T Nation

Westside Template Help


DE Bench

Dynamic Bench 3x8
Board presses 5x3
Incline dumbbell bench press 4x12
chins 5x3

ME Squat/DL

Squat=work up to 1rm and then hit 4-7 lifts at or above 90%
glute ham raises 12x4
back extensions 10x3
abdominal work

ME Bench
Bench press=work up to 1rm and then hit 4-7 lifts at or above 90%
standing tricep extensions 3x12
front raises 4x12
dumbbell rows 4x12

DE Squat
Box squat 10x2
glute ham raises 12x4
good mornings 5x5
abdominal work

Is this a good westside template? I read an article by Jim Wendler that went into detail on how to set it up and wanted some input from any westside veterans. Could someone please give some examples of high intensity, low intensity shoulder exercises and some high intensity/low volume and low intensity/high volume tricep exercises? Or if anyone would be so kind to explain how they went about the entire program in general it would be greatly appreciated. Thanks for the help.


You should be varying your ME exercises. As a matter of fact, most people never do the competition lifts as their ME exercises. So 1, 2, 3, 4, 5 board, floor press, close grip, close grip incline, etc, are all different variants of the bench that you can use to build your competition bench -- this is the conjugate method. Same with lower body, different bars, different box heights, different pins (for pulls) can all be used to stress different sticking points within your lifts. (From your post, I don't know if you're aware of this)

You're going to have to learn which of these ME lifts translate to your competition lifts based on your own experiences & weaknesses. This is highly individualized and without seeing your form and knowing your particular weaknesses it's very difficult to critique your template. This is why it's also good to do a west side routine when training in a group so you have others around to analyze your weaknesses for you.

That being said, it sounds more complicated than it really is. If something works for you, use it, if not get rid of it.

I've read Jim's high intensity / low intensity stuff on the template he put on EliteFTS but I don't personally follow it so I can't speak to it.

How long have you been training and what are your numbers like?


So I should do a floor press on ME bench and like a front squat on ME squat/deadlift? Does that sound good? What do you think about the exercises besides the DE or ME lifts? Do I seem to be understanding the basic gist of how to set it up like how it says in the article? By the way i've been lifting for 2 1/2 years. Thanks again for the help.


I'd say that's a good start. I don't know many people that do front squat as an ME exercise but if you think it will help your lifts go for it. I think you have a good understanding of it.

After both bench days, your lats, triceps, shoulders should all be pumped.

After both lower days, your hamstrings, glutes, lowerback & abs should all be pumped.

As long as your assistance exercises are accomplishing the above, they are good. Are you planning on competing? Are you going raw or geared?


Your assistance and ME exercises are determined by your weaknesses during the comp lift.


On DE upper day I do heavy board presses (5-3 boards) for reps (5-ish) and on ME upper day I do tricep extensions for 10-20 reps.

Check out my log if you want more info. I haven't been at the westside approach that long, but it has been working well for me.

Another variation that I do that I like is to not necessarily work to a 1 rep max, but sometimes a 3 or 5 rep max and then do the singles off a calculated/estimated 1 rep max. This seems to help if I am feeling kind of drained.


Actually I re-read this and it doesn't sound right. You should vary your ME exercises every 1-3 weeks. My group likes to rotate them every week. If I had it my way I'd rotate them every 2 weeks but whatever.

If I were you I'd rotate every 2-3 weeks. When you first start training this way your body probably going to be confused and not used to the motor patterns of using different bars, different ROM, different grip, etc, etc. It might take you a couple of weeks just to get the hang of a movement, especially when it comes down to hitting a heavy single.


This is very true. In the bench, if you are weak in the lock out, do some sort of high board press or other lock out work and a lot of tricep work. If you are weak out of the hole, I would recommend more back work, technique work, and lots of speed work. If you are weak in the mid range, I would go for a 2 board or a floor press and lots of triceps and shoulder work.

Squat and Deadlift work the same way.

For the squat, if you fall forward, you need a stronger mid/upper back and abs. If you lose your arch, you need a stronger lower back. If you are slow out of the hole, you need speed work and stronger legs. If your knees come forward you more than likely have quad dominance and you need to strengthen your hamstrings. If your knees come in, you need stronger hips.

For the deadlift, I noticed a huge improvement in my bar speed off the floor by doing a lot of leg work, especial quads, and fixing my technique (I pull conventional), speed work and form of accommodating resistance helped a lot too. If your lower back rounds, then you need to do more lower back work and ab work should help as well. If you have trouble with the lock out, you should try block pulls (many people say rack pulls don't work as well), and strengthening your glutes and hips.

Find out where your weakness are and what is causing you to fail, then train those weaknesses hard until they aren't a weakness any more.

Do not rely on the same assistance work all the time. Listen to your body. Rotate your ME and DE exercises every 1-3 weeks. If you feel like shit, work up to a max 5. If you start feeling better switch to triples. If you feel great, switch to singles. Eat a lot, and maintain a decent level of conditioning. Find what lifts work for you and which don't. Make sure you always get a thorough warm up in before you start lifting. Perform the competition lifts every once in a while to gauge your progress and re-determine weaknesses. Perform speed work at 50-60% of 1RM.

