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Westside Principles?

I’m often reading about the Westside Principles in many threads. I am unsure of what they exactly are.

Can somebody please point me in the direction of a link or explain them? It would be really appreciated.

Search for westside barbell club and elite fitness systems and you should find a good number of articles. Louie Simmons, the founder of the westside barbell club, posts his articles at the WSB website. At elite fitness you’ll find a lot of good articles by lifters from westside. Look for “beginners” articles by Jim Wendler. Dave Tate, owner of elite fitness systems, besides posting articles on his own site, posts quite a few on T-Nation, so search for him on here.

A real general overview of the system:
-2 heavy days focusing on straining
-2 speed days focusing on form and explosion
-the workouts are split upper/lower, with 72 hours between the next workout for the same group
-lower body days don’t specifically focuse on squat or deadlift, and sometimes neither lift is performed
-cycling of heavy exercises (the conjugate method) every 2-3 weeks (every week for some lifters)
-use of accesory lifts, lifts that work a specific portion of a lift or weak point, after the main lift
-supplementary lifts for injury prevention, hypertrophy

so a same week might look like:

Monday: Heavy Upper
Floor press up to a heavy triple (heavy)
Pin press for a few sets of 5 (accesory)
Chest supported rows for sets of 8-10 (supplementary)

Tuesday: Heavy Lower
Parallel box squat up to a single (a signature westside exercise)
Reverse hyperextension (another westside favorite)
Standing abs from a high pulley

Thursday: Speed day upper
8x3 benchs w/ ~60% of max, cycling close, medium, and wide grips
Board presses for a few sets of 5
DB rows for 10

Friday: Speed lower
10x2 box squat w/ ~60% of max
Glute ham raise (another westside favorite)
straight leg sit ups with barbell behind neck

This could be a beginner workout or an advanced trainees workout; it all depends on how much weight, how you work up, how many sets etc. Westside is highly personal so no one will have an identical workout. There are workout logs you should check out at elite fitness systems.

Westside principles refers to Westside Barbell out of Columbus Ohio, a world famous powerlifting gym run by Louie Simmons. You can read about it right here on T-Nation by going through Dave Tate’s articles, especially the 8 keys one. Also westside-barbell.com and elitefts.com

Thanks for the info guys. Much appreciated.

the periodization bible:

http://www.T-Nation.com/findArticle.do?article=body_129per

http://www.T-Nation.com/findArticle.do?article=body_133per

the Eight Keys

http://www.T-Nation.com/findArticle.do?article=264eight2

http://www.T-Nation.com/findArticle.do?article=265eight2

http://www.T-Nation.com/findArticle.do?article=266eight2

http://www.T-Nation.com/findArticle.do?article=267eight2

and the websites mentioned above should give you a good start

[quote]scottiscool wrote:
Westside principles refers to Westside Barbell out of Columbus Ohio, a world famous powerlifting gym run by Louie Simmons. You can read about it right here on T-Nation by going through Dave Tate’s articles, especially the 8 keys one. Also westside-barbell.com and elitefts.com[/quote]

Hmmm I always thought that the original one was in Culver City.

Since we’re on the subject of westside for beg. When do you guys think it would be an approiate time to incorparate bands & chains when i’ve only been on the program for 4 months?
By the the way the original westside was in california.

[quote]andy bumphren wrote:
Search for westside barbell club and elite fitness systems and you should find a good number of articles. Louie Simmons, the founder of the westside barbell club, posts his articles at the WSB website. At elite fitness you’ll find a lot of good articles by lifters from westside. Look for “beginners” articles by Jim Wendler. Dave Tate, owner of elite fitness systems, besides posting articles on his own site, posts quite a few on T-Nation, so search for him on here.

A real general overview of the system:
-2 heavy days focusing on straining
-2 speed days focusing on form and explosion
-the workouts are split upper/lower, with 72 hours between the next workout for the same group
-lower body days don’t specifically focuse on squat or deadlift, and sometimes neither lift is performed
-cycling of heavy exercises (the conjugate method) every 2-3 weeks (every week for some lifters)
-use of accesory lifts, lifts that work a specific portion of a lift or weak point, after the main lift
-supplementary lifts for injury prevention, hypertrophy

so a same week might look like:

Monday: Heavy Upper
Floor press up to a heavy triple (heavy)
Pin press for a few sets of 5 (accesory)
Chest supported rows for sets of 8-10 (supplementary)

Tuesday: Heavy Lower
Parallel box squat up to a single (a signature westside exercise)
Reverse hyperextension (another westside favorite)
Standing abs from a high pulley

Thursday: Speed day upper
8x3 benchs w/ ~60% of max, cycling close, medium, and wide grips
Board presses for a few sets of 5
DB rows for 10

Friday: Speed lower
10x2 box squat w/ ~60% of max
Glute ham raise (another westside favorite)
straight leg sit ups with barbell behind neck

This could be a beginner workout or an advanced trainees workout; it all depends on how much weight, how you work up, how many sets etc. Westside is highly personal so no one will have an identical workout. There are workout logs you should check out at elite fitness systems.[/quote]

im really interested in starting powerlifting seriously and the only thing i dont understand is when would deadlifting come into play? Would you ever have a day that you deadlift heavy? also what about grip training?

i really want to train like this, starting in the next few weeks, he gives a sample program in the eight keys would that be a good program to follow? because i am in no way capable of putting together my own program under these principals since i am so ignorant to westside training.

