Westside Barbell Powerlifting Training

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    Westside Barbell Powerlifting Training


    In the world of powerlifting one gym, and it's system of training pretty much dominates the sport. That gym is Westside Barbell, and the man that cam up with the system is none other than tha grand Guru of strength training Louis Simmons. Westside training is a complex system that takes the best of many different types of training protocols and fuses them together into a system that has proven to have no peers in the realm of pure strength training. And as an aside, there is enough hypertrophy specific training that size results also. Below is some of the material I studied for MONTHS before doing my first REAL Westside routine. I played with many of the components of it in the early and mid 90's, but my first REAL pass at it had me put everything together.


    My results? Well after a period of gaining literally 50 lbs on my bench and 75 lbs to my squat in a very short time, I fell FLAT ON MY FACE and stagnated and ended up with extreme joint problems. I consequently took time off and found a way to make Westside work for the genetically typical trainee. I have trained many people using my abbreviated Westside format with great success. I'll let everyone read the work as directly from the master here, and then when you have digested it and have a million questions, I'll post an article on making it work for YOU!

    The Squat Workout
    When I write about training, I am reporting the results of our top lifters. So far, 16 have squatted over 800, six have squatted over 850, and one has done 1010, Matt Dimel.
    The system used is a mixture of the dynamic method and the maxi-mum effort method, greatly influenced by the conjugate method, which emphasizes the parts, not the whole. We always raise work capacity through special means consisting of a large array of exercises.
    The squat is trained with a barbell two times a week:
    Friday for speed work with a large training volume and with medium intensity (50-60% of a contest squat) done off a box at or slightly below parallel. This is followed by special exercises for the back, hips, hamstrings, and abs. A second workout is on Monday. It is designed for maximum strength, hence the term maximum effort method’. Once again, exercises for the back, hips, ham-strings, and abs are worked after attempting record poundage on an assortment of core exercises.
    All of our squats are done on a box. There is nothing dangerous about box squat-ting. When someone writes about the dangers of box squatting, It is apparent to me that the individual was never taught to box squat correctly or never taught at all.
    The Washington Huskies have had great success with our program for 8 years, yet they would never box squat. I told them that if they came to Westside and learned how to do them, they would al-ways do them. When the coaches returned home, they put their ath-letes to the test and found that those who could not learn how to squat by regular squatting discovered how to in half an hour by box squatting.
    This is how: with the feet pointing straight ahead and much wider than shoulder width apart, push the glutes to the rear (always sit back, not down) until you are sitting on the box. Your shins will be past vertical (knee joint more than 90 degrees), something that is impossible with regular squatting because you would fall over backward. However, this position is made possible with the box, thus overloading the most critical squatting muscles. There is absolutely no pressure on the patella tendons by doing this. Note: Dimel came back to do 903 at the 1993 APF Senior Nationals after tearing off both knees; all his training was on boxes.
    Why does this box style of squatting teach one to squat properly. Because after squatting back so far and releasing the hip and lower oblique muscles, you must first raise the head to raise out of a deep squat. If while descending into a squat, the glutes go back first, then the head must move last. Right? The opposite of this eccentric phase is an concentric contraction, or raising. It only stands to reason that the head must raise first, and the glutes will follow.
    We see many lifters get bowed over coming up from a squat because they push with their feet first instead of their head. We are trying to raise the bar, so why not push against the bar first?
    Static work overcome by dynamic action’ builds explosive strength best. This is precisely what a box squat provides. In addition, you are always breaking parallel. One can also train much lighter; 50-60% of a contest max is all that is necessary to make progress if you keep the lifts explosive and accelerate the bar.
    As always, 20 out of 200 lifts should be above your training weight for any particular workout. This should occur when the percentage reaches 55 or 60%.
    To clarify, we use a 5 week wave’, starting at 50% for week 1, jumping 2.5% each week until 60% is reached, and then starting over. The graphical representation looks like a wave, thus the name.
    The box allows one to max out and to determine your new strength level without the aid of contest gear — wraps, straps, and a big psych. There should be two maxes: a test max and a training max. The contest max requires a large crease of adrenaline, thus causing psychological regression of the central nervous system. This is course, why on max effort day we switch a core exercise such as good mornings or a special squat or deadlift every 2 weeks. This enables us to max 52 weeks a year.
    It is easy to keep track of your current squat max without maxing out in gear. Bob Youngs has gone from a 570 to a 720 squat in 10 months without doing a regular squat in training. Here's how. Bob made a 500 box squat record. At a meet, he did 590. He later recorded a 540 box and at a meet did 670. For his third meet in training Bob hit 585. At the meet 720 was strong. When Bob does, lets say, 610 off parallel box, we are confident that his meet squat will be up at least 25 pounds, just as his box squat indicates. Some lifters will get a large carryover and some a small carryover, but it should stay consistent with the individual.
    Now lets get to workout. On Friday we do the speed work. For example, for a 600 lb. squatter, start with 50% for 12 sets of 2 reps with 45 seconds rest between sets. Stay with 12 set of 2’s for 3 weeks, jumping 2.5% each week. At 57.5 and 60%, drop the sets to 10; 60% of 600 is 360; 360 X 10 sets of 2 reps = 7200 pounds. This is equal to the total volume of 12 sets of 2 reps with 50%, or 300 X 24 = 7200 pounds.
    We follow a modification of Verkhoshansky’s method of reaching total volume. As you can see our bar volume stays the same, but as we wave up every week 2.5%, we greatly raise the volume of special exercises until it is highest at the 60% week. Then it dramatically drops down and is raised gradually as the wave is again increased from 50 to 60% over the next 5 weeks.
    The assistance work is glute ham raises, reverse hypers, pull-throughs, back raises, and a large dose of ab work as well as pulling a weighted sled.
    With this system an 800 pound squatter can keep his strength where ever he wants. How? If that 800 squatter trains with weight ranging from 375 to 450(50-60%), he will maintain a 750 pound squat. Then he can push it up in one wave, or about 5 weeks, to a new max.
    We think the two most important elements of squat training are the separation off the box — explosive strength — and accelerating strength and, second, raising work capacity through special exercises. Remember to try a new box PR every 8-12 weeks. If you fail, ask yourself why. It must be a particular weak muscle group, so increase the work for that muscle group.
    If you use Weight Releases, this is the day. We suggest adding 10-20% to the bar weight for the eccentric work. Rubber bands or chains can be added as well, or possibly both devices.
    When using chains, when you are standing up, about 3 links of the chain should be touching the floor so that when you are seated on the below-parallel box about half the chain is unloaded (lying on the floor). Your top weight with chains while sitting on the box will be approxi-mately 62.5%.
    Joe Amato and Dave Tate made squats of 865 and 870, respec-tively, by using a top weight of 465 plus 160 pounds of chain. When sitting on the box, half of the chain weight (80 pounds) adds to the 465 bar weight, equaling 545 at the
    bottom, which is 62.5% of 870.
    The second squat workout day is Monday. It is known as the maximum effort day. This day benefits the deadlift as well as the squat. It consists of maximum squats for 1-3 reps with a Safety Squat Bar, Manta Ray, front squat harness, etc. All squats are done on boxes of different heights: well above paral-lel (17, 16,15 inches) or well below parallel (10, 9, 8 inches). After maxing out for 2 weeks on a par-ticular squat, we switch to a variety of good mornings, such as arched back with a close or wide stance, bent-over good mornings with a close or wide stance, with legs bent to different degrees, or a combina-tion good morning/squat, which is a favorite. The latter is done by using a shoulder-width stance. Bend over to above parallel to the floor, then round over and sink into a very deep squat, arch, and return to a standing position. Very heavy weights can be used.
    Rack deadlifts from two or three positions as well as deadlifts stand-ing on a platform 2-4 inches high are done for a max single. These deadlifts also help us monitor our progress when we try a new record.
    Rotate from a squatting or back-arching core exercise every 2 weeks to a bending-over exercise. This would include good mornings and special deadlifts.
    One needs to use a wide variety of core barbell exercises to identify weaknesses. Special exercises are like football plays or different punches in boxing; one finds one that will crack the defense of your opponent. Then, of course, that play or punch will cease to work and a new play or punch will need to be found. Eventually you can come back to the original play or punch with newfound success.
    On Monday, maximum effort day, you must max out on a core barbell exercise, followed by 3-5 special exercises similar to the ones done on Friday, the dynamic day.
    There are two types of maxes: one in a movement (squat, bench, deadlift, snatch, clean and jerk) and one on a muscle. Hamstrings can be maxed with glute/ham raises, pull-throughs, stiff-legged deadlifts, or arched back good mornings. Spinal erectors can be maxed with back raises or reverse hypers, and traps by shrugs or high pulls. Of course, no muscle can be com-pletely isolated, but you can come as close as possible. These exercises are done for 6-12 reps, or sometimes to failure (the repetition method). Each lifter must deter-mine the number of sets for his or her physical preparedness. These exercises must be rotated when they cease to work, that is, when there is no pump or strength gain. All muscle groups must be worked in this manner, known as the conjugate method. This method has proven effective not only for strength gains but also as a means of restoration.
    Close to an important contest, 10-14 days out, we lower the core exercise top weights, but maintain and sometimes increase the special exercise work. Remember, it is the hamstrings, lower back, hips, and abs that do the squatting, not the quads. It is important to know what squats to increase a squat.
    Note: don't think of heavy and light workouts, think fast and slow. Fast will develop explosive strength and acceleration. Slow, with super max weight (over 100%), will de-velop max force. They must be trained in two different workouts. Always train the barbell exercise first, then special exercises in a priority system: what needs the most work train first; what needs the least work train last. It is best to divide the workout into two sessions, separated by at least an hour break.
    If you follow this approach to training, you may be ‘on deck’ while we're squatting.


    Overcoming Plateaus
    Your squat is going nowhere. No matter what you do it won’t increase. What can you do? Well first, let’s find the real problem. It can be several things: form, exercise selection, volume, and the development of special strength, i.e., starting, accelerating, eccentric, concentric, reversal, static, and of course absolute.
    First, let’s talk about form, Box squatting is a must. Use a box that is slightly below parallel. Sit fully on the box, keeping all muscles tight, most importantly the abs and the obliques. By releasing only the hip muscles you are going from a relaxed state to a dynamic phase. This is one of the best methods of developing absolute strength as well as explosive strength. Lowering the bar produces a great amount of kinetic energy, which is stored in the body, resulting in reversal strength.
    For box squatting, the form is the same as regular squatting. Before descending, the glutes must be pushed out to the rear. Because you are going to squat to the rear and not down, this sets up the body for a stretch reflex. Next, push the knees out to the sides. This accomplishes two things: It places much of the stress, or work, on the hips, and it will greatly increase your leverage in the bottom of the squat. By pushing the knees out, you are at least attempting to keep the knee joint in line with the hip joint. In theory, if you can stand up with 1000 pounds while your shoulder, hip, knee, and ankle joints are in line, you could squat to parallel with the same weight if the above joints are kept in line. That is why it is so important to super-arch the back, by keeping the chest up, while in the bottom of a squat.
    If you correctly push the glutes out first on the descent, then the head will move last. On the ascending phase, the reverse is true. The head must come up first by pushing the head into the traps. It is then natural for the hips and glutes to follow. Also, never push down with the feet when squatting. You must push out to the sides on the eccentric and concentric phases. That’s why we recommend Chuck Taylor shoes. The feet can be pushed out to the sides without the feet rolling over. When sitting on the box, it is possible, and desirable, for the shins to be past perpendicular. This places all the work on the vital squat muscles. This is impossible with regular squatting.
    Train on a box with 50-60% of your best contest squat. A 500 pound squatter would start at 250 and jump 10 pounds a week for 6 weeks. Now the weight is 300 pounds. On week 7 drop back to 250(50%) and a new wave. This is done for 10 sets of 2 reps for 4 weeks. Then drop to 8 sets. This will keep the bar volume relatively the same. The volume will change dramatically when you start the wave again, adding 3 or 4 special exercises that have not been used for a period of time.
    The combination of changing special exercises and using short rest periods (about 40 seconds between sets) has proven to be most effective for producing growth hormone. The short rest will cause lactic acid to build up.
    When you fight through this discomfort, you will produce the most growth hormone. Also, when you use maximal weights in the same exercise for more than 3 weeks, growth hormone production stops! Wusef Omar, a colleague of the renowned Tudor Bompa, with the help of top exercise physiologists, validated this at York University in Toronto.
    On the dynamic day, after box squatting, select 2-4 special exercises to improve. Because all the muscles that squat are located in the back of the body, except the abs, select exercises for the spinal erectors, glutes, and hamstrings, such as back raises, reverse hyperextensions, pull-throughs, sled dragging, and calf/ham/glute raises.
    The abs are very important for squatting, and we look at ab training very seriously. Because when you squat or deadlift, you are standing up, we do the majority of our ab work standing up. This is done on the lat machine. Face away from the machine, and pull a triceps rope down to the base of your neck. Hold the ends of the rope against your chest. Now bend over by forcing the abs to flex downward into the hips. This is exactly how the abs are designed to work. The obliques are the most important ab muscles. When you flex a weight off the floor or start out of a heavy squat, it is the lower obliques that initiate the entire upward motion.
    What I have been discussing is correct exercise selection. I hope you noticed that I have not included leg extensions and leg press. Leg extensions are a waste. It’s true that they isolate the quads, but the amount of weight is insignificant. Leg press machines are very dangerous in general. They place a tremendous amount of strain on the lower back. A leg curl machine is designed for bodybuilding. While it does build the hamstrings between the knee and hip, bodybuilders use it because it does not build size at the knee or the glute tie-in. It starts with knee extension and ends with hip extension but in a biomechanically unsound fashion. A glute/ ham machine works both the knee and hip extenders simultaneously. As in running and jumping, the quads do very little in squatting. So don’t waste too much of your time on quads.
    For accommodating resistance, use chains or bands. Weight releasers are useful for building reversal strength.
    I have discussed the speed day, Friday for squats. For the development of absolute strength, we have a max effort day, 3 days later. On this day, we never do regular squats.
    About 7 weeks out of 10 we do some kind of good mornings for a 3-rep max. We use special bars: Safety Squat bar, Buffalo bar, bent bars, and a special cambered bar that has a 14 inch camber, which takes the upper back out and makes the mid to lower back work over-time. Two out of 10 workouts are some type of squatting on a variety of boxes, from 8 to 17 inches high and with a variety of bars or with the Manta Ray or front squat harness.Do a 1-3 rep max in these special squats. Switch the core exercises every 2 weeks, again to maintain production of growth hormone. One out of 10 workouts should be some kind of pull for a 1-rep max.
    After the core lift, use 2-4 special exercises (glute/ham raise, reverse hyperextensions, pull-throughs). Raise special work for 3 or 4 weeks. This is the correct method to raise volume, with special work, not the classical exercises.
    Note: Close to a meet, work on speed and raise special exercises for the abs, low back, hamstrings, glutes, and hips.
    This method has produced 22 lifters who have squatted 800 or more, all from a small, private gym. We have had 500 pound squatters progress to 800 in less than 3 years. I’m sure this method will help you too if you think out your training.


    Overcoming Plateaus Part 2:
    THE BENCH PRESS
    Everyone likes to bench press, but no one likes to get stuck. Not making progress is no fun and sometimes grounds for retirement. Only the strong at heart will continue. But should anyone ever stall out? The answer is no. The problem is if you do the same training, you will get the same results.
    There are basically four reasons for falling or succeeding: physiological, psychological, technical, and exercise selection.
    Let’s talk about psychological. Don’t have deadbeats hanging around you. Stay in a positive mental state. If your training partner can’t hang, no matter what their age, give them the hook. You must be competitive, even while training. But you also must want your training partner to succeed, so you will be pushed even more.
    On maximum effort day go until only the top man is left. On dynamic day try to hurt your training partner with short rest periods. To win, you have to put yourself through hell. Have training partners that want to kick your ass all the time (during the workout). Trash talk is always present at Westside. A new lifter at the gym wanted to load my plates for me during one of his first workouts. I asked him if he respected me. He said he did. I said, “If you respect me while we train, Ill boot you out of here.” He got the idea. When I was young, I didn’t want to lose to an old man. Now that I’m an old man, I don’t like to lose to young men. I cop an attitude, and that attitude kept only five men on the TOP 100 list kicking my ass (and I know where they live).
    I will sum up the psychological aspect of training with the words of Dr. Mel Siff and Dr. Yuri Verkhoshansky, authors of Supertraining. A high degree of performance depends on motivation, to gain certain goals, aggression, concentration, focus, the ability to tolerate pain and cope with anxiety or stress, developing a winning attitude, and raising the ability to manage distractions and to relax.
    What about the physiological aspects? This encompasses several aspects of training, such as the development of starting, accelerating, absolute, and special strength. These are primarily developed with barbell training. The correct loading on the dynamic day as well as the maximum effort day is essential.
    The physiological aspects also include the development of muscle hypertrophy. This can be accomplished with dumbbells, sled work, and the proper use of special exercises such as chins, rows, triceps extensions, and delt raises. Exercises that raise work capacity or general physical preparedness (GPP) are also essential, especially for drug-free lifters. Men such as Bill Gillespie and Sean Culnan are perfect examples.
    To address the technical aspects of benching, we must determine what is proper bench press form. It has always been thought that you should push the bar back over the face. However, it makes little sense to do so. When a bar moves toward the face, many bad things occur. The delts are placed under great stress, especially the rotators, and no one wants that. Also, the lats are no longer involved in the lift when the bar moves toward the face. The bar should be lowered with the lats, not the arms. Without strong lat involvement, there is little chance that the bar will be placed on the chest correctly. It may land too high or too low. If it is too low, the delts are involved too much. If the bar lands too high, the triceps are involved too much. Strong lats will ensure the bar is placed in the correct position, that is, with the forearms vertical. In this position, an equal amount of delt, pec, and triceps are used in pressing. If you don’t place the bar in the correct position, delt and pec injuries are more likely to occur.
    The path of the bar in the concentric phase (raising) should be a straight line. This requires the correct use of muscles. When the Clemson University coaching staff wanted to know which are the most important muscle groups for benching, George Halbert told them triceps are first, lats second, upper back third, and delts last. George holds the world record in the 220’s at 657, a world record of 688 in the 242s and a 683 at 227, the heaviest triple bodyweight bench of all time (457 pounds over bodyweight!).
    The delts are almost always overworked, and the triceps are underworked. You see a lot of delt and pec injuries but not a lot of triceps injuries. This tells me that most lifters don’t train their triceps to the max. When the triceps, upper back, and lats are the strongest muscle groups, the bar will travel in a straight line, making the distance to lockout much shorter. Also, it does not require the arms to rotate outward, which causes injuries to the pecs and rotators.
    Exercise selection is crucial. On dynamic day, after doing your 8-10 sets of 3 reps at 60% of a shirtless max, train the triceps first. It is quite common for our guys to do 14-18 sets of triceps extensions. They are done mostly with a straight bar. One frequently used exercise is J.M. presses, for 3-5 reps, working up as heavy as possible. Always try for a new PR. The same applies to straight bar extensions to the chin, forehead, or throat. Heavy dumbbell extensions are also used, 6-10 reps for 6-10 sets. Use short rests be-tween sets, 30 seconds or less. For the bar work 90 seconds is advised.
    For advanced lifters, such as Phil Guarino, superset light pushdowns or light dumbbells in between bar extensions or J.M. presses. This will greatly increase your GPP and thus your bench press. Phil used this method for 1 year and pushed up his bench from 525 to 633 at 242 and recently made a 661 at 253 bodyweight.
    Also for the triceps try using Flex bands while benching off five 2 x 6’s. This takes the delts and chest almost completely out of the movement, leaving only the triceps to do the work.
    Lats are next. Rows of all kinds are done as well as lat pulldowns with a wide variety of bars. We don’t do many chins, but they are a good way to work the lats also. We do a lot of upper body sled work. This is my personal favorite. We also do a lot of static lat work with the Flex bands by hooking one band around one of the uprights of the power rack and holding the ends of the band so the lats are contracted for a long period of time, about 2-4 minutes. When you become fatigued at one position, change the position by slightly bending or straightening the arms and continue to hold the tension. Remember, when bench pressing, the lats are held statically. The delts rotate and the arms bend, but the lats stay contracted.
    The sled and bands work perfectly for the upper back as well. Inverted flyes, dumbbell power cleans, and lat pulls to the face can also be done. Choke a set of Flex bands to the top of the power rack, one on each side. Place a bar in the loops. Lie down as if to bench and pull the bar to the chest or belly using various grips. This simulates the action of the lats while benching. Tuck the elbows in tight.
    It is also important to have strong forearms. I have never seen a strong bencher who doesn’t have large, powerful forearms. The tighter your grip, the easier it is to activate the triceps.
    To use the biceps fully when benching, imagine you are stretching the bar apart. The first muscle to flex while pushing a bar concentri-cally will be the biceps. This technique of pushing the bar apart is very important and requires that one do external rotator work. This can be done with rubber bands. Older lifters may remember the chest expanders that Bob Hoffman sold. When these were popular, there seemed to be many fewer shoulder Injuries. Could it be that all of that external rotating prevented rotator injuries, which we see so many of today?
    Let’s look back. If your bench press is not progressing, it could be poor form, which could be a result of a lagging muscle group or not knowing how to bench correctly. Don’t merely take someone else’s advice on how to bench, but think for a minute and review what was discussed here.
    On speed day, speed is what we are after: starting and accelerating as well as reversal strength. Train with 60% of a no-shirt max. This will utilize power production maximally. Do 8-10 sets of 3 reps.
    On the maximum effort day you must max out on one core exercise, and don’t be afraid to miss. Do a final warm-up with 90%, then try a PR or two. This workout should occur 3 days after speed day.
    On both days push up your special exercises such as triceps extensions, delt raises, lat work, and forearm work. After the core lift pick three or four exercises, and never work out longer than 60 minutes. Do your triceps first and forearms last.
    If possible, do a second workout later in the day. This workout should be 20-30 minutes long and should consist of extensions, raises, lat work, and curls. No bar pressing should be done.
    Does this work? At Westside we hold 3 out of the 12 all-time world records in the bench: 657 at 220 (George), 688 at 242 (George), and 728 at 275 (Kenny Patterson), the last having the greatest bench coef-ficient of all time. Eighteen of our lifters bench more than 550 pounds, and two of these are over 40 years old and are 198’s (Jeff Adams and Jerry Schwenker). Seven men bench more than 600 at Westside. Bill Gillespie, strength coach for the Washington Huskies, has gone from 480 to 628 in about 5 years and has passed every drug test he was given. This should be proof that this sys-tem works for anyone, not just those at Westside.

    Overcoming Plateaus Part 2:
    THE DEADLIFT
    Squat and bench press records are continually being set in recent years. It's easy to see why. Most federations have a 24-hour weigh-in rule, which is a positive thing for the health of the lifter. It is easy to rehydrate in 24 hours, which results in fewer cramps and muscle pulls and tears. In the old days, it was common for lifters to pass out while squatting or to drop the squat bar because they were dizzy. And, of course, the more you weigh; the more you can squat or bench. In addition, the introduction of power suits, groove briefs, and bench shirts has enabled the lifter to make bigger and bigger lifts.
    But, what about the deadlift? Does equipment help in this lift? Shawn Coleman said that using a larger deadlift suit helped him get into a better starting position to pull a PR 835 deadlift. So while supportive gear can help the squat and bench, and prolong one’s lifting career, more times than not it can be a hindrance for deadlifting.
    So, if equipment is of little benefit, what’s the answer when it comes to the deadlift? Training.
    Most litters deadlift too often and too heavy. This has an ill effect on the central nervous system. A better method is to use a variety of exercises that mimic the deadlift or special exercises that develop the individual muscles that are used while deadlifting (the conjugate method). One must build the muscles that start and finish the lift. Also, there must be methods used to develop speed and acceleration; the quicker the bar Is locked out, the less chance for the grip to give out.
    Vince Anello, an 821 deadlifter at 198, once told me that anything he did would make his deadlift go up. Bill Starr said that if you want to deadlift more, don't deadlift. Bill was an excellent Olympic lifter who pulled a 666 national record in 1970, having concentrated on powerlifting for only a short time. Whether they knew it or not, both men were utilizing the conjugate method. This method was devised to develop the muscles and special strengths (starting, accelerating, absolute).
    The good morning is a valuable exercise in the conjugate method. For deadlifting, the bent over version is the best. Bend at the upper back first and round over while lowering the bar. The legs can be slightly bent to prevent hyperextension of the knee. While doing good mornings, always think about duplicating the motion of a deadlift. Only you, the person doing the good morning, can gauge its effectiveness, (1) by the stress on the spinal erectors, hamstrings or glutes, and hips, and, of course, (2) if your deadlift goes up.
    Shawn Coleman did 600 for 5 reps in the good morning prior to his 835 deadlift. If you are doing 600 for 5 reps and your deadlift is 700 pounds, you are just kidding yourself, and you must change your training.
    Use a variety of bars in the good morning: straight, cambered, Safety Power Squat bar. Use a high bar placement and a low bar placement, close and a wide stance, and sometimes do them seated. Bands and chains as well as weight releasers can be used. One to six reps works best. Stockier men should do at least 3 reps to increase muscle tension. Because a max deadlift can take several seconds to complete, the duration of a set of reps in this lift must also be several seconds.
    Various types of squatting should also be done to increase the deadlift. Michael Brugger of Germany related to me that the Olympic-style squat was his favorite exercise to increase his deadlift of 887. Eddie Coppin of Belgium made an 826 deadlift at a bodyweight of 186. The front squat was a major part of his training. In the early 1970s, George Clark pulled 700 at 181 and just missed 735, the world record held by Vince Anello. George’s main exercise was the hack squat deadlift, with the bar held behind his back. These are three examples of great lifters using a form of the squat to raise their deadlift.
    Squatting with a bar held in various ways will place the stress on the erectors, hips, and glutes; the primary muscles that deadlift. We advise using a group of specialty bars: Buffalo bar, Safety Power Squat bar, Manta Ray, etc. This will teach you to maintain a more upright position, which is conducive to a good deadlift.
    If you do all deadlifting, it is a matter of time before your deadlift will stall, or even worse, injury will stop all progress. Why? No ones body will equally distribute the work evenly between the lower, mid, and upper back. If the lower back takes the major role in deadlifting, which is most often the case, eventually an injury will occur. But by doing a variety of special exercises for the upper back, the muscles of the entire back are more likely to receive equal work. These exercises include shrugs, lat work, spinal erec-tor work, good mornings, back raises, reverse hyperextensions, glute/ham raises, sled work, and pull-throughs.
    What about starting and accelerating strength? The best way to develop these strengths is by using Flex bands. By attaching the bands over the bar, the resistance is applied to the bar evenly. The higher the bar is raised, the more resistance applied to the bar. If you are weak at the top, with the bands you will learn to pull faster at the start, so momentum and then acceleration can help carry the bar to lock-out. It you are weak at the start, the bands will teach you to start off the floor faster, because without the fast start, you will not be able to lock out a heavy deadlift. For those who have said this will not build acceleration: one does not use maximum weight with the bands, but rather 60%. More resistance is added to the bar by the bands as you lift the bar. This is called accommodating resistance.
    Concerning contradictory Information on this subject, research in the United States is invariably done in a college environment. It is conducted with students as subjects. These students many times are not avid weight lifters, nor are they of high standard, such as Elite lifters. Nevertheless, conclusions from these studies are put forth as a model for all training, including that used at football and weight lifting facilities.
    The most usable results are obtained by testing high-skilled athletes. This is what is done at Westside, where only Elite lifters (43 to date) are tested. You must have a qualified trainer to ask the right questions and highly qualified lifters to test to help answer those questions.
    Poor testing also occurs when two different training methods are tested together. This example also points out the misuse of plyometrics. A lifter had tried a program of plyometrics in between deadlift sets. Not only will the plyometrics dampen the central nervous system for the following sets of deadlifts but in fact the deadlifts would also negatively affect the plyometrics. He raised his pull 2.5-kg, an insignificant amount to register a valid training effect. You can’t train plyometrics and the maximal effort method at the same time.
    Plyometrics help the separation phase only, when the bar separates from the floor. But this particular lifter had difficulty above the knee level and locking out. He was also doing rack work above the knee at the same time and sled pulling. These two exercises build the top part of the deadlift, where he would fail. The plyometrics build the start, not where he needed help. In the United States, plyometrics are misused more times than not. They are so draining on the central nervous system that heavy pulls and squats must be decreased or done during the non competing months of the year. In summary, please be careful what you read. Not all conclusions are valid.
    The abdominal muscles are extremely important in deadlifting. The abs must flex first, before the lower back starts to do its work. Lifters with weak abs and a strong back will invariably hurt their back. When the back flexes first without the abs working as stabilizers, the back is put under great stress. Therefore, you must learn to increase intraabdominal pressure while lifting. This will reduce the risk of a hernia and greatly reduce pressure on the disks.
    The internal and external obliques play a great role in stabilizing the hips, and they initiate straightening the legs in the deadlift. Years ago, when powerlifters could deadlift more than they squatted, the obliques were often much more developed than they are today. Lifters use to do side presses and one-armed deadlifts to develop the obliques.
    At Westside, we do most of our ab work standing up, with a lat machine. The abs must flex downward to be effective. Oblique work can also be done standing up. Face away from the lat machine with the strap held behind your neck. Put one toot in front of the other and bend forward, flexing the obliques. This will train the abs correctly.
    You must do all types of ab work. In addition to standing ab work, leg raises and straight-leg sit-ups are beneficial. Don't be confused by the way bodybuilders look. Every time I watch one of those fitness shows, some big-time bodybuilder is telling everyone to keep his or her knees bent to take pressure off the low back. I guess sucking in those abs is a bunch of crap, huh. Because if their abs were half as strong as they look, they wouldn't be worrying about their lower back.
    Although a smaller waist will make it easier to deadlift, it must be very strong. One could see John Kuc’s abs, through his super suit from 100 feet away when he made 870 at 242. Bob Peoples taught the best method of using the abs in the deadlift to me. He said It was best to breath into the stomach only, not the chest. This will stabilize and support the lower back, and it does not elongate the spine. The shorter the spine, the better the deadlifter. If you have long legs, a short torso, and long arms, you have the perfect build for deadlifting.
    More important than the right build is attitude. The deadlift is a tough lift, especially at the conclusion of a long meet. No attitude is “working out” and a killer attitude is “training” — a big difference.


