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Westside methods and squat style suitability

Hey gang. This goes out to all those who are especially familiar with westside training methods. I really want to drive up my squat weights and was considering trying out some westside methods. I know that the westside guys are very wide squatters; consequently, they place a lot of emphasis on strengthening the posterior chain. However, I have a narrower, olympic-style squat stance that emphasizes the quads. Hence, my question: if I want to drive up my squat while still employing a fairly narrow stance, should I utilize the exercises that westsiders do, or, since these exercises are predominantly for the posterior chain, should I switch them up? Specifically, I’m wondering about box squats, good mornings, reverse hypers, glute-ham raises, and pull-throughs. Thanks!

One of he main reasons that they use a wide stance is to promote the hamstrings, using them for power not the quads. There are a couple of great squat articles by Dave Tate called squat 900 pounds and Squatting from head to toe. Even if you don’t do box squats do some wide sqauts now and then and feel the difference. You could also check out the 9 week basic program at elitefitnesssystems.com.

A narrow stance puts a great deal of emphasis on the quads, so I don’t really see how strengthening the posterior chain would be very beneficial in your case.

If you’re squatting for strength, switch over to a wider stance. If you’re squatting for lean mass gain, switch over to a wider stance. If you ONLY want to be strong on a narrow stance and want to avoid hypertrophy then keep doing what you’re doing. The only difference is that your quads are involved more than your hams. My advice, train your weakest link.

A strong posterior chain is vital to a big squat especially with a narrow stance. A narrow stance necessitates that forward trunk flexion is greater than a wide stance, so you must be able to flex the back to return to an upright position. This is one of the primary reasons that WSB does GM’s. GM cause you to learn how to work your way out of significant forward flexion. Hence the term “chaos training” - if the bar falls out of your groove, then you better know how to fix the problem. GM’s are a great way to do this.

If you want to squat with the olympic style squat (and there are still a ton of good reasons to do so), then I would do most of your actual squatting (dynamic days and some max effort work) with the narrower stance. Most of your assistance work could be a variety of posterior chain stuff with a heavy emphasis on good mornings. Honestly, I cannot see any other lift that would benefit a narrow/medium stance more than a GM. All the other posterior chain stuff - glute ham raise, reverse hypers, etc are great assistance work and will help bump up anybody's squat.

I personally think the Westside assistance exercise are importnat regardless of your stance. Strong Hams,low back, and glutes, aren’t going to doing anything but back you a better squatter. If you don’t want to squat with a wide stance I still think you should do box squats, GM’s, reverse hypers, glute-ham, and pull-throughs.

You can box squat with a narrow stance and still work the posterior chain so long as you push your butt back not down. Good mornings with a narrow stance of course still work the posterior chain also…

Let me restate my former post in a different way:

I don't see the need to do 35 posterior chain exercises when squatting with a narrow stance. Some work is beneficial, and is obviously needed.

Guys – thanks for all the helpful replies. The reasons that I’m committed to maintaining a narrow(ish - it’s still wider than shoulder width) stance are three: 1)I see it having more real-world carryover than a wide-stance squat, and I’m big on functional strength; 2)I’m hoping in the not-too-distant future to get into some olympic weightlifting, and a narrow stance will definitely have more carryover to that; and 3)I’m trying to emphasize my quads, as they’re one of my weaker bodyparts. But I agree with all of you that some posterior chain work is still essential. I’ll probably focus on glute ham raises and good mornings, and I’ll still be deadlifting every week. Thanks again!

I understand your reasoning for squatting with a narrow stance. However, the wider stance does have more carryover than a narrow one. The reason is that it involves the posterior chain more. The quads don’t exactly carryover to most sports or in daily activities.

if your squatting close (using your quads_ stance, do some quad assistance. it makes sense to emphasize them the most because they ARE the limmitting factor in that type of squat.

Strong quads are absolutely vital to performing well in olympic lifting. Obviously, no one should neglect proper posterior chain development for the intial pull(s) of the olympic lifts, but you need incredibly strong quads to get out of a rock bottom front or overhead squat. So a wide stance may benefit your ability to squat more in a powerlifting contest, but may not benefit olympic lifting.

Now given the you stated your interest into getting into Olympic lifting, you will probably want to focus development of not only your back Squat (Oly style), but equally Front and Overhead (from a Drop Snatch). Let me know if you need any help with those lifts. In faith, Coach Davies

What you may want to try is mixing in both styles. On Dynamic day, change your stance every set, wide, middle, narrow. Then on ME day you can use narrow stance box squat, narrow low box squat, front squat, overhead squat, etc…I would still do the hypers and glute-ham, but you could also do some more quad exercises as assistance lifts. Heavy step-ups, lunges, single leg squats, and so on. Westside is all about customizing the program to your needs, sure most people that do it are powerlifters, but westsides methods and ideas, are taken mostly from Russian Olympic Lifting.