T Nation

Westside overrated?

Maybe overrated isn’t the right word, but am I the only one who thinks that the Westside guys seem to think that their way is the best or only way to get big & strong & everything else sucks? Obviously it works for them, but there are still lots of guys who have done huge lifts (Ed Coan & Bill Kazmaier) while not doing box squats & speed days, etc. I think it got to do with how they suggest people lift, like how they’re really vocal about what they see as ‘proper’ & ‘correct’.

Of course they think they’re right, and if you go to their gym or ask them about it, they’ll tell you as much. If you don’t like it, you’re free to go train at Eastside Barbell. Seriously, what’s your point?

have you tried it? does it work for you? they have very good marketing skills plus results to back it up. ed coan has been training basically the same way for almost 20 years. not much more new stuff he can say about his workout other than it works for me. my workout partners and i used to prepare for a meet using the traditional peaking programs. we have all made better progress using a modified westside program we came up with by trial and error. i train at gyms with many national and international caliber powerlifters, and most of them do not train using 2 dynamic and 2 max effort days. would coan have been a better lifter is he trained west side style? would voghopol (sp) have been a better lifter if he trained using cconventional methods? we’ll never know. but each of us can at least determine which works better for us individually.

Pete, I have checked out your site a few times and it is really well done, congrats. When you say modified westside, in what way? Is that info on your site. I am not a powerlifter but plan on doing some p/l training next year. I am considering doing the westside basic 9 week program, one of the hassles I have is that I travel a fair bit with my job so some of the stuff like floor press gets a bit tricky esp asking complete strangers to help also dragging a box round in the car may be a hassle, any suggestions appreciated.

I’ve tried different methods and I feel there’s is the best. I’ve had my best gains with the Westside system. You should read ALL of Loiue’s articles and attend a seminar.
I was an experienced ( app. 20 years) powerlifter that was just hitting national level in the drug free ranks. I made4 better gains in 4- 5 months Westside as opposed to training with the traditional stregnth building methods. They do sound dogmatic, but I really think they’re way ahead of everyone else. I feel the same way as a high level ART provider in a small town. People can be very resistant to new ideas. Give it a try!

I saw the world records in my Speed & Strength book (by Dale Harder) & on the PowerMag online site & Westside doesn’t have very many. The ones that they do have though are pretty amazing (like George Halbert & Chuck Vogelpohl). They think everything else sucks & won’t work, but they don’t rock every class like it seems sometimes. I haven’t trained their way because what I’m doing right now is working pretty good. I’m sort of wondering what the big deal is. Also, Louie says all athletes will be doing gpp stuff (with sleds or something) in the next few years, but my old rowing coach has been doing similar stuff (eg. an eight pushes a car 4 at a time while the other 4 jogs slowly) for the last 20 years so it’s nothing new he’s just making it sound like it is. I don’t want to sound like I’m knocking them, because again, it works for them, but as otheer lifters have shown there’s lots of other ways to do it like without glute ham raises & reverse hypers.

I give credit to Westside for acknowleding high rep, recuperation work and the use of some more esoteric moves, swiss ball, etc… I think though, we all have to find what we click to . . People tend to gravitate towards that whcich works for them . .so Westside is full of endo-mesomorphs using heavy partials and some recupe stuff . .Arnold and his crew used to do ridiculous volumes . .same Serge Nubret and his lot . .Mike mentzer and the gang went far too far the other way . .all backed by drugs and genes. IMHO, for the average man, almost everything shocks us enough to get a degree of development- where we fall short is adequate recuperation- be it rest or nutrition . .focus your reading there and seasonally change your training between bodybuilding with volume and strength training with intensity and I’ll bet you do quite well. My two cents anyhow :wink:

my take is if your weak, then they tell you you’re not doing it right, this is how you do it… BUT, if your name is ed coan or you do squat 1000 lbs, they respect you.