    I am pictured with one of the greatest deadlifters of all time: Vince Anello and Jim Cash. Jim deadlifted 837 at 220, and Vince deadlifted 821 at 198.
    I saw Vince for the first time in 1966 , when he pulled 525 at 165. I knew then he was destined for deadlifting greatness. I recall asking Vince what made his deadlift go up. His reply was that anything made his deadlift go up. At the time, I was confused by his answer. I later realized what he said was not confusing, but my lack of training knowledge had kept me in the dark. I read Bill Starr's article about raising your deadlift without deadlifting. Was this what Vince was telling me? Was this the conjugate method? The answer is yes to both.
    At Westside, the tenth best deadlift by coefficient is 710 at 198. We also have five lifters who have pulled 800 or more. Among the women, Doris Simmons pulled 349 at 105, Amy Weisburger 450 at 123, and Mariah Ligget 485 at 132 while training at Westside. These lifts were accomplished by deadlifting, at the most, one time every 4 weeks and more usually once every 8-10 weeks.
    Our training is comprised of squatting or arched-back good mornings one week and bent-over good mornings the next week. You must bend over because the back has flexion. We use a wide assortment of cambered bars to change the leverage.
    There are many ways to train. My objective is to teach you to train yourself. You must do what works best, not what you like best. Don't forget that.
    Jerry Obradovic pulled 804 at 275 by doing lots of ab work, high reps on the Reverse Hyper, and 3-5 reps on a very low box, 4-6 inches below parallel, with a Safety Squat bar. He also did high reps, 6-8, in the bent-over good morning with a Buffalo Bar. He would test his deadlift once a month by pulling a rack pull with the plates 2-4 inches off the floor. He also did lat work of all kinds three times a week. All this netted him an 804 deadlift and a 644 bench to go with it.
    Chuck Vogelpohl has a 793 deadlift at 242, and a 771 deadlift and 551 bench at 220. First of all, he trains 10-14 times a week. He always does abs in these extra workouts, and five workouts involve lat work. After speed squats on Friday, he will do 6-10 singles in the deadlift with 500 pounds, either sumo, conventional, or standing on a 1-4 inch box. They are very explosive.
    On Monday, max effort day at Westside, Chuck works up to a max good morning or box squat with a variety of boxes. He will use a box deadlift or rack deadlift only as a test of his progress, not to build the lift. Chuck does a lot of work on the Reverse Hyper. He always works low back and hamstrings before lats.
    John "Chester" Stafford, who deadlifts 800 and totals 2280, trains much like Chuck, maxing out for a single on a box squat or good morning. The exercises for the squat or good morning. The exercises for the squat are the same for the deadlift. John does a lot of standing abs and leg raises. He will only do a box or rack deadlift to test his deadlift, not to build it.
    I do a lot of pulling of weight sleds to build my deadlift. I train lats and upper back about 5 times a week, mostly during short, 20-30 minute, extra workouts. I do about 10-14 workouts a week. Here are some examples: glute/ham raises and abs; reverse hypers, lats, and abs; sled pulling, lats, and abs; band only good mornings, hamstring work, and abs. I also feel the box squatting with or without bands will increase your deadlift fast. I deadlift with bands or chains to a fast single, then do low back. On max effort day, I prefer to do a max single on a low box or a triple in the conventional good morning or a single in the concentric style good morning. Having mad a top 10 deadlift in three weight classes has served me well.
    The late Matt Dimel hit not only a 1010 squat but also an 821 deadlift. While he did all of the above, he would also work up to 600 for a single with the plates 2 inches off the floor. Then he would place an 1 inch mat under his feet and do a second single. More and more mats were added until the bar was touching the top of his feet. These were done with about 1 minute rest between sets. He also did a lot of lat work and work on the Reverse Hyper at least 4 times a week. Matt had very strong abs, which enabled him to do a sit-up with 115 pounds on an Olympic bar held behind his head while his legs were straight out on the floor.
    Jeff Chorpenning had a 750 deadlift at 198. He did a lot of heavy abs and low back on the Reverse Hyper. He used a wide sumo style, and very wide box squatting helped a great deal. He would max out on a low box squat and, of course, do an assortment of good mornings.
    What do these workouts have in common? These lifters always max out on some box squat level, mostly very low, or a good morning. They only use the deadlift to test their progress, not to build the deadlift. Lots of small extra workouts for abs, hamstrings, and lower or upper back are done. Any combination will work. Heavy sled pulling can take the place of max effort work 1 out of every 4 workouts.
    If these men and women have bad form, they will do special work to correct it, i.e., the conjugate method. The top pullers here can deadlift almost the same with any deadlift style. If not, this shows a weakness in some muscle groups.
    Because the deadlift is done last at a meet, when you're tired, we do a box squat or good morning first before trying a max box or rack pull. This keeps you honest. One must be in good shape to deadlift well in a meet. That's where all the extra workouts pay off. If you deadlift all the time, it will kill you in the long run, mentally and physically. Don't let this happen to you.
    Everyone at Westside does these workouts at one time or another. It does not matter what sequence or rotation you use. Change the core lift each week and the special exercises whenever you feel it is necessary.
    Remember what Vince said? I think this is what he had in mind.
    Westside Barbell

    Percent Training: What is it really? Part II

    By Louie Simmons
    In the squat, what is too heavy to train with and too light to train with? In Russia, much research revealed that 65-82.5% of a 1 rep max is best to build strength in the squat. They suggest 2-6 reps per set. At Westside Barbell we do sets of 2 for 2 important reasons. One, more than 2 reps tends Cause bicipital tendonitis and shoulder discomfort. This pain is commonly felt while benching but, in fact, comes from squatting. The bar shifts to some degree, causing damage. Having your hands spaced too close on the bar may also be the culprit. Two, in a power meet, we don't do reps so if we do 12 sets of 2 reps we are getting 12 first reps per workout. If you do 4 sets of six reps, then you get only 4 first reps. The velocity-force curve shows that weights can actually move too fast (weights below 65%) or too slow (weights above 82.5) . By staying within this percent range, we are continuously working with poundages that provide both adequate velocity and force to produce record-breaking squats. The multiset system with submaximal weights is referred to as the dynamic method. It produces maximum explosive force as well as maximum velocity. It is one thing to be quite strong and quite another thing to display it. This is important to sports teams if the weight room is to be compatible with the sport. Let me clarify one important aspect of our training. On our squat/deadlift special exercise day we train with a revolving system of exercises that are switched ever 2-4 weeks. We will work up to a top single (100%+) in a particular lift, for example, the box squat 3 inches above parallel with the Safety Squat Bar. After breaking a record or two, we switch to rack pulls. Again breaking records for a 2-4 week minicycle. We then switch again. By continually revolving special exercises and training at 100%+, we apply max force throughout the cycle. So as you can see, we have a velocity day and a max force day in the same week. This max force day is referred to as the maximum effort day. This enables us to maintain both maximum force and maximum velocity at the same time. We are able to train heavier longer than with any other system. The volume of weights by percent will make you stronger throughout the year. What's wrong with the progressive overload system, commonly used in the United States? Recall what I said about the force-velocity curve. In the early stages of the progressive overload system, the weights are too light, too light even for velocity work. This can be illustrated by throwing a whiffle ball. No matter how hard you throw it, it just doesn’t go very far, as compared to, say, a baseball. The weight of the baseball is more compatible with applying velocity and force. It's true that muscle hypertrophy is accomplished during this phase, but we are trying to achieve muscle strength, not size. As the weeks continue in the progressive overload system, the weights reach the 65-82.5% range. For a while you are achieving maximum velocity, providing that you are trying to do so. But as the weights grow heavier, the force factor comes into play. Slowly but surely, you lose that all-important factor - velocity. So as you can see, with the progressive overload system, it is impossible to maintain max force and velocity simultaneously. An additional negative effect occurs with progressive overload; you have lowered your volume to the point that it can no longer support the work needed to produce positive results at meet time. You may be at your strongest 2-3 weeks before the meet and fall on your face more times than not when it counts. One must train at 90% and above for maximum muscle recruitment, but this can only be done for a 6 week period before training efficiency decreases dramatically. However, by training the squat with submaximal weights, with maximal velocity, and by rotating exercises that closely resemble the squat on a second day, you can stay within the boundaries of the force-velocity curve. When you rotate special exercises, such as good mornings, rack pulls, or Manta Ray squats, anxiety and high blood pressure, which accompany the competition and are present when trying heavy training weights in the squat are eliminated. For most, training with heavy weights in the squat can be so stressful that ones adrenaline level drops drastically. Another negative aspect of progressive overload is that you must always drop assistance work at the end of the cycle, even though these are the exercises that made you strong in the first place. When you stop doing special exercises, their effect is lost in a few weeks, sometimes a few days. So, for the most part, they must be maintained as close to the contest time as possible. Large muscle groups recover in roughly 72 hours; small muscles, in 24 hours. We do our heavy squat and deadlift work on Monday. It never has a negative effect on our Friday squat workout. Therefore, there is no reason to reduce the work done on Monday when the contest is, in fact, a day or two later than our regular squat day. As far as deadlifting goes, we seldom do it. But when we do, we do multiple singles with very short rest periods (30 seconds). We start with 60% for 15 singles. During the minicycle the number of lifts decreases as the percentage increases. Use only one weight per workout. The top percent is roughly 85% and the lifts are reduced to 6-8 singles. If you do this type of training, jump about 5% a week. I recommend that only lifters built to deadlift do this cycle. You must be very explosive on each lift. For example, if you pull a max 700 pounds and you are using 70%, or 490, you must exert 700 pounds or more of force when pulling the weight. Yes, with submaximal weight you can exert more force than is actually on the bar. This is not possible when you do a max triple of 670 when your max is 700. If there was a force meter on the bar with 670, it may surprise you that not one rep would equal 700 pounds. This also explains why a particular lifter can perform 2 reps with 800, yet can do only 800 at a contest. His body can maintain 800 pounds of force for a period that allows two reps. But because of the slow bar movement, there is a lack of adequate velocity to lift the additional 30-40 pounds on the bar at the meet. Box squatting on squat day works as the velocity day for the deadlift. On deadlift day, we do a combination of max singles and max reps on a variety of exercises, such as four types of good mornings, five types of squats, five methods of pulls, and an array of exercises for the low back and abs. We may also do static work and isokinetic work. Special exercises with special devices allow maximum speed at the beginning of the lift and maximum overload at the top portion. Let us review. When using percent training, one can control volume, keeping it constant throughout the yearly cycle. Speed work and maximum weight can be incorporated into the workout, unlike the progressive overload method, where one is sacrificed for the other. A very important aspect is that special exercises can be maintained throughout the yearly cycle, as well as during the time leading up to the contest. Percent training is far less demanding psychologically, reducing anxiety and stress and keeping blood pressure from rising too high. By constantly breaking gym records in special exercises, confidence is built and a sense of well-being is maintained leading up to the contest. A book entitled "Science and Practice of Strength Training" by Vladimir Zatsiorsky may help clarify many of the points discussed here (1-800-747-4457). We qualified 10 lifters for the WPC Worlds by training with these guidelines. We welcome potential world champions to move to the Columbus area and train with us. Interested and qualified lifters should send their resumes to Westside Barbell.


    Back and Ab Training

    By Louie Simmons
    When squatting or deadlifting, a successful lift is dependent on keeping your back in good position. This takes a strong back as well as strong abs. At Westside, we do max effort work for squatting and deadlifting on the same day, Monday. The same muscles work in these two lifts. It saves energy to lump together the special exercises that contribute to both lifts. Let's first talk about the spinal erectors and how to develop them. Good mornings are done 40% of the time. This means 4 out of 10 Mondays. Any variation can be done. Work up to a 3 rep max. The following variations of good mornings can be used: Bent over with legs bent. Place the bar on your back in a squat position or slightly lower and bend over, rounding the upper and lower back. It is up to you how far to bend over. A lifter with a small waist will find it easier to bend over farther. This will build the erectors, hamstrings, and glutes by extending the legs and back simultaneously. Bent over with legs straight. These build the erectors and flexibility in the hamstrings. Arched back with legs straight. This style will build static strength in the erectors, which contributes to keeping the back arched while squatting or sumo deadlifting. Lower the bar as far as possible without losing the arch. Power arched good mornings. Use a very wide stance, a low bar position, and lean, don't bend, forward until the bar is in front of the knees. Heavy weights can be employed. This is not a quarter-squat. Remember, the bar must be in front of the knees after leaning forward. Combo squat/good morning. This one is very important for learning to extend all the squat and deadlift muscles. With a moderate stance and the bar held low on the back, bend forward until the back is close to the parallel to the floor. Then roll the lower back over and descend into a full squat. To stand up, straighten out the legs. This is very effective for building tremendous extension strength, as well as tremendous tightness. You feel like your eyes will pop out when you're in the bottom. Seated good mornings on a box. Sit on a parallel or above-parallel box and bend over. This takes the legs out of the exercise, which is helpful if you are injured or have a large stomach. Seated good mornings on a bench. Sit straddling a bench and bend over until your face touches the bench. This is for the lifter with a small waist and good flexibility. We have reviewed seven types of good mornings, but you can also change the strength curve by using the Weight Release device, Flex bands, or chains. You can vary the work by using a lot of weight and little chain or light bar weight and lots of chains or heavy or light eccentric loading with the Weight Release. These combinations are known as the contrast method. Caution: Use of the Flex bands can make one very sore due to the tremendous eccentric overloading from the tension of the bands, causing delayed onset of muscle soreness (DOMS). This phenomenon occurs with any type of eccentric stress, but especially with the Flex bands. Now let’s isolate. Back raises or hyperextensions. These are done on a special bench where the feet are anchored and the torso is supported while lying face down. Lower the upper body until your head is close to the floor. Then raise up to parallel, but no higher, to avoid hyperextending the back. The reps are 3-8. Work up to a new max set whenever possible. The 1968 Olympic weight lifting champ Waldemar Bazanowski was able to do 225 for 4 reps, so get to work. Pull-throughs with straight legs. Pull a low pulley cable through your legs while facing away from the machine. Done with the legs straight, this exercise will hit the lower back. Use high reps, sometimes to failure. Done with legs bent, this will work the glutes. Reverse hyperextensions. For the mid to the very lowest part of the back, the Reverse Hyper machine is far superior to any back exercise. Not only does it completely work the low back but it will rotate the sacrum. Also, on every rep when the plates are under your face, it opens the disks and allows spinal fluid to enter, thus providing restoration in addition to strength building. Abs. In my opinion the side bend is the most important exercise for the abs. The obliques not only work as stabilizers but are responsible for hip extension when lifting of the floor or out of the bottom of the squat. You must learn to push the abs out, expanding them against your power belt. Side bends with a dumbbell at a time; bend to the side and return to a standing position. Side deadlifts also work the abs/obliques. Stand next to the bar, facing the plates on the right or left end. Lift the barbell and try not to bend to the side. This exercise will build the obliques and stability in the glutes. We prefer to do our side bends with the help of an overhead cable machine. Stand with the lat machine to your side. Using a triceps strap held against the neck, bend away from the machine and do a side bend. There appears to be little stress on the spine using this method. We also do standing situps with lat machine. Hold a tricep strap around the back of the neck with the two ends held against the chest while facing away from the machine. Now bend over as far as possible while pushing out the abs. Most lifters are very weak when first attempting this exercise, but be patient. The weight will go up and so will your squat and deadlift. Leg lifts of any kind are good. Start with lying leg lifts with your legs bent. Progress to straight leg lifts. If your shoulders are good, do hanging leg raises. Do them with bent legs until you are strong enough to keep your legs straight. Use weight if possible. The hardest type of leg raise involves lifting your feet up to the bar you are hanging from. Please don't be confused by bodybuilding magazines. Your hip flexers/extensors and abs must work together. A bent leg sit-up is worthless unless you have a very weak back and stomach. There are many back and ab exercises to choose from. These are just a few. Some will work for certain individuals better than others. That is precisely why you need lots to choose from. The information in our series of articles is the result of experimentation by 43 elite powerlifters we have developed over the years. We have a system that will teach you to teach yourself.


    Researching Resistance
    By: Louie Simmons
    There are many things about strength that I don't understand. One, in particular, is how the heck did the father in The Courtship of Eddie's Father turn into the Incredible Hulk? Even Vladimir Zatsiorsky, Lazar Baroga, and Alexsei Medvedyev could not help me with this. However, these men have taught me many things, most of all to think.
    At Westside, we do not specialize in the bench press, yet we have 7 men who have officially done over 600. Our fifth strongest bencher is Jerry Obradovic, with 644.
    On March 7, at the Arnold Classic, George Halbert benched a world record 657 (298 kg.) weighing 220. George dropped to 220 on October 18, 1997, and made a 600 pound bench. In 5 months he made 657 by doing special work with bands and chains. On speed day, which is Sunday for us, George does his benches with 335 for 8 sets of 3 reps. This is slightly over 50%. The reps are very explosive; the 3 reps are completed within the same time frame that his max single requires.
    Chains or bands are used to accommodate resistance (40-60 pounds of chains, 100-160 pounds of resistance with bands). If one does the power or Olympic lifts with only a barbell, his or her potential to create additional speed or force is limited by the one-dimensional weight on the bar. If one is to do speed work, he or she should use no more than 60% (based on a no-bench shirt record or 55% or your best meet bench with a shirt) for the 8-10 sets of 3 reps. This is for explosiveness, strength, and accel- eration. This is exactly why you must use bands or chains to accommodate- resistance. Without them the bar moves too fast at the top. My data come from not one or two lifters, but 14 men that can bench at least 551 at Westside.
    George knows his minimax, or sticking point, is about 2-3 inches from the top, so after speed work, George hits the triceps first, then delts and lats. George also will do a small amount of lat and triceps work on Monday and Friday.
    On max effort day, Wednesday, George has a favorite exercise. He will use a bar with a 5 inch camber. He places two 2 x 6's on his chest. By doing this, the bar descends only 1-1/2 inches below his chest, not the full 5 inches, which would be too stressful for our lifters. He will use Flex bands, which add 160 pounds of tension to the bar. He will either work up to a max single or do 3 sets of 3 reps. His best is 475 for 3 triples. With the Flex bands, it is 635 at the top.
    Please note that we never use a bench shirt on our speed day or our max effort day.
    The Flex bands provided added eccentric overload, which not only builds muscle size but also increases reversal, or starting, strength. Because of the added tension, George will use the bands for only 3 weeks because of the additional muscle soreness.
    George also likes to do floor press with chains. Because the bar rack is so close to the floor, the chains are dropped over the sleeve of the bar. George will warm up with the bar and then add chains ; until he has 200 pounds of chain. Then weight is added, and he works up to a max single. His best is 445 plus 200 pounds of chain. George will always go for a new max, and many times he misses. As the chains come off the floor and the weight accumulates at the, top, he sometimes falls at his minimax, or sticking point. He will push as hard and as long as possible at this point, about 3 inches from lockout. By doing this, he is working at his weak point and devoting valuable time to it.
    At the Arnold Classic when the 298 kg. hit his sticking point, he blew past it to lockout. How? First, by developing a tremendous start and, second, by increasing the bar speed on speed day.
    On max effort day, the chains develop and teach acceleration merely through trying to outrun the chains. Also, when George misses at his minimax, he is performing functional isometrics in the best possible way. As the chains add to the weight of the bar, we can determine the precise point at which George fails; now we know where his weak point is with a particular weight. Conventional isometrics - that joint-jarring pressing against immovable pins - is unnecessary.
    The bands work in the same way, but with added eccentric work, from the bands pulling you down. This additional eccentric work also builds muscle mass.
    After each workout George will try to increase his triceps work, in volume and weight. The triceps are worked first after the main exercise, the delts second, and the lats and upper back third. Remember, this is done after the dynamic day work on Sunday and after the max effort day work on Wednesday.
    You must bring up your weaknesses through special work as well as develop special strength such as starting, accelerating, eccentric, and concentric strength. We do primarily slow work on the stability ball. Always try to cover everything.
    Let's talk about Mickey Tate. At 41, Mickey did a strong 650 at a body weight of 285. He also concentrates on speed work and works the muscles in the same sequence as George, but on max effort day, he does more mini cycles of incline press than, let's say, floor press. You will have to find what exercise works best for you, and you should use it closest to the competition.
    Jerry Obradovic also does a lot of incline work.
    J.M. Blakely likes to do the same max effort work as George but also does a lot of J. M. presses.
    Kenny Patterson, our biggest bencher with 728, does board presses off a 3 inch board the first week, then off a 2 inch board the second week, then floor presses without chains. Every fifth and sixth week, we suggest high-rep work with dumbbells or with a barbell using an ultra-wide grip.
    Rob Fusner was our sixth 600 pound bencher. He likes to use extra-wide benches for a max 6 reps. This particular exercise took Billy Master's bench from 523, where he was stuck for over a year, to 584, which he smoked at the 1997 APF Nationals.
    At 50 years old, I benched 600 on February 1,5, 1998. 1 like to do 3 sets of heavy (155's or 125's) dumbbells to failure on a stability ball. This is commonly known as the repetition method.
    We will throw in Weight Releases on speed day or max effort day and get a good response for a few weeks and then switch to something else.
    Using chains, bands, or Weight Releases is known as the contrast method, where the weight is different at different points of the lift. Remember, you must work at all angles of a lift.
    Good equipment is important. This is 1998; don't get left behind. Learn how to use a shirt. In the, immortal words of the Road Warriors, "if you are going to a knife fight take your guns.' That is precisely what we do. Don't let resistance stop you in your tracks; use it to your advantage.

    Box Squatting
    By: Louie Simmons
    Box squatting is the most effective method to produce a first-rate squat. This is, in my opinion, the safest way to squat because you don't use as much weight as you would with a regular squat.
    Let me say first that, no, they won't hurt your spine, you don't use1000 lbs. on a 25 inch tall box, you don't rock on the box, you don't touch and go, and there is no need to do regular power squats before a meet. No knee wraps are worn nor are the straps of the suit pulled up.
    By doing sets of 2 reps for at least 8 sets with short rest periods, you will get about a 200 lb. carryover to your regular squat. Two of our lifters finished their lifting cycle before a meet with 8 sets of 2 reps with 505 lbs. off a slightly below parallel box, and both squatted 700 for a meet PR One was competing in the 242s and the other as a 275. Two years before, in his first meet, our 275 pounder squatted 465 - quite an improvement!
    There are many advantages to box squatting. One of the most important is recuperation. You can train more often on a box than you can doing regular squats. The original Westside boys (Culver City, CA) did them three times a week, which I feel is a bit extreme, but they paved the way for this type of training. We do them for the squat part of our workout on Fridays and occasionally on Mondays to build hip and low back power for deadlifting. The NBA's Utah Jazz do box squats for the same reason - recuperation. Greg Shepherd, their strength coach, is a former member of the Culver City gym.
    The second reason is equally important. It is generally accepted that you should keep your shins perpendicular to the floor when squatting. With box squatting, you can go past this point (that is, an imaginary line drawn from your ankle to your knee will point toward your body), which places all the stress on the major squatting muscles- hips, glutes, lower back, and hamstrings. This is a tremendous advantage-
    Thirdly, you don't have to ask anyone if you were parallel. Once you establish a below parallel height, all of your squats will be just that -below parallel. I have seen it over and over. As the weights get heavier, the squats get higher. This can't happen with box squats.

    If your hips are weak, use a below parallel box with a wide stance. If you need low back power, use a close stance, below parallel. If your quads are weak, work on a parallel box. If you have a sticking point about 2 inches above parallel, as is common, then work on a box that is 2 inches above parallel. Our advanced squatters use all below parallel boxes. This builds so much power out of the hole that there will be no sticking points.
    As an added bonus, box squats will build the deadlift as well by overloading the hips and lower back muscles. Your ability to explode off the floor will increase greatly. One of our 275 pounders, Jerry Obradovich, put 50 lbs. on his dead lift in 3 months by doing extra box squats during that time period, going from 672 to 722 at the 1994 APF Junior Nationals. Chuck Vogelpohl deadlifts only about once in 8 weeks yet pulls 793 in the 242s. Chuck relies on wide box squats on a low, 12-inch box and does a lot of reverse hypers and chest-supported rows.
    Now, how do you do a box squat? They are performed just like regular squats. Fill your abdomen with air, and push out against your belt. Push your knees out as far as possible to the sides and with a tightly arched back, squat back, not down, until you completely sit on the box. Every muscle is kept tight while on the box with the exception of the hip flexors. By releasing and then contracting the hip flexors and arching the upper back, you will jump off the box, building tremendous starting strength. Remember to sit back and down, not straight down. Your hamstrings will be strengthened to a high degree, which is essential. Many don't know this, but the hamstrings are hip extensors. Some great squatters have large quads and some do not, but they all have large hamstrings where they tie into the glutes. Remember to sit on the box completely and flex off.
    Now, how do you know how much you can full squat if you box squat all the time? Well, let's say you have squatted 600 lbs. in a meet and decided to box squat. Let's say you can do 550 off a parallel box; that's a 50-lb. carry-over. Now you are doing only box squats and you take a weight 4-6 weeks into the cycle. You hit a 575 squat, a 25-lb. jump on that particular box. This will carry over to your 600 contest best. So now expect a 625 at your next meet.
    I recommend that you train with 65-82% of your box record on each particular box height that you use. Change box heights every 3-4 weeks. Do not base the training weight on your full squat record! Box squats are much harder than full squats! Do 8-12 sets of 2 reps with 1 minute rest between sets. This is a tough workout! The week that you reach 82%, reduce the sets to 6. Don't train with more than 82%. You can try a max the after you train with 82%. If you are going to a meet, take a weight 2 weeks before the meet. The week before the meet use 70% for 6-8 sets.
    This type of squatting is hard work, but each rep shouldn't be hard. Don't get psyched up to do your sets. We have found that 2 reps is ideal because any more may cause bicipital tendonitis and if you are doing 12 sets, you are doing 12 first reps per workout. After all, the first rep is the most important one. This will make your contest squat much better. Our most talented lifters will do best on their first rep and then tire quickly whereas our lower skilled people will do better after the first rep is completed because they use the first rep as a body awareness tool. As they become more skilled, their first rep will be their best.
    I know box squatting is not common, mostly because no one knows how do them. After reading this or watching my squat tape you should be fully aware of the benefits. Many great squatters have done box squats including Marv Phillips, Larry Kidney, Roger Estep, Matt Dimel, and of course George Fern, who did an 853 squat in track shorts in 1970. If box squats didn't work, we wouldn't do them. We have 20 lifters who have squatted over 700 lbs. in a meet including a 198 who has done 804. 1 hope this article clears up any misconceptions and leads to great success on the lifting platform.

    MORE ON THE CONJUGATE METHOD: The Principle of Variety
    By: Louie Simmons

    Training is not as simple as doing 5 sets of 5 reps or 5 sets of 10 reps or any combination of sets and reps. You must plan to obtain certain objectives. Increases in speed, explosive strength, absolute strength, and stamina are equally important.
    It has been known and discussed in Weightlifting for All Sports by Ajan and Baroga that a greater training result can be obtained over a greater length of time by using special exercises than by doing the classical lifts. Doing the same exercises repeatedly will rapidly decrease your coordination. There are many reasons for this. Our observation is that very few lifters can increase their abilities without special exercises.
    A question that should be addressed is, when handling max lifts, how do you recover? And how do you at the same time increase muscle mass? The conjugate method is the answer. This is a complex method of rotating special exercises that are close in nature, in our case, to the powerlifts. This method also increases special strength qualities and perfects coordination, which will help advance technical skill. First, and most important, is to properly select exercises that address your particular problems. It could be an exercise that will build up a lagging muscle group or a special strength, such as starting, eccentric, or accelerating strength.
    How do we train heavy continuously? The answer is to pick several special barbell exercises for a particular lift, for example, the deadlift. The good morning is very similar in motion to deadlifting. A conventional deadlifter will, no doubt, bend over. Therefore, bent over good mornings will increase the deadlift. But remember, when doing the good morning, in your brain, you must duplicate the action of your deadlift precisely. It is not so important to raise your good morning as to raise your deadlift by performing the good morning. We do many types of good mornings, for example, with a Safety Squat bar suspended from chains. But remember to use the same body mechanics as you do in the deadlift.
    A popular special exercise for the deadlift is squatting off a very low box. Angelo Berardinelli does his off a 6-inch box. At this depth, Angelo's back is in a position similar to his sumo deadlift style.

    We use a Safety Squat bar very often. When raising out of a squat or deadlift, the shoulders must raise first. The 5-inch camber on the Safety Squat bar teaches you to raise the head and shoulders first; otherwise you will buckle over forward. Once again, when using this bar, think about pulling even though you are squatting. To summarize, pick a core lift with a barbell and try to duplicate the same motion of the lift you are trying to increase. Pick four or five core exercises that work for you and rotate one of them every 2 weeks. Do a max single for a 2 or 3-rep max, but no more.

    For example, you could do bent over good mornings, Safety Squat bar squats, Zercher squats, very low box squats, and then finish with 2 weeks of rack pulls. This represents a 10-week cycle, rotating each of the above exercises in 2-week mini-cycles. It is important that you end with the most productive exercise for you leading into the meet.
    After your selection of a core barbell exercise, pick three to five special exercises. Your workout should last less than 60 minutes. Pick a few special exercises and do them very intensely.

    If your form is good, then your lower back may be holding you back. Again, select four exercises for the lower back, for example, back raises, straight leg deadlifts off a platform, pull-throughs with legs straight, and reverse hyperextensions, and rotate them when necessary.
    For weak hamstrings, do heavy reverse hyperextensions, squatting pull-throughs, glute/ham raises, and sled pulling with your hands behind your back or below your knees while holding onto a strap.

    For weak glutes, do heavy reverse hyperextensions, low belt squats, high-rep deadlifts (2 sets of 20 with back arched, glutes pushed out to rear, shoulder-width stance, hands outside shoulder-width: after first rep, drop bar to just below knees, catch and raise as fast as possible for the entire 20 reps), and glute/ham raises.

    If your abs are weak, do side bends with a cable bar or dumbbell, leg raises, standing lat machine curl-overs, and strict sit-ups.

    Again, pick one exercise for each muscle group and use it until it becomes ineffective, then switch.

    For the bench press, you could do board press, floor press, inclines, declines, or rack lockouts for singles. Rotate one of these every 2 weeks. You could also do ultra wide bench presses for a 6-rep max. You could also do three sets to failure with dumbbells, with a 2 minute rest between sets for singles and a 5-6 minute rest for high reps. Then pick some type of triceps extension with a bar or dumbbells, some type of lat work, and raises for the front, side, and rear delts.
    There are many types of exercises for each muscle group. Just change when one stops working, and your lifts should continue to increase all year long. By training with this system, you can max out every week of the year, while working continuously on speed and building muscle mass. It works for us and it will work for you. It is the most effective form of training we have ever tried, and in the past 36 years Westside lifters have tried them all.

    Just remember, it's the selection that counts. You must pick a lift or exercise that builds your particular weaknesses. Don't get caught up in doing an exercise that your friends like but that does little for you. George Halbert has special exercises he uses for his bench. Chuck Vogelpohl does things that no one does, but they help his squat and deadlift. Amy Weisberger does front and overhead squats to help her squat, and on May 9 at the Ohio State Championship she made a 445 national record squat at 123 and an 1125 total, proof that she does well in selecting her special exercises.
    Pick well and good luck.

    The Regulation of Training
    One must consider how many lifts to do in one particular workout and calculate what percent is best used for explosive and accelerating strength. It is also important to establish the number of lifts for the development of your absolute strength. This is a major factor if you want to reach your top potential.
    Also keep in mind all components of training: physical, technical, and psychological. If training Is regulated correctly, then all of the above can be accomplished while increasing hypertrophy and building GPP (general physical preparedness). This can be done at one time, without the use of periodization, where one breaks up the training into different phases every 3 or 4 weeks.
    By closely following the rep/set recommendations of A. S. Prilepin, here at Westside, we have had 18 lifters bench 550 or better. This method is commonly known as the dynamic method.
    We use 60% of a no-shirt best bench for 8-10 sets of 3 reps. This is how speed strength is best developed. Siff and Verkhoshansky used a force plate machine to determine the maximum effort a highly skilled weight lifter could display. This lifter generated 264 pounds of force on a 154 pound bar; 154 is 58% of 264. This demonstrates the optimal relationship between force and velocity, where speed strength is best developed.
    For the bench, we do roughly 120 lifts at 60% of a no-shirt max in a 1-month time period (10 sets of 3 reps equals 30 lifts per workout times 4 workouts) for the development of starting and accelerating strength. By using a weight that is 60% of a 1 rep max, a 600 pound bencher can train along with a 400 pound bencher without one over-loading or one underloading. How? The 600-pound bencher would use 360 for his sets, and the 400-pound bencher would use 240 for his sets. The workload is regulated to ones strength limits. If the 400-pound bencher uses more than 240, his bar speed is compromised, thus destroying the optimal relationship between force and velocity.
    You may ask, how does a 400-pound bencher eventually bench 600? The answer lies in the im-provement in and development of special exercises. When the 400-pound bencher has brought up his extensions, delt raises, and back and lat work to that of a 600-pound bencher, he has grown to be a 600-pound bencher as well.
    The bench press itself is not used for muscle hypertrophy (growth). The special exercises serve two critical purposes: the develop-ment of strength in individual muscle groups and an increase in muscular size, which helps increase leverage in the bench and squat.
    Prilepin’s recommendations for weights above 90% (done on the max effort day) are 4-10 lifts. Here we are referring to classical lifts or major bar exercises such as good mornings, box or rack pulls, and of course, a variety of squats.
    Like Medvedyev and other sports scientists, we have discovered that too many weights above 90% will cause deterioration in coordination, causing deterioration in form. When training with weights that are over 90% of your current 1 rep max for 4-5 weeks, negative effects occur to the CNS (central nervous system) and your progress will decrease. Yet, one must train with very heavy weights to make gains in absolute strength. So what’s the answer? Train a bar exercise for only 2 weeks and switch. For example, do bent-over good mornings for 2 weeks, Safety Power Squat bar for 2 weeks, rack pulls for 2 weeks, and front squats for 2 weeks. These are just a few exercises to choose from. Always max out on this day for 1 rep in squatting exercises or pulls, such as rack pulls, high pulls, pulls off a box, snatch, or clean. Do a 3-rep max in good mornings. The max effort day occurs 3 days after the dynamic day.
    We have adjusted the number of 90% and above lifts in one workout to 3-5 lifts. The reasoning behind this is that the special exercises for powerlifting are much heavier compared to the Olympic lifts that Prilepin’s data were based on. To become very strong, a lot of lifts must be performed in limited-movement exercises, such as board press for bench pressing, rack pulls for the deadlift, and above-parallel box squatting for the squat. We have discovered it is best to do a single in most cases instead of a triple. Why? A 500-pound single equals 500 pounds of work; a 500 triple is 1500 pounds of work, which is much too demanding on the CNS. However, three reps will produce muscle tension. It is advised that the more massive lifters do 3’s instead of l’s to achieve adequate muscle tension: extra body mass can reduce the range of motion in many lifters.
    We will usually do a 90% weight as a last warm-up and then hopefully a record over 100%, possibly two or three PR’s. We invariably go until we miss a weight. This is the best way to achieve a true max effort.
    Let’s look at the ratio of the dynamic day to the max effort day. Dynamic day: 120 lifts per month. Max effort day: 12-20 lifts per month. This is how we are able to train heavy throughout the year: by rotating exercises on max effort day.
    Remember, do one type of training per workout day: speed bench, Sunday; speed squat, Friday; max effort for bench, Wednesday; max effort for squat and deadlift, Monday (the exercises for the squat and deadlift are the same). You cannot and should never do two types of strength training in one workout. Your brain will not know what to do when asked to do two completely different tasks in one training session.
    This can be best illustrated by watching a pro-boxing match. In the early rounds, up to six, is when most knockouts occur. This is where explosive strength is demonstrated. Endurance plays little role in the early rounds. But after six rounds, the explosive strength diminishes, strength endurance is dominant, and fewer knockouts occur. Not only is it best to do only one type of special strength training per session but while doing the dynamic method using only one weight (after a warm-up), your CNS can accommodate the task it is asked to perform.
    J.M. Blakley had never done speed work. J.M. did a PR of 675 in 1995, but stalled for 3 years. He is very strong, but his bar speed and reversal time were slow. By doing speed work with 315 for a short time, he made 683 on October 11, 1998, plus hit 683 again at the WPC Worlds. Then in late November he made an all-time best of 690 in a meet in New York. Remember, it is one thing to be strong and quite another to display it.
    Speaking of benching, George Halbert did a 657 world record at 220 in March of 1998 at the Arnold Classic, and at 235 bodyweight he made a world record 688 on Octo-ber 11, 1998, In Kieran Kidder’s Blast on the Beach. George never put a bench shirt on in between meets. For the 688 he used 340 for 4 triples and 380 for 4 triples. George is perhaps the most explosive bencher I have ever seen, and the strength coaches from the Packers and the Patriots agree. George’s problem was the lockout. So he utilized the floor press with 200 pounds of chain looped over the bar plus weight. So far, his best is 445 plus 200 pounds of chain, which is 645 at the top. Using four boards with bands, George’s best is 475 for 3 sets of 3 reps with 150 pounds of tension from the bands, which is 625 at the top. He also did
    3 sets of 3 reps with 355 on the bar plus 300 pounds of tension with bands, which Is 655 at the top. Please remember, George is a pressing machine, which allows him to do 9 reps with weights of over 90%. However, most of our lifters follow the recommended 3-5 lifts over 90%.
    The same holds true in the squat. This breaks down to 8-10 sets of 2 reps on speed day, which equals 64-80 lifts per month. Note that this is with bands or chains on the bar. Squat day for speed is Friday. On max effort day for the squat and deadlift (Monday), again 3-5 lifts above 90% are advised. That is, take a weight that is 90% of your 1 rep max in that lift and do 2-4 more attempts to break your PR.
    To summarize, change the core exercise on max effort day every 2 weeks. Use 3-5 special exercises to complement your core exercise. Train speed bench press at 60% of your max bench without a shirt. Train speed squat in waves of 50-60%, jumping 2.5% each week, then start over with 50%. By using this system, we have had 18 men bench over 550 and 22 squat 800 or more. Lifters across the United States and all over the world are making progress with this system. I would like to thank everyone for their feedback and loyalty to Westside and to powerlifting itself.

