessory and Supplemental and it basically clarifies what its all about, you should go over to the site and check it out, sorry that I don't have the link but it's definaetly there.

dl- wessstsiiiiide.


I am pretty sure the ME exercises are mostly for learning how to strain properly under heavy weights. The supplemental lifts are used to address weaknesses and maybe for pre or re-hab. One thought as to why those are not trained as true ME and are done using the RE method is to minimize CNS fatigue.

Just some thoughts.

Pat Battaglia

P.S. In my opinion "westside" shouldn't be confusing, it should be seen as an innovative and progressive system based on a simple template in order to achieve a desireable result. This is why I feel everyone from powerlifters to football players to track athletes benefit from "variations" of "westside".


Thanks for the replies. I have read a lot of the articles by Tate and Simmons, but I still am not getting it.

I have tried the routine in the past, but I didn't get stronger, so I need to understand things correctly before trying this again. Thanks.


The answer to your question is YES

Max effort does both. the best way to build strength is with high weight low reps. So how much higher weight and lower rep is there than one of the most you can do.
When you hit the weight you can not move, that is where you stop training for strength (as much) and start learning your weakness. Where did you fail on that last rep.

In the past I have been guilty of hitting failure and just surmising that I need to improve that lift without analysising it. I think this is what most people do. But, if you analysis it you can find that your tris gave out toward the top or your lower back is weak. Then you can hit not only the exercise but also that weak area, thus improving your lift faster than if you just performed the lift everyday.

That said you are probably right about elite lifters. I'm not one and don't know any so this is my thought not experience. These guys have a pretty good idea what they can lift on any day and how quickly they can expect to improve. Plus it would be incredibly hard on their bodies after years and years of max effort.

I'm going to assume that you, like me, are not an elite lifter. So in the short term I would say, hit those max lifts and use them as training and learning opportunities.