I don’t think it would be an exaggeration to say that Lou Simmons has developed a reputation that’s borderline prophetic. Read the article in PLUSA written about him by JM Blakely, this month’s issue. I think that’s an accurate illustration of how people feel about Louie. But, like others have said, it’s because of the awesome results and the fact that Simmons really cares about lifters. I trained with a guy who talked to him on the phone occassionally and got free training advice from him. This is a guy who gets paid thousands of dollars for consulting football teams (including the one at my college), but will talk shop with a perfect stranger that class the club to order something. I think that’s great.

As far as doing things the “right” or “wrong” way and everything else sucks and what-not, I’d disagree with you there. I’ve heard Dave Tate say in person and on the net that there are many ways to get strong. He worked up to I think it was a 760 squat using linear periodization and Timberlands (some people squat in boots). He also stuck there for five years. After going to Westside, up went the total. This has got to be due to having an open mind, not a closed, dogmatic one. On the other hand, if my barbell club had 4 1000-pounds squatters, I’d feel pretty confident about my methods, too.

And Louis Simmons has mentioned in past articles how he appreciates the competition of guys like Garry Frank and Ed Coan. It only makes sense to acknowledge the competition if you want to maintain your competitive edge.

My experience with Westside was that first, it didn’t seem to work all that well. And I am one of the less common cases that started powerlifting with the Westside program rather than linear programs. But after you get the squat form down (for me, it was a matter of hip strength) and learn how to move heavy weights fast and also to push continually against a heavy weight for a few solid seconds, you start throwing some serious weight around. I’ve been back on the program after a few months of Smolov’s squat routine (brutal shit). Good gains. But after being on Westside for the past 2 months, the speed gains and thus, strength gains, are incredible. It’s a neat program that, for me, has given a lot of results. It also never gets boring with the exercise rotation and all the toys (bands, chains, bars, boxes, etc).

So, phht.

i post almost all my workouts so you can see what we do. i competed on the 8th so we took some time off. i’m back and getting ready for the nationals in april. and if that goes well, awpc worlds in august.

we do some kind of max effort squat every third workout and max effort deadlift every 3rd week instead of all the good mornings that west side reccommends. we generally walk the weights out and can’t use as much band tension as west side does in a monolift so we felt that we need to get some heavy squats in. we’ll do full squats with just briefs and chains, full equipment with chains, full equipment with no chains, bands, etc for squat. for deadlift we’ll pull off pins, with bands, chains, with full equipment, etc. we will also do bench presses as a max effort exercise with shirts every 3 or 4 weeks. we felt we needed to get used to our equipment and practice technique with the equipment.

i have 3 great partners. without them, i couldn’t train the way i do. on the road i usually have to do good mornings and rack lockouts for max effort exercises. dynamic stuff is done with no bands or chains.

if i can be of any help in any way, just let me know.

I have heard alot of contraversie about the westside lifters. The knock I hear is that they are all geared up (which is fair, they admit as much) on steroids and on lifting gear. It is said that they only lift in meets organized by federations who give easy calls (imporoper form on lifts) and that they use an ridiculous amount of lifting gear. I also heard from a few places on the net that one of their guys got no credit on a 700+ bench because the bar could not touch his chest (as in his suit was so tight & strong it was holding the bar up)!! Anybody else heard any of this?

what does that have to do with their training style? and where do you get your info? i don’t personally know anyone at west side but i’ll say a few things in the defense of them and powerlifters in general because this forum in general has taken anti-powerlifting view because of some misconceptions based on what people hear or read. west side lifters at least have the decency to stay out of drug “free” meets unlike many others in the olympics, ncaa, many who post on this forum, and lifters in other federations. you don’t see them writing how they can take mag 10 or some steroid and pass a drug test for a natural bodybuilding show or competition. as far as the equipment, they lift within the rules. certain federations limit the equipment ANY and every lifter can wear, and as far as i know, they comply. any lifter can get and wear the same equipment west side wears. its nothing special. as far as lifting in meets that pass bad lifts - every lifter in any federation has the same rules. some federations that they lift in are stricter than others. does that take away from someone being world champ in a particular federation when everyone plays by the same rules? as far as the shirts being so tight that the bar doesn’t touch, i’ve personally seen several people in different federations do that and none have been from west side. although they may do it also, what’s that got to do with their training style or the west side lifters?