    The Squat Workout
    When I write about training, I am reporting the results of our top lifters. So far, 16 have squatted over 800, six have squatted over 850, and one has done 1010, Matt Dimel.
    The system used is a mixture of the dynamic method and the maxi-mum effort method, greatly influenced by the conjugate method, which emphasizes the parts, not the whole. We always raise work capacity through special means consisting of a large array of exercises.
    The squat is trained with a barbell two times a week:
    Friday for speed work with a large training volume and with medium intensity (50-60% of a contest squat) done off a box at or slightly below parallel. This is followed by special exercises for the back, hips, hamstrings, and abs. A second workout is on Monday. It is designed for maximum strength, hence the term maximum effort method’. Once again, exercises for the back, hips, ham-strings, and abs are worked after attempting record poundage on an assortment of core exercises.
    All of our squats are done on a box. There is nothing dangerous about box squat-ting. When someone writes about the dangers of box squatting, It is apparent to me that the individual was never taught to box squat correctly or never taught at all.
    The Washington Huskies have had great success with our program for 8 years, yet they would never box squat. I told them that if they came to Westside and learned how to do them, they would al-ways do them. When the coaches returned home, they put their ath-letes to the test and found that those who could not learn how to squat by regular squatting discovered how to in half an hour by box squatting.
    This is how: with the feet pointing straight ahead and much wider than shoulder width apart, push the glutes to the rear (always sit back, not down) until you are sitting on the box. Your shins will be past vertical (knee joint more than 90 degrees), something that is impossible with regular squatting because you would fall over backward. However, this position is made possible with the box, thus overloading the most critical squatting muscles. There is absolutely no pressure on the patella tendons by doing this. Note: Dimel came back to do 903 at the 1993 APF Senior Nationals after tearing off both knees; all his training was on boxes.
    Why does this box style of squatting teach one to squat properly. Because after squatting back so far and releasing the hip and lower oblique muscles, you must first raise the head to raise out of a deep squat. If while descending into a squat, the glutes go back first, then the head must move last. Right? The opposite of this eccentric phase is an concentric contraction, or raising. It only stands to reason that the head must raise first, and the glutes will follow.
    We see many lifters get bowed over coming up from a squat because they push with their feet first instead of their head. We are trying to raise the bar, so why not push against the bar first?
    Static work overcome by dynamic action’ builds explosive strength best. This is precisely what a box squat provides. In addition, you are always breaking parallel. One can also train much lighter; 50-60% of a contest max is all that is necessary to make progress if you keep the lifts explosive and accelerate the bar.
    As always, 20 out of 200 lifts should be above your training weight for any particular workout. This should occur when the percentage reaches 55 or 60%.
    To clarify, we use a 5 week wave’, starting at 50% for week 1, jumping 2.5% each week until 60% is reached, and then starting over. The graphical representation looks like a wave, thus the name.
    The box allows one to max out and to determine your new strength level without the aid of contest gear — wraps, straps, and a big psych. There should be two maxes: a test max and a training max. The contest max requires a large crease of adrenaline, thus causing psychological regression of the central nervous system. This is course, why on max effort day we switch a core exercise such as good mornings or a special squat or deadlift every 2 weeks. This enables us to max 52 weeks a year.
    It is easy to keep track of your current squat max without maxing out in gear. Bob Youngs has gone from a 570 to a 720 squat in 10 months without doing a regular squat in training. Here's how. Bob made a 500 box squat record. At a meet, he did 590. He later recorded a 540 box and at a meet did 670. For his third meet in training Bob hit 585. At the meet 720 was strong. When Bob does, lets say, 610 off parallel box, we are confident that his meet squat will be up at least 25 pounds, just as his box squat indicates. Some lifters will get a large carryover and some a small carryover, but it should stay consistent with the individual.
    Now lets get to workout. On Friday we do the speed work. For example, for a 600 lb. squatter, start with 50% for 12 sets of 2 reps with 45 seconds rest between sets. Stay with 12 set of 2’s for 3 weeks, jumping 2.5% each week. At 57.5 and 60%, drop the sets to 10; 60% of 600 is 360; 360 X 10 sets of 2 reps = 7200 pounds. This is equal to the total volume of 12 sets of 2 reps with 50%, or 300 X 24 = 7200 pounds.
    We follow a modification of Verkhoshansky’s method of reaching total volume. As you can see our bar volume stays the same, but as we wave up every week 2.5%, we greatly raise the volume of special exercises until it is highest at the 60% week. Then it dramatically drops down and is raised gradually as the wave is again increased from 50 to 60% over the next 5 weeks.
    The assistance work is glute ham raises, reverse hypers, pull-throughs, back raises, and a large dose of ab work as well as pulling a weighted sled.
    With this system an 800 pound squatter can keep his strength where ever he wants. How? If that 800 squatter trains with weight ranging from 375 to 450(50-60%), he will maintain a 750 pound squat. Then he can push it up in one wave, or about 5 weeks, to a new max.
    We think the two most important elements of squat training are the separation off the box — explosive strength — and accelerating strength and, second, raising work capacity through special exercises. Remember to try a new box PR every 8-12 weeks. If you fail, ask yourself why. It must be a particular weak muscle group, so increase the work for that muscle group.
    If you use Weight Releases, this is the day. We suggest adding 10-20% to the bar weight for the eccentric work. Rubber bands or chains can be added as well, or possibly both devices.
    When using chains, when you are standing up, about 3 links of the chain should be touching the floor so that when you are seated on the below-parallel box about half the chain is unloaded (lying on the floor). Your top weight with chains while sitting on the box will be approxi-mately 62.5%.
    Joe Amato and Dave Tate made squats of 865 and 870, respec-tively, by using a top weight of 465 plus 160 pounds of chain. When sitting on the box, half of the chain weight (80 pounds) adds to the 465 bar weight, equaling 545 at the
    bottom, which is 62.5% of 870.
    The second squat workout day is Monday. It is known as the maximum effort day. This day benefits the deadlift as well as the squat. It consists of maximum squats for 1-3 reps with a Safety Squat Bar, Manta Ray, front squat harness, etc. All squats are done on boxes of different heights: well above paral-lel (17, 16,15 inches) or well below parallel (10, 9, 8 inches). After maxing out for 2 weeks on a par-ticular squat, we switch to a variety of good mornings, such as arched back with a close or wide stance, bent-over good mornings with a close or wide stance, with legs bent to different degrees, or a combina-tion good morning/squat, which is a favorite. The latter is done by using a shoulder-width stance. Bend over to above parallel to the floor, then round over and sink into a very deep squat, arch, and return to a standing position. Very heavy weights can be used.
    Rack deadlifts from two or three positions as well as deadlifts stand-ing on a platform 2-4 inches high are done for a max single. These deadlifts also help us monitor our progress when we try a new record.
    Rotate from a squatting or back-arching core exercise every 2 weeks to a bending-over exercise. This would include good mornings and special deadlifts.
    One needs to use a wide variety of core barbell exercises to identify weaknesses. Special exercises are like football plays or different punches in boxing; one finds one that will crack the defense of your opponent. Then, of course, that play or punch will cease to work and a new play or punch will need to be found. Eventually you can come back to the original play or punch with newfound success.
    On Monday, maximum effort day, you must max out on a core barbell exercise, followed by 3-5 special exercises similar to the ones done on Friday, the dynamic day.
    There are two types of maxes: one in a movement (squat, bench, deadlift, snatch, clean and jerk) and one on a muscle. Hamstrings can be maxed with glute/ham raises, pull-throughs, stiff-legged deadlifts, or arched back good mornings. Spinal erectors can be maxed with back raises or reverse hypers, and traps by shrugs or high pulls. Of course, no muscle can be com-pletely isolated, but you can come as close as possible. These exercises are done for 6-12 reps, or sometimes to failure (the repetition method). Each lifter must deter-mine the number of sets for his or her physical preparedness. These exercises must be rotated when they cease to work, that is, when there is no pump or strength gain. All muscle groups must be worked in this manner, known as the conjugate method. This method has proven effective not only for strength gains but also as a means of restoration.
    Close to an important contest, 10-14 days out, we lower the core exercise top weights, but maintain and sometimes increase the special exercise work. Remember, it is the hamstrings, lower back, hips, and abs that do the squatting, not the quads. It is important to know what squats to increase a squat.
    Note: don't think of heavy and light workouts, think fast and slow. Fast will develop explosive strength and acceleration. Slow, with super max weight (over 100%), will de-velop max force. They must be trained in two different workouts. Always train the barbell exercise first, then special exercises in a priority system: what needs the most work train first; what needs the least work train last. It is best to divide the workout into two sessions, separated by at least an hour break.
    If you follow this approach to training, you may be ‘on deck’ while we're squatting.

    Training: An Overview

    Your training for an upcoming contest must be thought out precisely. You must add muscle mass, speed, strength, and coordination. The simplest method of progression (10’s, 8’s, 6’s: progressive gradual overload) works in the beginning, but what doesn’t? As you become more advanced, you will need a more sophisticated method. If you choose to go from 10’s, 8’s, 6’s down to 2’s and singles, many bad things happen. One is that the volume and intensity are impossible to control. There is an optimal
    number of lifts at certain percentages. For example, weights at or above 90% of a 1-rep max are to be done for 1 or 2 lifts, but many do 3-5 lifts on a regular basis. An Olympic lifter can do 4-10 lifts per workout with 90%, while a powerlifter should do 2-4 singles per workout with 90% and above. With the old progressive overload method, 10 reps with 70% is common - what a waste. Through extensive tests of high-skilled lifters 4-6 reps with 70% was shown to be optimal.
    For all athletes, the better you are with reps, the worse you are with a single. Think about this. Throw a basketball as high as possible. The ball reaches its highest point before it lands and bounces. The first bounce is the highest bounce. Each successive bounce is lower, as the ball’s energy dissipates. Similarly, when doing reps, you have a limited amount of energy. With each rep, you will be a little less effective in your force production. But, unlike the ball, you have a brain and spinal cord. You may learn to conserve your energy to perform more reps.
    This is a mistake. You will become slower and be unable to push effectively with the heaviest weights. Remember, we are striving for speed, explosiveness, and absolute strength.
    Like everyone else, I watch TV. One of my favorite shows Is Kiana’s Flex Appeal on ESPN. Well, you’ve probably guessed the main reason I watch, but I also watch the high-rep bodybuilding boys do their best imitation of plyometric training. They are slower than my grandmother. Why? This is the result of slow, high-rep training (similar to H.I.T.).
    Now let me get back to the old progressive method. It is based on a hypothetical max. No one can project a hypothetical max. This throws off the entire training cycle. You think you are at 80% when you are really at 90% of your true max. Again, remember what training at 90% does to your CNS: after 3 weeks you will cease to make progress.
    Another reason for the failure of the progressive overload method is that close to the meet, most lifters will drop their assistance exercises. Why do them at all if you are going to do this? The effectiveness of these exercises is almost completely lost in 2 weeks. Also, because of stress of doing max singles in all three competition lifts, you are mentally and emotionally worn out before the meet. It’s stupid to spar with Mike Tyson if you are going to fight Cecily Tyson.
    With the progressive overload system, every type of training is used in one workout. However, your body doesn’t know what you want it to do with so many different demands placed on it. One must train speed and endurance separately, for example.

    So what’s right? Personally I look at weight training for what it is: mathematics, biomechanics, and physics. This is what we do at Westside (and the results speak for themselves).
    The work must be divided into special days: a dynamic method day for the bench and one dynamic day for the squat and deadlift; a maximal effort day for benching that occurs three days after the dynamic day; a maximal effort day for the squat and deadlift. The week should look like this: dynamic squat on Friday, dynamic bench on Sunday, max effort squat/deadllft on Monday and max effort bench on Wednesday. This sequence works best for weekend meets.
    Let’s start with the squat. We always box squat just below parallel. Without bands or chains the bar weight is 50-60% of a 1-rep max. During the cycle do 12 sets of 2 reps with 50, 52.5, and 55% and 10 sets of 2 reps with 57.5 and 60%, using only one percentage per week. When you reach 60%. Start over with 50% the next week. This is a pendulum wave, much like that used by Alexiev. It is easy to improve form and build speed and starting strength by training with weights at these percentages.
    When using bands or chains, 6 sets of 2 reps are used, including during the circa-maximal phase. It is easy to monitor volume and Intensity with this system.
    After box squats on Friday, special work for glutes/hamstrings, abs, hips, and spinal erectors are done. Every other week, we do 6 speed deadlifts with 60-70% with short rest periods of 45 seconds.
    Now let’s stay with the squat and go on to max effort day, Monday, 72 hours later. You must max out on a squat, good morning, or pull. We recommend singles in the squat and deadlift and triples in the good morning. You will need spotters because you are maxing out. Don’t be afraid to miss. Rotate from a squat one week to a good morning the next. Most of these workouts are some variety of good morning. The squat can be done in several ways: front squat, Safety Squat Bar, Manta Ray, cambered bar, belt squat. With five different box heights, this adds up to 25 varieties of squats. Adding bands or chains or both, you now have over 40 exercises. Switch each week to a different core exercise if you are advanced or every 2 weeks if you are not.
    After the core barbell lift, do 2-4 exercises for glutes, hams, low back, lats, and abs. Rotate as often as necessary to maintain progress?
    The time under tension is the key for the max effort work. You don’t have to do conventional squats or deadlifts to improve these lifts. For example, world-class throwers throw everything except the official implement, from medicine balls to hammers to long pipes, using objects of different weights. This is the conjugate method in combination with the maximum effort method. This system will improve form as well as build phenomenal strength.
    The bench press has 2 days as well. On Sunday we use the dynamic method. We have found that using one weight works best for the bench: No wave is used. Instead, 60% of a no-shirt max or 50% of a max with a bench shirt is used every week, 8-10 sets of 3 reps. the grips are moderately close to close. It is easy to maintain the intensity and volume. If you bench 400 without a shirt, you would train with 240. One set of 3 reps = 720 pounds. Ten sets of 3 reps at 240 7200 pounds. Our experience with 25 men who bench 550 or more and the data from scientific research have shown that using these percentages will develop force production the best. On dynamic day, you improve form and build starting and accelerating strength.
    To build strength, the volume must be increased. A 400-pound bencher using 240 for his sets does a total volume of 7200 pounds. A 500-pound bencher would require a total volume of 9000 pounds; a 600-pound bencher, 10,800 pounds. Remember, this day is not intended to develop absolute strength, but rather to develop force. (The max effort day is used to increase absolute strength; see below.) The weight on dynamic day is increased only when a new contest max has been achieved.
    After benching, concentrate on triceps work; they are the key to a strong bench press. Do lats next and then upper back. Some forearm work and a little biceps work won’t hurt.
    Wednesday is max effort day for the bench. On this day, 3 lifts at or over 90% and a max of 7 lifts are to be performed. We recommend that a new PR, or even two, be attempted in one workout. The higher skilled you are, the more often you must rotate a core lift. For example: week 1, board press; week 2, floor press; week 3, chain press; week 4, 150 pounds of band plus weight for a max single or triple; week 5, incline press; etc. Use any sequence you like, working up to a meet. Max out only on max effort day in a core exercise. We frequently hear about lifters who hit huge numbers in the gym yet seldom repeat them in a meet. Either these lifters lack self-confidence, or they don’t have a clue how to peak for a meet. I can bet you that if you break records in your core lifts and have raised your level on extensions, lats, and delt work, and you have developed greater speed on dynamic day, your bench press will be up.
    To increase your lifts, you must be stronger and faster and have very good form. This program has few detraining phases because every type of training is performed over the course of a week: max effort work, speed work, GPP work, technical work, and restoration, modified for each lifter’s individual needs.
    With progressive gradual over-load training, which is used more often than any other method of training, in the beginning the intensity is low and the volume is high. Later in the cycle, the structure is reversed close to a contest. The injury rate is higher with this type of loading. The volume is impossible to control because several intensity zones are used in one workout. This is very ineffective. As the weight gets heavy close to the contest, the special work for individual muscles is neglected. This is when the injuries occur, because of a lack of GPP.
    Let’s forget progressive gradual overload. It’s a dead-end street. I found out 17 years ago. By the way, this system was invented and abandoned in the old Soviet Union over 35 years ago. One should learn about other periodization models, such as those of Verkhoshansky, Vorobyev, and Medvedev. I personally thank these men, as well as Drs. Siff and Zatsiorskl, for making it possible for me to lift more at age 52 than I ever dreamed possible.
    For books by these authors and others, contact Westside Warehouse at 888-854-8806.
    I have had the opportunity to train at Westside Barbell for the past 10 years. What I discovered when I first arrived was that all the members had incredible muscle thickness. The thickness through the upper back and triceps was among the thickest I had ever seen in any gym. The second thing I noticed is that the majority of the lifters competed in the heavier weight classes (242, 275, 308, SHW). When I asked Louie Simmons about this he replied, " If you want to lift big weights then gain weight." I took this advice to heart and over the next couple of years my weight jumped 30 pounds while maintaining the same body fat level. This was accomplished by using the max effort method, the repeated effort method, the dynamic effort method, and increasing work capacity.
    Most of what I have read about gaining mass has always centered on using sub maximal weights to failure. A typical set and repetitions always seems to be in the range of 3 to 5 sets of 6 to 10 repetitions. The exercise choice is always broken down by body part and averaged between 4 to 5 exercises per body part. Basically, just blast the muscle and they will grow.
    Repeated Effort Method
    The training method used with this system is known as the repeated effort method. The repeated effort method involves lifting a non-maximal load to failure where only during the fatigued state maximal numbers of motor units are recruited. While this is a very important method by which to increase muscle tension, it also has it limitations. We all have read that for this method to really be effective, we should gradually try to increase the weight we are using in a progressive overload fashion. For example, if you are performing 3 sets of 8 repetitions with 315lb in the bench, then you should gradually increase the weight over time. The downfall to using this method exclusively is that all strength is based upon your level of absolute strength. Using the same example, your absolute strength will allow you 315lb for 8 repetitions. Until your level of absolute strength is increased your progress will stagnate. What is needed then is a way to increase absolute strength to coincide with the repetition method. These methods are known as the maximal effort and dynamic effort methods.
    Maximal Effort Method
    The best way to increase your level of absolute strength is with the use of the maximal effort method. This method is considered superior for both the increase of intramuscluar and extramuscular coordination. The reason this works so well is that the muscles and central nervous system will only adapt to the load that is placed upon them. The implementation of this system involves the use of maximal weights for 1 to 3 repetitions. It has been proven that weights over 90% elicit the best gains in strength but will quickly lead to neuromuscular shut down after one to three weeks depending on the exercise and athlete. When using this method it is important to only choose one exercise per workout and use this exercise in a two week rotation. This means after the second week, switch to a different exercise. Because of the quick rate of over training it is important to switch the exercises being used. For the advanced athlete, it can be as often as every week. Some of the best movements to use with this system are basic compound movements such as the squat, good morning and dead lift. Any version of these movements will work just as well if not better. Westside uses over 300 different types of max effort exercises all based around these three basic lifts. Some of the variations include.
    1. Good Mornings suspended by chains
    2. Low Box safety squat bar squats
    3. deadlifts off pins
    4. low box squats with the use of a manta ray or front squat harness
    5. cambered bar good mornings
    6. Dead lifts pulling against bands
    Dynamic Effort Method
    Another important method involved in gaining maximal muscle mass and strength is the dynamic effort method. This method involves lifting non-maximal weights with the greatest speed possible. This method of training is great for increasing the rate of force development and explosive strength and also has a great demand on the central nervous system. The two best exercises for this method are the box squat and the bench press, these two exercises are regarded by many as the best for overall strength and mass development. The box squat is performed by performing your squats down to a box, then pausing and returning in an explosive fashion. This is training in a static dynamic fashion which has been shown to have a positive effect on the development of explosive strength. The sets and repetition pattern for these two exercises are 8 sets of 2 repetitions for the squat and 8 sets of 3 repetitions for the bench press. The percentages of weight to be used are 50 to 60% for the bench and 60 to 70% for the box squat. For this method to stress the CNS maximally you must apply 100 percent effort to the bar. For example if you bench press 400 pounds and are training with 200 pounds then you have to apply 400 pound of force to the bar.
    Increasing Work Capacity
    The final component of any mass building program is the idea of increasing work capacity. Siff and Verkhoshansky define work capacity in the text Super Training as the general ability of the body as a machine to produce work of different intensity using the appropriate energy systems of the body. The trick to increasing work capacity is to do it in away to avoid over training. The state of over training can halt progress in its tracks and actually send you on a down hill slide. The old way of increasing work capacity was to just throw in more exercises and more sets. This is the mentality of most strength athletes "more is better." Well more is better in some cases as long as the more is built on a solid bases. When you try to do more work than your base can carry then the base will fall out. One-way to increase your base or your GPP (general physical preparedness) is with the use of a dragging sled. The sled is prescribed for both the upper body and lower body. With special straps you can perform front, side and rear lateral raises as well as ankle dragging where the straps are around your ankles and you drag the sled by walking forward. This movement is great for the hip flexors and abdonimals. This exercise alone has brought up my own abdominal strength while being stagnated for over two years with conventional abdominal exercises.
    Sample Training Week
    Monday:
    Good mornings (using the maximal effort method): Start with a light weight and work up in weight using sets of three reps. When three reps becomes difficult drop the reps to one and keep increasing the weight until a one rep max is reached.
    Close stance low box squats: 4 to 5 sets of 5 reps
    Reverse Hypers: 4 to 5 sets of 8 reps
    Hanging Leg Raises: 6 sets of 6 to 8 reps
    Sled Dragging:
    Forward dragging: 2 trips of 200 feet
    Ankle Dragging: 2 trips of 200 feet
    Wednesday:
    Close Grip Bench Press: (using the maximal effort method): Start with a light weight and work up in weight using sets of three reps. When three reps become difficult drop the reps to one and keep increasing the weight until a one rep max is reached.
    Barbell Triceps Extensions: 6 sets of 5 to 8 reps
    One Arm Dumbbell Presses: 4 sets of 10 reps
    Barbell Rows: 4 sets of 6 reps
    Sled Dragging:
    Forward raises: 2 trips of 200 feet
    Rear Rises: 2 trips of 200 feet
    Friday:
    Box Squats: (using the dynamic effort method): warm up to a weight that is 60 to 70 percent of your current one rep max. Perform 8 sets of 2 reps in an explosive fashion. Rest only 1 minute between sets)
    Lunges: 5 sets of 5 reps each leg
    Reverse hypers: 5 sets of 5 to 8 reps
    Pull Down Abs: 5 sets of 6 to 8 reps
    Sled Dragging:
    Forward dragging: 2 trips of 200 feet
    Ankle Dragging: 2 trips of 200 feet
    Sunday:
    Bench Press: (using the dynamic effort method): warm up to a weight that is 60 to 70 percent of your current one rep max. Perform 8 sets of 3 reps in an explosive fashion using three different grips. Rest only 1 minute between sets)
    Dumbbell Triceps Extensions: 6 to 8 sets of 10 reps
    Pushdowns: 3 sets of 10 reps
    Rear Deltoid Dumbbell Raises: 3 sets of 10 reps
    Dumbbell Rows: 5 sets of 8 reps
    Sled Dragging:
    Forward dragging: 2 trips of 200 feet
    Ankle Dragging: 2 trips of 200 feet
    By applying these principles the average weight gain at Westside Barbell has been 30 pounds in the first year alone for many of our lifters. As a bodybuilder or strength athlete it is important to apply the methods of maximal, dynamic and repeated effort while constantly pushing up you work capacity. Without this combination, progress is limited. Always remember that the past never equals the future as long as you keep changing the methods of the past. So what are you waiting for? Get to the gym!

    The Periodization Bible — Part IIThe New Testament — Conjugated Periodizationby Dave Tate

    You wanna get strong? You wanna lift so much weight that your gym has to order more plates? You wanna be able to grab a few girls, stack'em on top of each other and hoist them high into the air using only your pinky finger while you peer furtively up their skirts? Sure, who doesn't? Strength is a cool side effect of bodybuilding, but if you really want to develop maximal strength, two things are for certain. One, you'd better use periodization and two, you better listen to Dave Tate. In Part I of this article, Dave gave you a thorough explanation of linear (or Western) periodization. This time, Dave will explain the improved Westside variation of this popular method.The Westside method is a periodization program known as conjugated periodization. Simply put, this means that several abilities are coupled together throughout the training. The Western method of periodization separates these variables while the Westside method puts it all together at the same time. The entire Westside method is centered around three basic pathways to strength development:1. Max Effort2. Repetition3. Dynamic Effort The Max Effort MethodThe max effort method is considered by many coaches and athletes as being the superior method of strength development. It places great demands on both intramuscular and intermuscular coordination as well as stimulating the central nervous system. These demands force the body into greater adaptation and this adaptation is what's responsible for strength gains. When training using the max effort method, the central nervous system inhibition is reduced. Thus the max number of motor units are activated with optimal discharge frequency (Zatsiorisky). The one drawback to using this method is that you can't train with weights above 90 percent RM for much longer than three weeks before the nervous system begins to weaken. When this happens your strength will begin to diminish. This is one of the major reasons why progressive overload will only work for so long. With this in mind, Westside set out to find a way around this three-week barrier. The way to overcome this barrier is to switch the exercises used for the max effort method every one to three weeks. This keeps the body fresh so the method can be used year round.So how do you use this method? First, decide on one main exercise that will be trained with this method. After a proper warm-up, proceed to this exercise and begin to warm up with the bar. Taking small weight increases, you begin to work up in weight with sets of three reps. When three reps begins to feel heavy, you drop down to single reps. This is when you begin to try to max out on the exercise. Keep increasing the weight until you've reached your one rep max. Make sure to keep track of what this record is because this is what you'll try to beat next time out. A max effort exercise would look like this:Exercise
    Sets
    Reps
    Weight

    *Floor Press
    2
    5
    45

    2
    3
    95

    1
    3
    135

    1
    3
    185

    1
    3
    225

    1
    3
    275

    1
    1
    315

    1
    1
    365

    1
    1
    405


    1
    1
    425


    *A floor press is done just like a bench press, but while lying on the floor.In the above example, 425 would represent the lifter's one rep max. This is the number that should be recorded and that you'll try to break on a later date. It's very important to use this method with only one exercise per workout and no more than one time per week for each lift. The Westside method schedules one max effort day for the bench and one for the squat and deadlift as follows:Monday: Max effort day for building the squat and deadlift (while this seems contradictory to the above statement — doing only one exercise per workout — it's not, in that you'll be doing one exercise to build both movements).Wednesday: Max effort day for building the bench press.Since many of the same muscles are used for the squat and deadlift, they're trained on the same day. Actually, very little deadlifting is performed with this style of training because of these reasons. The best max effort exercises for the squat and deadlift are good mornings, low box squats and deadlifts themselves. The good morning is probably the best overall exercise for strength development and should be utilized 70% of all max effort days. There are several different types of good mornings that can be performed. Good mornings using a variety of different bars such as the safety squat bar, buffalo bar, and cambered bar are classics at Westside Barbell. Many of these good mornings are performed with the bar suspended from chains. By suspending the bar from the power rack (called Anderson good mornings or suspended good mornings), you're creating the same specificity as when you deadlift. This is because you start the deadlift without any eccentric or lowering motion. This is also true when you have to squat under a suspended barbell and lift it to a standing position. The best max effort exercises for the bench press are the floor press, board press, close grip bench press, JM press, and reverse band presses. All pressing motions! As with the squat and deadlift max effort exercises, there are several variations of each movement. Each exercise has a specific function. For instance, the floor press (basically lying on the floor, benching sans bench) takes your legs out of the motion so greater emphasis is placed on the pecs, delts and triceps. The close grip incline press takes your lats out of the motion so there's greater emphasis placed on the deltoids and triceps. The board press also takes your lats out of the motion and provides you with the opportunity to train at specific points of the bench press.The max effort meso cycle should only last one to three weeks with the latter being for the novice and intermediate strength athlete. The more advanced the athlete, the shorter the time spent per cycle (or time spent per max effort exercise). This is due to the neuromuscular coordination and motor learning. The advanced athlete can call upon more motor unit activation (use more muscle) than the novice. For example, the novice may use 40% of his total muscle while the advanced lifter will be able to use 80%. The second reason involves neuromuscular and muscular coordination. The advanced lifter has already figured out and mastered how to do the movement. His body knows what to do and when. The novice athlete hasn't figured out how to do the movement and is far from mastering it. This will allow the novice to progress and break records for around three weeks on each max effort exercise. However, this won't be the case for the advanced athlete. These advanced athletes will have one good week where they break a record then will be unable to break it for the next two weeks. So the solution is simple: switch every week! This will allow you to break records on a weekly basis and avoid overstraining. (Max effort training, by the way, is a process of learning how to better synchronize the muscle involvement. This is because of the activation of the central nervous system as well as other factors such as motivation and concentration.)If you don't always break a record, don't worry about it. The strain is more important than the record itself. With this in mind, if you happen to break your record and it was very easy, to the point that you really didn't strain, then you must take another record where you actually strain.Max Effort Parameters

    Load (Intensity)
    90 to 100%

    Number of Exercises
    1

    Repetitions
    1-3

    Rest Interval
    2 to 5 minutes

    Frequency / Week
    1 (Squat Day) / 1(Bench Day)

    Weeks per Exercise
    1-3


    The Repetition MethodThe repetition method, otherwise known as the bodybuilding method, is the best method for the development of muscle hypertrophy (growth). This is the method in which all supplemental and accessory exercises are trained. This method is defined as "lifting a non-maximal load to failure." It's during the fatigued state when the muscles develop maximal force. According to this method, it's only during the final lifts that, because of fatigue, the maximal number of motor units are recruited. This system of training has a great influence on the development of muscle mass which is why it's become so popular among the bodybuilding population. The fact that the final lifts are performed in a fatigued state makes this method less effective compared to the others when it comes to maximal strength development. This is one of the reasons why powerlifters are much stronger than bodybuilders. Another disadvantage of this method is that each set is carried to failure. This makes it very difficult to increase your volume and work capacity over time because of the amount of restoration needed. Training to failure is very hard on your ability to recover and in my opinion should only be used sparingly. When you extend a set to failure many times, the last few reps are performed with bad technique and this, of course, can lead to injuries.Westside has modified this principle to what I refer to as the modified repetition method. With the modified version all sets should be stopped with the breakdown of technique and there should always be a rep or two left in you. Remember this principle is applied to all supplemental and accessory movements. These movements are designed to be exactly what they are: supplemental and accessory. The main goals of these movements are to complement the overall training program, not take away. By training to failure on every set you'd be taking away from the general purpose of the movements, which is to increase work capacity. The parameters of this method are varied and depend upon the individual. Some athletes develop muscle mass with high reps and other with low reps. It would be crazy to assume one specific rep range works for everybody. What we've found to be best with supplemental and accessory work are sets in the range of 5 to 8 with repetitions between 6 and 15. This is a rather large range, but as I mentioned before, everybody is different. If you've been training for some time, I bet you have a better idea of what works for you than I could ever prescribe. The load or weight to be used should fall in the 60 to 80% range and you should always leave a rep or two at the end of each set. Try to switch the exercise after every one to five workouts in which it's used. If you decide not to switch the exercise then switch the way it's trained. Try to add an extra set for a few weeks. Try to work it up for four weeks then deload it for four weeks. The point is to change it up as much as possible.Modified Repetition Method Parameters

