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WS4SB or Bill Starr 5x5?

I’m about 190 lbs, 5 foot 9, with >10 percent body fat. I’m lookin to gain both size and strength simultaneously. Which one of these programs would be more beneficial? I’m in college and currently not playing any sports so I’m not looking for anything sport specific, althought next semester I might try some MMA. But despite that, what would be best for size and strength?

How long have you been training? What is your work capacity like?

Also, I would recommend replacing Bill Starr’s original 5x5 with the Madcow2 version of it (whether you choose the 5x5 or not). I think that the Madcow2 program is better than the original and I personally have used it with success.

Here is a link for more info on the Madcow2 version:


Do yourself a favor and check out some of his other resources as well. There is some valuable stuff on there.

I’m a freshman in college and I’ve been training hard since like my mid sophomore year of high school.

And btw, thats the version I’ve been looking at.

I’d appreciate some advice. Looking for good size and strength gains, but not sure which of these would be best for it.

I think a 4-day upper/lower split will serve you well. Go with WSFSB.

I’ll give it a swing. I have about 10 weeks until I start my MMA (if I choose to do so). I’m already 2 weeks into my WS4SB so I could possibly just finish out 4 more weeks of that and if it doesn’t work I got 6 more weeks to try out the 5x5.

Is there any other advice on which routine might work best?

[quote]wfifer wrote:
I think a 4-day upper/lower split will serve you well. Go with WSFSB. [/quote]

I agree there. And don’t forget that “food” stuff too. You can put on a life-changing amount of muscle in a couple years just by consistently doing WS4SB and eating your ass off. No need to jump programs, just stick with the simple shit until you weigh at least 250 lbs.


i did alright with WS4SB but the reality of it is guys like me and you who dont play competitive sports dont have much reason to do some of the plyo stuff thats included

I’m not really using any of the conditioning or plyo kind of stuff from westside. I’m just using the 4 day split, with max upper/lower body, rep upper body, and dynamic lower body. I’ve been on it for two weeks and lets hope it works!

How often should I change things up in WS4SB? I’ve read the article and created my little routine and whatnot, but I’m not entirely clear on how often to change things up, if at all.

I personally prefer the 5x5 method as opposed to the WS4SB. Got good size and strength gains with the 5x5, more pure strength gains from the WS. As long as you follow the instructions and dont dive right in with your max on the first week you should be able to keep increasing the pounds week after week on all your lifts. I guess I also liked the fact that it is the same lifts over and over with the 5x5, so you get really good at them, and they cover every body part that matters with just the 3 lifts.

Either way, tons of lifters have used both, and you will grow if you follow either consistently and make the right choices in the kitchen.

Ok so I have one last question; how long can you use the 5x5 or Westside before you have to switch things up a bit–until it stops working?

Cycling the two, six weeks at a time, with a deload week in between will work very well

Think so? So finish up 6 weeks of Westside then switch on over to 5x5 for another 6?

Any other advice? Perhaps a routine thats better than either of these two? I don’t really feel satisfied after my Westside workouts.

Personally I dont think WS4SB needs to be cycled, because you are cycling your max lifts (well, that is the POINT of WS). Just stick with it for 6 months, then switch to a 5x5 later.

My WS4SB routine that I set up according to the template just kinda seems weird. Would someone check it out for me and let me know what they think if I posted it?

This is using the 3-day meathead template from WS4SB 3

Day 1
Barbell Bench Press (5w) 1x3
Incline Dumbbell Bench Press 2x15
*Barbell Bent-over Rows 3x10
*Reverse Flyes 3x10
Barbell Shrugs 4x15
Barbell Curls 4x12
Forearms 3x10

Day 2
Barbell Deadlifts (5w) 1x3
Dumbbell Single-leg Jump Squats 3x8
Hyperextensions 3x10
Seated Calves 4x10

Day 3
Push-ups 4x15
Chin-ups 4x8
Dumbbell Standing Shoulder Press 4x10
*Dumbbell Shrugs 3x10
*Barbell Lying Triceps Extensions 3x10

an asterisk means they are supersetted

… Just do a fucking simple 4-day split. This does not need to be complicated. What I don’t like about WS4SB is that it’s got too much fancy shit and you end up neglecting some things (or not hitting them hard enough) and start doing some weird exercises.

I mean as an example your lowerbody day has only one quad exercise. I know that’s how his program is set up, but do you really think your quads are going to get a good workout from just ‘db single leg jump squats’ done once a week?

WS4SB type stuff is great if you are aspiring/are already a hardcore powerlifter. Sure Joe gets great results from his athletes doing that but their main goals aren’t hypertrophy. I am not knocking his program either I just believe that someone who is not looking for anything sport specific and just wants to get huge could get better results over the long term by doing something simpler that doesnt have exercises rotating every six weeks or whatever, or jump squats and fucking pushups as a ‘chest builder’.

I would recommend something like the following:

a day for legs
a day for chest and triceps
a day for back and biceps
a day for shoulders

Simple shit, nothing fancy and it works.

Having said all this if you enjoy the WS4SB and are making good progress from it then by all means keep doing it.

Also I don’t like the idea of doing 6 weeks of one program then 6 weeks of another. Stick to one thing for more like 6 months (making small changes here and there to keep progressing) and you will make better long term progress.

[quote]Der Candy wrote:
Also I don’t like the idea of doing 6 weeks of one program then 6 weeks of another. Stick to one thing for more like 6 months (making small changes here and there to keep progressing) and you will make better long term progress.[/quote]

Best advice on this thread.