T Nation

WS4SB - Feedback/Critique Wanted

Hey guys, I asked about a week ago if anyone could recommend me a new program for size and strength and someone mentioned Westside for Skinny Bastards. I read the whole article by John DeFranco and made up the following program for myself by picking the exercises and reps/sets ranges he recommended.

This is what it looks like:

Max Effort Upper Body - Monday

Barbell Bench press ? working up to a max set of 5 reps
Incline dumbbell bench press 4x8
Bent-over dumbbell rows 4x10
Bent-over dumbbell rear delt flyes 3x12
Hanging leg raises 4x10

Lower Body - Wednesday

Straight bar deadlift ? working up to a max set of 5 reps
Barbell reverse lunges 4x10
Leg curls 3x10
Heavy dumbbell holds 3 timed sets

Repetition Upper Body - Friday

Bodyweight Dips - working up to 3 sets of max reps
Skull crushers 4x8
Pull-ups 4x8
Dumbbell Lateral raises 3x10
Regular barbell curls 3x8
Abdominal circuit training

I was wondering if someone experienced could comment on this and tell me if that looks like a typical WS4SB program and if there is anything I can improve/replace, basically any sort of feedback.

Also I have a few of questions of my own.

  • For benchpress on ME monday it says to work up to a 5RM set. This means that you start off with a low weight, do 5 reps, then add more weight, do another 5 reps and keep adding weight until you reach a weight which you can barely do 5 reps with? Would like some clarification on this please.

  • Also for Repetition upper body on friday it says to work up to 3 sets of max reps. Does this mean I do 3 sets and for each set I do as many reps as I can?

  • Finally I was wondering if training lower body once a week is enough to produce hypertrophy and strength gains. I do Taekwondo twice a week on Tuesdays and Thursdays and a lot of it is leg work but it is more endurance type work.

Maybe if I replaced reverse lunges with squats I would have better results or would having squats and deadlifts on the same day be too much?

Looking forward to your feedback. Thanks!

Your spot on with the first two questions. You need to find an optimal amount of sets to do when warming up to your 5RM set. Too many and you will be too fatigued to hit your true 5RM, too few and your volume will be lacking and you will not be warm enough.

The repetition day is also how you guessed. Pick a weight and go to failure, pick a heavier weight and again go to failure, then do it once more.

I train using the normal westside program and do 2 lower body sessions a week. However, i am not doing a sport. If you read Joe DeFranco’s rational behind only having 1 lower body workout a week you will see it is because he trains a lot of athletes, not powerlifters, therefore he finds they can not recover from 2 lower body days a week becuase of the additional sport training and matches they are doing.

You say you do Tae Kwondo so 1 lower body day a week sounds right. However, you could try a second one and keep it short, (maybe just squats) and see how your recovery goes. Then over time, you should be able to increase the volume and/or intensity of the second lower body day as your GPP goes up. This can take time though( months and years, not days).

Lastly, i would not deadlift and squat heavy on the same day. Squats in the 3-4 sets of 8 to 12 reps may be ok, but not a 5RM after a 5RM on the deadlift.

Remember the westside idea uses conjugate periodisation which involves constantly bringing exercises into and out of your program to ensure continued progress. For example, you do not and should not always deadlift. You could deadlift for 3 weeks, box squat for 3 weeks, good morning for 3 weeks etc.

Overall it looks like your on the right track. Good training to you…

For a second lower body day, would it make sense to center it around another max effort lift, say squat one day and deadlift the other

If your following a westside protocol it the second lower body day should be a speed day, not another max effort

Thanks for taking the time to answer some of my questions. Im going to add a second leg day and go light like you recommended and see how it goes.

One final question that I forgot to ask before. For all the other exercises where Im not working up to a 5RM but that have a fixed reps/sets scheme, do I just pick one weight with which I can barely finish the last rep of the last set? So one weight for all the sets of the exercise?

[quote]gutshot wrote:
Thanks for taking the time to answer some of my questions. Im going to add a second leg day and go light like you recommended and see how it goes.

One final question that I forgot to ask before. For all the other exercises where Im not working up to a 5RM but that have a fixed reps/sets scheme, do I just pick one weight with which I can barely finish the last rep of the last set? So one weight for all the sets of the exercise?[/quote]

This is an interesting point and the answer is very open. The supplemental exercises(those after the max effort can be worked in many ways). You could as you say pick one weight and do 3 or 4 sets with it, so only the last set is really tough. Or you could do timed sets, or you could pick a total number of reps and do as many sets as needed to hit the total. The whole point of the conjugate method is continued variety to allow progress week in week out. Get creative!

One thing that i have learnt from Dave Tates articles and Louie Simmons articles and do practise myself is not going to failure on the supplementary exercises. Leave a rep or two in the bag.
This allows you to do many sets without impacting recovery.