    Load (Intensity)
    60 – 80%

    Number of Exercises
    All Supplemental and accessory

    Sets / Repetitions
    5-8 / 6 - 15

    Rest Interval
    1 to 3 minutes

    Frequency / Week
    All workouts

    Weeks per Exercise
    1-5


    The Dynamic Effort MethodThe dynamic effort method is used to train the box squat and bench press. This method is defined as lifting a non-maximal load with the greatest speed possible. This method should be coupled with compensatory acceleration. This means you must apply as much force as possible to the barbell, i.e. pushing as hard and as fast as you can in the concentric phase of the lift. If you squat 700 pounds and are training with 400 pounds, then you should be applying 700 pounds of force to the barbell. The weight used should be non-maximal in the 50% to 75% range. In the text Supertraining, Siff and Verkershonsky state the best range for developing explosive strength in the barbell squat is two-thirds of your best one rep max. Angel Spassov defines this as 50 to 70%. This method isn't used for the development of maximal strength but for the improved rate of force development and explosive force. Let's assume an athlete can only get so strong for genetic reasons. If this lifter has reached his genetic strength potential and has been stuck for five years, can he not get stronger? I was told at one time that I had reached this limit. I was told this by several university professors in the field of exercise science. What they forgot is that if I learned how to better synchronize my muscles to perform, then I could get stronger by better neural activation. The result was 300 more pounds on my total! This is because at the time I may have only been activating 50% of my absolute strength potential. Through dynamic effort training I was able to activate 70 or 80%. (The percents are used as examples, this was never tested.) This is also a reason why the percent should never be as important as bar speed. Everybody has different motor learning and the advanced strength athlete will activate more than a novice athlete. This is why the more advanced the lifter is, the harder the work is. For example, if both athletes performed a set of 10 reps in the barbell squat with 80%, the novice would walk away like it was no big deal while the advanced athlete wouldn't be walking anywhere because he'd be on the floor! If you've followed Louie Simmons' articles over the years, you'll notice how the percents he writes for the squat and bench press have reduced over the years. This is because the gym as a whole has gotten so much stronger and more experienced. The percent for the bench press used to be around 70, now it's around 45 to 55%. Many have asked how this can be. Well, as stated above the athletes are now recruiting more motor units than before so less percent is needed to produce the desired results. The best way to determine what your training percent should be is to begin with 50% and have someone videotape your bar speed. If you can maintain this bar speed then increase the percent. When the bar slows down then decrease the percent. The dynamic days are scheduled as follows:Friday: Dynamic effort squat daySunday: Dynamic effort bench dayThese dynamic days are to be done 72 hours after the max effort day to allow for proper recovery. The training scheme for the dynamic days begins with plenty of warm-up sets and progresses onto the work sets. For the bench press, use 8 sets of 3 reps and for the box squat use 8 sets of 2 reps. There are many reasons for this set and rep structure. The first reason is because of Prilepin's charts (see below). Prilepin studied weight lifters to see what the optimal number of reps in each intensity zone should be. Louie applied this research into the training of the power lifts. At the time the bench press was being trained in the 70% range while the squat was being performed in the 80% range. This would equate to an optimal number of 18 lifts for the bench press in a range of 12 to 24 reps, and 15 lifts for the squat in a 10 to 20 rep range. He decided on two reps for the squats and three reps for the bench press because of time specificity of the competitive lifts. The time to unrack the weight to the completion of the lift in competition came out very similar to two reps in the box squat and three reps in the bench press.Optimal Number of Lifts by Percent (Prilepin 1974)

    Percent
    Repetitions
    Optimal
    Range

    70
    3 - 6
    18 Lifts
    12 -24

    80
    2 - 4
    15 lifts
    10 -20

    90
    1 - 2
    7 - 10 Lifts
    4 -10


    The second reason for this set and rep structure is because it has stood the test of time and has worked over and over again without flaw. This has created an evolving system where the optimal number of lifts has remained 16 for the box squat and 24 for the bench press for weights under 80%. We've also found that weights above 80% needed to be handled for 10% of all lifts. This is accomplished by working up after your sets are completed. These extra bonus sets shouldn't be used every workout, but should make up ten out of every 100 lifts. Here's a sample dynamic box workout:Exercise
    Sets
    Reps
    Weight
    Rest

    Box Squats
    2
    2
    135
    1 min


    1
    2
    225
    1 min


    1
    2
    315
    1 min


    1
    2
    405
    1 min


    8
    2
    455
    1 min


    The squat workout should begin after a general warm-up of exercises such as reverse hypers, sled dragging and pulldown abs. These exercises should be light and used to warm up and get loose. The first sets should be light and concentrate on good technique. Do as many sets as you need with the lighter weight until you feel warmed up. Progress up to your desired training weight. Once at your training weight, the rest period becomes critical. You'll only rest one minute between sets. The goal of this is to fatigue the fast twitch muscle fibers. These are the fibers responsible for explosive strength and power. We want these muscle fibers to become fatigued so over time they'll adapt and become stronger. The other reason is that the more you fatigue, then the more fibers will become activated with each set. A fatigued muscle fiber won't work as well, so the body will activate more and more muscle fibers to complete the workout. A one-minute rest constitutes about a 1:6 work to rest ratio and anything over 1.5 minutes will defeat the training effect.Here's a sample dynamic bench workout:Exercise
    Sets
    Reps
    Weight
    Rest

    Bench Press
    2
    5
    45
    1 min


    1
    3
    135
    1 min


    1
    3
    185
    1 min


    1
    3
    225
    1 min


    8
    3
    275
    1 min


    The bench press workout should begin with a light general warm-up consisting of upper body sled work and warm-up exercises for the bench press. These can include light shoulder raises to the front, side and rear, as well as some light triceps extension or pushdown movements. After the warm-up you'd move onto the actual bench press movement. Begin with the bar for as many sets as necessary to feel loose and warmed up. Increase the weight with 20 or 50 pound jumps depending on your strength level and begin the dynamic work sets with whatever the prescribed percentage is for the day. You'll perform 8 sets of 3 reps in a dynamic fashion. These reps should be performed with compensatory acceleration. When you finish the bench press movement, you'll move onto the supplemental exercise for the day. This exercise should be some type of tricep press or extension movement. The best ones for this purpose are the close grip bench press, JM press, barbell extensions or dumbbell extensions. The intensity should be high and the volume low. We've found sets in the range of two to four with 3 to 8 reps to be excellent. These sets are started after all warm ups for the exercise have been completed. The accessory exercises that follow should include movements for the shoulders and lats. These movements should be of moderate intensity for intermediate rep ranges. This may be three to five sets of 8 to 15 reps. You should leave one or two reps at the end of every set. This means you won't go to failure, which will ensure proper recovery for the next workout. Upon completion of these movements you'll move onto prehabilation work consisting of external rotation moments for the shoulders and light pushdowns and or light sled work for the upper body.Summary of the Four Day ProgramThe micro cycle of the Westside method is seven days consisting of two days for the squat and deadlift, and two days for the bench press. These days are outlined below:Monday: Max effort squat and deadlift training1. The max effort exercise: work up to 1 to 3 rep max2. The supplemental movement:• This will include one exercise for the hamstrings. The best movements for them include partial deadlifts, stiff leg deadlifts, Romanian deadlifts and glute/ham raises for three to six sets of 5 to 8 reps.3. The accessory movements:• One or two abdominal movements• One lower back movement: The best exercise for this purpose is the reverse hyper for three to four sets of 6 to10 reps.4. Prehabilation Movements• This can include exercises for the knee and hip joints. The best movements for this purpose include any type of lower body sled dragging.The meso cycle structure of this day depends on the exercise: The max effort exercise should be trained using the maximal effort method described above and cycled for one to three weeks; then you can switch to another movement. The supplemental movement should be trained using the modified repetition method and the exercise should be changed in one form or another every workout. This change can be modifying the set pattern or the repetition design or by totally switching to another movement. For example, you may select the glute/ham raise for the first two workouts for both Monday's maximal effort and Friday's dynamic effort, but may do four sets of five for Monday and five sets of eight on Friday. Or, you may decide to do Romanian deadlifts instead of the glute/ham raise on Friday's workout. The key is to stay as fresh as possible and to keep the body in a constant process of adaptation. The accessory exercises may stay constant for a longer period of time because the intensity is lower. So you may pick the reverse hyper for all dynamic and max effort lower body days for four weeks. You may, however, still change the set/rep pattern. Actually, the reverse hyper is a staple in our routine and is trained on all Mondays and Fridays with only slight modifications being made. Another very good and popular way to cycle the supplemental and accessory exercises is to cycle the weight in a step-like loading pattern where you'll push up the weight being used for four weeks. Then you'll drop the weight back down and build back up again trying to exceed the weights used for the first cycle. The prehabilation exercises are cycled in the same style as the supplemental and accessory movements.Wednesday: Max effort bench press training1. The max effort exercise: work up to 1 or 3 rep max2. Supplemental exercise: Tricep movement with high volume (six to eight sets for 8 to 12 reps). The best exercises for this group include JM presses, and barbell or dumbbell extensions.3. Accessory movements: (triceps, lats, delts)• This includes movements for the lats, shoulders and possibly extra tricep work. The best movements for this group include tricep extensions, rows and various shoulder raises.4. Prehabilation Movements: (training of the joints)• This includes movements for the elbow and shoulder joints: The best movements for this group include external shoulder rotations, press downs and sled dragging for two to four sets of 12 to 15 reps.The training structure for this day is exactly the same as Monday's workout.Friday: Dynamic squat and deadlift training 1. The box squat: Work up to 8 sets of 2 reps with prescribed percentage2. The supplemental movement:• This will include one exercise for the hamstrings. The best movements for the hams include partial deadlifts, stiff leg deadlifts, Romanian deadlifts and glute/ham raises for four to six sets of 5 to 8 reps.3. The accessory movements:• One or two abdominal movements for three to five sets of 6 to 12 repsa. One lower back movement: The best exercise for this purpose is the reverse hyper performed for three to four sets of 8 reps.4. Prehabilation Movements• This can include exercises for the knee and hip joints. The best movements for this purpose include any type of lower body sled dragging.Friday's training structure for the dynamic exercise (box squat) is cycled in a four week step-like loading pattern. If your first week's training percent is 60 then you'll want to cycle the weight up 10% for the next three weeks. For example:Week
    Percent

    1
    60%

    2
    63%

    3
    66%

    4
    70%


    This four week meso cycle is intended to increase the dynamic explosive strength of the lower body and squat exercise. All squatting is performed on a box. Box squats are the best way to train for explosive strength because you go from a static to dynamic contraction. The box squat is also the best way to teach squatting technique because it's easier to teach a person to sit back onto a box than without. (See my article in issue #120 for details on the box squat.) The box squat is trained using 8 sets of 2 reps. The supplemental, accessory, and prehabilation exercises are cycled the same as in Monday's max effort workout.Sunday: Bench press training1. The Bench Press: Work up to 8 sets of 3 reps using three different grips all inside the rings.2. Supplemental Exercise: Tricep movement with high intensity (two to four sets for 2 to 8 reps). The best movements are close grip bench presses, JM presses, and dumbbell or barbell extensions.3. Accessory movements: (triceps, lats, delts)• This includes movements for the lats, shoulders and possibly extra tricep work. The best movements for this group include tricep extensions, rows and various shoulder raises.4. Prehabilation Movements: (training of the joints) • This includes movements for the elbow and shoulder joints. The best movements for this group include external shoulder rotations, press downs and sled dragging for two to four sets of 12 to 15 reps.Sunday's dynamic effort bench workout begins with the same type of warm up work as on Wednesday's max effort day. The bench press is trained for 8 sets of 3 reps using three different grips utilizing the dynamic effort method. All these grips should be within the rings on a standard power bar. The bench press is trained with a smooth wave with very little fluctuation in barbell weight. For example:Week
    Percent

    1
    50%

    2
    50%

    3
    50%

    4
    50%


    We've found this type of wave to be the most beneficial to the bench press. The supplemental, accessory and prehabilation movements are trained under the same guidelines as Wednesday's maximal effort day.Wrap upA special note about the dynamic effort training days. Remember that the training is based upon bar speeds and the percents are used only as recommendations. Also, it's vital that 10% of all the work sets are above 90%. This simply means that after you perform your eight sets, you'll increase the weight or work up to a heavy single or double. The purpose of this is to teach you to strain in a fatigued state while the fast twitch muscle fibers are fatigued. This will teach the body to better activate the central nervous system under greater loads. The Westside style of training may also be called cybernetic periodization. This basically means you'll listen to your body. As you remember with the Western method of periodization, the training percentage sets and reps are set. So what's to happen if you're sick, injured or have to miss a workout for whatever reason? This becomes a very important issue because things do happen that will effect your training program. With the Westside system the dynamic days are based upon bar speed so if you're having a bad day, then reduce the weight and maintain the bar speed. The max effort days are based on the straining with maximal loads. So if you don't break a record because of a bad day, it's no big deal, as long as you still strained. One other aspect about the max effort day. Pick the max effort exercise after you arrive in the gym. This way you'll apply more effort to the lift than if you pre-planned the movement and dreaded getting to the gym all day to do it. Just make sure you don't always choose those exercises that you're good at. This is, after all, about building strength and muscle, not your ego.

    Big Bad Bench
    A Complete Program for Testosterone Readers
    by Dave Tate

    Last week I was right in the middle of watching one of my all time favorite movies, Mad Max, when the phone rang. It was a lifter who’d attended one of my seminars and he wanted to update me on his progress. I figured I’d only be on the phone a few minutes and then I could get back to Max, Night Rider, and Toe Cutter.
    This lifter attended one of my January seminars and in the last week of March he’d benched 450 for the first time, a forty pound increase in eight weeks! At the seminar, I’d changed his bench technique, explained how to cycle his training, and taught him how to bring up his weak point, in this case his triceps strength. Then I showed him some special exercises to help him get on his way. But I never guessed he’d put forty pounds on in such a short period of time. Strength training isn’t that easy!
    He said he was now looking forward to a 500 pound bench. I agreed he could do it, but needed to know more if I was going to help take him to the next level. I asked him how he was going to train for it. I was floored when he said he was going to try a new bench routine he’d discovered in a popular bodybuilding magazine! I was about to flip! That’s when I realized Mad Max was going to have to wait.
    He went on to explain the routine. He told me this magic program would increase his bench by forty pounds in six weeks. Now, I’m thinking he’d just added forty pounds in eight weeks by changing technique and bringing up a weak point, so what was this program going to provide beyond that?
    Then he told me that not only will this new program put on forty pounds in six weeks, but it’ll continue to do it every time he goes through it! I spent the next half hour getting this guy back on track. But I have to admit that I was somewhat hooked by the idea. I had to know what this program was. I could use forty pounds on my bench every six weeks. Could this program be "the secret weapon" I’d been waiting for?
    So off to the newsstand I went. All I could think about was forty pounds on my bench in six weeks! I almost got a speeding ticket trying to get to the newsstand. Then I found myself in front of the magazine rack and there it was: the Holy Grail of bench pressing. I grabbed it, purchased it, drove home like Mad Max himself and ripped off the plastic wrap. (They must’ve put that stuff on there to protect all the secrets from being leaked!)
    I began reading and reality quickly set in. This program was one of the worst I’d ever seen! It was a take on progressive overload using high reps and training to failure. There was no triceps work or discussion of training weak points. I kept reading about how you need to push the bar back toward your head in a "J" pattern, lower the bar slowly, and exhale forcefully at the midpoint of the lift. Wrong. Wrong. Wrong.
    It was true that this program stated it would put forty pounds on your bench in six weeks, but there was no mention of who had actually done it or what the author himself benches. I felt like the kid from A Christmas Story. He gets all excited to get the secret decoder to only find out he got screwed with an advertisement. I got screwed into buying a magazine that would be put to better use in my bathroom.
    Now that I think about it, forty pounds every six weeks would put 280 pounds on a bench in one year, or 560 in two. I know people who’ve been trying a variet of techniques over a period of four years in search of five pounds. Things aren’t as easy as many make it. It’s very easy to write about getting a big bench but as soon as you lay on the bench and start pressing, reality will smack you in the face!
    To bench big weights, you have to have a plan. This plan must consist of several things. You first must know how to bench. (See my Bench Press 600 Pounds article.) Then you must have a basic understanding of how to structure and cycle your training. (See my Periodization Bible article, part two). Finally, you have to put it into action. This article is about putting it into action.
    When I first thought about this article, I kept trying to figure out how I could write a program that would work for everyone. I went round and round with this. You see, I could write a general program that would work for everyone, but it wouldn’t work that good. As a matter of fact, it would suck. The gains would be limited and small. The reason for this is that everyone is different and has different weak points and leverages.
    So I ruled that out.
    Then it hit me: why not write a program for T-Man. So I contacted TC about the profile of "The T-mag Guy." He told me he was 6 foot 4, 375 pounds with 2.8% bodyfat and an 875 pound bench. Well, at this point I realized there was no way I could help this guy out. He’s been to places I have yet to see. Then I decided to write for the average T-mag reader. This way I could hit 50% to 70% of the audience and the others could learn from the structure. So I contacted TC for the inside scoop on the prototypical T-mag reader. Here’s what we came up with:

    The Profile
    Age: 28
    Height: 5’10"
    Weight: 200
    Current Bench Press: 285
    Close grip: 225
    Dumbbell Presses: 90 x 12
    Bent Over Row: 165 x 10
    Sticking Point: Bottom
    Arm Length: 31-inch sleeve
    Years Training: 4
    Stuck at current bench: 6 months
    Current Program: Bodybuilding (each muscle group trained once per week, 8 sets per body part, slow tempo)
    Drug Free
    Training in commercial gym with chains and bands.

    Summary of Profile
    The profile above isn’t too bad; this lifter is fairly balanced. But while there’s a good degree of muscle balance, the lifter is weak all over. A 285 bench at 200 pounds isn’t a good bench press, but it can get a lot better. This lifter has a sticking point off his chest which can either be caused from lat strength or, as I feel in this case, bar speed.
    This guy has been training with slow tempos which will cause him to lift slow. A slow lifter is never going to be a big bencher. George Halbert, one of our very best benchers (683 pound bench at 198 pounds bodyweight), isn’t the biggest guy in the world, but he’s the fastest presser in the whole gym. When coaches come to visit, the one thing they all are amazed with is George’s barbell speed. If you train slow, you’ll bench low!
    The profiled lifter also has a very low work capacity. Training a muscle one time per week with eight sets is far too low. I’d go as far as to say this lifter is out of shape. His GPP (general physical preparedness) needs to be brought up drastically. It’s no wonder people get so sore from training each muscle only one time per week!

    The Program
    This program is designed to increase your bench press and will consist of two workouts per week, one for maximal effort and the other for dynamic effort. You may want to review my "Periodization Bible" articles here at T-mag before beginning this program.
    Intensity: For the actual bench press, the intensity (percentage) is based upon your best one-rep max without the use of a bench shirt. For the rest of the movements, base the intensity on the number of reps. You should reach the desired number of reps with one or two reps left in you.
    Volume: My advice to most lifters is to go with the best volume you feel you need. When I write a program, it’s not always that easy to leave the volume up to the lifter because I haven’t researched the training history and have no idea of how well the lifter knows his own body. For an advanced lifter, I can tell him go by feel or stay with the rep ranges that work best for him and have no worries as far as how the program will progress.
    For our profiled lifter, I’ve had to set the volume parameters very specific to avoid overtraining while still increasing work capacity. An advanced lifter will know when to push the volume up and when to let it come back down; a not-so-advanced lifter will have no idea and just keep banging away. Then he’ll wonder what happened when his training goes stale. This program has a set pattern of volume to optimize the best training parameters.

    Other Notes:
    • Keep 72 hours between days one and two.
    • Do not add in a bunch of unnecessary work.
    • All tempos are moderate to fast.
    • Rest 1 to 2 minutes between sets unless otherwise noted. Go on what you feel you need.
    • Workouts should never exceed one hour in length.
    • Your lats, legs, biceps and other body parts should be trained on another day or a later workout.

    First, I’ll give you the overall program, then below I’ll go over each exercise in detail.

    Week 1
    Large volume
    Day 1 — Maximal effort day
    1) Ultra Wides: Work up to one heavy set of 6 reps, rest a few minutes and try to repeat it.
    2) Barbell Extensions: Warm up, then 6 sets of 8 reps with 30 seconds rest between sets, using the same weight for all 6 sets.
    3) Close Grip Pushdowns: 4 sets of 10 reps using the same weight
    4) Front Plate Raise: 3 sets of 20 reps using the same weight
    5) Dumbbell Cleans: 3 sets 10 reps using the same weight

    Day 2 — Dynamic effort day
    1) Bench Press with Chains* (3 grips): 55% of 1RM without bench shirt. Total: 8 sets of 3 reps. Make sure sets are performed with compensatory acceleration i.e. lift the weight as fast as possible off your chest, really accelerating that bar. Rest 45 seconds between sets.
    2) Bench Press (medium grip): 2 sets of 20 reps
    3) Elbows Out Extensions: Warm up then 4 sets of 8 reps, using the same weight for all 4 sets
    4) Face Pulls: 4 sets of 8 reps using the same weight
    5) Side Dumbbell Raises: 3 sets of 12 reps using the same weight
    * If you don’t want to use bands or chains then you’ll want to train the bench at 60% of your one rep max without a bench shirt.

    Week 2
    Medium Volume
    Day 1 — Maximal effort day
    1) Floor Press: Start with the bar and warm up using 25-50 pound jumps until you reach a one-rep max. This movement should be performed with a medium grip (pinky on the rings).
    2) Barbell Extensions on the Floor: Warm up to 2 sets of 5, then increase weight to 2 sets of 3 reps.
    3) Close Grip Pushdowns: 3 sets of 6 reps using the same weight
    4) Rear Delt Dumbbell Raises: 3 sets of 6 reps using the same weight

    Day 2 — Dynamic effort day
    1) Bench Press with Chains (3 grips): 55% of 1RM without bench shirt. Total: 8 sets of 3 reps, again using compensatory acceleration. Rest 45 seconds between sets.
    2) Bench Press (medium grip): Work up to 1 heavy set of 3 reps; leave the chain on the bar for your sets.
    3) JM Press: Work up to 2 sets of 5 reps
    4) Face Pulls: 5 sets of 6 reps using the same weight.

    Week 3
    Large Volume
    Day 1 — Maximal effort day
    1) Floor Press: Start with the bar and warm up using 25-50 pound jumps until you reach a one-rep max. This movement should be performed with a medium grip (pinky on the rings). Try to break last week’s record by 5 pounds. If you do this easily then try to break it again with a bigger weight.
    2) Barbell Extensions on the Floor: Warm up, then work up to 4 sets of 5 reps in a progressive fashion.
    3) Reverse Grip Pushdowns: 3 sets of 10 reps using the same weight.
    4) Rear Delt Dumbbell Raises: 3 sets of 8 reps using the same weight.
    5) Dumbbell Cleans: 4 sets of 10 reps using the same weight.

    Day 2 — Dynamic effort day
    1) Bench Press with Chains (3 grips): 55% of 1RM without bench shirt. Total: 8 sets of 3 reps. Make sure sets are performed with compensatory acceleration. Rest 45 seconds between sets.
    2) Bench Press: 2 sets of 20 reps with 45% of 1RM. Keep the chains on the bar.
    3) Elbows Out Extensions: 4 sets of 8 reps using the same weight.
    4) Front Plate Raises: 4 sets of 8 reps using the same weight
    5) Face Pulls: 5 sets of 8 reps using the same weight.

    Week 4
    Small Volume
    Day 1 — Maximal effort day
    1) 3 Board Press: Start with the bar and warm up using 25-50 pound jumps until you reach a one-rep max. Again, perform this movement with a medium grip (pinky on the rings) or close grip (one finger on the smooth part of the bar).
    2) Barbell Extensions on the Floor: Work up to 3 sets of 3 in progressive fashion.

    Day 2 — Dynamic effort day
    1) Bench Press with Band (3 grips): 50% of 1RM without bench shirt. Total: 8 sets of 3 reps. Make sure sets are performed with compensatory acceleration. Rest 45 seconds between sets.
    2) 0.5 Close Grip Bench Press: Work up to 3 sets of 3 reps in a progressive fashion.

    Week 5
    Large Volume
    Day 1 — Maximal effort day
    1) Dumbbell Press: Warm up 2 or 3 sets of 15-20 reps using the same weight. These sets should be taken to the point of failure. Rest 3 to 5 minutes between sets.
    2) JM Press: 4 sets of 8 reps using the same weight
    3) Reverse Grip Pushdowns: 4 sets of 12 using the same weight
    4) Face Pulls: 5 sets of 8 using the same weight

    Day 2 — Dynamic effort day
    1) Bench Press with Band (3 grips): 50% of 1RM without bench shirt. Total: 8 sets of 3 reps using compensatory acceleration. Rest 45 seconds between sets.
    2) Barbell Extensions with Band: Work up to 2 sets of 5 reps and then 2 sets of 3 reps in a progressive fashion.
    3) Side Raise: 3 sets of 10 reps using the same weight
    4) Front Plate Raises: 3 sets of 8 reps using the same weight
    5) Dumbbell Cleans: 3 sets of 12 reps using the same weight

    Week 6
    Medium-Large Volume
    Day 1 — Maximal effort day
    1) 3 Board Press: Start with the bar and warm up using 25-50 pound jumps until you reach a one-rep max. This movement should be performed with a medium grip (pinky on the rings) or close grip (one finger on the smooth part of the bar).
    2) JM Press: Work up to 3 sets of 3 reps in a progressive fashion.
    3) Elbows Out Extensions: 3 sets of 6 reps using the same weight
    4) Face Pulls: 3 sets of 6 reps using the same weight

    Day 2 — Dynamic effort day
    1) Bench Press with Band (3 grips): 50% of 1RM without bench shirt. Total: 8 sets of 3 reps, again using compensatory acceleration. Rest 45 seconds between sets.
    2) Barbell Extensions: Warm up to 4 sets of 5 reps in a progressive fashion.
    3) Side Raises: 3 sets of 8 reps using the same weight
    4) Dumbbell Cleans: 3 sets of 8 reps using the same weight

    Week 7
    Medium Volume
    Day 1 — Maximal effort day
    1) Floor Press: Start with the bar and warm up using 25-50 pound jumps until you reach a one rep max. This movement should be performed with a medium grip (pinky on the rings). Again you’re going to try to break last week’s record by 5 pounds. If you do this easily then try to break it again with a bigger weight.
    2) Barbell Extensions: Warm up to 4 sets of 6 reps using the same weight.
    3) Reverse Grip Pushdowns: 3 sets of 10 using the same weight
    4) Dumbbell Cleans: 3 sets of 8 reps using the same weight

    Day 2 — Dynamic effort day
    1) Bench Press with Chain (3 grips): 55% of 1RM without bench shirt. Total: 8 sets of 3 reps using compensatory acceleration. Rest 45 seconds between sets.
    2) Bench Press (close): Work up to 3 sets of 3 in a progressive fashion.
    3) Dumbbell Extensions on the Floor: 4 sets of 6 reps using the same weight.
    4) Face Pulls: 4 sets of 8 reps using the same weight.

    Week 8
    Small Volume
    Day 1 — Maximal effort day
    1) Close Grip Incline Press: Start with the bar and warm up using 25-50 pound jumps until you reach a one-rep max. This movement should be performed with a medium grip (pinky on the rings).
    2) 5 Board Presses: 3 sets of 3 using the same weight.

    Day 2 — Dynamic effort day
    1) Bench Press with Chains (3 grips): 55% of 1RM without bench shirt. Total: 8 sets of 3 reps with compensatory acceleration. Rest 45 seconds between sets.
    2) Dumbbell Extensions on the Floor: 5 sets of 6 reps using the same weight.

    Week 9
    Day 1 — Maximal day
    1) Dumbbell Extensions: 4 sets of 10 reps using the same weight
    2) Close Grip Push Downs: 2 sets of 20 reps using the same weight.

    Day 2 — Dynamic day
    Test bench press after a few speed sets. Warm up the same way you would with your speed sets. Perform two or three speed sets then start working up to a new one-rep max. As you work up, keep the reps to no more than three and drop to singles as soon as three begins to feel moderately heavy. Make sure to explode through all the weights. First try to beat your old record by 5 pounds, then you can go for broke.

    Exercise Descriptions
    Barbell Extensions:This exercise is designed to isolate the medial and outer heads of the triceps. Begin this movement by lying with your back on a bench. Take a medium to close grip on a barbell. Unrack the weight and extend your arms directly above your upper chest. Lower the barbell toward your chin while keeping your upper arms motionless and your elbows turned inward. Reverse the direction by using your triceps to extend your arms to the starting position. Do not let your elbows flare out during the exercise.
    This movement is best performed keeping the bar away from the forehead. By keeping it closer to the chin we’re isolating those muscles that are more involved with pressing.

    Barbell Extensions with Band:Same as above but with a band.

    Barbell Extensions on Floor:Same as barbell extensions, but performed on the floor. Performing this movement on the floor takes the legs out of the movement, thus putting more stress on the pressing muscles.

    Bench Press:The bench press should be performed with the shoulder blades pulled together and driven into the bench. The elbows should be in a tucked position. The bar should hit you in the lower chest area. It must be pushed in a straight line, not back over the face.

    Close Grip Bench Press: Lay on the bench with your shoulder blades pulled together and pressed firmly into the bench. Grab the bar with a close grip; for this program you’ll want one finger on the smooth part of the bar. Begin the exercise by unracking the bar and lowering it with your elbows in a tucked position. Lower the bar to your lower chest. Keeping your elbows in a tucked position, press the bar back to the starting position.

    Close Grip Incline Presses: This is your standard close grip bench press. Grab the bar with a grip one or two fingers away from the smooth part of the bar. Use good bench technique as described with the regular bench press and lower the bar to your lower chest.

    Close Grip Push Downs:There are many ways to perform this exercise, but for this program we’ll use a standard straight bar. Begin the exercise with your knees slightly bent, back arched and erect with your feet shoulder width apart. You’ll also want to keep your ears aligned with your shoulders throughout the movement.
    Grab the bar with your hands about six inches apart. Pull the bar down to a position where the elbows are tucked against the torso. This is the starting position. Keeping the elbows in a tucked position, press the bar down toward your thighs until your arms are fully extended. After a slight pause return to the starting position.

    Dumbbell Cleans:This exercise is designed to isolate the posterior deltoids and upper back. To begin, grab a pair of dumbbells and sit on the edge of a bench. Start the movement by pulling your shoulder blades up and back while at the same time cleaning the dumbbells up to a 90% flexion of the elbows.

    Dumbbell Presses: Most people do dumbbell pressing the wrong way for the development of a big bench. You want to make sure you keep your palms facing each other throughout the entire movement. We want to learn to press from the lats with the elbows tucked. When you perform dumbbell presses with your palms forward, your elbows will turn out. Keep your palms in.
    You also want to do the presses in a ballistic fashion. Let the bells fall with a fast decent, then rebound them back to the top as fast as possible.

    Dumbbell Triceps Extensions:This exercise is designed to isolate the lower heads of the inner and outer triceps. Begin by lying on a flat bench on your back. Grab two dumbbells and press them to an extended arm position with palms facing each other. Keeping the upper arm stationary, lower the dumbbell until the ends of the dumbbells hit your shoulders. At this point roll your upper arm back to stretch the triceps, then press and extend the arms back to the starting position.


    Elbows Out Extensions: This is one of the best movements for the lower part of the triceps. If you ever get a chance to see a great bencher, look at the mass around the lower upper arm, right above the elbow. This is where the big benches come from, not the upper part of the tricep.
    The elbows out extension is designed to bring this area up to par. To perform the movement, press the dumbbells to the starting position above your chest. You want to keep the butts of the bells together as you lower them to your chest, keeping the elbows out. Pause on your chest for a second then press and extend the bells back to the starting position making sure to keep the butts together. This movement can be performed on a flat bench or incline.



    Face Pulls: This exercise is designed to work the muscles of the upper back and posterior deltoids with the use of a lat pulldown machine and a straight bar or leather tricep strap. Stand in front of the pulldown machine with your hands spaced on the bar wider than shoulder width. Stand back and pull the bar to your face while keeping your elbows flared out. Try to contract the muscles of your upper back for a couple of seconds before returning to the starting position.

    5 Board Presses: Same as the 3 board press except now you’ll be using, you guessed it, five boards. This movement is a great tricep and lockout builder. You want to make sure to press the bar away from your head, i.e., towards the feet.

    Floor Press:This is a special max effort exercise designed to help strengthen the midpoint of the bench press. It’s also very effective for increasing triceps strength. This exercise is performed exactly the same as the bench press except you lay on the ground instead of on a bench. Make sure to pause in the bottom of the movement before the accent. This exercise has been used with much success at Westside Barbell Club for the past seven years. Use a medium grip for this movement (pinky on the rings).

    Front Plate Raise:This exercise is designed to isolate the anterior heads of the delts. Grab one weight plate with one hand on each side of the plate. In a standing or seated position raise the plate up in front of you until you can see through the hole. Pause for one second, then lower under control. Make sure to keep your body in a rigid position so you won’t cheat the weight up by using body momentum.


    JM Press:This exercise is like a close grip bench press mixed with a triceps extension. Start the exercise the same way you would a close grip bench press except make sure the bar is set in a direct line above the upper pecs. If you were to run a plum line from the bar down to the upper pecs, this would be the path the bar is going to follow. Lower the bar down this line until you reach about halfway down. At this point let the bar roll back about one inch, then press the bar back up.


    Rear Delt Dumbbell Raises: This is a very basic exercise designed to target the posterior deltoids. To perform this exercise grab two dumbbells and bend at the waist keeping the knees slightly bent and the back flat. Your arms will be hanging straight down from your upper chest. Turn your hands so your palms are facing your feet. Your thumbs should be facing each other.
    Raise the dumbbell in an arced direction so your hands end up being slightly above shoulder level. The weights must be rising directly out to the sides for this movement to be done effectively. You can do this from a standing or seated position.
    We use this exercise to help balance the shoulder complex. The rear delts and external rotators are needed to help stabilize the joint, especially with the great number of pressing exercises you’ll be doing.

    Reverse Grip Pushdowns: This exercise is designed to isolate the medial and outer heads of the triceps. Use the same form you do on regular pushdowns, but grab the bar with a reverse (palms up) grip, spacing your hands about ten inches apart.

    Side Dumbbell Raises:This exercise is designed to isolate the medial heads of the delts. Grab two dumbbells, stand with your feet shoulder width apart, and keep your back arched and abdominals tight. Your ears, shoulders and hips should stay in alignment. With your palms facing each other, arms bent at a five degree angle and the dumbbells four inches in front of you, raise the dumbbells up and out to the sides. When you reach shoulder level, lower to the starting position.

