T Nation

Westside Speed Benchs?


How many people use different grips with speed pressing and why do the westside guys do it?

I'm been feeling a little run down lately and tomorrow i was going to load up about %55 and do 8-10 triples.


Download this book and read it



@GhostOD, not to be a nazi but it is kind of low posting that trash...Louie Simmons has given and given so much to the powerlifting community and what little money he makes back is from his articles, media and equipment. This is a guy that will have ANYONE into his private gym to help them out...call Westside some time and if he has time, you can chat with the man yourself...All of his articles are published on his Website for free and it contains pretty much the same information in the book...just an FYI

I've always rotated my grips. I know some people who NEVER rotate their grips. I am honestly not sure how much of a difference it makes to tell you the truth. I guess the theory would be the closer grips would hit the triceps more and the wider grips are more competition-like. I've heard some logic that says "The Westsiders don't alternate their foot placement when doing dynamic squats" which makes some sense. Why not alternate narrow, medium, wide squat stance too?

The more I think on it, it seems it would be MORE beneficial to train JUST your competiton grip for dynamic work. But my bench sucks, I fix computers for a living, I don't have any degrees or certifications in any kind of fitness related stuff...I just try my best to use my head and make sense of everything.

As a side note-
Over the years I've heard of guys who originally doing speed work, dropping it out of their training. The way I understand it, the dynamic work is intended moreso to train your CNS to FIRE QUICKLY more than anything else. If you lack speed and coordination, the speedwork is worthwhile. But again, back to some of the high level lifters I've spoken with in the past, they've dropped the speedwork because they felt they reached a point of diminishing returns. But I recently read in one of their logs that they returned to the speedwork...didn't say why, just returned to it.

Being that most of the muscles in the upper body are small and can be trained pretty frequently, something I've experimented with is doing the speedwork and then following it up with heavy overhead presses. That was working out quite well when I was doing it. But if you follow Louie's recommendations, ME work should NEVER be done on the same day as DE work for whatever magical reason I don't know.

I hope this information helps you. Give it a shot...but give it a fair shot (more than a couple of weeks).


Thanks, i've done lots of speed work. I use it when i feel drained to help get back in the zone. However, i haven't really followed the westside stuff.


How do you know I didn't buy it? All i did was google 'westend book of methods mediafire', maybe the OP doesnt want to buy it for whatever reason, i don't know ( and i'm not one to judge). dont be so presumptuous, man. hope that titan shirt works out for you though, Im trying to hunt down an f6 in katana material, too


holy slap dappy shit. i now have a lot of reading to do


I dropped speed work after awhile due to health issues and diminishing returns as stated . After awhile I don't think it's necessary .

Five years ago at 200 lbs I did a touch and go 360 two board . I did a paused 355 x two raw last week and am scheduled for 365 x 2 tomorrow . BodyWeight the same.

There is no speed work . More max effort paused benches and assistance work .
Think about this , how much faster can you get with a weight ?

You need everything at some point, but don't and won't always benefit from everything all the time .


I've read and heard before that it's to prevent "over-use" injuries. I'd imagine that if you're strong, even 55% of your 1RM being pushed as fast as you can will beat your shoulders up after a while. I am taking a stab that it might also be to stress bar speed at different sticking points in the press.

Then add more weight? I'm just playing the devil's advocate here, but if you can knock out 8-10 triples no problem with a certain weight, did you ever consider adding 10-20 pounds and trying to achieve the same bar speed?


Different grips are used so that you learn to develop force from many different leverages. I've done a ton of different cycling methods for speed work like typical waving, 50, 55, and 60%, with pin presses, boards, floor press, chain, bands, and all kinds of other stuff. I feel at my most explosive when I stick with about 40% bar weight and change up the bar/chain/band combination every week. For example, week 1 would be something like a fat bar with mini bands for 12-15 sets of 3. Week 2 could be a bench log with chain for the same sets and reps. Week 3 a thick power bar off a 2-board with 55% bar weight.

You should never, ever be tired from normal speed strength work. If it is wearing you out, then you are either going too heavy or you have accommodated to the exercise. So, either way, you either need to back off or use a different variation or both.

