Westside Method – Overloading Partials?

I just ran my first DIY version of westside to try and bring my big 3 numbers up.

So kept to ME U/L DE U/L 4 days a week but done all the lifts/reps/sets weaknesses / exercise selection my self.

I am 38, ectomorph, 6’ 2, 200lbs about 12% body fat and natural So Not powerlifting genetics (not using excuses, just giving personal info).

Start of 6 weeks I done 92.5kg / 208lbs BP, 120kg / 270lbs SQ, 160kg / 360lbs DL.

I was really hoping for 100kg / 225lbs BP, 140kg / 315lbs SQ, 180kg / 405lbs DL at the end of 6 weeks.

These are actually not lifetime PR’s but that’s what I got at that point. I know these numbers are low, and there is a case for more linear progression to be had, but I like programming and I like the science of weight lifting so I like to experiment and expand my knowledge by testing on myself.

So all of that out of the way…………. I bottled it when it came to testing my maxes at the end of the 6 weeks.

I am disappointed because all through I was gaining good strength. Pin press went from 70kg / 157lbs for 3x3 to 77.5kg / 174 lbs 3x3.

I inclined pin pressed 80kg / 180lbs x 1 so I was sure I was going to flat bench 100kg / 225lbs with a stretch reflex in the mix.

I Anderson squatted 120kg / 270lbs x 1 3 weeks in, which was my 1RM on the squat when testing my maxes pre programme. I zercher squatted (from parallel) 110kg / 247.5 lbs for 1x3 last week, I read zercher is 80% of back squat so surely I was going to get 140kg / 315 on the back squat.

Deadlift was feeling very strong, I was rack pulling below the knee 220kg / 495lbs so surely 180kg / 405lbs DL was on the cards.

Today I tested my BP and SQ, and I went through the motions on the BP, 40, 50, 60, 70, 80, 90kg / 202lbs absolutely no problem at all. Went to test the 100 / 225 and for some reason I decided against asking for a spotter and went and set up in the squat rack (loads of energy tidying up some lazy a-hole’s rack pull and then setting up 100 / 225).

Big mistake – un racking out of the big metal j-hooks in the squat rack takes so much energy and you lose your poise and mind and needless to say I racked the 100 / 225 on the pins. Gutted. So now what do you do? So I went over to the free bench and done 90kg / 202.5lbs for 2 – pathetic. I done 95kg / 213lbs on the decline for 5 just last week. Obviously my mind was shot to bits at that point.

Then moved onto the squat and managed 130kg / 292.5lbs for 1, and failed a 135kg / 300 lbs, confidence I suspect.

DL is on Sunday and will have another crack at the bench.

I’m obviously an over thinker, and should know not to make snap decisions on the day, and should have just treated it like a normal session.

I think where I failed is I didn’t overload the weights during the weeks. As in, I have never felt 100kg / 225 in my hands. I did do some high pin squatting as preached by Coach Thibs. And squatted 180kg / 405lbs without too much trouble Anderson style with the pins set at elbow height. Also got 160kg Anderson squat with pins one below – but only started doing this in week 5 and 6.

How important is overloading, to train your CNS to handle to big weights? And what are the best ways of doing it?

I guess with BP you do board presses? Or can use bumper Oly plates if you don’t have someone to hold a board.

DL I was thinking descending rack pulls? Pull 220kg / 500lbs at the knee, then drop a pin, work at that weight, once you got it, drop a pin? Might end up with some good over compensation.

This ‘failure’ today just makes my resolve even stronger to hit the next 6 week cycle even harder and attack my weaknesses with more precision. It has had no detrimental effect on me – maybe I’m an idiot!

And please please know that I am not using being tall skinny / ectomorph as an excuse I am not that guy, can’t stand that attitude.

BUT lol……. Is the west side method good for ectomorphs because I think we detrain VERY easily. So by not doing the big 3 for at least 6 weeks or whatever, when you go to do them you are detrained.