    3 Board Press: This is a special max effort exercise designed to help strengthen the lockout of the bench press. It’s also very effective in increasing triceps strength. This exercise is performed exactly the same as the bench press except you pause the barbell on a board that’s placed on your chest. The board for this workout will be three "2 x 6" boards about twelve inches in length. Make sure to pause the bar on the boards before the ascent.

    Ultra Wides:The ultra wide bench press is performed the same as the regular bench press except you’ll use an ultra wide grip. This grip would be equal to putting your forefinger on the rings.

    Wide Grip Pushdowns: Same as close grip pushdowns, but grab the bar with your hands about 30 inches apart.

    0.5 Close Grip Bench Press: This is the same as the close grip bench press but you’ll only bring the bar halfway down, then pause for half a second and press back up.

    Final Comments
    I was very reluctant to write a training program for a client or athlete I really know nothing about, although I think we’ve developed a good one here for the typical T-mag reader. Make sure to use this as a template to complement your training.
    You see, most people are silently looking to be led. If you’re one of these people you’ll never be better than the leader. Most people would rather have it this way because they can always place the blame on someone else for their misfortunes or lack of progress. The weak leaders also want this because it makes them out to be experts and they don’t want you to end up better than them.
    I want anyone who reads this to someday become a better bencher than myself. This is the mark of a good coach. This can only happen if I teach you how to teach yourself. Pay attention to the variables of the program and try to determine what works best for you. This will be the key to your continued success.

    Note: This training program is designed to fit the profile we created, not your typical competitive powerlifter. For more information of training the competitive powerlifter, see our web site at www.elitefts.com. The best video we carry in regards to the movements listed in this article is the Bench Press Video by Louie Simmons.

    Additional Notes:

    To calculate how much chain to use:
    200-300 bench: 20 pounds of chain weight at top
    301-400 bench: 40 pounds of chain weight at top
    401-500 bench: 60 pounds of chain weight at top
    501-600 bench: 80 pounds of chain weight at top
    601-700 bench: 100 pounds of chain weight at top
    For more information on how to attach the chains, see the Accommodating Resistance article. To order chains, contact Toppers at TopperSupply.com

    To calculate bands:
    200-300 bench: 40 pounds of band tension at the top and 20 at the bottom
    301-400 bench: 60 pounds of band tension at the top and 30 at the bottom
    401-500 bench: 90 pounds of band tension at the top and 45 at the bottom
    501-600 bench: 90 pounds of band tension at the top and 45 at the bottom
    To order bands contact Jump Stretch Inc. at 800-344-3539



    Dave Tate, Louie Simmons and John Davis are in the process of writing a Westside speed and strength journal for athletes . John is prescribing the speed (running) work and Louie and Dave are writing the strength stuff.
    Dave has sent you a sample of this journal fro thr Strength readers to check out. When it is completed it will be 52 weeks. Four weeks are included here. (NOTE: The sample routine is cut out of the middle of a phase and is not a sample mini-cycle but just a cut sample.) These four weeks are from the first phases. Bands and chains will not be introduced until the 20th week. This program is being designed for the novice athlete in the first few phases and will work up to more advanced stuff.
    The project should be done in the next few months.
    The program will sell in eight week phases. I am not sure of the price yet. Enjoy!


    (Program Notes)


    When discussing training, there are many things to consider, such as speed work, building absolute strength, improving form, raising work capacity, recuperation, and selecting exercises and rotating them in proper sequence to avoid adaptation.
    In our research, we have found that one cannot properly use a periodization system of raising work capacity, building muscle mass or speed strength, or correcting form during different parts of the year because a detraining effect will take place after a few short weeks from neglecting one aspect of strength.
    The Westside program is not cut and dry. It is impossible to put a program on paper and say, "Do this!" The Westside program is all about finding where you are weak and making it strong. Your weaknesses will hold you back. A great example of this is the bench press. Lets suppose your triceps have the ability to bench 300 pounds, but your shoulders can only handle 250. How much do you think you will bench? I will guess and say 250. Now, if you bring up your shoulders to match your triceps, how much will you bench? Probably 300. This is only part of what our program is about. From this example you can see how you need to be specific in your training, and why one program will not work for everyone. What you need is a training template, or a way to structure your training.We use three methods of increasing muscle tension:
    1. The Maximal Effort Method: This is defined as lifting a maximal load for 1-3 reps, and is the highest force that can be performed by the muscular system. This is and should be an all out effort. This method will improve neuromuscular coordination by increased motor unit recruiting, increased rate coding and motor unit synchronization. Many coaches view this as being the best method for both intra-muscular and inter-muscular coordination, because the muscles and the central nervous system adapt only to the load placed upon them.
    The maximal effort method does not utilize psychological preparation, in other words you should not psyche up before the set, this will only bring about emotional fatigue. Save the psyche for the meet when you really need it. Training with the max effort method more than twice a week should be avoided because it will impair muscular coordination as well as increase defensive inhibition.
    2. The Repeated Effort Method: This is defined as lifting a non-maximal load to failure. The most important repetitions here are the last few where the muscles are in a fatigued state. This is because it is the final reps that activate the largest number of motor units. As the tension in one motor unit drops, more and more join in the work. It is important to utilize long rest periods because of this reason. We like to use around five minutes of rest between sets when training with this method. Also, this method is excellent for muscle hypertrophy.
    3. The Dynamic Effort Method: This is defined as lifting sub-maximal weights with the highest attainable speed. It is used to increase the rate of force development and explosive strength. With this method, we utilize multiple sets with lower reps and lift the weights with compensatory acceleration. This means that if you can squat 800 pounds and are training with 400, you should be applying 800 pounds of effort to the barbell. Rest periods should be no longer than one minute.
    Now that you understand the methods behind the training, let’s look at what we do to incorporate it. We have devised a way to use all the above methods to increase our performance. Lets look at day one and two first. For us, this is on Day 1 and 2. These are our maximum effort training days. We start with one special exercise that is designed to enhance maximal muscle effort. We have a list of over 600 different variations of these exercises. Why so many? We all know the body is in a constant process of adaptation, so it only makes sense to bombard it with new stimuli all the time. You will use one exercise for two to three weeks and then switch to another. This is called conjugate training and it keeps the body in state where it has no chance to adapt. We have found that when you switch exercises it should be to another kind of exercise. In other words, do not go from one type of good morning to another variation of it. It is far better to switch to a squat or dead lift. Whatever the exercise, it will be performed for a maximum set of one to three reps. First, warm up using three reps until you can no longer do them, then switch to one rep. You will have only one 1-rep max. For the assistance exercises we found that it is best to switch the exercise after six times. The exception is the reverse hyper and glute ham raise. These two exercises can be argued as the best two exercises for any athlete.
    Your Maximal effort workout is based on different groups of exercises each intended to fill a specific purpose. Group one is the max effort exercise, which was reviewed above. Group two is the supplemental exercise and is intended to train the specific weakness of the squat or bench press. This group is performed with multiple sets of varied reps usually over five reps but not more than 20. Group three and four is to train the body’s core. These are the most important groups because without a strong core, you do not have a transfer of power. I like to use the example of squatting to illustrate this. If you were to replace your lower back and ABS with a large pillow and try to squat what would happen? The pillow would collapse and you would not be able to squat. Now, if you replace the pillow with a rock what would happen? Your power would be transferred through the rock and the squat would go up. It is not enough to only train the low back and abs; you have to make them stronger all the time. Group four is the pre-habilitation group. This is the time to correct muscle imbalances and work some of the stabilizing muscles that normally do not get worked. A great example of this is the external rotators of the shoulder complex.
    Your Dynamic "speed" days our on day 3 and 4. This is the speed day, which, as stated before, trains the neuromuscular system. You will only use box squats to train our squat on day 3. The box squats are performed on a box that is 1-2 inches below parallel. You will train with 50% to 60% of the weight of our best squat at a meet. These percentages are performed in a wave fashion for a 4-week mini-cycle, and are then repeated. A sample wave might look like this: week 1 (50%), week 2 (55%), week 3 (58%), week 4 (60%). If chains or bands are used, they should be used in addition to the weight. Using weights this light makes it easy to develop explosive and accelerating strength, and to perform perfect form. Each repetition should be performed with compensatory acceleration. The bar speed must be fast and explosive. If you squat 800 pounds, and your training weight is 400, then the force applied to the bar should be 800 pounds of force not 400. We train with only a light suit (straps down) no knee wraps. Training should be in a flat sole shoe such as wrestling shoes or Converse Chuck Taylors. Special exercises are essential. They can be employed after squatting with moderate weight. When you use real heavy weights for sets you simply don’t have the energy for special exercises to build the weak areas. For your speed day you will use 8 to 12 sets of 2 repetitions. You will only rest for 45 to 60 seconds between sets. This is a form of lactic acid tolerance training, which increases work capacity. The 12 sets are usually only performed in the beginning of the mini-cycle when the percentage is lower. You will also work up to a single or double after our sets if we feel good. This is not every workout, it is only when you feel strong. After your squat workout we will perform the same assistance groups as on day 1 workout. As on day 1 we pay special attention to your weak points. Day 4 is bench press day. It is based on the same principle as the squat day. It to builds explosive and accelerating strength. Proper form can be easily taught. You’ll be training at 55% of a one-rep max for 3 reps for 10 sets. With this style of training volume is easily controlled. This prevents over training and injuries. On occasion you will take extra weights after you workout. The bench press must be explosive, with perfect form, use three grips and stay with in the prescribed %.
    This workout is done 52 weeks a year. You will build and improve form, develop explosive and accelerating strength, work our weak points, and raise general physical preparedness all year long


    Equipment Needed
    Power Rack or Squat Stands
    Bench Press
    Dip Stands
    Chin Up Bar
    Man a Ray
    One Arm Cable Handle
    Barbell, Dumbbells, Weights
    Pull Down Machine
    Glute Ham Raise
    Reverse Hypertension Machine
    Incline Bench
    Stability Ball
    Belt Squat Belt
    Rolled Up Towel
    Chest Supported Row Machine or built up Flat Bench


    Week 10


    Day 1 (max effort squat day)
    Pin Pulls: warm up doing sets of three reps until you feel that you can no longer perform three reps. At this point drop the reps to one and continuing working up to a one rep max
    High Pulls: 3 sets of 6 reps
    Reverse Hypers: 4 sets of 6 reps
    Incline Sit Ups: 4 sets of 8 {pause at midpoint for 2 sec. then come back up}
    Hanging Leg Raises: 4 sets to failure
    Day 2 (max effort bench day)
    Close Grip Board Press: warm up doing sets of three reps until you feel that you can no longer perform three reps. At this point drop the reps to one and continuing working up to a one rep max
    Decline Barbell Tricep Extensions: 4 sets of 5 reps
    One Arm Reverse Pushdowns: 3 sets of 10reps
    Dumbbell Upright Rows: 3 sets of 8 reps
    Rear Delt Dumbbell Raises: 4 sets of 10reps
    Reverse Hypers: 2 sets of 15 reps
    Day 3 (dynamic effort squat day)
    Box Squats: 10 sets of 2 reps with 50% of 1RM (45 to 60 sec rest between sets)
    Arch Back Good Mornings: 4 sets of 3 reps
    Reverse Hypers: 4 sets of 6 reps
    Rainbows: 4 sets of 10 reps each side
    Pull Down Abs: 5 sets of 10 reps
    Day 4 (dynamic effort bench day)
    Bench Press: 10 sets of 3 reps with 60% of 1RM; use three different grips; (45 to 60 sec rest between sets)
    Skull Crushers on Swiss ball: 4 sets of 10 reps
    Dumbbell Side Raises: 3 sets of 12 reps
    Front Plate Raises: 3 sets of 10 reps
    Reverse Hypers: 2 sets of 15 reps


    Week 11
    Day 1 (max effort squat day)
    Pin Pulls: warm up doing sets of three reps until you feel that you can no longer perform three reps. At this point drop the reps to one and continuing working up to a one rep max
    High Pulls: 3 sets of 6 reps
    Reverse Hypers: 4 sets of 6 reps
    Incline Sit Ups: 4 sets of 8 {pause at midpoint for 2 sec. then come back up}
    Hanging Leg Raises: 4 sets to failure


    Day 2 (max effort bench day)
    Close Grip Board Press: warm up doing sets of three reps until you feel that you can no longer perform three reps. At this point drop the reps to one and continuing working up to a one rep max
    Decline Barbell Tricep Extensions: 4 sets of 5 reps
    One Arm Reverse Pushdowns: 3 sets of 10 reps
    Dumbbell Upright Rows: 3 sets of 8 reps
    Rear Delt Dumbbell Raises: 4 sets of 10 reps
    Reverse Hypers: 2 sets of 15 reps
    Day 3 (dynamic effort squat day)
    Box Squats: 10 sets of 2 reps with 50% of 1RM (45 to 60 sec rest between sets)
    Arch Back Good Mornings: 4 sets of 3 reps
    Reverse Hypers: 4 sets of 6 reps
    Rainbows: 4 sets of 10 reps each side
    Pull Down Abs: 5 sets of 10 reps


    Day 4 (dynamic effort bench day)
    Bench Press: 10 sets of 3 reps with 60% of 1RM; use three different grips; (45 to 60 sec rest between sets)
    Skull Crushers on Swiss ball: 4 sets of 10 reps
    Dumbbell Side Raises: 3 sets of 12 reps
    Front Plate Raises: 3 sets of 10 reps
    Reverse Hypers: 2 sets of 15 reps


    Week 12


    Day 1 (max effort squat day)
    High Box Manta Ray Squat: warm up doing sets of three reps until you feel that you can no longer perform three reps. At this point drop the reps to one and continuing working up to a one rep max
    High Pulls: 3 sets of 6 reps
    Reverse Hypers: 4 sets of 6 reps
    Incline Sit Ups: 4 sets of 8 {pause at midpoint for 2 sec. then come back up}
    Hanging Leg Raises: 4 sets to failure


    Day 2 (max effort bench day)
    Close Grip Board Press: warm up doing sets of three reps until you feel that you can no longer perform three reps. At this point drop the reps to one and continuing working up to a one rep max
    Decline Barbell Tricep Extensions: 4 sets of 5 reps
    One Arm Reverse Pushdowns: 3 sets of 10reps
    Dumbbell Upright Rows: 3 sets of 8 reps
    Rear Delt Dumbbell Raises: 4 sets of 10 reps
    Reverse Hypers: 2 sets of 15 reps


    Day 3 (dynamic effort squat day)
    Box Squats: 10 sets of 2 reps with 50% of 1RM (45 to 60 sec rest between sets)
    Arch Back Good Mornings: 4 sets of 3 reps
    Reverse Hypers: 4 sets of 6 reps
    Rainbows: 4 sets of 10 reps each side
    Pull Down Abs: 5 sets of 10 reps




    Day 4 (dynamic effort bench day)
    Bench Press: 10 sets of 3 reps with 60% of 1RM; use three different grips; (45 to 60 sec rest between sets)
    Skull Crushers on Swiss ball: 4 sets of 10 reps
    Dumbbell Side Raises: 3 sets of 12 reps
    Front Plate Raises: 3 sets of 10 reps
    Reverse Hypers: 2 sets of 15 reps


    Week 13


    Day 1 (max effort squat day)
    High Box Manta Ray Squat: warm up doing sets of three reps until you feel that you can no longer perform three reps. At this point drop the reps to one and continuing working up to a one rep max
    Pull Down Abs: 5 sets of 10 reps
    Reverse Hypers: 4 sets of 6 reps
    Pull Downs: 3 sets of 10 reps
    Cable Side Bends: 4 sets of 10 reps each side


    Day 2 (max effort bench day)
    Close Grip Incline Press: warm up doing sets of three reps until you feel that you can no longer perform three reps. At this point drop the reps to one and continuing working up to a one rep max
    ¼ Dips: 5 sets 5 reps
    Rope Push Downs: 3 sets 10 reps
    One Arm Dumbbell Press: 3 sets 12 reps
    Reverse Hypers: 2 sets 15 reps
    Day 3 (dynamic effort squat day)
    Box Squats: 10 sets of 2 reps with 60 % of 1RM; (45 to 60 sec rest between sets)
    * after your sets of box squats work up to a heavy double. This is not a maximum attempt so do not miss the attempts.
    Reverse Hypers: 4 sets 6 reps
    Pull Down Abs: 5 sets 10 reps
    Rainbows: 3 sets 10 reps each side
    Exercise Descriptions
    ¼ Dips: This exercise is designed to isolate the triceps while minimizing the work done by the shoulders and chest. To begin this exercise position your self on a box between a parallel dip bar. Stand on the box with your hands grabbing the handles that put you in a position where you will only have to press your self up about 3 or 4 inches. The key to this movement is to hold the locked out position then lower and pause on the box. You may need to add weight around your waist for added resistance.
    Arch Back Good Mornings: This max effort exercise is performed with the bar set the same as the Good Morning. After you are set, arch your back as hard as possible. Keeping this arch, bend forward at the waist until you feel like you are going to lose the arch, them return. This will be a very short movement when compared to the good morning. The key is to keep the lower back arch hard and tight throughout the entire movement.
    Ball Press: This movement will place intense stress on the pectorals, front delts and triceps. Using two dumbbells, sit on the ball with the dumbbell resting on your thighs. Lift the dumbbells while rolling down on the ball so the dumbbells are resting on your chest. This is the starting position. Press the arms up, keeping the palms facing inward, to an extended position where the dumbbell are located above the upper chest. Lower in the same tucked position. When the weights get heavier it is a good idea to have somebody hand you the weights in the starting position.
    Belt Squats: This is exercise is designed to work the glutes, quads, and hamstrings while keeping the weight off the upper back. To perform this exercise you will need a special belt squat belt that allows the weight to fall between your legs. The exercise motion is performed just like you would a regular box squat with out the box.
    Bench Press: The bench press should be performed with the shoulder blades pulled together and driven into the bench. The elbows should be in a tucked position. The bar should hit you in the lower chest area. The bar must be pushed in a straight line, not back over the face.
    Board Press: This is a special max effort exercise designed to help strengthen the lockout of the bench press. It is also very effective in increasing tricep strength. This exercise is performed exactly the same as the bench press except you pause the barbell on a board that is placed on your chest. The board for this work out will be two 2 by 4 boards about 12 inches in length. Make sure to pause the barbell on the boards before the accent.
    Box Squat: The benefits of this exercise are numerous. They develop eccentric and concentric power by breaking the eccentric concentric chain. Box squats are a form of overload and isolation. The box squat is the best way to teach proper form on the squat because it is easy to sit way back while pushing your knees out. To take the bar out of the rack, the hands must be evenly placed on the bar. Secure the bar on the back where it feel the most comfortable. To lift the bar out of the rack, one must push evenly with the legs, arch the back, push your ABS out against the belt, and lift the chest up while driving the head back. A high chest will ensure the bar rests as far back as possible. Slide one foot back then the other, to assume a position to squat. Set your feet up in a wide stance position. Point your toes straight ahead or slightly outward. Also keep your elbows pulled under the bar. When one is ready for the decent, make sure to keep the same arched back position. Pull your shoulders together and push your ABS out. To begin the decent push your hips back first. As you sit back push your knees out to the sides to ensure maximum hip involvement. Once one reaches the box, you need to sit on the box and release the hip flexors. Keep the back arched and abs pushed out while driving your knees out to the side. To begin the ascent, push out on the belt, arch the back as much as possible, and drive the head, chest, and shoulders to the rear. If you push with the leg first, your buttocks will raise first, forcing the bar over the knees, as in a good morning, causing stress to the lower back and knees and diminishing the power of the squat.
    Cable Side Bends: This exercise is designed to isolate the side obliques. To perform this exercise, set up just like you would the pull down abs. Turn to the side so your right side is facing the lat pull machine. Step away from the machine so there is tension on the cable. Perform a side oblique crunch (or side bend). Repeat the process on the left side.
    Chest supported Rows: Any rowing motion where the chest is in a supported position. There are many machines to fulfill this purpose. If you do not have a machine then place a flat bench on a couple of blocks. Lay face down with the bar under the bench. Grab the bar and pull it up toward your stomach. The key to this exercise is to maintain an arched back position and pull your shoulder blades together
    Close Grip Bench Press: Lay on the bench with your shoulder blades pulled together and pressed firmly into the bench. Grab the bar with a close grip, for this program you will want two fingers on the smooth part of the bar. Begin the exercise by unracking the barbell and lowering the bar with your elbows in a tuck position. Lower the barbell to your lower chest. Keeping you elbows in a tucked position press the bar back to the starting position.
    Close Grip Board Press: This max effort exercise is performed same as board press except your grip will be closer. It is recommended to place one or two fingers on the smooth part of the bar.
    Close Grip Incline Press: This is a max effort exercise designed to isolate the upper middle regions of the pectorals minor as well as the triceps. To begin this exercise lay with your back on a incline bench grasping the bar with one or two fingers on the smooth part of the bar. Unrack the weight so the arms are fully extended. Lower the barbell, with your elbows in a tucked position, to the upper chest region. Press the bar back to the starting position.
    Incline Barbell Tricep Extensions: Same as the Skull Crushers except you will be laying on a decline bench.






    Conventional Dead Lifts: This max effort exercise is designed to test overall body strength. It is normally advised to use a close grip, hands touching the smooth part of the bar. You will be pulling the bar a shorter distance, by rolling the shoulders forward as you rotate the scapula. This works fine for smaller lifters, but thick large men will do better by using a wider than shoulder grip. This allows room for the stomach to descend between the thighs, which naturally set wider because of their girth. Most small men should keep their feet close together to use mostly back muscles to lift with, whereas big men use a lot of leg drive to start the lift.
    Dumbbell Rows: Start this back exercise by placing your right hand on a flat bench to brace your self. With your left hand grasp a heavy dumbbell. Your torso should be in a position parallel to the floor. Stager your feet for better support. Pull the dumbbell up toward your torso until hits your side. Keep your elbow in throughout the entire movement. At the top of the movement you should try to rotate your shoulder upward. To lower reverse the motion. You also want to try to keep your shoulders in a straight line with each other during the entire movement.
    Dumbbell Tricep Extensions: This exercise is designed to isolate the lower heads of the inner and outer triceps. Begin by laying on a flat bench on your back. Grabbing two dumbbells, press them to an extended arm position with palms facing each other. Keeping the upper arm stationary lower the dumbbell until one end of the dumbbell hits your shoulders, at this point roll your upper arm back to stretch the triceps, then press and extend the arm back to the starting position.
    Dumbbell Upright Rows: This exercise is designed to isolate the muscle of the upper back and shoulders. Start by grasping two dumbbells in a standing position with the hands about 12 inches apart. Keep your body in good posture and pull the dumbbells up in a straight line up your body until the dumbbell reach your upper chest. As you pull the weight up try to keep your shoulders pulled together. Lower the weight in a controlled fashion.
    Dumbbell Side Raise: This exercise is designed to isolate the medial heads of the shoulders. Begin by grabbing two dumbbells, stand with you feet shoulder width apart, keep your back arched and abdominal tight. You ears, shoulder and hips should stay in alignment. With your palm facing each other, arms bent at a 5-degree angle and the dumbbells 4 inches in front of you, you will raise the dumbbells up and out to the sides. When you reach shoulder level lower to starting position.
    Dumbbell Tricep Extensions on the Floor: Same as the Dumbbell Tricep Extensions except you will lay on the floor.
    Face Pulls: This exercise is designed to work the muscles of the upper back and posterior deltoids with the use of a Lat Pull down machine and a straight bar. Stand in front of the pull down machine with your hands spaced on the bar wider than shoulder width. Stand back and pull the bar to your face while keeping your elbows flared out. Try to contract the muscles of your upper back for a couple seconds before returning to the starting position.
    Floor Press: This is a special max effort exercise designed to help strengthen the midpoint of the bench press. It is also very effective in increasing tricep strength. This exercise is performed exactly the same as the bench press except you lay on the ground instead of on a bench. Make sure to pause in the bottom of the movement before the accent. This exercise has been used with much success at Westside barbell club for the past seven years.


    Front - Side - Rear Delt Combo Raise: This is a combo exercise designed to hit all heads of the shoulders. For this workout you will use two weight plates. Grab them through the holes, so you have one in each hand. Perform 20 reps of the front raise, then without rest perform 20 reps of the side raise, then again without rest bend over and perform 20 reps of the bent raise.
    Front Plate Raise: This exercise is designed to isolate the anterior heads of the shoulders. Grab one weight plate with one hand on each side of the plate. In a standing or seated position raise the plate up in front of you until you can see through the hole of the plate. Pause for one second, then lower under control. Make sure to keep your body in a ridged position, as so not to cheat the weight up by using body momentum.
    Glute ham Raise: This is a special exercise that strengthen the gluteus maximus, hamstrings, and gastrocnemius all with the same movement. This exercise was developed in Russia and is one of the best exercises for increasing speed and power in the posterior chain muscles. You begin the movement with the use of a special glute ham raise bench by using your glutes to raises the body at which point the hamstrings take over, then the gastrocnemius finishes the movement. During the movement it is important to push your toes against the toe plate. It is also important to control the eccentric part of the movement.


    Good Morning: This is one of the most popular max effort squat exercises at Westside Barbell Club. This exercise is performed in one way or another 40% of all max effort workouts. This is because it works the posterior chain like no other exercise. Done properly, this exercise will work everything between your traps to your calves. Begin this exercise by unracking a barbell the same as you would a squat. Set up so your feet so they are slightly wider than shoulder width. Get into a tight position (arched back, shoulder blades pulled together, knees slightly bent, abdominal pushed out against your belt). This is the starting position. Slowly bend forward at the waist until your torso is slightly above parallel with the floor, then reveres the movement to return to the starting position.
    Good Morning Squats: This is another great max effort exercise for the squat. This exercise is a combination of the good morning exercise and a squat. You begin this exercise by unracking a barbell the same as you would a squat. Set up so your feet so they are slightly wider than shoulder width. Get into a tight position (arched back, shoulder blades pulled together, knees slightly bent, abdominal pushed out against your belt). This is the starting position. Slowly bend forward at the waist until your torso is slightly above parallel with the floor, then squat down into a rock bottom position then stand back up to the starting position.
    Hanging Leg Raises: Grab on to a chin up bar so you are in a hanging position. Try to pull your knees up to your chest. When your knees pass 90 degrees roll your hips upward so you are trying to bring your pubic bone and sternum closer together. Don’t let your body swing. Lower your legs in a controlled fashion. For many this will be very hard on your shoulders as well as very hard to do. There are vertical leg raises benches you can use as well as straps that go under your arms to make the movement more comfortable. If these don’t work, try doing the same motion on the ground or across a flat bench.












    High Pulls: To perform the high pull, stand with your feet shoulder width apart and flat on the floor. Squat down to the bar with your feet flat on the floor making sure to keep your arms fully extended with elbows out to the sides. Your shoulders should be slightly in front of the bar with your shoulder blades pulled together, chest up and abs tight. Start the pull by moving the bar from the floor to thighs. From the thighs, the bar should be pulled in an explosive type fashion by extending the hip, knee and ankle joints. The shoulders should be kept over the bar with the bar close to the body. When you are up high on your toes, shrug the shoulders upward while pulling with the arms. Pull the bar as high as possible. This position will end up being around the upper chest level. To lower the bar reverse the movement.


    High Box Manta Ray Squats: This max effort exercise is performed the same as the Box Squat except you will use a box that is 3 to 4 inches higher than your parallel box. You will also use the "man a ray" device on the bar. This will keep the bar higher on your traps and increase the distance between the barbell and your hips.
    Incline Barbell Tricep Extensions: This exercise is designed to isolate the medial and inner heads of the triceps. Begin this movement by laying with your back on a Incline bench. Take a medium to close grip on a barbell. Lift the weight to a extend position with your arms directly above your upper chest. Lower the barbell toward your forehead while keeping your upper arms motionless and your elbows turned inward (some may find it more beneficial to lower the barbell behind the head). Reverse the direction by using your triceps to extend your arms to the starting position.
    Incline Dumbbell Press: This movement will place intense stress on the upper pectorals, front delts and triceps. Using two dumbbells, sit back on the incline bench with the dumbbell resting on your thighs. Lift the dumbbell to a shoulder level. This is the starting position. Press the arms up, keeping the palms facing inward, to an extended position where the dumbbell are located above the upper chest. Lower in the same tucked position. When the weights get heavier it is a good idea to have somebody hand you the weights in the starting position.
    Incline Sit Ups (Roman Chair): Sit on a Roman Chain bench with your feet in the support. Tighten your ABS and lower to a 70 degree angle, pause for two second the return keeping your abs tight. You may need to hold a dumbbell for added resistance.
    JM Press: This exercise is like a close grip bench press mixed with a tricep extension. Start the exercise the same way you would a close grip bench press except lower the bar direction to your upper chest, about half way down rotate the bar back toward your head about two inches then press it back up.
    JM Press with Towel: This exercise is the same as the JM press except you will use a rolled up towel (the towel should be around 6 inches thick). Bring the bar down to the towel, then roll back toward your head about 2 inches with the bar still on the towel, then press back up.
    Low Box Squats: Same as the Box Squat except you squat down to a box that is 2 to 4 inches lower than parallel.
    Lunges: Unrack the weight with the barbell placed across your back in the same place as you would an barbell squat. Take a few steps backward to insure clearing the rack. Arch your back with your abdominal held in a tight position. This is the starting position. Take a step (lunge) forward with the lead leg; bending the knee to a 90-degree angle. The back knee should be close to the ground at the point. If it hit the ground, then you have gone to far. To return to the starting position you want to forcefully push with the lead leg. This forceful push is the key to the whole exercise, so make sure to really explode into the movement. After reaching the starting position, repeat with the other leg.
    One Leg Squats: This exercise is designed to isolate the glute and hamstrings. Place one leg back on a bench so you are in a split stance position with the back leg up on a bench. Squat down with the lead leg to a parallel position then reverse the motion to come back up.
    One Arm Press: This exercise is designed to target the anterior - medial heads of the shoulders. Perform this movement by grabbing one dumbbell in a standing or seated position. Lift the dumbbell to a position about shoulder level. Turn your palm toward your head. This is the starting position. Press the dumbbell up until the arms become extended. Pause at the top for one second then lower to the starting position.
    One Arm Extensions: This exercise is designed to isolate the medial and outer heads of the triceps. Begin this movement by laying with your back on a bench. Grab one dumbbell and extend your arm directly above your shoulder. Lower the dumbbell toward your shoulder while keeping your upper arms motionless and your elbows turned inward. Reverse the direction by using your triceps to extend your arms to the starting position.
    One Arm Reverse Push Downs: This exercise is designed to isolate the medial and outer heads of the triceps. To begin this exercise, use a lat pull down machine or an overhead pulley machine with a one arm handle on it. Grab the hand with an underhand grip and pull the bar down to a position where your elbow is fixed against your torso. Keeping your upper arm fixed at your side, extend your arm until it is locked out. To reverse the movement let the arm bend back as far as possible without letting the upper arm move away from the torso.
    Partial Deadlifts: This exercise helped Matt Dimel increase his squat from the mid 800’s to over 1000 pounds in a two year period. To perform this exercise grab a barbell with an over hand grip about shoulder width apart. Pull the bar up to a standing position. At this point arch your back and get you abs tight. Keep the back as arched as possible, push the glutes out, and keep the knees slightly bent. Lower the bar by push your body weight back unto your heals while pushing your glutes out. Try to lower the barbell to a position just past the knees. At this point you should feel a tremendous stretch in the glutes and hamstrings. Raise by contracting your glutes first, at the top of the movement contract the glute as hard as possible. Perform the exercise in a ballistic fashion. You want to drop to the midpoint position and explode back to the starting position.
    Pin Pulls: This is a max effort deadlift exercise. You will be pulling deadlifts from pins that are 4 to 6 inches off the ground.
    Pull Downs: This movement should be performed the same as a chinning movement. There are many ways to perform this movement; this program will use a standard straight bar. Use a over hand grip on the bar spaced about the same with as you would the bench press. Begin with a slight arch in your back with the arms fully extended. Beginning pulling by first pulling you shoulder blades together then pull the elbows back and downward. This will bring the bar down to your upper chest. After a slight pause, return the bar to the starting position. Keep your back tight and in the same position throughout the entire movement.
    Pull Down Abs: Begin by placing a rope or leather tricep handle on the lat pulldown machine. Face away from the machine and grab the rope behind your head with both hands. Perform the movement in the same motion as a deadlift. Start by pushing your abs out then tighten them as hard as you can. Bend over at the waist until your torso goes below parallel to the floor. Reverse the motion in the same manner.
    Push Downs: There are many ways to perform this exercise, for this program we will use a standard straight bar. Begin the exercise with your knees slightly bent, back arched and erect with your feet shoulder width apart. You will also want to keep your ears in alignment with your shoulders throughout the movement. Grab the bar with your hands about 10 inches apart. Pull the bar down to a position where the elbows are tucked against the torso. This is the starting position. Keeping the elbows in a tucked position press the bar down toward you thighs until your arm are fully extended. After a slight pause return to the starting position.
    Rainbows: This exercise is designed to isolate the obliques. To begin this movement lay on your back with your hands over your head holding onto a heavy object. Pull both knees toward your chest in a tucked position. Keeping this tucked position, roll your knees to the left side until they touch the floor then rotate back to the center, then to the right. You must keep your shoulder blades on the floor. To increase the difficulty perform the movement with your leg raised in a 90 degree angle.
    Rear Delt Dumbbell Raises: This is a very basic exercise designed to target the posterior deltoids. To perform this exercise grab two dumbbells, bend at the waist keeping the knees slightly bent and the back flat. Your arms will be hanging straight down from your upper chest. Turn your hands so your palms are facing your feet. Your thumbs should be facing each other. Raise the dumbbell in a arced direction so your hands end up being slightly above shoulder level. The weights must be raise directly out to the sides for this movement to be done effectively. You can do this from a standing or seated position. We use this exercise to help balance the shoulder complex. The rear delts and external rotators are needed to help stabilize the joint especially will the great number of pressing exercises you will be doing.