[quote]pure_country wrote:
im really interested in starting powerlifting seriously and the only thing i dont understand is when would deadlifting come into play? Would you ever have a day that you deadlift heavy? also what about grip training?
[/quote]

In general you do a ME Squat movement 2 out of 3 weeks and a ME Deadlift movement 1 out of 3 weeks, but you can move that around to your own liking. Grip would be done as an accessory move or in a special workout to bring up weak points. Some people do speed deads as an accessory exercise as well if they want to focus on their technique.

well that helps a lot thanx, now I need to start training this way its still a little fuzzy but I’m getting the big picture, one other question I have is when to put in movements like t bar rows? And how much back to throw in sorry if these questions sound dumb I’m just really interested in starting this

[quote]pure_country wrote:

im really interested in starting powerlifting seriously and the only thing i dont understand is when would deadlifting come into play? Would you ever have a day that you deadlift heavy? also what about grip training?
[/quote]

Yeah- the old articles by Louie stressed GMs and other replacements for DLs with very little actually pulling. This did not work for me. As such, I pull heavy alternate ME days. Now- I don’t really do much speed work, but I do a max effort SQ/DL day every week so for me a typical month might look like this:

Week 1; max effort squat (briefs and wraps only)probably with a lot of chains or band tension, sometimes off of a box.
Week 2; DL pulling from a deficit (no suit)
Week 3: ME squat (full gear) probably straight weight
Week 2: DL in suit pulling against bands or chains

There is not a lot of variety in what I do- but really that is where the smart training is headed if you want to master set-up, technique and gear usage. Alternating heavy squats and DLs form week to week seems to work well for keeping me fresh.

ok sweet, im getting the hang of this thanks for everything guys, so basically pick either squat or deadlift on ME lower body day and then supplemental exercises, and on speed day would you include both squat and deadlift?

another thing i dont understand is, on max effort days it seems like they never go through a full range of motion on the movements? is this correct? and if so how do they get use to handling the heavy weight through the entire range of motion?

[quote]pure_country wrote:
another thing i dont understand is, on max effort days it seems like they never go through a full range of motion on the movements? is this correct? and if so how do they get use to handling the heavy weight through the entire range of motion?[/quote]

If you compete with aggressive textile support there is limited need to do full range raw work.

This approach is severely flawed for someone who wants primarily raw strength.

If you want to use the system to fit someone who wants raw strength, major modifications are in order.

  1. Your ME work should be all full range. After you bench, you can do some floor/board presses, rack lockouts, or something like that if you think you need to. Rack pulls might help too…other than that, the reduced ROM work will not help you.

  2. I personally hate the box squat. The most important things for a raw squatter to do are to stay tight on the way down and in the hole, and to be able to use the stored tension to spring back up. Starting strength is not as important. The box will build your starting strength while neglecting your stopping strength and reversal strength. Not a good thing. You can use it occasionally as it’s easier on the knees and easier to recover from, but don’t think relying on box squats will help much with your raw squat, at least if you plan on squatting to IPF depth.

  3. Speed work for the bench will also be of limited value. Much better to have a rep day, an assistance day with dumbbells, or something like that to focus on adding mass to your upper body.

  4. You need to pull off the floor. One thing they’ve done at Westside that I think is really helpful for a raw lifter is speed deadlifting. Doing 6-10x1 at around 70 percent is good way to train your pull. Brad Gillingham alternates speed pulls with heavy rack pulls for instance.

  5. I would look at the way Louie has focused on training the triceps and apply that to training the shoulders…much more important than the triceps for a raw bencher. Lots of full range dumbbell work and overhead work, less focus on triceps extensions and high board presses.

  6. Another thing to take from Louie for a raw lifter is serious core work. Working the hell out of your abs is even more important for a raw lifter. You really can’t do too much ab work.

  7. Also, forget about the super wide squatting stance Louie advocates. It won’t work if you squat raw. You need to bring your stance in, squat deeper, and strengthen your quads some. Contrary to recent popular opinion, quads are still an important muscle for a squatter. Do olympic squats, front squats, deep pause squats, safety-bar full squats, etc…

That’s all I can think of for now…

Good luck

[quote]Ramo wrote:
pure_country wrote:
another thing i dont understand is, on max effort days it seems like they never go through a full range of motion on the movements? is this correct? and if so how do they get use to handling the heavy weight through the entire range of motion?

If you compete with aggressive textile support there is limited need to do full range raw work.

This approach is severely flawed for someone who wants primarily raw strength.