Dynamic efforts arent just about speed. If you are doing westside like you are supposed too, there is very little volume control of the main lifts on max effort day. The strongest lifters arent stronger because they lift heavier weights in training, they are stronger because they can handle more volume without breaking down. Speed work, using the interval method, is the only way to monitor progress in terms of power, work, and time. Lifting and getting stronger are all factors in physics that have to be considered if you are serious about training. Power=Work/Time. The more work you do in the less time, the more powerful you become. You can't increase power on max effort day because the point is to rest long enough to move maximal weights.

Probably most important about the speed work is the benefits it has on soft/connective tissues. You learn how to store a stretch reflex longer. This becomces important when having to hold a long pause on the bench press and firing out of the hole in a heavy squat.

I dont know if I have been over thinking this shit or what but ever since I have taken the approach of looking at training based on physics and not just the weight I want to do, I have been getting strong as shit.


Wow, thanks for the responses guys.

I should of mentioned that i like to do something everyday so when i feel run down i usually do some light/speed work. Of course i still want this extra work to improve my strength.

My bench press has been progressing nicely.


No big deal, I never said you didn't buy it, never said you uploaded it or anything along those lines. It's just when you post a link like that, you're pretty much guaranteeing that anybody who comes across it is going to download it. I'm not a nazi when it comes to free information, it all boils down to each person's own moral compass...and for me, I draw the line with Louie. But to each their own. Nothing personal. And as I said, almost all of that same information is presented in his articles at Westside-Barbell.com for free and you're not breaking the law or crossing anyone in the process.

I'll update the single ply thread when I have a chance to get in the shirt and try it out.

No harm no foul bro. Just stating my opinion on it.


Good point about needing everything at some point but not benefiting from everything all the time...

But one thought I did have on speed work is the application of force on the barbell. I'm not a physics major but the idea is that in order to move 100 lbs. of weight you have to apply MORE THAN 100 lbs. of force to that load. Otherwise 100 lbs. vs 100 lbs. = balanced oppositional forces / no movement. At a minimum you'd need to apply 101 lbs. (just going in whole pounds) of force to move 100 lbs. load. That 100 lbs. is going to move slow as hell though. There reaches a point where you cannot apply anymore force to a particular load...like a maximum velocity. For the sake of discussion, let's say the most you can apply to 100 lbs. is 200 lbs. of force. So that would mean a 300 lbs. bencher and a 400 lbs. bencher should both be able to accelerate that 100 lbs. and apply 200 lbs. of force.

How does this tie into training? One, as I stated before, I've always understood it as teaching the CNS to fire. Next, it allows you to handle lighter weights but treat them like heavier weights. How advantageous is that in the grand scheme of things? I don't know, just saying. Instead of always banging on heavy weights, you can get some effect of that without actually handling heavy weight...right? or no?


I think the argument talking about switching stances for dynamic squats doesn't really apply, not trying to be an ass, but just speaking out loud. I'm not sure you can apply that, because speed work is different percentages on those days. Last I checked (correct me if im being a dumbass) speed benches were about the 53% range while the squats went all the way up to 90% (depending on experience level too, of course).

I'm not sure if I can explain it, but I've tried raising % on dyn bench days and never seemed to get anything out of it. When I kept the % to 50ish then I felt like I could work my form better, and my shoulders didn't hate me.


Actually the percentages have changed over the years. I could be mistaken here but I think the more advanced the lifter, the percentage of 1RM drops (i.e. 45% rather than 55%). I do not think that ANY dynamic work goes as high as 90%.

As STB said with benching, the different grips work different leverages, so why not change your squat stance? I was just reading something that Sam Byrd wrote pertaining to raw squat vs. geared squat and a raw squat will typically be a little more quad vs. gear/hams...So why not rotate foot placement and work the full range? I've heard the idea mentioned before and I've never done it myself, just playing devils advocate.

My programming sucks anyways but I don't even bother calculating dynamic ranges anymore. I FEEL LIKE I have a pretty damn good idea how fast the bar should move for dynamic work...if it's too slow the weight needs to go down, if it's too fast it needs more weight. With your actual max increasing over a training phase, you need to adjust accordingly...also, some days you're just "OFF" and you're not firing as fast as you should.