    Reverse Grip Pushdowns: This exercise is designed to isolate the medial and outer heads of the triceps. Begin the exercise with your knees slightly bent, back arched and erect with your feet shoulder width apart. You will also want to keep your ears in alignment with your shoulders throughout the movement. Grab the bar with a reverse, palms up, position spacing them about 10 inches apart. Pull the bar down to a position where the elbows are tucked against the torso. This is the starting position. Keeping the elbows in a tucked position press the bar down toward you thighs until your arm are fully extended. After a slight pause return to the starting position.
    Reverse Hypers: this exercises is regarded by many strength coaches as being the best lower back, hamstring, and glute exercise. This is because it allows you to train all these muscles in unison. This is important because these muscles of the posterior chain are the same muscles responsible for running and jumping. This is performed on a special bench invented by Louie Simmons of Westside barbell club. This exercise is also being use for rehabilitation purposes for those with back problems or herniated disks. This is because the bench decompresses the disks when the weights are in the midpoint position. To perform this exercise, there is a strap the wraps around your ankles. You jump on the bench with your face down. The bench supports your entire torso. This allows for your legs to hang down at a 90-degree angle. You perform the movement by contracting your glutes and raise you legs up to a horizontal position. At this point you try to contract your glutes and lower back as tight as possible. Then you lower the weight past the 90-degree starting point to a position where you ankles are in alignment with your head. This is the point where the disks are stretched apart to allow fluid to enter the joints.
    Rope Push Downs: This exercise is performed the same as the Push Downs except you will use a rope or tricep strap instead of the bar.
    Seated Dumbbell Shoulder Press: This exercise is designed to target the anterior - medial heads of the shoulders. Perform this movement by grabbing two dumbbell in a seated position. Lift the dumbbells to a position about shoulder level. Turn your palms toward each other. This is the starting position. Press the dumbbells up until the arms become extended. Pause at the top for one second then lower to the starting position.
    Seated Dumbbell Cleans: This exercise is designed to isolate the posterior deltoids and upper back. To begin grab a pair of dumbbells and sit on the edge of a bench. Start the movement by pulling your shoulder blades up and back while at the same time cleaning the dumbbells up to a 90% flexion of the elbows.
    Skull Crushers: This exercise is designed to isolate the medial and outer heads of the triceps. Begin this movement by laying with your back on a bench. Take a medium to close grip on a barbell. Unrack the weight and extend your arms directly above your upper chest. Lower the barbell toward your forehead while keeping your upper arms motionless and your elbows turned inward. Reverse the direction by using your triceps to extend your arms to the starting position.
    Skull Crushers on Swiss Balls: Same as the Skull Crushers except you will lay across a stability ball.
    Straight Leg Raises: This exercise is intended to strengthen the abdominal and hip flexor muscles. Lay on your back on a flat bench or lay on the floor. Keep your arms out to your side or hold onto the rack. Raise your legs to a 90 degree angle. Press your lower back into the bench as hard as possible. Lower your legs until you feel your back start to arch. At this point raise the legs back to the starting position. Every body will not be able to go all the way down at first, just go as low as you can before your back arches. If you try to force it too soon you may injure yourself
    Sumo Style Deadlift: Use a moderate stance and a close hand grip. To start the lift, you will rock into the bar, and the hips come up fast toward the bar. This requires a strong back because the legs lock out long before the bar is completely locked. The most common style is with the feet very wide, out to the plates. The lifter should not lower the hips any more than necessary. The back must be arched to the extreme. Most important is to push your feet out to the sides, not down. Why? By pushing down with a sumo or wide stance, your knees will come together, which is the most common mistake in the sumo. By pushing the knees out forcefully, the hips will come toward the bar fast making for a favorable leverage, placing most of the work on the hips, legs, and glutes. TIPS: Don’t stay down too long. It will destroy the stretch reflex.








    Squat Training - Westside Style
    By: Dave Tate, CSCS I have been training at Westside Barbell in Columbus, Ohio under the coaching of Louie Simmons for over seven years. The knowledge I gained in that first year far exceeds everything I learned studying exercise science in college. I thought I knew all there was to know in the field of strength and conditioning. I have read all the articles, magazines, journals and books on the subject and spoke with many professionals in the field. I had heard of Louie Simmons and had read his articles on training methods, but at that time it went against everything I had studied, so I disregarded it. Then I started reading back issues of the Soviet Sports Review, as well as some other books on eastern block training methodology. Now Louie’s articles started making sense to me. After I graduated, I moved to Columbus, Ohio where I knew Matt Dimel. He brought me to Westside Barbell. At the time I thought I was a good lifter since I had competed at the elite level in three weight classes. I figured I had nothing to lose by training a new way, so I started to workout at the gym. To make a long story short, my total went up 300 pounds and my squat went from 750 pounds to 900 pounds. This convinced me that there was no better way to train than the Westside way. I have seen many people join our gym or come in for seminars and learn this method. A year later, their results are great. This is the best way to train if you are willing to give it a try. The Westside program is not cut and dry. It is impossible to put a program on paper and say, "Do this!" The Westside program is all about finding where you are weak and making it strong. Your weaknesses will hold you back. A great example of this is the bench press. Lets suppose your triceps have the ability to bench 300 pounds, but your shoulders can only handle 250. How much do you think you will bench? I will guess and say 250. Now, if you bring up your shoulders to match your triceps, how much will you bench? Probably 300. This is only part of what our program is about. From this example you can see how you need to be specific in your training, and why one program will not work for everyone. What you need is a training template, or a way to structure your training. The purpose of this article is to outline the structure of our squat and deadlift training. Since we rarely train the dead lift, this article will focus on squat training. Squatting power is defined as the product of two abilities, strength and speed. At Westside we divide squat training into two workouts a week, one on Monday and the other 72 hours later on Friday. The Monday workout is to train the muscular system with maximum effort strength training and Friday is to train the neuromuscular system with dynamic effort training. According to Zatsiorsky, there are three ways to achieve maximum muscular tension. 1. The Maximal Effort Method: This is defined as lifting a maximal load for 1-3 reps, and is the highest force that can be performed by the muscular system. This is and should be an all out effort. This method will improve neuromuscular coordination by increased motor unit recruiting, increased rate coding, and motor unit synchronization. Many coaches view this as being the best method for both intra-muscular and inter-muscular coordination, because the muscles and the central nervous system adapt only to the load placed upon them. The maximal effort method does not utilize psychological preparation, in other words you should not psyche up before the set, this will only bring about emotional fatigue. Save the psyche for the meet when you really need it. Training with the max effort method more than twice a week should be avoided because it will impair muscular coordination as well as increase defensive inhibition. 2. The Repeated Effort Method: This is defined as lifting a non-maximal load to failure. The most important repetitions here are the last few where the muscles are in a fatigued state. This is because it is the final reps that activate the largest number of motor units. As the tension in one motor unit drops, more and more join in the work. It is important to utilize long rest periods because of this reason. We like to use around five minutes of rest between sets when training with this method. Also, this method is excellent for muscle hypertrophy. 3. The Dynamic Effort Method: This is defined as lifting sub-maximal weights with the highest attainable speed. It is used to increase the rate of force development and explosive strength. With this method, we utilize multiple sets with lower reps and lift the weights with compensatory acceleration. This means that if you can squat 800 pounds and are training with 400, you should be applying 800 pounds of effort to the barbell. Rest periods should be no longer than one minute. Most of the training in the United States today focuses on the repeated effort method in a progressive overload fashion. There are many problems associated with this type of training, which will be outlined below. The repetition method will produce the most gains in maximal strength because of increased muscle diameter. However, this type of training does nothing to stimulate the recruitment of fast twitch muscle fibers. Also, a large volume of weight is hard to apply to most lifters because the reps are performed in a fatigued state, which leads to bad lifting form. The progressive overload method has not been used since 1964 in the former USSR. They realized 33 years ago that it didn’t work, but in the USA we still haven’t figured it out yet. This type of training will cause lifters to have better and bigger lifts in training than in competition. How many times have you or someone you know said after missed maximum attempt "I tripled that weight in training". There are several reasons why this occurs. First, the protocol starts 10 to 16 weeks out from the peak or competition week. The beginning of the cycle starts with a low weight percentage and a large training volume. This will build muscle mass, but the training percentage is too low to build strength. Although the bar speed is fast, the weight is too light so little force is being developed. As the peak or competition draws closer, the weight on the bar increases, so force is being developed but the bar speed has slowed down. Another problem with this phase of the training is that too many weight attempts over 90% are being taken. This will lead to a distortion in form and missed attempts. Another problem with this type of training is that it is based on a hypothetical max. Let’s say your best squat is 700 pounds, and you did this fairly easy. You will probably base your training program on a 730 squat thinking that this weight is closer to your true max. Most of the time a progress overload training cycle starts after an active rest period of two to four weeks. This is where the problems start. It has been proven that you can loose up to 20% of your strength after two weeks of non-training. This will cause the lifter to begin the training cycle based off a 730 pound squat, when in reality may only be capable of a 600 to 650 pound squat. This causes the training percent to be higher than what is programmed. For example, if week one calls for 3 sets of 12 with 50%, the lifter will be using 365 pounds if based on a 730 squat. Keep in mind that the lifter may only be capable of a 650 squat so he should be using 325. This would mean that he is lifting 56% instead of 50% This is really no big deal with such a low percent because the weight is still light. The real problem comes later down the line when the percent raises to 85% to 90%. If there is a 6% difference in the weight, it could be up to a 50 to 70 pound difference. Tudor Bompa states that strength improves as a result of creating high tension in the muscles and is directly related to the training methods employed. He also states that any increase in power must be a result of improvements in strength, speed, or both. So why would anyone want to limit themselves to only one type of training? I feel this is because of the large amount of body building information that is out there. Most lifters start by asking the biggest guy in the gym what he does and by reading the muscle magazines. Most of this information lacks any scientific background and is based on creating muscle hypertrophy. There are many bodybuilders out there who have large muscles and yet cannot display power. Why? They lack the ability to contract an already strong muscle in a short period of time. It is like having a big engine, but no gas. The advantage to maximum effort and dynamic effort training is that both train the nervous system to contract in the shortest period of time. This neuromuscular adaptation results in improving intra- muscular coordination and improved relations between excitatory and inhibitory reaction of a muscle during the training stimuli. Now that you understand the science behind the training, let’s look at what we do to incorporate it. Louie has devised a way to use all the above methods to increase our performance. As already mentioned, we do our squat training two times a week. Lets look at day one first. For us, this is on Monday. It is our maximum effort day. We start with one special exercise that is either a type of squat, dead lift or good morning. We have a list of over 600 different variations of these exercises. Why so many? We all know the body is in a constant process of adaptation, so it only makes sense to bombard it with new stimuli all the time. We will use one exercise for two to three weeks and then switch to another. This is called conjugate training and it keeps the body in state where it has no chance to adapt. We have found that when you switch exercises it should be to another kind of exercise. In other words, do not go from one type of good morning to another variation of it. It is far better to switch to a squat or dead lift. Whatever the exercise, it will be performed for a maximum set of one or three reps. First; we warm up using three reps until you can no longer do them, then switch to one rep. You will have only one 1-rep max. Since we perform good mornings about 40% of the time, I will use it as an example to show how we come up with so many variations. We use special training aids such as chains, bands, weight releasers, or a combination of these. This is known as the contrast method. These aids help to change the strength curve. They apply a greater resistance at the top of the curve where we are strongest. An example is using chains. When using them, you should have two lighter chains, one for each side of the barbell that hang down and hold all the other heavier chains. These heavier chains should be about 5’ in length and weigh about 20 pounds. Adjust the chains so only about three links are on the floor for all squatting and good morning type exercises. Another example is the Jump Stretch bands. To use these, all you need to do is loop one end of the band around the power rack or Monolift and the other around the barbell. We will also use a number of different types of barbells such as the buffalo bar, Hatfield (safety) squat bar, and others to add to our growing list of different ways to perform the good morning. Below is a list of possible Good mornings, deadlifts, and squats. Types of Good Mornings Good Mornings: These are regular good mornings that can be performed either with a rounded back or arched back. Good Mornings off Pins: Set the bar on a selected pin of any height and duck under it. Set up in a good morning position and lift bar up to a standing position. This can be performed with either an arched back or rounded back. Hanging Bar Good Mornings: Hang the selected bar in the power rack with chains. Set a desired height; duck under the bar in a good morning position and lift to a standing position. It can be performed with either a rounded back or arched back. This is a current favorite of Westside. Good Morning Squats: This is a combo between a good morning and a squat. You begin the motion as a good morning. At the bottom position of the good morning you squat down, then squat the bar back to a standing position Seated Good Mornings: These are performed in a seated position. Unrack the bar and bend over as low as you can go and arch back up. These can be performed in an arched or rounded back position. This list becomes very extensive when you add in the chains, bands, weight releasers, different bars, and different stances. We perform as many different variations as we can come up with. I have calculated over 300 different good morning variations. This keeps the body guessing and getting stronger. Types of Dead Lifts We do many types of dead lifts as well, but I am not going to bore you with another list. I will just say we pull dead lifts from various pin settings out of a power rack, we dead lift standing on different height boards, and we use multiple stances. Also, we use chains and bands to incorporate the contrast method. Squats We also do a great variety of squatting movements. We use training devices such as the Manaray, safety squat bar, buffalo bar, front squat harness, belt squats, and whatever else we think up to include variations. We usually perform the squat using a box on this day, unless we hang the bar from the power rack. Chains, bands, and weight releasers are also used for the contrast method. Day 1 (Maximum Effort Training) Our Monday workout is based on different groups of exercises each intended to fill a specific purpose. Group one is the max effort exercise, which was reviewed above. Group two is the supplemental exercise and is intended to train the specific weakness of the squat. This group is performed with multiple sets of varied reps usually over five reps but not more than 20. Group three and four is to train the body’s core. These are the most important groups because without a strong core, you do not have a transfer of power. I like to use the example of squatting to illustrate this. If you were to replace your lower back and ABS with a large pillow and try to squat what would happen? The pillow would collapse and you would not be able to squat. Now, if you replace the pillow with a rock what would happen? Your power would be transferred through the rock and the squat would go up. It is not enough to only train the low back and abs; you have to make them stronger all the time. Group four is the pre-habilitation group. This is the time to correct muscle imbalances and work some of the stabilizing muscles that normally do not get worked. A great example of this is the external rotators of the shoulder complex. Next, I will briefly review some specific exercise in-groups two to four. This will give a better understanding of the structure of our training. Group Two (supplemental accessory)Our second exercise choice is specific to the athletes’ weaknesses. Most of the time in our Club, it is the glutes or hamstrings. In order to work these muscles, we would choose one of the following: 1. Glute Ham Rise: This is a special bench that is similar to a hyperextension bench except the movement is initiated by the glutes and hamstrings. 2. Partial Dead lifts: Arched back dead lifts from the knees up performed in a ballistic fashion for high reps. 3. Seated Leg Curl with Jump Stretch Bands 4. Pull Through: Facing away from a low pulley, bend down and grab the pulley between the legs and pull through to a standing position. 5. Zercher Squats (seated, standing, or off pins): Cradle the barbell in your arms and squat. Group Three (Core accessory #1)Our third exercise is usually for the low back and is typically a reverse hypertension. We use many variations often using a long or short strap. A light day will consist of 3 - 4 sets of 15-20 reps using a light weight. A heavy day means 4-5 sets of 6-8 reps using a heavy weight. Keep in mind you should have at least one or two of each type of workout a week. Group Three (Core accessory #2)Our fourth exercise is for the abdominal and consists of one or two of the exercises below. 1. Pull down ABS: Using a latte pull machine with a rope, you grab the handle behind your head and perform a reverse dead lift. 2. Blue bench ABS: This is the Ab bench featured in Iron Man magazine. 3. Spread eagle sit ups: Lay on the floor with your legs spread out wide in front of you and perform sit ups. We hook our legs under our power rack. 4. Incline sit ups 5. Weighted Crunches 6. Weighted Swiss ball sit-ups: Using a large inflatable ball, lay on your back across it and perform sit-ups. Group Four (Pre-habitation)Our last exercises are chosen to increase our work capacity and to help train the stabilizing muscles. This type of training helps to avoid injury. These exercises should never take more than 15 minutes. They consist of lat work, dragging, reverse curls, wrist and grip work, and external rotation exercises. These workouts are not predetermined and are not restricted to any certain exercises. Two samples Good morning max effort workouts would look like this:Sample #1 1. Good Mornings off chains with Safety Squat Bar: We would start by warming up with the bar and keep adding weight. Most of the reps per set are around three. We would stay with three until that becomes impossible (we know this by feel. You don’t want to fail doing your triples) At this point we switch to singles until we fail or our eyes pop out of our heads. 2. Glute Ham Raises: We would do multiple sets, nobody really counts, but I guess around five. The repetitions are either heavy five's or lighter sets to failure. This depends on how we feel. 3. Reverse Hyper: Either 4 or 5 sets of heavy weight sets of five or 3 sets of lighter weight sets of 10-15. Once again it depends on how we feel. 4. Pull Down ABS: We really don’t count sets or reps. Try to do a least 6 to 8 sets of 10-20 reps. 5. Pre-habilation : This stuff is really not heavy but just exercises to increase our work capacity and help train stabilizing muscles to help avoid injury, These exercises never take more than 20 minutes and consist of lat work, dragging, reverse curls, wrist and grip work, external rotation exercises, and what ever else you may deem necessary. This is not predetermined work and is not limited to the exercises listed. This portion of the workout can be done in a second workout on the same day. 6. Eat: We always seem to find somewhere to go eat. Sample #2 1. Good Morning Squats with Chains: The Good morning squat is performed by starting the lift in a good morning position. Start the decent as a good morning by bending at the waist until until your upper body is slightly above parallel. At the point squat down into a deep position and squat the weight back to the starting position. Work up to a max single or triple. 2. Partial Dead lifts. To do this, pull the bar with a conventional style to a lockout position. At this point arch your back and drop to just below your knees and explode back to the top. Perform multiple sets of high reps (15-20) 3. Reverse Hyper: Perform three to five sets of 6-12 reps 4. Weighted Incline Sit-Ups: Use a weight that will only allow 6 to 10 reps. Perform 5 to 6 sets. 5. Prehabilation: Same as above Day 2 (The Speed Day) The second workout for squat training is on Friday. This is the speed day that, as stated before, trains the neuromuscular system. We only use box squats to train our squat. The box squats are performed on a box that is 1-2 inches below parallel. We train with 50% to 60% of the weight of our best squat at a meet. These percentages are performed in a wave fashion for a 4-week mini-cycle, and are then repeated. A sample wave might look like this: week 1 (50%), week 2 (55%), week 3 (58%), week 4 (60%). If chains or bands are used, they should be used in addition to the weight. Using weights this light makes it easy to develop explosive and accelerating strength, and to perform perfect form. Each repetition should be performed with compensatory acceleration. The bar speed must be fast and explosive. If you squat 800 pounds, and your training weight is 400, then the force applied to the bar should be 800 pounds of force not 400. We train with only a light squat suit (straps down) no knee wraps. We also train in a flat sole shoe such as wrestling shoes or Converse Chuck Taylors. To perform a correct box squat, you should set up that squat in a position that is wider than normal stance with your feet pointed straight ahead. Arch your back, pull your shoulder blades together, and drive your head into the bar, push your knees apart as well as pushing your abdominal wall against your belt. During the decent push the hips back first, then bend the knees. Make sure to sit way back onto the box (do not drop fast, and stay in control). While on the box your position should be: arched back, abdominal against belt, knees out, shoulder blades together, your knees should be in line or behind your heals. Now, you pause on the box (notice I said pause, do not bounce), then explode up to the starting position. Why box squat? This is because it breaks up the eccentric/concentric chain which builds explosive strength. For our speed day we use 8 to 12 sets of 2 repetitions. We will only try to rest for 45 to 60 seconds between sets. This is a form of lactic acid tolerance training, which increases work capacity. The 12 sets are usually only performed in the beginning of the mini-cycle when the percentage is lower. We will also work up to a single or double after our sets if we feel good. This is not every workout, it is only when we feel strong. After our squat workout we will perform the same assistance groups as on Mondays workout. As on Monday we pay special attention to our weak points. These workouts should not take more than 60 minutes. Dr. Angel Spassov in his tour of the United States spoke of the release of testosterone during training. His graph showed that the resting testosterone levels are significantly increased during the first 20 minutes of training. During this time we are performing our warm ups such as dragging or light ab work. He also believes that the most critical time of training is between 20 and 50 minutes, that is the time when we perform all our work sets. During this time the testosterone levels are at its peak. After this time the levels start to decrease. I hear people say all the time " that westside stuff won’t work." My question to them is have you tried it, because if you haven’t, you really don't have any room to speak. I used to say the same things and now my total is up 300 pounds. The proof is in the results, we have twelve 800 pound squatters, three 900 pound squatters, and Matt Dimel's 1010 pound squat. We also have fifteen 700 pound dead lifters and two 800 pound dead lifters. Think about it. I will close by saying that many people may ask why not just keep training the same normal way? Well in the words of Dr. Angel Spassov "Who wants to be normal? Who wants normal results? We want to be exceptional. Exceptions confirm what is not normal". We at Westside agree 100%. No training article would be complete without giving credit to Louie. He has taught me more about training than any school, book or any other person ever could. He not only knows his stuff, he practices what he preaches. His 800 squat, 600 bench and 720 deadlift attest to this. For more information on our training, I strongly recomend the Westside training videos. These can be ordered at Westside Barbell 614-276-0923.

    Maximum Effort Workouts
    The Westside method is a Periodisation program known as Conjugated Periodisation. This simply put means that several abilities are coupled together throughout the training. The western method of periodisation separates these variables while this Westside method puts it all together at the same time. The entire Westside method is centered around three basic methods of strength development Maximal Effort, Dynamic Effort Method, and the Repetition Method.
    The Maximal Effort method is considered by many coaches and athletes as being the superior method of strength development. It places great demands on both intramuscular and intermuscular coordination and well as stimulating the muscular and central nervous system. These demand force the body into greater adaptation. This adaptation is what is responsible for strength gains. When training using the max effort method the central nervous system inhibition is reduced, thus the maximal number of motor units are activated with optimal discharge frequency (Zatsiorisky). The one draw back to using this method is that you cannot train with weights above 90 percent for much longer than three weeks before the nervous system begins to weaken. When this happen your strength will begin to diminish. This is one of the major reasons why progressive overload will only work for so long. With this in mind and knowing how good this method is in the development of strength development Westside set out to find away around this three-week barrier. The way to over come it is to switch the exercises used for the max effort method every one to tree weeks. This keep the body fresh so the method can be used year round.

    Max Effort Parameters
    Load (Intensity) 90 to 100%
    Number of Exercises 1
    Repetitions 1-3
    Rest Interval 2 to 5 minutes
    Frequency / Week 1 (Squat Day) / 1(Bench Day)
    Weeks per Exercise 1-3


    So how do you use this method? The best way to utilize the max effort method is deciding on one main exercise that will be trained with this method. After a proper general warm up you proceed to this exercise and begin to warm up with the bar. Taking small weight increases you begin to work up in weight with sets of three reps. when three reps begins to feel heavy you drop down to single repetitions. This is when you begin to try to max out on the exercise. Keep increasing the weight until you have reached your one rep max. Make sure to keep track of what this record is because this is what you will try to beat next time out. A max effort exercise would look like this:

    Exercise Sets Reps Weight
    Floor Press 2 5 45
    2 3 95
    1 3 135
    1 3 185
    1 3 225
    1 3 275
    1 1 315
    1 1 365
    1 1 405
    1 1 425
    In the above example, 425 would represent the lifters one-rep max. This is the number that should be recorded to break on a later date. It is very important to only use this method with only one exercise per workout and no more than one time per week for each lift. The Westside method schedules one max effort day for the bench and one for the squat and dead lift as follows:
    Monday: Max Effort Day for the Squat and Dead lift
    Wednesday: Max Effort Day for the Bench Press
    Since many of the same muscle are used for the squat and dead lift, they are trained on the same day. Actually very little dead lifting is performed with this style of training because of this reason.
    The Max Effort Exercises should also be closely related to the squat, bench press and dead lift, and all should have a very high strength carry over value. These exercises include: Box Squats, Good Mornings, and Dead lift for the squat and dead lift days and Board, floor, Close Grip. Incline and Band Press for the Bench Press. These are just a sample list of over 1000 different max effort exercises that can be performed for max effort days. See index for complete list
    The best max effort exercise for the squat and dead lift are Good Mornings, Low Box Squat and Dead lift. The good morning is probably the best overall exercise for strength development and should be utilized 70 percent of all Max effort days. There are several different types of Good Morning that can be performed. Good morning using a variety of different bars such as the safety squat bar, buffalo bar, and cambered bar are classics at Westside barbell. Many of these good mornings are performed suspended from chains. By suspending the bar from the power rack to perform the good morning (Anderson good mornings or suspended good mornings) you are creating the same specificity as when you dead lift. This is because you start the dead lift without any eccentric or lowering motion. This is also true when you have to squat under a suspended barbell and lift it to a standing position.
    The best max effort exercises for the bench press are the Floor Press, Board Press, Close Grip Bench Press, JM Press, and Reverse Band Presses. All Pressing motions! As with the squat and dead lift max effort exercises, there are several variations of each movement. Each exercise has a specific function. For instance, the floor press takes your legs out of the motion so greater emphasis is placed on the pecs, delts and triceps. The close grip incline press takes your lats out of the motion so there is greater emphasis placed on the deltoids and triceps. The board press also take your lats out of the motion and provide you with the opportunity to train at specific points of the bench press.
    The max effort meso cycle should only last 1 to 3 weeks with the later being for the novice and intermediate strength athlete. The more advanced the athlete the shorter the time spent per cycle or time spent per max effort exercise. This is due to the neuromuscular coordination and motor learning. The advanced athlete can call upon more motor unit activation (use more muscle) than the novice. For example the novice may use 40% of their total muscle while the advanced will be able to use 80%. The second reason is the neuromuscular and muscular coordination. The advanced lifter has always figured out and mastered how to do the movement. His body knows what to do and when. The novice athlete has not figured out how to do the movement and is far from mastering it. This will allow the novice to progress and break records for around three weeks on each max effort exercise. This however will not be the case for the advanced athlete. These athletes will have one good week where they break a record then will be unable to break it for the next two weeks. So the solution is simple, switch every week! This will allow you to break records each week and avoided overstraining. Max effort training by the way is a process of learning how to better synchronize the muscle involvement. This is because of the activation of the central nervous system as well as other factors such as motivation and concentration.
    If you do not always break a record, don’t worry about it. The strain is more important than the record itself. With this in mind, if you happen to break your record and it was very easily to the point you really didn’t strain, then you must take another record where you actually strain.
    Dave Tate cscs

























    Chains and Bands
    There are many keys to success, but two invaluable ones are accelerating strength training and accommodating resistance by add-ing chains or bands or sometimes both.
    Chains and bands are used in all of our training, be it the dynamic method for speed strength and acceleration or the maximum effort day to develop absolute strength.
    In the bench press, bands and chains have helped 17 of our lifters achieve 550 or more and 7 lifters have done 600 or more. When I talk about bench training, I am referring to my lifters with a 550 bench or better; that's who we experiment with.
    On speed day for the bench, while doing the 8-10 sets of 3 reps, the chains are attached in the following manner. Loop a 1/4-inch-link chain with a hook around the bar sleeve to regulate the height of the 5/8-inch-link chain (5 feet long). Run the 5/8 chain through the metal loop and adjust it so that half of the 5/8 chain is lying on the floor while the bars in the rack. Use 60% of a no-shirt max on the bar. For example, if your max is 500, put 300 pounds on the bar. When the bar is on your chest, only the weight of the bar should be on your chest; that is, all the 5/8 chain should be on the floor.
    If your best bench is 250 pounds or less, use one pair of 1/2-inch-link chains; these weigh 23 pounds a set, so you are locking out an extra 11.5 pounds. A 350 or more bencher should use one pair of 5/ 8-inch-link chain. By doing this, you will be locking out an extra 20 pounds. (They weigh 20 pounds each, but half is on the floor at lockout.) A 500 pound bencher can use both the 5/8 and 1/2 inch chains for a combined added weight of 31 pounds. A 600 bencher uses two 5/8 chains and sometimes adds a 1/2 inch chain, for 40 or 51 added pounds at lock-out.
    You can experiment on your own, but remember this process is to build bar speed and acceleration. It also teaches you to launch the bar off your chest. A special note: Lower the bar fast and try to catch and reverse the weight as fast as possible. Never pause.
    On max effort day, warm up to 315, then do a single. Next, add a 5/8 inch chain on each side and do a single. On the next set, use two sets of chain, then three sets, and so forth. This is similar to how a bench shirt works: the weight is less at the bottom and much greater at the top. The chains build not only acceleration but also a fast start and a strong lock-out.
    For floor pressing, simply drape the 5/8 inch chain over the sleeve of the bar and you're ready. J.M. Blakley and George Halbert do a lot of floor presses like this. George will use 200 pounds of chain (5 sets of chain) and works up to a single. His best at a bodyweight of 220 is 440 plus 200 pounds of chain, which is 640 at the top.
    J.M. uses a different combination of weight and chains. ,J.M.s best is 400 pounds on the bar with 7 sets of chains, for a combined weight of 680 at lockout. Try any weight-to-chain ratio. Feel free to experiment. A cambered bar can be used as well.
    These are a few methods to add to your max effort day.
    Bands are a little tough for some on speed day because of the added eccentric properties they create. Also the weight resistance is much more radical at different positions:
    much less at the bottom, but much greater at the top. Remember, the bands are literally pulling down on you.
    There are three bands with different strengths: pink is the least strong, for 300 pound benchers and below; green for 300-450 pound benchers; and blue for 500 pound benchers and above (shirtless max).
    When using bands, be careful not to overdue it. The bands produce a large amount of eccentric overloading and can cause exces-sive soreness, but they are more than worth it. They build the lockout as well as the start. One realizes very fast that you have to outrun the bands, so you develop a fast start to enable you to lock out a heavy weight.
    The most popular methods us-ing the bands are as follows. On max effort day, do board presses with four 2 x 6’s. Loop the bands through the bottom supports of the bench and then around the sleeve of the bar. When using four boards, the tension is never released. Be-cause of this, a quick start is impossible and locking out a heavyweight is really tough. To make it even tougher, use a cambered bar. ‘J.M. presses’ with bands are very popular at Westside. To make it as tough as possible, use several bands. Lower the bar straight down, aiming between the nipples and chin, stop 4-5 inches off the chest, and press back up. Use a close grip.
    Bands and chains are often used for triceps extensions. This will radically change the strength curve of the movement by accommodating resistance (lifts are usually easier at the top).
    A Westside supporter who con-stantly bugs me with some of the craziest ideas actually came up with an exercise that really works. So thanks to Doug Ebert for the follow-ing band exercise. Attach a blue band to the bar and start with 95 or 135 pounds because this is tough. Then take a pink or green band, depending on your strength, twist it once, and place it around your upper back so the tension is pulling back your hands. Now lie down on the bench, stretch the band to grab the bar, and start benching. This ‘double’ tension is unreal.
    Also try the ‘lightened’ method, recommended by Carl of Jump-Stretch. Attach a set of blue bands to the top of the power rack with a slip knot. Load the bar to 135. It should be almost weightless at the chest. This way you can bench 135 pounds more than normal. This builds tremendous power at lockout, which is perfect for bench shirts.
    Bands and chains have helped to increase our list of 550 benchers at Westside to 17. George Halbert recently benched 688 at 235 to capture the world record at 242. George also holds the 220 world record. Only two people can claim to hold a world record bench in two weight classes: George Halbert and Dave Waterman.
    Now on to squatting. With an army of 800+ squatters, 22 to be exact, when we experiment and establish results, they are sound and proven. We also have a 755 squat-ter at 165 and a 782 squatter at 181. They all use chains and bands. Here's how.
    First use a set of 1/4-inch-link chains that attach to the bar sleeves. We suspend a metal ring from the 1/4 inch chains, which regulates height of the 5/8 chain from the floor. Loop the 5/8 inch chain through the metal ring so about three chain links are lying on the floor when you are standing. When you are sitting on the box, slightly below parallel, half of the chain will be unloaded onto the floor.
    How much chain should you use? If you squat 350 or less, use one set of 5/8 inch chain, equaling 40 pounds at the top. If you squat about 600 pounds, use about 60 or 70 pounds of chain at the top. If you squat 800 pounds, use 80~120 pounds of chain at the top. As you can see, about 10% of your squat weight should be added with chain. If you are doing sets wIth 400 on the bar, you will be standing up with 520. An 800 squatter whose top training weight is 480, or 60%, will add 80-120 pounds of chain to the bar, equaling 600 at the top.
    To use bands for squatting, if you squat 650 or less, use green bands. If you squat more than 650, use blue bands. Here are two ex-amples of 900+ squatters. Billy Masters and Dave Barno used a top weight of 500 pounds and 150 pounds of tension with blue bands. Billy did 909 and Dave did a perfect 925. Neither train at Westside, but they use our methods.
    When squatting, wave your training weights from 50% to 60% in a 3 or 4 week cycle. Do mostly 8 sets of 2 reps with 45 seconds rest between sets.
    For max effort work, one can choose a bar weight of, say, 400 or 500 pounds. Do a single and then add a set of chains. Keep doing singles and adding a second and third set of chains until you break a PR or miss. You can do the same with Flex bands. Good mornings are a great exercise to do with chains and bands. High pulls with the pink or green bands are also great.
    I have seen one of our lifters with a 600 deadlift go to 670 in 6 months by using bands on the deadlift. Bob Young would use 275-315 on the bar, with about 200 pounds of tension from the bands. We use the platform that Jump-Stretch sells with their bands to do this exercise.
    If you want to excel at powerlifting or any sport, then you must develop speed strength, increase acceleration, and gain absolute strength. Bands and chains can be instrumental in developing these aspects of strength. I highly recom-mend that you try them as soon as possible. For chains, call Topper’s Supply at 614-444-1187. For bands, call JumpStretch at 1-800-344-3539.