I know the idea is that if say your incline or whatever goes up, then your flat will, but in my experience (and I would love others’ input on this) I don’t experience loads of carry over cross exercise. If I get good at rack pulls, I get good at rack pulls. I don’t start seeing massive increases in my rows for example.

Maybe Bulgarian is better for me, hammering at one exercises every day.

Also I ‘only’ took 2 days rest before testing these lifts. I see the pro’s take 7 days off……. I honestly feel I would have done better with only 1 day off. Again maybe all in the head.

5/3/1 would be much better fit, loads of heavy templates now also. Run of madcow 5x5 something to consider as well


6 weeks is not a long time to add 15 pounds(bench) or 45 pounds (squat/dead)to your lifts.

+5 on your bench, and MAYBE 10 pounds on squat/dead is more realistic.

An unsuccesful training cycle just gives you exercises to cross off the list. If incline bench and rack pulls don’t carry over, try close grip bench and defecit deadlifts.

A big part of Westside is the Repetition Method. High reps and lots of work on small muscles, with Single Joint or “body builder” exercises. Dumbbell Tricep Exercises, Rows, Pulldowns, delt raises, Tricep Pushdowns, shrugs. Build yourself up, so you’re no longer an Ectomorph. A strong back carries over to everything.


Overloading…use a slingshot on the bench…block pulls on deadlifts…above parallel squats to a box.

Anything else is a waste of time. Emulate the lifts as close to the actual lift as possible.

Stop testing your max so often. 6 weeks is not long enough to build a base. Based on the weight you’re moving, you need to build a bigger base. Testing does not build.

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There’s some things beginners need to do differently than advance lifters.

First off, it’s best for beginners to chose ME lifts very similar to the competition lifts. Beginners need the practice. Like if your quads are your weak point, then pick high bar narrow stance squats. Still go to PL depth and use your PL form. I stick with the box b/c it doesn’t beat up my joints so much when going heavy, but losing it has helped raw lifters so you might wanna try both. I wouldn’t even use much accommodating resistance for ME work.

You should be working up to 3-5RM maxes instead of 1RM’s. As Osu said, you need to build your base and that’s done with volume.

FlatsFarmer brings up a very good point. Building work capacity is extremely important in this type of training. A good way to start is by doing an extended warm up before your main lifts DE and ME day. This could be some hypers or chest flies or push downs. Something that toes the line between warm up and work set and then after a few weeks actual work sets.

Also doing ‘mini-sessions’ that are 15 minutes to 30 minutes absolute max. This could be conditioning oriented, building up a weak muscle group, or re/pre-hab work. Start with one a week. Over many months to years, you can build up to doing these almost every day.

You have to train the stretch reflex for the squat somehow especially if you’re a raw squatter in my opinion. This can be done with either free squats or plyometrics in my experience.

To directly answer your question about overloads, they’re not a must have but may be more optimal for an individual in particular situations. Yes, I know that’s a bit of a non-answer answer but it’s the truth. The key is to use them sparingly so you don’t burn yourself out or overtax your joints. My go to’s are squats with chains, block pulls, and 3-board bench press. But those might not be the best for you. Just make good training log and see how things work out.

Check this thread out. It’s pure gold:

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The guy who started this thread, stormthebeach AKA Mike Hedlesky, went to IPF raw worlds while doing Westside.

About overloads, if you are going to compete in gear then overloads (accommodating resistance and partials) are more specific to how you will compete because of the different strength curve. If you will compete raw then they still have their use, but you need bottom end strength more than anything and handling loads above your 1rm will cause a lot of fatigue.

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Mike Hedlesky not only went to the IPF raw world’s but won 1st place for deadlift over Mike Tuchscherer.

Something else I thought of is that you might not want to go full Westside yet.

You could try Joe Defranco’s Westside for Skinny Bastards. There isn’t a second lower body day only because it’s assumed the person running it is doing other work for athletics so I would add a second leg day doing CAT squats of your comp squat. Base the volume off of Prilepin’s table sticking with the 70-85% range.

There’s more structure to it, but still offers a lot of flexibility and individualization compared to many other programs.

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