If you want to use the system to fit someone who wants raw strength, major modifications are in order.

  1. Your ME work should be all full range. After you bench, you can do some floor/board presses, rack lockouts, or something like that if you think you need to. Rack pulls might help too…other than that, the reduced ROM work will not help you.

  2. I personally hate the box squat. The most important things for a raw squatter to do are to stay tight on the way down and in the hole, and to be able to use the stored tension to spring back up. Starting strength is not as important. The box will build your starting strength while neglecting your stopping strength and reversal strength. Not a good thing. You can use it occasionally as it’s easier on the knees and easier to recover from, but don’t think relying on box squats will help much with your raw squat, at least if you plan on squatting to IPF depth.

  3. Speed work for the bench will also be of limited value. Much better to have a rep day, an assistance day with dumbbells, or something like that to focus on adding mass to your upper body.

  4. You need to pull off the floor. One thing they’ve done at Westside that I think is really helpful for a raw lifter is speed deadlifting. Doing 6-10x1 at around 70 percent is good way to train your pull. Brad Gillingham alternates speed pulls with heavy rack pulls for instance.

  5. I would look at the way Louie has focused on training the triceps and apply that to training the shoulders…much more important than the triceps for a raw bencher. Lots of full range dumbbell work and overhead work, less focus on triceps extensions and high board presses.

  6. Another thing to take from Louie for a raw lifter is serious core work. Working the hell out of your abs is even more important for a raw lifter. You really can’t do too much ab work.

  7. Also, forget about the super wide squatting stance Louie advocates. It won’t work if you squat raw. You need to bring your stance in, squat deeper, and strengthen your quads some. Contrary to recent popular opinion, quads are still an important muscle for a squatter. Do olympic squats, front squats, deep pause squats, safety-bar full squats, etc…

That’s all I can think of for now…

Good luck[/quote]

I realize I’m a noob but I’ve adapted the template to most of these guidlines an my raw strength has been going up faster than ever, I still feel I get more leverage out of wide stance squats though. Might have to do with the fact that I’m really short or still relatively new.

ramo, thanks a lot so i need to go full range? and i need to work hard on shoulders and triceps and abs, and how should i change the speed day? just do some light weight for reps or ? other than the speed day im pretty sure ive got an idea of how to train, and would this be beneficial to a raw lifter? i really appreciate the help guys

[quote]Ramo wrote:

If you compete with aggressive textile support there is limited need to do full range raw work.
[/quote]

Don’t believe it. I have seen guys that smoke 700+ off of 3 boards in the bench. But they couldn’t bench 600. The reason is that they applied the logic above to their trrainign and just counted on heavy weight to make the bar touch and a tight shirt to make it come up. Insane tricep strength and tight gear don’t work unless you put it all together on a regular basis.

[quote]pure_country wrote:
ramo, thanks a lot so i need to go full range? and i need to work hard on shoulders and triceps and abs, and how should i change the speed day? just do some light weight for reps or ? other than the speed day im pretty sure ive got an idea of how to train, and would this be beneficial to a raw lifter? i really appreciate the help guys[/quote]

Give the speed day thing a try. Speed work works- as long as it is not taking away from hitting big weights on your ME days. I have also tried rep work in lieu of speed days- almost bodybuilding/powerbuilding style workouts really. That works for getting bigger if nothing else.

[quote]pure_country wrote:
ramo, thanks a lot so i need to go full range? and i need to work hard on shoulders and triceps and abs, and how should i change the speed day? just do some light weight for reps or ? other than the speed day im pretty sure ive got an idea of how to train, and would this be beneficial to a raw lifter? i really appreciate the help guys[/quote]

Here’s what I would do if I was going to use the template. The system would be best for somebody who felt like they needed practice straining and handling heavier weights, and needed to focus on developing mass all over their body.

ME SQ/DL

-Rotate between SSB Squats, Rack Pulls, Front Squats, Extended Deadlifts for a max single or triple
-SSB Good Mornings, regular Good Mornings, or Zercher Squats for a couple sets of 3-5 or 5-8 reps.
-Unilateral work (bulgarian sq, lunge, step-up etc.) for higher reps
-Heavy core work

ME BP

-Rotate Incline Press, Floor Press, Close Grip Bench, Bench Press with chains for max single or triple
-DB Press variation for a few sets of 6-8 or 8-12
-Rowing variation
-Triceps extension

RE/DE SQ/DL

-Do a few weeks of rep work for 3-5 sets of 5-10 reps, then a few weeks of speed squats (no box) for 8-10x2
-Speed Pulls for 6-10x1 with 70 percent
-RDL, Back Extension, Pull-Through, whatever, for higher reps
-Heavy Core work

RE BP

-Bench for 3-5x5-10
-Military Press or other overhead variation for a few sets of 6-8 or 8-12
-Pullup/Chinup/Pulldown
-Shrug variation

That would be a good template to start from. Pay attention to what’s working and what isn’t and make adjustments.