    Visitors to Westside

    At Westside Barbell we have a steady Invasion of visitors. Recently people have come from Brazil, North-west Territory (Canada), and South Africa and from all across the United States. Most lifters to have made a trip here found it was worth the effort.
    Mike Hill came here from West Virginia with a 1450 total in the 220 class. In less than 3 years he has done 1855 in the same class. How? By working on his technique and discov-ering his weaknesses. His training partner, Chris Young, a 242, was doing 1740 when he came here with Mike. In less than 3 years, Chris raised his total to 2000. Both are regulars here, visiting as often as possible.
    I received a call two months be-fore the 1998 WPC Worlds in Aus-tria from Andrew Dexter, from Canada. He wanted to come here to train the last six weeks before the Worlds. Of course, we said yes. If anyone is willing to live in a hotel in a foreign country just to train, we are happy to have them. Andrew had a 1600 total at 198. He was 23 years old. He told us that only two Canadi-ans were USPF Elites. Well, after 6 weeks, he became the third, with a 1747 total and a Junior World title.
    Andrew’s form in the squat was terrible by our standards. He was box squatting, but not sitting back nearly far enough. Nor was he pushing his knees out to the sides, and he would round over. Building up his abs stopped him from rounding over in the squat. To teach him to push his knees out to the sides, we used a verbal reminder on each squat set. We also had him sit on a well-below -parallel box with a flex band wrapped around his legs just above his knees. Then by pushing his knees apart, his hips became stronger and he learned to force his knees apart. This is ad-duction/abduction work, but this will not work on a machine because the hips must be lower than the knees to be effective. Machines are built so the hips are higher than the knees. By doing this and a few other special exercises, Andrew’s squat went from 573 to 633 In 6 weeks.
    Andrew’s bench press was 400 when he arrived here. His triceps needed work, and he had a bad habit of pushing the bar over his face. First we had to fix his bench form. To do this, he had to build the correct muscles. The strongest muscle must be the triceps. A set of thick lats and upper back are next. The delts, espe-cially rear, are next. The chest will take care of itself.
    On speed day, Andrew would use 205 for 4 sets of 3 reps and 4 sets of 3 reps with 225 plus a set of chains (on all sets). The chains add 20 extra pounds at lock-out. On max effort day, he sometimes did benches with 275 and 1 set of chains for a single, adding another set of chains for a single, and continuing to add chains until he failed. A second special core lift was a 4-board press with 150 pounds of tension from a set of Flex bands. He would work up to a max. He also did steep Inclines, working up to a max. These exercises were done as three minicycles, 2 weeks each. Each core exercise was fol-lowed by triceps work first, lats, up-per back, and then hammer curls. The result was a 440 bench, a 40-pound Increase.
    For the deadlift, Andrew had been deadlifting every week. He was shocked when we told him not to do any regular deadlifts. It was his best lift, 640, hard but legal.
    Andrew did good mornings for the first minicycle. His best was 360 for 3 reps. He worked up to 365 for 3 reps and thought he was done. But our guys pushed him on to 425 for 3 reps in the bent-over good morning. The atmosphere at Westside is ‘do or die’, and it’s better to die than not to try. It would have taken a year or two for Andrew to reach 425 for 3 reps back home in Canada.
    The Reverse Hyper helped tremendously. One hundred pounds was hard for him at first, but in 6 weeks he was doing 225 for 4 sets of 10 reps.
    Although his abs looked good, looking good doesn’t cut it. He did all his abs standing up in front of the lat machine. Oblique work was also done in the same fashion.
    He pulled one time: 315 plus Flex bands. This was 4 weeks before the Worlds. At the meet Andrew pulled a 672 PR. That made it possible for him to total 1747, a 147-pound increase in 6 short weeks. Here is a guy who has good potential, but is not a genetic freak. And he can go back home and continue to make progress.
    John ‘Chester’ Stafford moved from Minnesota to train with us at Westside. He is a very talented lifter; he had a 1978 total in the 275s. After 4 months here, he made a 2070 total in Washington, D.C. How? Basically, his problems were much like Andrew’s: poor squat form and weak triceps.
    For the squat, we had John take his squat stance out as far as possible to build up his hips, and we had him push up the Reverse Hyper weight. John likes the good morning and all its variations, and he has a very strong back. By building up the correct muscles, his form has greatly im-proved, taking him from a 749 squat to an 800 squat in less than4 months.
    His bench press was a bit off because of his weak triceps and be-cause he didn’t know how to use a bench shirt. For the triceps, John did J.M. presses for a few weeks for a 3-rep max. When he started to stall on these, he moved to straight bar ex-tensions to the chin for 5 reps. These helped considerably, but as they started to fade, he moved on to two-arm dumbbell extensions for fast sets of 10 reps.
    We are still teaching John how to use a bench shirt. He would let the shirt blast the weight out of the bot-tom, and then he would try to take over where the shirt left off. By early 1999, we will have taught him to push along with the shirt to the top.
    John’s deadlift is pretty good. At his second meet he made 750 in the 275’s. He has very good form and a very strong back. The box squat is bringing up his hip strength so he can lock out that 800 when it comes. Sled work and glute/ham raises have helped too.
    It doesn’t matter if you visit Westside or move here; progress comes to anyone. With 22 lifters totaling over 2000, 22 with 800+ squats, and 18 with 550+ benches, we have a good experimental base to work from. Anyone can make fast gains if they pay attention to the complex training system we offer.
    Before he came to Westside, George Halbert’s best bench was 475 for 2 years. After 1 year at Westside he made 628 In the 275’s. He is now the holder of the all-time best bench in the 220’s (657) and 242’s (688).
    Bob Youngs went from a 1470 total to 2000 in 2 years.
    Tom Rutigliano was stuck at 1570 in the 181’s. He became the WPC World Champ with an 1851 total in 3 short years. Tommy lives in New Jersey.
    Tom’s friend John Wardell was stuck in the bench press at418 for an incredible 8 years. After 3 visits in 5 months, he did 501 in the APF Nationals.
    Tom Waddle’s best total was 1855 for years. After 6 months at Westside he made 2060 at the 1993 APF Nationals. Tom did 2259 at the 1995 APF Nationals.
    Amy Weisberger came here with a 760 total at 123. She was told that she would never make any more progress. She has now totaled 1125 in the same class.
    People come to Westside from around the world. Flavio Danna, from Brazil, visited us for 6 weeks. He had a 352 bench. One year later, he did 484; what a jump! Flavio found, like most visitors, that his triceps were well under par. When he concen-trated on his triceps, upper back, and lats, his form changed considerably. He now pushes the bar in a straight line.
    I am proud to say we have fans all over the world, and we are fans of our fans. We believe that it is just as important to do that first 300 bench as it is the first 600, and that’s the truth. We have two new friends visit-ing from South Africa, Mike Barker and Brett Burchell, both super heavyweights. Brett, at 350 pounds, has a lot of potential in the squat. George Halbert is helping Brett with his bench press, and the morn-ing crew, which I train with, is con-centrating on Brett’s deadlift and squat. On February27, 1999, we will see how Mike and Brett respond to our methods.
















    How to Bench Press 500 Easy
    By: Louie Simmons

    Everyone strives for a goal, one of which may be a 500 bench. The problem is how do you achieve it? For me it was a mystery until I discovered a method of training known as the conjugate method. This is done along with the dynamic method with submaximal weights on a second day, 72 hours later. Today we have 29 people who have done at least 500, four who have done over 600, and the youngest person ever to bench 700. Here's how.
    On Sunday we use the dynamic method. The weight is 55% of a contest max with a shirt. If for some reason you compete without a shirt, 60% is used. We do 8-10 sets of 3 reps. It's best to use three or more grips In a workout. Most of the sets are done with a grip inside the power rings on the bar, that is, with the little finger inside the ring. Using grips inside the rings will aid greatly in triceps and anterior delt development.
    The reps must be very explosive. Lower the bar quickly, but under control. Lowering contributes to raising, or concentric, strength. Lowering a bar slowly will
    build muscle mass but not strength. Please, I beg you, stop reading bodybuilding magazines. They have contributed greatly to ruining strength training in the United
    States. After all, plyometrics is the energy gained by the body dropping and then responding to that dropping with reversal, or explosive, strength.
    The bar should be pushed back up in a straight line, not back over the face. This requires strong triceps. This path is a shorter distance and requires no shoulder rotation,
    which is also much safer. The barbell will always seek the strongest muscle group; that's why most push the bar over the face. Their delts are stronger than their triceps. But it should be the reverse. One sees a lot of shoulder and pec injuries, but seldom do you see a triceps injury. Why? The triceps have never been pushed to their maximum, potential.
    We do approximately 20 reps out of 200 above our training weight. We may add only 30-50 pounds to the bar, mainly to check that bar speed remains high. If your bar
    speed, or reversal strength slows, you have a problem. After all, this would still be a very submaximal weight if you bench press 500 and train with 275, or 55%. You could
    also do a few singles, but not with more than 90% and not very often. We found this interferes with the max effort day three days later.
    After bench pressing, go first to triceps work. Basically 60 total reps are done with dumbbells, broken down into 5 sets of 10 reps or possibly 7 sets of 8 reps. The palms should be facing inward, toward the body, when dumbbells are used for extensions. When a barbell is used, 40 reps should be done, bringing the bar to the forehead, chin or throat.
    Paul Dicks presses with a regular bar or a Safety Squat Bar can be done.
    We do a lot of J.M. presses, named after J. M. Blakely: with a close grip, lower the bar to 4-5 inches off the chest above the nipples, hold for a split second, and press back up. This is a very effective exercise.
    After triceps, do front raises with a bar, plate, or dumbbells. Heavy weights used. Also do side delts with dumbbells or a cable, rear delts, 4 or 5 sets of lats, a few hammer curls. Do delt and lat work by feel, but continuously do more and heavier weight.





    General physical preparedness
    By: Louie Simmons
    General physical preparedness (GPP) is a term that refers to a degree of fitness, which is an extension of absolute strength. Many don't believe in it at all. Here, I am referring to the people who say if you want to be good at the powerlifts, just practice the powerlifts. Of course, this leads others to say that powerlifters are out of shape, and the above-mentioned group is.
    Many times the ones that advocate only the classical lifts are the very ones that complain that powerlifters are out of shape. We all squat, yet we are not built identically. Some develop large quads, some develop big glutes and hips, and others may have very powerful hamstrings. It's obvious to me that if one muscle group is developed to a greater degree than another, then the smaller muscle groups are holding back your lifts.
    What's the answer? You must do special exercises for the lagging muscle groups. But before you can pursue an increase in volume by way of special exercises, you must be in excellent shape. General physical preparedness raises your ability to do more work by special means.
    There are several ways of raising work capacity. One method that we use at Westside is using the pulling sled for the hips and glutes. We pull the sled with the strap attached to the back of our power belts. We walk with long, powerful strides, maintaining an upright body position, pulling through with the feet, which stresses the hamstrings and glutes. This is common practice for throwers overseas.
    I learned about pulling from Eskil Thomasson, who is Swedish. Before he moved to Columbus, he visited Finland to see why so many Finns deadlift so well. Many of these strong deadlifters were lumberjacks. They routinely had to pull paper wood down to the main trail, where the tractors could pick it up.
    Another style of pulling is with a double handle held behind your back and below your knees. The torso is bent over, and the strides are long. This is great for building the hamstrings.
    To work the front of the hips and lower abs, attach a strap to each ankle and walk, pulling the sled by your feet. Vasily Alexiev use to walk in knee-deep water for roughly 1000 steps after a work out. This is similar to what we are doing but with the advantage of being able to add or reduce weight, which varies the resistance.
    For building the outside of the hips and the inside of the legs, position the straps around the ankles and walk sideways, first one way, then the other, left then right, forward and backward.
    For the quads and front of the hips, walk backward with the strap around the front of your belt.
    To start this type of work, I recommend doing six trips of 200 feet each. Use only one style of dragging until you feel confident of your ability to include more work. We do this low body work on the squat day, Friday, and on the max effort day, Monday, plus on the days after (Saturday and Tuesday), using 60% of what was done on the previous day. This contributes greatly to restoration.
    For legs and upper back, as well as building your grip, try pushing and pulling a weighted wheelbarrow. This has had a great effect on my knee that suffered a patella tendon rupture. I thank Jesse Kellum for this exercise. He used his for knee rehab for pro-football players. Pushing the wheelbarrow up a mild grade really increases the work on the lower thigh muscles. Again, start with six trips of 200 feet. Only when you have adjusted to the additional work should you increase the number of trips.
    Now back to the sled, but this time for the upper body. When George Halbert sees an increase in upper body mass, the process must be working, and that process is pulling a sled with the upper body. There are many methods of doing this. One duplicates the motion of a pec machine. Start with the arms behind your back. Slowly pull your arms to the front. Walk forward slowly and let the tension in the strap pull your arms to the rear, and again pull forward.
    One can also do a front-raise motion with the palms facing down. For the lats, start with the arms behind your back, raise your arms, palms up, like a double upper-cut, by first flexing your lower lats. The farther forward hands go, the more the upper lats are worked. By walking backward you can do rear delt work, upright rowing, and external shoulder work.
    A good reactive method for the bench press is to hold the straps out in front of you, and as you walk forward and the slack is removed, drive the sled forward in a shock fashion. This is very taxing but is great for reversal strength.
    Do the upper body sled work for time, not distance. Mix the different styles together. Start with 5 minutes of pulling and work up to at least 20 minutes. I do 30-40 minutes. Walk slowly and don't jerk the sled. Only the reactive bench press method should be jerked.
    Use the rule of 60%: Start heavy on day 1 and reduce the weight each day for 3 consecutive days. Then go back to a heavy weight the fourth day, e.g., 90 pounds, 70 pounds, 50 pounds, each weight representing one day. The same applies to pulling the sled for lower body power and to the wheelbarrow.
    This work will greatly increase your physical ability to train as well as work as restoration. This style is resistance work for those seeking greater overall strength, power- and weightlifters, football players, or anyone that needs to raise work capacity to reach a higher level of excellence, which is anyone who took the time to read this article. But are there different routes to this type of work? Yes.
    GPP work is very common in track and field overseas, but is still very much overlooked in the United States.
    An experiment was conducted at The University of Pittsburgh. Head strength coach Buddy Morrison brought in a sprint expert, John Davies, who is very well versed in GPP work for running. John works with many pro players and has consistently lowered their 40 times. While his GPP work consists of weightless drills, such as jumping jacks, line hops, mountain climbers, and shuffle splits, it perfects running and jumping skills in addition to lateral speed. As John simply puts it, "I have never met a North American Athlete, from the major team sports, that the inclusion of this work will not cause a remarkable change in their optimum performance. Simply, without this solid base, substantial gains are limited and success is restricted to those more genetically gifted.... The median improvement in 40 yard dash times over eight weeks was .25 … This work is not for the weak of heart as the overall work volumes are enormous."
    John Davies' training, as mine, is regulated up and down in a wave fashion to ensure restoration and to raise work loads.
    If you are not after the highest possible level of power and speed, don't waste your time. But if you want to call out "Who's next?", like the immortal Goldberg, give this a try.












    Dave Caster - Resident Louie Simmons Disciple

    1. Simmon's Principles #1
    2. Simmon's Principles #2
    3. Simmon's Principles #3
    4. Do throwers need cleans and snatches?
    5. Some unique exercises
    6. Deciding on weights for Dynamic days
    7. Benching workouts
    8. Using Quick Deadlifts
    9. Speed of Lifts
    10. Thoughts on Exercise Variation
    11. A sample 2 days a week workout program
    12. How to improve your clean
    13. Some technique advice for the shot
    14. How many pressing workouts a week
    15. Thoughts on explosiveness
    16. Strength and Throwing
    17. Squats and Throwing

    Simmon's Principles #1
    Great questions! In Dr. Zatiorsky's book, "Science and Practice of Strength Training," he speaks about ESD (Explosive Strength Deficit). I'll get the specific page #s tomorrow for you. The Dr. claims that modest gains in absolute strength will result in large performance increases for young shotputters, who naturally lack absolute strength. He uses the benchpress as his test lift (curious choice), and he also claims that an experienced shot putter even when making huge jumps in absolute strength, may experience no increase in throwing performance. He then suggests that these experienced throwers should engage in training that increases explosiveness to overcome this "deficit" . One problem-he says very little about the nuances of dynamic training (page references to follow tomorrow). This made Louie very curious, so he asked the Dr. about it. Louie's impression of the discussion mirrored his impression of the book-brilliant, but created more questions than answers. Where Louie fits into this whole mess is that he essentially operates from a very rudimentary understanding of Force (with Force equaling mass times acceleration). He has noted that most strength coaches and athletes attack the equation by moving a very heavy mass slowly. He has found moving a moderate mass very quickly to work wonders; not only can you perform more pushes per session, you can actually exert more force than your max lift (with the acceleration factor being the determinant). This is not a cycling strategy per se, but a standard practice used on the main lifts. With powerlifters and other strength athletes that are used to attacking the problem from the maximum mass angle, his concepts have been very liberating in that they are now able to increase force by slipping through the acceleration "door". Here's how it all fits together. Louie feels that it is not necessary to periodize the main lifts; rather, periodize and cycle assistance movements. The assistance movements are chosen to specifically attack weakpoints. Yet, the "dynamic" work is always done. I will use myself as an example. In 1990, I benched 310 at a meet. It took 4.5 seconds to lock out the lift (we video the meets for analysis purposes). The training before the meet was traditional prog. overload (8's, 5's, 3's and eventually working to a heavy double with 290, producing the snail-like 310 at the meet). Fast-forward to 1994 . . . after a few years of Louie's methods, I was able to bench 396 at a meet, and the lift took 1.6 seconds to lock out. Same bodyweight. The difference was in using the percent training. 245 for 8 sets of 3 was used exclusively to bench with for the WHOLE CYCLE; specific weaknesses were dealt with through incline benches, rack work, weight release work, etc. We bench by percents on Monday, and do the special work on Thursday. The special work is worked as follows: 3-4 weeks hypertrophy work; 3-4 weeks heavy rack singles (or board press, or floor press) work, then 2 weeks of weight release singles to get that stretch reflex snapping. In a nutshell, the main lift is trained dynamically ALWAYS, and the special exercises are cycled as necessary. Louie calls it "conjugarte training". Now-as far as building a base-yes and no is the "scientific" answer. Louie has one lifter he has trained since he was 14; all he has done is % training. He benches 700+ at 22. 620 or so without any of the lifting paraphernalia that is sometimes used. Our take on this? We mix the dynamic training with the standard repeated effort method for the younger ones. This builds the necessary coordination and hypertrophy, while teaching them to be real fast, and it doesn't hurt them and beat them up like heavy training-yet it takes advantage of one thing that all lifters have in common-a functioning nervous system. Once the hormones are popping as they get older, they easily slide into a more intense routine-but the dynamic "base" is always there. So Andy, the short answer to my long-winded explanation is that the physiological reason we do it is because that acceleration is, indeed, a part of the force equation, it is one that is often overlooked, and it is a major window of opportunity to increase force without burning the strength trainee out. Once you are used to this kind of training, you can play around with volumes of the dynamic work performed and really tailor-make whatever outcome you're striving for. While any chimp could tell you that yes, there is a limit to what a person can do, we have found it possible to retard that law of diminishing returns experienced due to ESD. This is essentially Louie's answer to the question/problem Zatsiorsky so succinctly outlines in his ESD equation. The ramifications for the thrower (specifically shot-putter)? They are quite obvious. A thrower who benches 400, and takes about 4 seconds to do so, may become a bit more effective in the circle when he's benching 500 in about 2 seconds. Well, hopefully, at least. I hope I have not caused too much confusion. Take care!

    Simmon's Principles #2
    Louie’s got some feelings about training throwers that may or may not help you out. Remember how we talked about beefing the deadlift up by power cleaning? Louie claims that he helped Jud Logan progress past a personal sticking point in his power clean by suggesting the use of reverse hypers and sled pulling. Louie’s thoughts on the matter naturally go to fixing weak links. I have read postings suggesting using no belt while doing multi-joint movements in order to accomplish the strengthening of torso weaknesses. We don’t quite do it that way. Louie thinks good torso strength will contribute to helping out the multi joint lift-so rather than not wearing a belt, we attack the breakdown point. This is accomplished by taking exercises like reverse hypers, sled pulling, back raises with and without weights, and abdominal work with a static component very, VERY seriously. I don’t know about throwers, but I know a lot of P/L men blow these lifts off, and just concentrate on the "big" ones. Those who don’t blow them off usually benefit from their use. Think about this-if you use a power clean to strengthen your ability in the power clean, you will forever be thwarted by whatever your weak link is. Ever see how some guys get a giant butt from squatting, while some get giant thighs, and some get giant midsections? Multi-joint lifts often times serve to beef up strongpoints and identify weaknesses, not cure them. It’s like the bencher who is built to bench-the weaknesses aren’t there, so just benching works fine for him (favorite example: Bridges). Now, if you are not built to bench, then Bridges’ type of routine will lead you to gains right up to the point where the weakpoint lets you down. Louie’s recommendation: build your program around some form of squatting (with that form being relevant to your event), most preferably executed in a percentage-driven format. Do this once a week, and then take another day out of the week to beef up whatever weaknesses you have (Paul, this is essentially the answer to your max effort day question: it is on this day that we address major strength concerns and/or glaring weaknesses-for the bench, many of us do rack singles at specially selected heights-for the squat/deadlift, anything from Hatfield bar singles to power cleans to deadlift singles from various pin positions to 2 sets of 20 reps in the partial hi-rep deadlift to real low box squatting-depending on your need-can be done). We always follow squats with either back hypers or reverse hypers or both, AND ABS. SERIOUS ABS. Same on the max effort day. Now, there are a few weird things we do. Following squats, we sometimes do rubber band stomps. Taking a giant, fat rubber band that is anchored to the top of the power rack or chin bar, we attach one foot to the band and keep the other foot on the ground. We then stomp down for 3 sets of 15 reps. Be careful that you don’t allow the rubber band to thrust your knee into your face, as it will try to do so. Not good. We do a similar drill on a see-saw like device, putting weight on one end and stomping down on the other. We also do squats, without weights, affixing ourselves to a platform with these same giant rubber bands. We then simply execute 3 sets of 10-20 reps, depending on the size of the rubber band, and concentrate on coming onto our tiptoes at the finish of the movement. Getting ahold of these giant rubber bands can be done by calling 1-800-344-3539. These are really wild, as there is less of an eccentric component to this exercise than regular squatting (meaning less soreness and the ability to use them a number of times a week depending on the level of tension), and you can really put the mustard to the last half of the movement-and you will find that this helps your vert. leap and your general explosiveness quite a bit without the spinal trauma that may coincide with cleans & pulls. So does this mean we don’t do pulls? No way. It means that you may want to inject some other stuff to beef up the pulls. This centers on attention to torso strength. One parting thought. . . the program at UCLA is of interest to many people. Not much is known about the nuances. However, this is something that should be noted: I understand they have reverse hyper machines in their training facility. That may not mean jack, but I will allow you to draw whatever conclusion you may draw. Take it easy, and remember to keep any modifications to your training routines real simple, so you can see the benefits and go from there. I hope this has helped.
    Simmon's Rationale for his programs
    Hi John. Remember the hGH issue and the 10RM sets with minimal rest? I discussed this w/Louie. He was aware of it; he rather abruptly reminded me that if THAT (hGH production enhancement) was the overriding factor in the success of % training, then every bodybuilder in the world would be reaping the rewards of the concept and displaying the commensurate brute power, since that is the way they typically train. He asked me to cite you this example: Let's say a lifter can bench 300 for 10 reps. Would it be better to do 3 sets of 10 reps, or 10 sets of 3 reps with the 300? While it depends on your training goal, for strength/power/and THROWING considerations, he says the 10 sets of 3 wins every time. Why? All 30 reps can be moved fast as hell. With the 3 sets of 10, around rep 4 or 5, the speed slows down as the burn sets in. And the rate of force development potential is shot out the window. Now, for P/L, although we do a wide array of special things on one bench day, on the percent day we ALWAYS do the 8-10 sets of 3. With 65 or so percent. You know how most (virtually all) strength trainers go for 8's, then 5's, then 3's then singles in the basic lifts? We NEVER do that, we believe that this sort of cycling is counterproductive at best. I know I'm kicking a sacred cow here. Blame Louie, not me. Of course we DO cycle our special exercises (racks, inclines, etc). Now, I know that this is a P/L example, so I will talk in terms of an exercise ALL throwers love: the power clean. Louie asked me if I knew why throwers loved power cleans so much. I asked him to explain-so he did. He said that although he feels that there are better exercises than the power clean for throwers (sorry-kicked another sacred cow there), this one has worked best for them over the years simply because it is usually trained quickly, at an optimal percent. That is, lets say a man can deadlift 750, and he does his power cleans with 500. Regardless of how many reps he does with the 500, he's moving 67% of his top D/L, as fast as hell. The result? A super training response directed at the hams/low back/mid back and glutes, and an undying belief in the power clean as the be-all and end-all. We all know they work-but WHY? Is the power clean the magic exercise, or is it due to the fact of the area hit and the speed of the bar (and the use of an optimal percent)? I'll let you be the judge of that. He has had a number of interesting thoughts regarding throws training, and I'll toss them onto the Ring as I get the chance. You know, "Help" would really get his (or her) rocks off hearing me say this: I think that the power clean could be "dangerous" to a young lifter. Know what, though? We haver even nastier ways to hit the affected muscle groups, while mitigating the injury risk. I'll keep you posted. Hope I haven't made too many people mad-but it sure wouldn't be the first time. Take care.


