Hello folks. I am in the library at the university where I am completing a dietetic internship and my graduate degree and I am taking a break from work right now. Since I really want to be a journalist/write, trainer, and speaker in addition to the traditional work of being an RD, I had some tips in my head that I wanted to share with everyone on this board. I learned these tips when I attended a Westside seminar this past summer in Shenandoah, PA. It was put on by Jim Wendler and Thomas Deebel, DC. These tips are so simple, yet so profound, that they are worth being pounded into the heads of every trainer and trainee out there. Keep in mind that despite my love for proper articulation, I am merely dropping tips off the top of my head because I am bored out of my skull from writing a meal plan for a case study diabetic. Anyway, here goes....
Tip #1: Stop doing hundreds of exercises!
Mr. Wendler explained that although variety is great, many trainees make the mistake of incorporating too many different exercises into their routines, therefore never gauging what is enhancing their max lifts in the deadlift, bench press, and squat. One should pick 5 max effort exercises for the bench press and 6 to 7 for the squat and deadlift. For supplemental and accessory work, one should only swap around 2 to 3 exercises. Seek to learn what is helping your max lifts and what is not. Also seek to learn what exercises are indicators for your max lifts. For example, one could gauge their max bench press as a percentage of their floor press, board press, incline press, etc. Same goes for the squat.
Tip #2: Nutrition is overrated.
Now, this one may sound strange to you, especially coming from a dietetic intern and graduate student and future RD. However, I know where Mr. Wendler was going with this. Like training, many people make this nutrition thing way too complicated and many successful powerlifters and strongmen simply eat enough or as little as they need to make changes in body composition and absolute strength. They may seek to get adequate protein and caloric amounts but do not get hellbent and panic stricken with all sorts of exotic diets and different macronutrient ratios.
Tip #3: Stop making training complicated!
When I first heard of Westside and learned that it was a system based on many training principles espoused by trainers and coached from the former Soviet Union, I thought that on paper, the routines and training templates utilizing these principles would look so darn fancy, with all sorts of different tempos, rest periods, set and rep schemes and so on. When I learned more about this form of training and looking at Elite Fitness Systems manuals and training logs at www.elitefts.com, I was amazed at how darn basic these routines looked. Yes, some lifters go through deloading phases, lactic acid tolerance training, circa max phases, and the like. However, their routines are nevertheless uncomplicated and basic. Take home tip for conjugated/cybernetic periodization: pick assistance work that builds muscle and increases your power lifts, use a speed day, use a max effort day, eat enough, sleep enough, and use YOUR head, not a famous strength coach’s! Use literature in all forms and from all sources to touch up on YOUR training!
Tip #4: Seek to increase your amount of lifts above 90%.
As you become more experienced and more tolerant of more volume and intensity, employ anywhere from 3 to 10 lifts at 90%+. AGAIN, use YOUR head and see how much you can handle.
Tip #5: There is no magic set and rep scheme for hypertrophy/assistance work!
Not much explanation needed here! It is envogue to think the classic 3 x 10 is outdated but if it builds muscle, do it! It worked for Dorian Yates and Ronnie Coleman as well as many natural lifters that I know of personally as well. Who are we to fault them? Again, use YOUR head and YOUR body!
Tip #6: Box squatting does not entail sitting so far back that if someone were to remove the box from under you that you’d fall to the ground and break your back and behind!
Box squat as if you were doing a free PL squat but simply pause on the box for 1 to 2 seconds.
Tip #7: Yes, your mirror muscles do aid in the three lifts!
Wendler has gone over this in his articles as well. The last time anyone checked, in addition to your tris, upper back, lats, and P-chain, your quads, chest, and front delts do some work, or perhaps A LOT of work!
Tip #8: Get jacked!
Once again, Wendler has stated this in various articles. Stop fooling yourself into thinking you will have great strength just because some exceptions to the rules can lift a ton while being relatively slender. EAT and bodybuild!
Tip #9: Find your REAL weaknesses!
When we think of weak points, we think “weak tris,” “weak lats,” weak schmeak! Is your weakness lack of muscle mass? Flexibility? Speed? Relative strength? AGAIN, read the man’s articles at www.elitefts.com.
Tip #10: “What is good for getting stronger and bigger is good! What is bad for getting stronger and bigger is bad!” (Me)
This is perhaps the most profound take-home message I got from the entire seminar! Many people like to say, or SEEM to like stating “I’m a Westsider,” “Darksider,” “MM guy,” or “modified Poliquin-King-MM-WSB-CW-Coach Staley-WS4SB mutation from Mars guy!” The fact is that the more successful lifters are ones who use THEIR style of training. Mr. Wendler put it very well, when alluding to the fact that when he got really good at powerlifting is the time when he said “I’m not doing WSB style or MM style; I am doing Jim Wendler style!” We must realize that WS is more of an attitude than anything else. What works is good and what does not work is bad! That is it! Some guys have a speed day, some don’t. Some guys deload every third week, some take more or less time to deload. Some guys thrive on high amounts of volume, some guys would get fried from high volume. You get the hint!
OK folks, just thought I’d like to share this with you. Get to an Elite seminar soon!