Most lifts have a sticking point. The two best ways to get over it is to get stronger around the sticking point, and to make the bar move faster so you have enough momentum on the bar to move past that sticking point. Speed = power.


What will and won't need work will also depend on your comp style for each lift and your build to some degree.

Ex: To improve a midpoint sticking point for squat (no leaning forward) will require a lot of hamstring work for a wide stance, low bar, sitting far back squatter compared to a high bar, narrow stance, not sitting back squatter who will need much more quad work for the same sticking point on the same movement. (this is purely hypothetical)


Thank you all very much for the help. If someone wouldn't mind could they please make a sample template of what they would do? It would be VERY much appreciated. Also if anyone could say some results people got from the Westside system that would be awesome.


I'll give you a sample template that I typically base my routine off of, but it varies depending on what needs work. Hopefully it helps a bit. You can also check out my training log to get a better understanding.

ME Lower
GM, Squat, or Deadlift variations work up to 1,3, or 5
Quads (sometimes)

ME Upper
Bench Press variation work up to 1, 3, or 5
Lats/Upper back
(A lot of people find that they get enough shoulder work from their main lift)

DE Lower
Squat Variation for speed 8x2 @ 50-60%
Lower back
Quads (sometimes)

DE Upper
Bench Variation for speed 6x3 @ 40-60%
Lats/Upper back

Sometimes I may replace a speed day with repetition work. DE Upper sometimes turns into an overhead press day because my shoulders are weak. Experiment with set/rep ranges to see what works best for you. Base your training around your weaknesses. MAKE SURE YOU RECOVER!


The log helped very much. Thanks again.


Within 4 months of me switching to West Side:

  • I broke through a bench plateau that had plagued me for 7 months (335 -> 355)
  • Put over 80 pounds on my deadlift (545 -> 625)
  • Put over 40 pounds on my squat (my squat sucks)

If you're wondering I did all of this drug free too.


Wow. Nice progress. I had a similar experience.

Within 6 months of training this way:

-Bench went from 205 1RM to a 265 1RM
-Squat went from 225 3RM to a 1RM in the 300s (Almost 100lbs within the first 2 months since my form was so bad)
-Deadlift went from the low 300s to 395 1RM
-Bodyweight went from 155 to 172


If your having trouble putting it all together I'd recomend looking at defrancos templates. Atleast for the ME days it gives you a very good idea and variety of ways you can set it up until you have a better understanding of what works best for your body.



Waaaay back in the day (mid 90's?) I think Lou recommended rotating ME exercises every 2-3 weeks. Just like he recommended different percentages for DE work back then.

I spoke with Mike Ruggiera probably 5 years back and he had said that most of the Westside guys were rotating ME exercises every week. I discussed this with him some and we both agreed that beginners should probably rotate their ME lifts every 2-3 weeks.

I think that it helps you to better understand what is happening with the training rather than just randomly rotating ME exercises. Choose a ME exercise and stick with it for 2-3 weeks. Shoot for a rep or weight record and try to break it for the next couple of weeks. If you miss a lift (not due to technique), switch to another ME exercise.

As for dynamic work, maybe someone with way more experience than me will hop in and tell me to shut the fuck up...but I don't think the percentages are really as important as getting ample speed. If you go and research what percentage you should be using for bench (for example), depending what article, video, book, template or whatever you read the percentages will be different. I don't think the percentages for speed work matter that much. You need to get a good feel for proper speed and you should know it when you got it right. If you lack explosive strength, you might not be able to accelerate the weight fast enough based on the percentage--so lower the weight.



After the Chicago Marathon 10-10-10 I went back into the weightroom weighing 173# and 9% bodyfat with a 135#bench, 250+/- squat and 305# dead. After following the Westside for Skinny Bastards 3 program for the last six months (minus march due to SEVERE illness) I am 192# with essentially the same BodyFat (10.5%) but have a 205#bench, 330# squat and a 385# dead. All legal by IPA standards and all RAW.

My program starts without breakfast at 06:00 because I get an upset stomach while working out and there is no point in tasting breakfast twice. Within 5 minutes after my last rep I down 24oz of Gatoraid with 20 grams of ON whey protein and 20 grams of cassein protein. Half an hour later the second "shake" goes in. After that I eat small nutrient dense meals of approx 350-500 calories.

I do get a good bit of cardio done above 85% of Lactate threshold 4 days a week with two other very moderate (65% of lt) days in as well. My goal is by 1 NOV 11 to dead 405#, squat 355# and bench 245# for a 1005 total,
hopefully at +/- 187.

I wish you well and hope that you can be inspired by this Skinny Bastard. Just remember that it is consistancy that will get you there. provided you train with determination and excellent form :slight_smile: