Ran across this the other day, thought some of you might be interested. Sounds solid.

Westside for Bodybuilders (WS4BB)

here’s a “preliminary” WS4BB that I am working on.

PLEASE, if you are unfamiliar with the westside training system, before you ask any questions, go to

and read up on the Westside program before asking questions like “what is a concentric good morning” or “what is a box squat” or “what does ME and RE stand for”.

Basically, you take the Westside template, tweek the ME day to triples instead of singles (5RM is not used here) and make some changes to focus for supplementary work. It is based on an 8-day cycle (day on, day off) but can be modified so that RE days are back-to back (i.e. M-W-F-Sa)

In the end, this looks strikingly like a basic “upper/lower heavy/light” type setup, but in it’s simplest (VERY simplest) base, that’s what Westside is. ME day is “heavy day” and DE day is “light” day (not exactly, but you get the point). IF you’ve ever seen one of the upper/lower splits I frequently recommend, this should look pretty familiar.

The sets are determined by your own workload capacity. If you need more sets or less sets, then cool, the workload that I’ve posted is what I have been able to do. Obviously, you would adjust this as needed to suit your own weakpoints, but this is NOT a program that is going to work for people with poor workload capacity, or weak lower backs.

There is A LOT OF LOWER BACK WORK. If your lower back is not up to this, recommend using supported rows (1-arm DB, hammer, supported T-bar, etc) or “easier rows” (cable rows) of some sort while you condition your lower back.

Here is the template, keep rest periods as short as you can on everything other than the specific ME exercises. Adjust sets as needed, drink water, take your vitamins, say your prayers, etc. etc.

Day 1 - ME Day - upper
ME press variant - 1 x 3 100% ME, 2 x 3 >90% 3RM
weighted chinup 4 x 5-6
basic press variant - 3 x 5-6
Pendlay row - 4 x 5-6
lying extensions - 2 x 10-15 (rotate angles every 2-3 weeks)
laterals - 2 x 10-15

Recommended ME press variants = CGBP, RGBP, MedGBP, Low Incline BP (rotate every 1-3 weeks)
Recommended basic press variants = any angle DB press, any ME press variant, overhead presses - use this to cover “weak spots” in upper body “push” muscles, rotate as needed

Day 3 - ME Day - lower
ME GM/pull- 1 x 3 100% ME, 2 x 3 >90% 3RM
ME Squat variant - 4 x 5
reverse hypers - 3 x 8-12
ghetto GHR - 3 x 8-12
laterals - 2 x 10-15

ME GM/pulls = concentric GM, seated GM, DL from floor, rack pull, platform pull (rotate every 1-3 weeks)
Recommended ME squat variants = front squat, ATG, SSB, sumo, heels-touching, box squats (rotate as needed to keep knees happy)

Day 5 - RE Day - upper
RE main press - 3 x 8
BTN pullup - 4 x 8-12 (no extra weight…add “pause” at top to keep rep range)
RE press variant - 3 x 8
Yates rows - 4 x 8-12 (pauses at gut)
1-arm BB curls - 2 x 10-12
laterals - 2 x 10-15

Recommended RE Main Press - flat bench (YES!! THE KING!), decl DB, incl DB, flat DB, weighted dips (rotate as needed)
RE press variant - any RE main press, any basic press variant - use to improve weak points and maintain “forward progress” in training

Day 7 - RE Day - lower
RE squat - 5 x 8
RE GM/pull - 4 x 10
reverse hypers - 3 x 8-12
ghetto GHR - 3 x 8-12
laterals - 2 x 10-15

RE squat - any ME squat variation, *20-rep squats can be used here as well, but reduce # of sets
RE GM/pull - regular GM, sumo SLDL, conventional SLDL, RDL - pick your favorite

if you decide to use chains or especially bands for the various exercises for accomodating resistance, you will almost definitely NEED to reduce sets. If you need additional triceps work, you can add chains or bands to your bar presses as well. Chains/bands during squats will maintain direct tension on the quads throughout the range of motion.

