T Nation

Westside Without Squat?


After taking a couple more days to rest a healing shoulder and lower back, I'm looking to finally give Westside-style training a try. Getting the numbers on my big lifts up has become my main goal, much more so than mass or low bodyfat, and I've read a lot on here and EliteFTS about Westside training the last couple of years.

Only problem is, due to an old ankle injury that I'm getting surgery on in August, I can't squat. Can leg press, been doing that the last few months, and maybe front squat, although that's been tricky, but back squats are out of the question.

So with that in mind, can I still train Westside style, focusing on bench (been stagnant for WAY too long) and deadlift, maybe using Joel Marion's article? I don't want to wait until after surgery, because I'll have a little bit of rehab, then be in the thick of rugby season, which leads to nagging injuries and lasts a few months.


If you want to focus on benching, what about Metal Militia. Westside definitely will work with your parameters, but take a look at the Metal Militia programs also.




Kenny Patterson: As a bench press specialist I train somewhat different
from the other members of the Westside Barbell Club. The following is a
sample of how my training is broken down:

Sunday ? Speed benches. I do nine sets of triples using three different
grips. The last three sets all being done with the same grip ( competition
grip ). That was 66% of my sets are done inside the ring emphasizing a bit
more triceps. I use three different weights during my speed sets. The
first three sets are done with 48% of my competition max
( with a bench shirt ). The next three sets are done with 50% of my max,
and the last three sets are done with 52% of my competition max. Leading up
to the Daytona meet when I benched 701 weighing 238 I used 335, 350, and 365
for my sets. Immediately after my speed sets I go into a heavy triceps
movement, usually a triceps extension using dumbbells or a JM press.
Whatever exercise I choose to do I do it with heavy weights. I work up to
a set of five in the JM press, in the dumbbell extensions I will do 3-4
sets of 8-12 reps depending on the weight that I?m using. My weights on
extension varies from 85 lbs up to 125 lbs depending on how far out from a
meet I am. After triceps work I like to do some type of shoulder movement
usually side lateral or front delt work. These are all done by feel,
depending on how my shoulders feel from the previous bench workout. To
finish up my Sunday workout I do abdominal work.

Monday ? On Monday while all my training partners are doing exercises to
increase their dead lifts I return to work on my upper back and lats. I
like to do several different types of pull downs on the lat machine. I
usually start with the straight bar for 3 or 4 sets and then change to the V
handle for another 3 or 4 sets. Sometimes I like to do some with a reverse
grip ( on the straight bar ), this seems to work the lower lats a little
more. I also like to do heavy one armed rows with a dumbbell. After my lat
work is complete I like to do bicep curls. I feel this helps when lowering
the bar while benching. My bicep work is done mostly with dumbbells because
I find it hard to turn my hands over to grab a straight bar. I use all
different movements from alternate curls, to concentration curls, to
reverse curls. And as on Sunday I finish with abdominal work.

Wednesday ? Max Effort Bench. On max effort day I choose one of Westside
? Special Exercises?. The Floor press, board press, reverse band press,
rack press, wide grip benches, etc. All of these special exercises can be
done with just bar weight or can have chains, or bands incorporated into
them to work on certain points of the bench. Which ever exercise I choose I
work up to a heavy single ( hopefully a record ). On this day you only do
one special exercise, don?t try and do two or more of these in one day.
After my main exercise I like to do triceps work, unless I?m getting close
to a meet and then I like to work into a heavy overhead press in the power
rack. These are done just like a bench press pin lockout, but they are done
overhead. After the overhead press I then go to triceps work. Which is
actually done just like it is on Sundays. There are several exercises that
I use for triceps work but dumbbell extensions and JM presses are probably
my two favorite.

Thursday - On this day I like to work my upper back and lats again. The
next training day for most Westside members would be Friday but I like to
train my back on Thursday because it gives me an extra day to rest before my
speed benches. On Thursday I like to use the assisted pull up machine
because I am weak in this exercise and I feel that by strengthening that
movement my bench will be that much better. I then move to the Hammer
Strength back machine. This machine is one of my favorites because each
side moves independently and allows you to get a greater range of motion and
contraction of your lats. I also like to do low rows on this day to once
again work the lower part of my lats. I use a wide variety of lat movements
on both Monday and Thursday, the ones I have listed are some of my favorites
I like to rely on. After back work is done I do bicep work again, trying to
do different movements than the ones used on Monday. I like to do a lot of
reverse curl movements to strengthen the forearms. I feel this helps when
handling heavy weights. And once again I finish with abdominal work and
call it a day.


Where can I find their stuff online? I've heard they're mainly for shirted work though, and I have always lifted raw and am not going to start using gear yet, if ever.


Your right, metal militia is geared toward shirted lifters BUT you can bench raw with the same form. You may have to bring the bar down a little higher on the stomach but it still works none the less. metalmilitia
Does deadlifting hurt your ankle? Just curious considering your still putting a lot of pressure on it compared to the squat.


No, hasn't so far, and I've worked to pretty close to my max, sets of 3 and 4 that sometimes became doubles by the last couple of sets. With squatting it's not so much that it hurts, I just cannot get full ROM, and it throws off my form and leads to back injury (happened several months ago).

Westside would probably be a better fit for a raw lifter than Metal Militia wouldn't it, especially someone new to powerlifting?


You don't have to squat to still do squat style workouts. You can use DL, Good Mornings, etc. in place of squat.


I have used westside methods I.E. striaght up and down bar movement with speed work; for years I just recently about a year ago switched to metal militia style and it works great for me. I guess you need to figure out what works best for you. I purchased a sabastian burns metal militia seminar DVD. It is worth every penny. You can get it off their website or ebay. It is a good investment if you can spare the money.


Yeah, I was thinking that, just worried about a muscle imbalance, but I guess with leg press and maybe front squats I can avoid that.


you could certainly just focus on the bench and DL. I have done that when injured and it is fine. the front squat is just as good an exercise as the squat, probably better if you're an athlete. If your ankle is up to it, you can focus on upping your bench, squat, and front squat. you can do single leg squats, lunges, leg presses, etc. If you cant do all that and cant do heavy squat stuff, stick to deadlifting for the ME work and do your squat exercises as higher rep supplementary work. Either way, you should definately try to maintain balance and build strength in all of your muscles.


You could use exercises like Split squats and step-ups as a second exercise after your ME exercise. Also you could look into getting a hip-belt from ironmind and doing squats with that.

Good Luck


If you are benching raw i would definately go with westside. One of the reasons metal milita benches heavy 2 days a week is to get used to their shirt, and to improve their raw strength which will not happen if you only train in your shirt. If you bench raw westside is the best way to go.