Westside is only one way of putting together a training program while incorporating the results from years of scientific research. It happens to work very well for powerlifting although anybody who desires could study all the research and come up with different interpretations and variations of how a powerlifting training program could be put together.

I don’t know where anyone would get the idea that WSB believes their methods are theonly way to get results. The only method Louie has really hit out at is “One Set to Failure” stuff.

They also recognize that people work differently. That’s why their methods are just a framework and virtually no 2 Westside progs are the same.

Incidentally, if you do a little reading on Coan, Kaz, and especially Hatfield, you’ll realize that they do/did a fair bit of speed work. Just not with boxes and bands.

In defense of Westside I have to say that I’ve been using their system for about two months (that beginners program on Tate’s site) now and these are the first significant strength gains I’ve seen in years. Its one of the only places you can still find that no bullshit, “just lift the damn weight” attitude. They recognize that people worry too much about over/undertraining, nutrition, and supplements and that what it really comes down to is hard work and determination.

It has alot to do with their style. People would not give a shit about Westside or Dave Tate if they had no success. Go back a few years, get some guy who is not a great powerlifter, and get him to promote westside and no one would care. I have seen videos of some of the lifts and some squats are way higher than others. My problem (and I think many people’s) with PL is that it is not clear what constitutes a lift and what makes for fair competition (steriods, lifting gear, peoples friends being judges etc.). Mostly this has got to do with squats, but different judges have different ideas on Bench too. I personally think full squats and raw lifting would be a better measure, but it would just destroy allo the poundages. I would settle for what I consider a good standard. It is like boxing, great game but who really is the champ?

everyone people from west side compete against, whether it be in the apf, wpo, or apa, is, or has the opporutinity to use, the same drugs and equipment and play by the same rules as they do. what then makes that gym so succesful? training and attitude. if ed coan, ronnie coleman, arnold s, tiger woods, or michael jordan weren’t succesful at what they did, would anyone care what they had to say about their training? noone would care. judging squat depth is afterall a judgment call. personally, i think all squats should be below parallel. i think some organizations are starting to strictly enforce this rule again. but sometimes poeple make the wrong call. have you never seen a bad call in hockey, baseball, boxing, or bodybuilding? does one or two bad calls ruin the reputation of baseball and hockey? when someone makes a judgment, whether it be in a court of law or for a sporting event, they are swayed by personal biases, friendships, and opinions. hopefully all judges will be able to put these biases aside and do their job. but sometimes they can’t (or won’t) and that’s why there are rules as to the countries of origin for judges in international competition. fair competition is when everyone competes under the same rules. if i compete in the apf, then i know i am competing against people who will be using steroids and lots of equipment. its that simple. if i don’t like the equipment rules, i lift somewhere else. if i don’t like the steroid use, then i am basically shit out of luck because drug use is prevelant in most drug free organizations such as the olympics and ncaa and a large number of recreational lifters. just hope you can compete against honest people you won’t cheat to get around drug tests. even if they went to full squats, someone would have to judge them and criteria would have to be established. and you know what, just like you se in every gym the heights would be creeping up. people will do the minimum depth they could get away with and get the lift passed. powerlifting started as a “raw” sport. then someone realized that if they wear a t shirt 2 sizes too small or a wrestling singlet two sizes too small, it helped them lift more. i’d personally like to see the equipment use limited like the wpo is doing.

Too much on the previous threads that I could comment on, but won’t. The Westside System does work. Is it the only way to train for PL, no. Is it the best way? It has worked extremely well for me, and I had trained heavy for 13 years, before using their methods.

A bad call in PL is not like in other sports, it is the whole competition. The judge decides exaclty who wins and loses. The rules should be clear as day. There is only one call in PL, if it goes it goes, if it is called off it is called off. PL has been around for about 30 or 40 years on a national level and has gone through very little growth, even though so many more people lift weights now than before. It is a badly managed sport, and that is too bad.

It would be very interesting to see what would happen to the competitions and record books if all the powerlifting federations decided to make bench shirts, squat suits, and belts illegal. I’ll tell you one thing though, numbers would take a serious nose dive.