ME Day - press = The ME exercise is a press that hits all 3 of the “push” muscle groups in the upper body (pecs, front delts and tris’). Maxing (even for a triple) with the basic “pectoral bench press” can give a lot of people problems, so the exercises selected are generally pretty easy on the shoulder joint overall. WS focuses heavily on triceps strength because they use bench shirts and want to get the highest bench possible. Since the average BB will not be using a shirt, the primary supplementary exercise will be a pectoral builder (and periodically an overhead press), although CGBP is an exercise of choice and is a triceps smoker.
The “basic press variant” can be any of the ME exercises, or a DB exercise of whichever angle makes you happy. Periodically, rotate in an overhead press here for supplementary work, especially if you feel your delts need more work.
Lat work includes a close grip chinup and a wide grip row, alternated with the presses. If you are in good enough shape to perform these exercises in an alternating (or supersetting) set fashion, then more power to you.

You finish the day with the best single-joint triceps exercise in existence (Rotate angle of the bench every few weeks to keep elbows happy) for higher reps (keeps the elbows happier) and cable laterals, which are done every day for 2 sets of 10+ reps. I experimented with this, and with all the heavy pressing and pulling, direct deltoid work ends up being unnecessary, with the exception of the lateral head. The cable reduces the drain on recovery and allows for a pretty direct stimulation.

ME Day - Lower - start off with a pull or a GM, both of which are very easily adapted for a max effort triple. This also ensures that a good emphasis is given to hamstrings and posterior chain, which are weak on damn near EVERYBODY. Next up is a squat variant, pick your poison, keep your knees happy. Reverse hypers and ghetto GHR finish off the posterior chain and hammies with “lighter” higher rep work as compared to the heavy pull or GM you started off with and, of course, the cable laterals for delts.

DE Days - these are changed to “RE days”, which are essentially high rep days. I include the flat BP with higher reps, lower weight on press day, which shouldn’t put anybody’s shoulder into a coma, but really, you modify this to suit your needs. If you want to do inclines or whatever, then go for it. I won’t be offended. Lat work includes a wide grip pullup and a close grip row. 20-rep squats can be included on the DE lower body day, but I wouldn’t recommend doing 5 sets of them. Hammie-specific exercise is next, then of course, reverse hypers and GHR.

Ghetto GHR are performed with heels underneath the knee-pads on the pulldown machine. Place your knees onto a movable flat bench, and using bodyweight (or weight, if you’re a stud), lower yourself under control until you are parallel to the ground, then pull yourself back up. Layne Norton (aka str8flexed) has a nice video or two demonstrating this exercise. If you have a “real” GHR bench, then use that one if you like. Reverse hypers are done with the reverse hyper machine. If you don’t have one, use a 45-degree hyper or a basic hyper, if that’s all you have. Try to focus on your hamstrings here. Plate-heel pulls are a concentric-only exercise where you sit with your leg extended and use the heel of your foot to pull a plate toward you. Nice way to help hammies, no negative means low drain on recovery.

“Guys that eat and are able to rely on basic programs to increase their weights in squats, pulls, and presses doing basic exercises that strengthen the body and force it to adapt with increased muscle have it easy. They will never know what it’s like to fight through moronic inefficiency to needlessly differentiate your training and alleviate worry that when you eventually do start gaining weight someday, it will be in perfect symmetry and proportion - all at 2lbs a year.”

  • Chris Fineburg

I like the WS4BB concept, I found this audio interview interesting.


this looks interesting…what are your thoughts?

That’s kethnaab’s program, if I’m not mistaken. I’ve seen it before. Like he said it’s basically a basic upper/lower with the westside ME and RE concepts thrown in. What’s not to like?

On the lower body days, both ME and RE, wouldn’t deadlifting after squatting and vice versa, kill your lower back?
What would be some good substitutions for ME squat variant and RE Gm/pull variant?

[quote]Dule wrote:
On the lower body days, both ME and RE, wouldn’t deadlifting after squatting and vice versa, kill your lower back?
What would be some good substitutions for ME squat variant and RE Gm/pull variant? [/quote]

I agree, on the regular westside program I think its just 1 or the other for that day. I’m going to do the regular one eventually but as far as I know the main concept is primarily on the first lift of each day. Everything after that can probably be modified a bit more to fit your goals, bodybuilding/powerlifting/etc.