    Do throwers need cleans and snatches?
    You know, I have to say that you guys have really piqued my interest with respect to the ballistic/"quick" lifts and your use thereof. Everytime I broach this subject with Louie, however, I get the same response. He keeps reminding me (in a rather "curt" manner) that there is no such thing as a "quick" lift, rather, any fairly long-range multi-joint movement can (and should) be done quickly. His view on snatches? If you are not an O/L, why do them? If benching is part of your core training, why would you want to put your bench at risk with an exercise that causes the type of shoulder rotation the snatch does? This is his response, not mine. But I have an inherent trust in his views (as you would guess). He feels that there are safer and more training-manageable alternatives (as we have discussed before). Now, one does not have to do a quick lift to get quick-rather, one can train the muscles responsible for the quick movement intelligently. John, you are finding out thru the box squats that they have some really interesting properties. As you play with them, using different box heights, different stance widths and maybe even attaching some chains and/or latex bands to really horse with the damping of compensatory acceleration, you will find out that they have even more possibility than you could ever dream of. Sure, cleans work, but heavy reverse hypers work better. So do partial hi-rep deadlifts, and most certainly, so do box squats. Remember when you asked why Louie's guys don't do cleans & snatches if they do work so well? The answer is because he feels that, while these exercises do allow you to use an ideal percent that flatters the development of low body power, other exercises work better. . . without the complication of "dead spots" in the pull and, more importantly, the possibility of shoulder rotation problems. Brad had referred to the deadlift as a static lift. In most cases, I agree. However, go to a power meet where Vogelpohl and Louie's other guys are lifting and watch how QUICKLY that bar moves when deadlifting. Don't blink, you'll miss something. And the dead is one lift that can't be "faked" thru equipment usage. If they (Westsiders) don't do the comp. style deadlift in training, and they don't do the "quick lifts", how the hell can this be done? Well, I won't beat a dead horse forever-you know how. Now, Ken made an interesting point about the quick lifting cutting into Chris' lower back recovery. That's a super observation, and one that I'm sure Ken's managing very carefully. Louie's response would be "why are you handling speed concerns with movements that smoke the back?" Ken, this is definitely not a shot at you or Chris' training. Just an observation. While Louie will be the first to tell you that a perfectly safe exercise is oftentimes a perfectly useless one, it's important to plan your training with max performance enhancement with minimum injury potential whenever possible. He has had the chance to interface with the strength coaches for Green Bay, the Patriots, the Chicago Bulls, and many, many others. There are a lot of folks who are entrusted with the management of the strength levels of gifted athletes who take time out of their busy schedules to embark on a "Westside field trip." And he deals with the power clean and snatch issue in much more abrupt terms with these folks than I do in this format. So, I'm in an interesting situation. I have you guys actively involved with quick lift variants as part of throws training-and you're experiencing good results. On the other hand, I have one of the finest (and admittedly eclectic) minds in strength sports saying "no way-you know the real score." The answer? Ken, please keep careful notes of Chris' progress with the quick lifting, because the things he's doing and John Smith's 3 day rotation are a seemingly great combo. And John, please let me know how you make out with the box squats-and if you have the time with one of your trainees, and you feel a little experimental, just for yuks, have them train an 8 week cycle without doing any power cleans or snatches . . . then test their strength in these same lifts (cleans & snatches) once the cycle is completed. And Mike-I found your comments regarding the "wave squat" very interesting. That's the excellent thing about this forum-there are many great ideas . . . and even if you don't agree with them, you can find within them the "gold" that will enhance your own strategies. See, we all get caught in paradigms (including me). And it's good to study & try out new stuff. It's a hard road to go, as is, when you're trying it out clean. Thank you for your input gentlemen, and please keep those quick lift posts coming!
    Some unique exercises
    Thanks for your very candid reply. I share your distaste for the bench shirts, and yes, they truly do cloud the picture. Powerlifting has become a joke because of such garbage. And-regarding drugs-you are totally right there, too. However, Louie has helped me out with throwing-related training ideas that you may or may not find value in. See, I have a 12 year old daughter who throws. Sonja Fitts helps us with technique considerations; Louie has given us strength training help. The bulk of Louie's focus with his advice to young throwers has to do with torso strengthening as well as translatable leg-hip-glute training. This means a lot of weighted sit-ups (some with a static emphasis to make holding the torso properly in the glide more effective), seated static twisting abdominal work using a rope attachment on a lat pull-down machine, a LOT of back hypers and reverse hypers for high reps (15-20), sled pulling, FRONT squats, and some novel upper body training like dumbbell and barbell presses lying on your back on a Swiss stability ball! 3-5 sets of 15 reps are used on this. These have to be tried to be believed. Dumbbell cleans with a push press and high pulls are also mixed in, as well as % benches. Now, the bulk of what my daughter does in training is throwing (shot, discus & hammer). We increase her capacity shortfalls using these assistance concepts SPARINGLY. Essentially, we do as LITTLE as necessary to keep gains going up in her throws. Now, I use myself as a guinea pig with both Sonja's and Louie's ideas, which is a real laugh, as I have never thrown till this past year and I'm 40. We've found that if they work on an old fool like me, they work great for her. You may also find percent benches to be relevant-and two neat assistance exercises that may work well are weight release benches (lowering 85% of your max and pushing up 55% for 4 to 6 sets of 1 rep) and benches with chains, whereby heavy chains are attached to the bar and positioned under boxes so that the bar, when fully locked out, carries the full weight of the plate load and chains, and reduces in weight upon lowering the bar as the chains come to rest on the boxes. This way, you can, say, push 200 off your chest and have the weight increase to 260 by lockout. A nice alternative to the bounce press (which, interestingly, was used by the old Culver City Westsiders like Pat Casey, along with something they called bounce prones, which had the weight bounced off of wooden boxes rather than off the chests). Although there are machines that can accomplish the same purpose as the chain benches, the barbell is a bit of a bonus because of the good effect on the stabilizers. This may have some value to you. I know throwing and P/L are two vastly different worlds, but if there is an advantage to be had in one from the tactics used in the other, wonderful. Usage of special exercises cannot ever be discounted. Note the heavy use of squats and back hypers by Soviet O/L's in 1980 and 1988 as documented in Zatsiorsky's book, "Science and Practice of Strength Training." Throwers bust their ass on the O/L's, while the O/L guys are pouring the coals to the squat and back hyper (specifically Alexeev)! I hope your training goes well, and I hope you don't let the sorry state of P/L today sour you on Louie's ideas. Take it easy.
    Deciding on weights for Dynamic days
    Thanks for your kind comments. Louie would be a lot better interview than me! Just call him at (614) 276-0923, and see if he's game. It will be a chat you won't forget. Regarding the rotation of percents-it depends (Dave's Scientific Answer). I use less now than I did 2 years ago in the bench, because I found out less works better for me. As a rule, take a max every 8-12 weeks or so, and re-calculate the percents if you feel the need. I don't think this is too necessary, but if you make rapid gains, you may have to. We had one young fellow who went from 240 to 450 in the bench in 29 months, and we had to change him monthly because the barspeed was too high-he just got strong and explosive at such a quick rate we had to keep putting weight on. Also-the range of ideal percents is only a guideline. Chuck Vogelpohl stays at or below 500 almost all the time in the squat, and his squat is in the mid to high 800's. Likewise, as his bench has escalated from 480 to 551, he has kept the same 315 for work sets. When I could bench 360-400, I was using 245 for worksets. Once I got over 400, I found 185-220 to be much, much better for my speed needs (with a rubber band "twist"). You have to screw around with it to see what the "hot spot" is for you. Use the percents to get fast as hell, and the special exercises to get strong. It's really similar to what Hatfield has been harping on for years, just with less cycling of the main lifts (and constant & creative cycling of the special exercises that really contribute to max strength). You are very welcome, and I am glad that these concepts are helping you out. Take it easy but train hard
    Benching workouts
    Thanks for asking. Percent benching works well for powerlifters, and I'm finding out it works for throwers, as well (esp. shotputters). Essentially, your bench press training is divided up into two days-we use Sunday and Wednesday. On Sunday, using a weight that you can do 10-12 reps with using your strongest grip (no bench shirts, please), do 8 to 10 sets of 3 reps, lowering the weight at medium speed, touching the chest, and pushing it up as FAST as you possibly can. Now, be sure to vary your grips from set to set. I am strongest using a 32" grip, so the 5 grips I use are 16", 18", 20", 22" and 24". Rest 1-1.5 minutes between sets. You will find the variation of grip width will make things interesting. Now, you will not get "pumped up" from this type of work, but the whole key here is CNS activation (something that is valuable for a thrower). After the 8-10 sets of 3, we do 5 sets of tricep work, 3-5 sets of shoulder work, and finish off with lats. We prioritize what type of work we do after the benches based on our needs. On the second day (Wednesday), we hit something up that will plug whatever gaps we presently have. As Sunday is CNS day, this is usually absolute strength day. Sometimes we work up to a heavy single in the decline bench, sometimes we do floor presses for a heavy single, sometimes we do pin presses in the rack for a heavy single (varying grip width and pin height depending on our needs), and sometimes we do board presses (placing three 2x6 boards on our chest, pausing the weight on the boards, and working up to a heavy single). We never go over 4 weeks with any one "special"exercise. We pound it, then switch. Now, we also may do other things on this day rather than absolute strength work. Elevated foot push-ups with weights on the back, stability ball barbell or dumbbell presses for 3 sets of 15, or bench singles using the Weight Release device, which allows us to lower a certain weight and raise up with less. 80-85% going down and 50-60% pushing up, for 4 to 6 singles, really triggers the ole stretch reflex. Now, we know this works for P/Lers-and believe it or not, even for 12 year old female shotputters! In the last 9 months, my daughter's best 4k training put went from 5.97m to 8.83m using this style of training as an adjunct. Her bench went from 80 to 120 max. Her best competition put went from 8.35m to 10.34m in the same time frame (6# shot is used in comp. due to her age classification). I know the % benches were only a small part of the picture-but the training methodology used in the % benches should carry over into the throws training, as well-simply put, we carefully analyze technique, determine capacity shortfalls based on the analysis, then address the capacity problems by training them away. We are real big on good form-but we also learned from Louie that in order to have good form, you have to erase the weak links. That, in essence what this style of training is all about-identifying weak links and kicking their ass. Funny how easy holding your position in the glide becomes when you have a strong torso. Take care.
    Using Quick Deadlifts
    Did anyone else catch that posting about that DiGiorgio youngster, and his use of a stiff-legged deadlift, performed in a fast manner? While the posting indicated that he does no O/L, take note of this deadlift. While he may be doing it simply because he CAN, I think perhaps there are some potential benefits there. Many of the Westside Barbell lifters perform a very similar movement as an adjunct to squat training. They call it a high-rep partial deadlift. It is done anywhere from once to four times a week, it utilizes relatively light weights (usually 25-40% of your typical max deadlift-I suggest staying closer to the 25% number), and is executed for 2 to 3 sets of 15-25 reps. However, the knees are bent. Exact execution is as follows: using an overhand grip (not an alternating one) and a shoulder-width stance, stand erect with the weight as you normally do when deadlifting. Now, from this position, lower the weight to a point about 2" below the bottom of the kneecap-and pull it back up to a lockout position as fast as you humanly can. When lowering the weight, let it essentially free-fall-and when it gets to that below-the- kneecap position, drive it back up IMMEDIATELY. Be sure to keep the back flat, head facing forward, and the butt pushed to the rear on the descent. If you use a belt, consciously push your abdominals against the belt. This is a very good habit to get into whenever doing any training of a squat or deadlift-oriented nature. After a very serious training injury, Westside's Matt Dimel used this movement four times a week to help re-strengthen his body. Matt used 225 lbs in this exercise, and he was capable of an 821 deadlift. Much like a reverse hyper, this movement can be used more than once a week because of the weight involved and the high reps. A side effect of this training that we did not realize until later on down the line was-it increases your short sprint speed. Try it out, once a week initially, and go 3 sets of 20 reps. You will get a good training effect from the top of your traps to your calves, especially if you have a decent strength base. If you squat on Monday, try this exercise on Thursday, possibly following any pulling work you may do (high pulls, power cleans, etc.). You will find it to be a nice "finisher."
    Speed of Lifts
    Glenn, your post from a few days back got me curious as to how fast that bar is moving when we percent bench & squat, so I did two things: I analyzed 3 different tape footages of Louie, Kenny Patterson and Chuck Vogelpohl doing percent benches (the dates of the tapes range over the last 6 yrs, so we could see if anything was different now)-and analyzed a tape of Dave Schleich doing heavy box squats, and I taped last night's % bench workout so I could compare my results and see if there were any trends. While all athletes analyzed are very different, with wide disparities in height, weight, and usage or non-usage of ergogenic aids, there were some striking similarities. First off-my workout. With a current non-shirt max of 360 at 32", and 355 at 24", taken 2 weeks ago, I currently use 185, 207, 230, 250, and 270 as training weights. 4 sets of 3 are done with 185 (using a 16,18,20,and 22" grip), 4 sets of 3 are done with 207, same grips, then one set of three reps are done at each of the respective weights-230, 250 and 270. A 16" grip is used on each one of these heavier sets. Now, we hook elastic bands to the bar so that the resistance at the top of the movement is 45 extra lbs. The bands engage at the mid-point. This is done with ALL the sets previously mentioned. After the 270 for 3 was done, I disengaged the bands and did one "finishing" set with 290 for 3, using a contest (32") grip. To do these 12 sets took 15 minutes. These 12 sets were preceeded with 6 minutes of warm ups, 9 sets of 3, using 45, 95 and 135. Regarding the bar speed-I looked at 2 aspects-time to complete the set (from initial descent at the first rep to lockout of the third), and time to lock out 1 rep (from chest to finish). Here are the averages at the respective weights: 185-3.2 seconds to complete the set, .4 second per lockout; 207-same result; 230-3.6 seconds for the set, .4 seconds to lock out; 250-4.1 seconds to complete the set, .6 to lock out; 270-5.5 seconds and .8 seconds (things started to slow down here); 290-4.1 seconds and .8 seconds. The workout was concluded with 3 sets of very close grip (12") tri presses with the bands hooked on and 9 sets of 5 reps in the chin-up, using an overhand 20" grip. Total elapsed time for the entire workout, including warm-ups, was 42 minutes. Now-regarding Louie, Patterson & Vogelpohl: their time to complete a set was 3.2 to 3.6 seconds, and their lockout time ranged from .4 to .5 seconds. Interestingly, those sets of mine that did not fit within this norm exceeded my ideal percents . . . the 230 was 63.8%, and the weights thereafter were over this mark. I think we see a trend here. Now, although we use bench shirts in meets (and get anywheres from 70 to 120 lbs out of the shirts-with me on the low end and Patterson representing the high end), our non-shirt benches do fairly well nonetheless. My non-shirt bench, when training "normally", was 285. Now-about the squat-Dave Schleich was using 625 for 5 sets of 2 reps, descending to 1.5" above parallel (he was on the upper edge of the percent range at 84% as we had to get his absolute strength up a little so he would be more comfortable at a meet walking out of the racks with heavy weight). Rest between sets was 1 minute. From his stopped position on the box to lockout, it took .6 to .7 seconds consistently. He did this at 215 bodyweight. Yes, the bar moves real fast. And there is a pattern. This kind of benching is a nice plyo drill, as you might guess. The sets in training are touch-and go, with a very abrupt reversal of the bar path at the chest-but not thru bouncing-thru putting on the brakes with the muscles and thrusting real hard. In a sport like shot-putting, where elite putters deliver the shot at the strike in .15 to .18 seconds, you can probably guess the relevance. I just thought you would find these fun facts of interest. So don't move that bar slow! Take care, and thanks for encouraging me to test this out-it showed me what happens when the ideal percents are exceeded! Take care.

    Thoughts on Exercise Variation
    Front box squats? Absolutely! Do not limit the use of the box to any particular style squat. Front, back, Magic Bar, Manta Ray, Zercher, hi-bar, lo-bar, close-stance, wide stance, heels up, heels flat, pack squats, belt squats, medicine ball squat and throws, there is absolutely no limit whatsoever. And by all means, make sure some NON box squats are done from time to time, and make sure you get the hell OFF squats when it's time to get off! Box height can also range WIDELY (I have seen it range from 6" to 17", mixing a myriad of applications). The trick? Finding out how to use them to suit what you're trying to build/develop/cultivate.
    Interesting sidenote-the old Soviet hammer training regime would use a bevy of 120 special exercises designed to hit specific hammer throwing concerns/needs. They would split this 120 exercise group up into 12 sub-groups, 10 exercises in each group. They would train a specific 10 exercise group for 2-4 months, then switch. Naturally, they would throw the hammer throughout all these cycles. They would not repeat the use of any specific exercise group more than twice during any training year-and they would save their most result-producing exercise groupings for use during the Olympic year. They would naturally see a deterioration in hammer throwing performance during certain specific strength cycles-but they would integrate the strength built into longer throws by using bridging exercises and fluctuating training volumes in order to peak. Of course, they would have the exercise complexes tailored to suit the unique peculiarities of the individual throwers being trained.
    The point? Do likewise with your use of box squats, or any other weight training special exercise. You can squat year-round if you want to be a P/L. But you guys are NOT powerlifters. I question the wisdom of that approach with throwing. Any throwers out there want to speak towards the use of strength retention cycles? Building on what you have and maintaining what's already there are two entirely different strategies that may enable you to see the issue more clearly. Same with the bench press. Is it necessary to bench (I'm talking to SHOTPUTTERS here), or is it more necessary to train the appropriate muscle groups in the upper body to maximize release speed? Incline benches, with varying grips, stability ball benches, rubber band drills, and a number of other special exercises may be much more beneficial than just flat benching (but, then again, this is entirely dependent on the base strength level-or lack thereof-of the athlete in question: I think a lot of coaches try to get unconditioned athletes to do demanding exercises before considering the sturdiness of the foundation).
    I see a lot of paradigms and stereotypes in weight training programs. This could be due to poor coaching and a complete ignorance of correct training. What happened to that McCann fellow is a rotten shame. My heart goes out to him. I hope that those throwers who try stuff like box squats have the sense to mix them in and out of their programs regularly with other stuff that works, and with other forms of box squatting, other squatting, and all the good pulling exercises that are out there. Remember-it only takes 6 weeks to adapt to a certain training regimen-then it's time to switch. P/L'ers are trapped into having to do benches regularly, as well as squats. Throwers are NOT. Take advantage of this liberty and don't wreck yourself on a few movements.
    A sample 2 days a week workout program
    Hi Greg. Here's my response to your call about the lifting program. This will take 8 weeks, and should give you decent performance by late February. It's a 2 workout per week routine that should work well for your recovery needs & time constraints (you old fart):

    Monday (Weeks 1-4):

    1.) 8 sets of 3 in the bench, use 16-24-28-32" grips. Use 195 in week 1, increase the weight 10 lbs. per week. You know the drill.

    2.) After your 8 sets of 3, do 1 burn-out set with the same weight you worked out with, using a 16" grip, MAXIMUM reps.

    3.) Do 3 sets of 10 with the bent-over row. Use strict form and hold the bar at the top for a one count.

    4.)Do 2 sets 20 reps, partial hi-rep deadlifts. Use 135 in week 1, increase 15 lbs. per week. Move it fast.

    5.) Finish with hanging leg raises or some other useful ab exercise. Preferably something with a twist and static hold component (like pulling the legs up to one side, holding for a 5 count, then lowering).

    Thursday (Weeks 1-4):

    1.) Rack benches for a max single. You know how. Go for a new max each week, of course. Use your favorite grip.

    2.) 3 sets of 8-10 reps in your favorite tricep assistance exercise.

    3.) Box squats. 1" above parallel. Remember to sit BACK, not down, stop GENTLY, and explode off the box. Do 6 sets of 2 in week 1, 7 sets/2 week 2, 8 sets/2 week 3, 9 sets/2 week 4. Start with a light weight in week 1 (perhaps 225), and add 10 lbs. per week.

    4.) Finish off with abs.

    Monday (weeks 5-8):

    1.) Incline benches(40-45 degrees), 6 sets of 3 reps, using 16-18-20" grips. Do them like percent benches. Move them fast. Start with 170-180, increase 10 lbs. per week.

    2.)3 sets 15 reps of bent-over side laterals. Call for details. They help to keep your anterior delts from frying when doing this kind of incline work.

    3.) Good Mornings, 3 sets of 10 reps. Go fairly heavy.

    4.) Abs

    Thursday (weeks 5-8):

    1.) Box Squat, 2-2.5" above parallel. Do 10 sets of 2 in week 1, then 8 sets/2, 6 sets/2 and 5 sets of 1 during the following weeks. Start at the same weight (or 10 lbs more) where you left off at during week 4, and increase the poundage 20 lbs. per week thereafter. The box height and volume decrease will make this doable. Same form. Come off fast.

    2.) Dumbbell clean & push presses, work up to 2 sets of 3 reps, where the 3rd rep is hard but not crazy.

    3.) Abs.

    Questions? Let me know. During weeks 1-4, the best time to do heavy shot work (17 or 18 lb.) is right after the rack presses on Thursday. This makes them spring out like a 16. Do racks, take about a half hour rest, throw your heavy implements, then come back later in the day to do the remainder (tris, squats & abs).

    How to improve your clean
    I read your comment regarding Logan's power clean, and the fact that you had him only perform the movement 3 weeks out of 22. Does this mean that he did not have to power clean in order to increase his power clean? I take it that the answer is "yes", obviously. The real question here seems to be whether the power clean is an indicator of athletic prowess (or a "test lift"), or a means to an end in itself.

    I think it's pretty obvious that if someone can power clean a lot, they're exhibiting a large number of hi-level skills & capacities. I agree with you there. But you have provided your own proof that one does not have to power clean to develop power cleaning strength, or enhancement of the muscle groups responsible for the good power clean.

    It's like Louie Simmons has pointed out to me each time I bring up the subject with him: "Dave, are you trying to train the movement, or are you trying to train the muscle groups responsible for the movement?" Of course, the best way to get strong initially at one movement is to do that particular movement . . . until, of course, the body adapts and then plateaus for one reason or another. Ever see how some guys get real big bodyparts from doing certain movements? And have you ever noticed that not everybody shows the same gain in the same bodypart (example-benches make some peoples' arms real big, while it makes others' chests real big . . . squats have been known to make big quads, or bug butts, or big hamstrings, or thick erectors-and power cleans have the same outcome)?

    While this is only a visual indicator, it could tip off the coach as to what bodypart has to come up to speed in order to provide the heavier power clean.

    But then again, if your aim is to throw far, does it directly correlate to the power clean, or to the strengthening of the power clean muscles (or more importantly, the throwing muscles)? John Smith and I have discussed this very issue before, specifically in relation to Kevin Akins and his "flat" throws. John cites Kevin's weak powerclean in relation to his squat and benchpress as the culprit (825x1 squat, 405x3 power clean, 550x1 bench). Too bad Kevin didn't stick around Westside a little longer . . . a lot of the applicable lifts Louie developed that fit smack-dab into the middle of this discussion came about after the second time he snapped his L-5 (I believe 1984-this gave him a lot of downtime to do his homework-it was during this time that he got ahold of every strength training text he could from the former Soviet Union, from which he refined his strategies regarding training this area of the body, as well as his beliefs in percent training-which, by the way, he is constantly finding out new things about).
    The exercises that Louie recommends to hit these muscle groups have been outlined here many times. They include the vast variety of box squats at all different box heights, bar positions, stance widths, percentages of max and added means by which weight is added/reduced throughout the range of motion (i.e. chains & rubber bands), high pulls from a variety of pin positions, calf-ham-glute machine raises, back raises, reverse hypers, bent-over pull-throughs, belt squats, deadlifts by percents moved rapidly, partial hi-rep deadlifts (this is a biggie), and a variety of sled pulls to name a few.

    Anyone who thinks power cleans work to increase capacities is correct. Anyone who thinks cleaning 'round the training year clock works is limiting the great benefits that the exercise has to offer.

    Everything works, but nothing works forever. Don't become dependent on training a particular movement-become aware of how to train your important muscle groups intelligently, and develop a wide number of strategies by which to do so.

    I have cited Bondarchuk's rotation of 12 different groups of 10-exercise complexes in and out of the training regimen in the past. You can't argue with his results. Do likewise with the power clean muscle groups. No one movement holds any magic. It's the mix of smart strategies that provides results.
    Some technique advice for the shot
    I have a daughter who puts the shot-and one of the first things she learned from Sonja Fitts when she was 11 was a really silly-seeming drill that gave her a basic understanding of "rotate the feet-hips first" that has held her in good stead right from day 1, and has given us a base to easily build off of.
    If you can get ahold of a book called "The Throws" (4th Edition, edited by Jess Jarver and available through either Track & Field News or M-F Athletic), and go to the article dealing with analysis of the glide written by Gunter Tidow, there are a block of illustrations that draw out exactly what I'm about to describe. Go to the illustrations that have to do with the "turn & push" that the putter does right after he lands in his/her power position. Notice the changing of position of the putter's knees, legs & feet. The drill is real simple-have the athlete assume a power position. Now, while keeping the shoulders back, have him rotate on the balls of his feet so his toes go from pointing rearward to pointing forward. As the feet rotate, so do the knees, and so does the hip. The feet lead the progression, essentially. Upon completion of the foot rotation, the right knee, which WAS pointed rearward, is now pointed forward, creating the appearance of an "inverted C" if a line were to be drawn along the outline of the putter's body from the implement, down the torso and right leg, and to the right foot. Now, varying degrees of this turn and push are achieved by different throwers. NOT getting up on the ball of the right foot and rotating it, after landing in the power position, leads to somewhat of a 'one-legged put" driven only by the right leg (an early flaw we had to address consistently to correct-and a flaw that leads to too much vertical dissipation of force, never making it to the shot).

    So-have the thrower get into the power position-and it isn't necessary to hold a shot while doing this drill-and rotate the feet. Have him rotate the feet back and forth, keeping the shoulders back-it looks like a dance step, sounds stupid, but it works. Have him do this many times a day on his own so he develops the pattern. Have him mimic those illustrations in Tidow's article. Again. And again. And again.

    Then take the drill out to the circle, and incorporate this turn-push into his standing throws, first slowly, then faster. We have found, upon both John Smith's and Sonja's recommendation, that doing standing throws with all the weight on the right foot (with the left foot barely grazing the circle or even suspended a wee bit in the air-this is assuming a right-handed thrower), then thrusting forward off the right and onto the left, allows the turn-push to be done a lot more effectively from the stand than if both feet are firmly grounded.

    Before my daughter could get this concept down, even when a lot of right leg action was used while throwing, she couldn't direct the force through the ball-she would essentially end up way too airborne. Her good vertical leaping capabilities were not taken advantage of. NOW she's able to maintain contact with the circle longer during the delivery, she's able to direct more force directly thru the ball rather than dissipating the force vertically (an example of the fact that vertical jump ability doesn't mean jack if you can't exploit it and direct it into the direction the shot has to go), and does not need to reverse.

    Once the foot rotation becomes second nature, and the task can be drilled at the front of the circle thru standing puts,
    you'll find that it'll be second nature once the full glide is used. Now, no disrespect intended to anyone using the long-short Feuerbach glide with the simultaneous landing of the feet and the 90 degree rotation of the right foot, but we have found that it's easier to teach a youngster the turn-push when using a glide that lands the right foot first, then the left immediately thereafter. This pattern had been reinforced in the type of standing throw done (teetering on the back, or right, foot), and it's just plain easier to throw ANY sort of object when stepping from the back foot to the front one-John Smith's analogy of a centerfielder taking a long throw, and striding into it, applies here. You'll find that once the athlete gets to this point, a real hard block with the left leg and side will really jam that hip thru even more and will make the whole process that much easier-the IAAF has some great training posters of Lisovskaya, viewed from the side while throwing, that show how a good hard block brings the right hip thru strongly (even without the 90 degree right foot turn-notice the angle of her right foot upon landing-and also notice how much she stays up on the ball of her foot). Also notice the timing of the grounding of her feet.

    I hope I have not rambled on too much. Just start at the feet first, and work on one element at a time, concentrating on getting each element right. And it'll work. Just remember to build your shot putter from the feet up, and it all works out real well. Strength, capacities and natural gifts don't help much if the basic mechanics aren't in place. But boy they sure do once those mechanics are together
    How many pressing workouts a week
    The number of pressing workouts taken in a week is dependent on what type of pressing is done, what kind of body the trainee has, and what the trainee's needs are.

    We all know about the Bulgarians and their multitude of training sessions per week. It possibly has something to do with the primarily concentric type of pressing done. You can do a lot of concentric presses, and a lot of singles, in a week's time and not get very beat up-simply because of the lack of eccentric work. That's an example of how the type of pressing affects recovery.

    Bodytype influences? 2 powerlifting examples that come immediately to mind are Jim Williams and Mike Bridges (Williams at 4-6 workouts a week with the bench and Bridges with singles in the bench on Monday, Wednesday & Friday). If you are built to do a given movement, you may just find that you can do a lot of that movement with few ill effects, due to the lack of weak links. Leverages have more influence here than ergogenic aids, contrary to what some folks would like to believe. You can juice up all you want, an anatomical weak link caused by a leverage disadvantage simply will not disappear. We've had lifters able to do very high volumes of certain exercises simply because they could-and they used this ability to cover over other weaknesses.

    What about your needs? I remember being stuck at around 360 in the bench, and coming to the realization that absolute strength was the primary concern (and lack). So, for 4 months, I did one % bench workout per week, and 3 partial bench workouts per week. The partial workouts were done with no eccentric component whatsoever. While distances pushed and grip widths were alternated during the partial pressing sessions to prevent staleness, the program was pretty much the same for 4 long months-a lot of singles in the rack. It got the bench over 400-then other needs arose.

    So-4 times a week is too much? Depends on what you need, what you're doing and what you're able to do. No training concepts are written in stone. The best thing a trainee can learn is how to teach themselves. That's where the "training talk" ends and real productive training that increases strength and performance begins. Those who throw have the added difficulty in coordinating their strength needs with their throwing needs-the whole picture is much easier for a powerlifting person.
    Thoughts on explosiveness
    Some things I thought you'd enjoy-taken from "The Training of the Weightlifter", 2nd edition, by R.A. Roman-Fizkultura i spvt Publishers, Moscow, 1986:

    From pages 72 & 73-some interesting opinions and tidbits from a different Soviet coach, regarding specific explosive strength tests and developmental drills:

    "It has already been pointed out that it is necessary to display force quickly when executing the clean (and especially in the snatch and the jerk). If one compares results in the clean and jerk with results in jumping (without weight), then one finds that there is no correlation whatsoever, between them. However, a comparison of results in the clean and jerk with the results in jumping with 50% of bodyweight reveals: that athletes who jump the highest, generally jerk more. In other words, there is a correlation (moderate) between jumping height and results in the clean and jerk. Furthermore, not all athletes who have stronger legs (higher results in the back squat), have higher results in jumping with 50% of bodyweight, i.e., the correlation between the jumping and the squat is weak.

    So, with two athletes of the same leg strength, the one with the higher results in jumping with 50% of bodyweight almost always cleans and jerks more weight; because he has a greater ability to quickly display strength.

    In order to successfully jerk the barbell, the minimal jumping height (with 50% of bodyweight)should be: in the 75-100 kg classes for Class III lifters--44 cm, Class II--45 cm, Class I--46 cm, CMS--47 cm, MS--48 cm, MSIC--50 cm, world record holders--51 cm; for athletes in the lighter and heavier classes--approximately 2 cm lower.

    For example, David Rigert (90-100 kg class) jumped 59 cm with 50% of bodyweight; Pavel Kuznyetsov (100 kg) --62 cm; Yuri Vardanyan (82.5 kg)-- 65 cm."

    Very interesting. Roman goes on to discuss depth jumping and vertical jumps with a barbell on the shoulders as two primary special means to develop explosive strength. As we have talked about the depth jumps before, I'll just throw in what he has to say about the jumps w/ barbell:

    "Vertical jumps with a barbell on the shoulders is another method of developing explosive-strength. The amount of weight should be 20% of the limit clean and jerk. The athlete does approximately 12-18 jumps for a workout; 3-6 jumps per set. Jumps with a barbell can be done 2-3 times per week. If depth jumps are employed, barbell jumps are not included."

    Sounds like Jud Logan.

    Of course, when in their careers and where in their specific comp. cycles they do these things is quite another story altogether, and I do not want to bore you with details.

    How throwers can use these concepts successfully has already been documented by Logan and Ken Sprague.

    Thought you'd get a kick out of this.

    Strength in Throwing
    Gentlemen:

    Thank you for your input. The question arises whether or not an improvement in any given lift or style of leap is relevant, or if the capacities that need to be trained to make your throws better are being addressed, making your throws farther.


    The Russians had an interesting way of viewing explosive strength. They saw it as a chain (for simplicity's sake), with the chain beginning at absolute speed, then progressing to starting strength, then progressing to accelerating strength then ending up at absolute strength. Where you focus your capacities training depends on where along the chain the windows of improvement lie for your specific event. The lighter your external resistance, the more "left-sided", or towards absolute speed and starting strength your concentrations will be. Like a Jav thrower. His/her amount of weightroom concentration will be less than a shotputter (25% as compared to 40-50% of overall training time according to the soviets) simply because the implement is lighter and the problem has to be attacked differently.


    Conversely, a powerlifter (well, a stupid one) will be slanted towards the right side of the chain, towards absolute strength. Olympic lifters will do most of their duty at accelerating strength and absolute strength (which is where the best powerlifters train, as well).


    Verkhoshansky states; "In a practical sense, since sport movement is always associated with overcoming an external resistance, two componential abilities primarily determine the working-effect of explosive force -- starting and acceleration strength. It is obvious that when overcoming insignificant external resistance (20-40% of absolute strength), man is simply unable to display his strength potential (Dr. Zatsiorsky backs this up in other writings with a formula he calls the explosive strength deficit, which can be used to determine whether or not your capacity needs should be slanted towards developing more speed or brute strength-these can be found in "Science & Practice of Strength Training").

    In this instance, the impulse force producing the movement is developed chiefly by STARTING STRENGTH. With a large resistance(more than 60% of absolute strength), the impulse force securing the working movement is developed primarily by acceleration and absolute strength. Starting strength plays an assistive role here.

    Thus, for the working tension to reach a certain level as quickly as possible, starting strength is the underlying mechanism crucial for the display of acceleration strength.

    Starting strength is displayed under isometric conditions of muscular tension (starting from a dead stop, and in a lightswitch-like fashion -i.e. rack benches, rack quarter squats, cleans/snatches off of boxes-with a SHORT amortization-with weight light enough to be moved quickly-REAL quickly; and, of course, BOX SQUATS-as they are started from a paused point with the hip flexors unlocked, then fired vigorously).

    Accleration strength is displayed in a dynamic regime (percent benches, cleans and other pulls from the floor that are started slowly but finished quickly-and with a LONG amortization; Box Squats once again-they serve a multi-purpose here and can be zeroed in to fit your particular need based on the percent of max used and other forms of accomodating resistance such as chains or rubber bands added; other forms of squats and pulls executed with speed in mind).

    If you are throwing a 2K implement, you need not train within the same scope of the explosive strength chain as the olympic lifter who is attempting to C&J a quarter ton. Hence my comment about the big, strong slow thrower. This does not mean that this portion of the chain needs no attention; rather it means that perhaps it is receiving too much attention at the expense of other capacities that absolutely must be addressed.

    With that said, Verkhoshansky goes on to talk about an important quality to train for that is critical to realize explosive force-and that's reversible muscle action. I'm sure you have heard of ballistic benches and the sort. To include depth jumps and every other plyo strategy.
    He says that reversible muscle action is the specific ability to display a powerful motive force immediately after an intense, mechanical, muscular stretch.

    That's why squats are the king of exercises.

    You can do Oly-style pulls until you are blue in the face, if you haven't done something to attend to the need to train heartily for reversible muscle action, you'll never get more explosive. Since reversible muscle action is not evidenced in the pulls, it obviously isn't being trained.

    So you end up doing cleans, thinking that you will net some explosiveness, and if you do not have the reversible muscle action component to "bring out" the qualities that you are attempting to bring out with the cleans, you stay slow.

    This is why the Russian olympic lifters squatted their asses off. Over 50% of their training was done with lifts other than the classical ones. And squats were the bread and butter.

    Now-with all that theory behind us-if you have felt slow as of late, have you been squatting? And if so, where in your weekly routine do you place your squats? Hopefully, they are as early in your week as you can put them (Sunday or Monday at the latest, if you compete on Saturdays). I think John Smith can expound upon how he has had Connie squat at a specific time in the week, and how he organizes her pulls traing around that squat workout and her throwing sessions.

    Next thing to check out-when you DO lift, how does your F=MA formula shake out in your major lifts? Some folks like doing heavy sets of 5 reps (approx 85% of 1RM in most cases), but in doing 1 set of 5 reps, what does the force figure equal in each rep's case? That is, Force=mass x acceleration. If you move a big mass slowly, a certain force will be generated. If you move a moderate force quickly, you can most oftentimes generate more force per rep. And if you are a thrower desiring speed, then rate of force development is crucial. Some time, rather than doing 1 set of 5 reps with a given weight (which will lead to reps 3-5 being moved at snailboy pace), do 5 sets of 1, and move that weight FAST. It'll do more for you than you expect. Reps are for hypertrophy; reps should be done; reps should be done with assistance exercises (like back hypers, reverse hypers, partial hi-rep deadlifts-which are a great reversible muscle action drill, and abs).

    If you are familiar with Westside training, you know that squats are done for multiple sets of 2 reps with moderate percentages. Why 2 reps? It is powerlifting-specific; the duration of the exercise then approximates the timeframe it takes to complete a big single at a meet. Throwers can try multiple singles; Louie has recommended this due to the extremely short duration of the striking phase in throwing events; and it is working well for those who have taken the recommendation.

    So back to throwing. All this started because a year and a half ago, my 11 year old daughter wanted to put the shot. So we figured we would do it right. And we mixed sensible lifting with sensible throws training, neglecting none of the highpoints of either. We found that the two were inextricably woven together. Some think she's only strong; those who have seen her technique think she must drill technique constantly, as her technique is good. Neither statement is true. We use capacities to build technique. The better her technique becomes, the higher volume of throws she can handle and leave a good imprint on her nervous system. And the circle goes round & round.

    One last comment about throws and intensity levels: we have found lower intensity throws to be worthless in teaching the body what it needs to know. Can a sprinter ever hope to run 10.1 in the 100 if he constantly runs mid-11's in training? Of course not.
    We believe all throws should be max effort throws. Of course, this is a spin-off of everything we believe about strength training. Because 60% of max is on the bar, you don't need to generate 60% of force-you can generate a whole lot byu pushing it at max speed. Same concept. This won't burn you out at all if shot weights are rotated to accomodate what your body is going through during the course of your week as you recover from your main heavy squat workout. John Smith can speak to this, as well.

    How has this "grueling" training worked for that 7th grade daughter of mine? Well, she took a 20 throw session yesterday, all standing puts, with the 4K shot (this is her "heavy shot" as she competes with the 6lb-she uses mostly a 3K, 6 lb., 5.7 lb. and 5 lb. in training along with the 4K and occasionally the 10 lb about once a month): 14 were over 30 feet; with a best of 31-4. No fouls (as she does not reverse). And she's puny, weighing 139-140 right now.

    My motto is that EVERYTHING COUNTS. Not just drills, not just weights, not just "technique work".
    In discussing related matters with Louie Simmons and John Smith, the following interesting data surfaced in the reading of "The Fundamentals of Special Strength Training in Sport" by Yuri Verkhoshansky. He was the resident speed-strength specialist in the Soviet Union for their years of dominance in just about every sport.

    There was a curious reference to a study done by Purvin & Verkhoshansky which found that the correlation between strength in certain bodyparts and progress in shotputting in particular slowly shifted over the course of the athlete's career. They found that increasing the strength of the arms and shoulder girdle correlated more closely with increase in shotput performance for the NOVICE than did improvement of leg strength. However, as the thrower became more and more proficient and moved towards mastery in his/her event, increases in leg strength took on the primary role leading to shotput success. I do not remember the EXACT correlation numbers, but they were in this neighborhood:

    The correlation between Increases in bench strength : Increases in shot put performance were as follows: Novices- .76:1; Qualified Athletes- .73:1.

    The correlation between Increases in leg (squat) strength : Increases in shot put performance were as follows: Novices- .37:1; Qualified athletes- .87:1.

    For both groups, an increase in shoulder girdle and arm strength correlated fairly well to improved sport performance. For the novices, increases in leg strength did not have so high of a correlation to increased throwing performance-but there was a very high correlation to increase of leg strength and increased shotput performance for the qualified athletes. This had to do with the experienced athlete knowing how to use the whole body much more efficiently, and the fact that most youngsters (especially girls) have much stronger legs than arms-so the window of opportunity to increased performance for the youngster lies in pouring some effort into the upper body training to narrow the wide gap between the upper and lower extremities(or so the Soviets thought-they figured if they cured this capacities flaw early, they could get on with the business of getting them to throw right and learn how to use the whole body-another example of TECHNIQUE BORNE FROM PROPER MANIPULATION OF CAPACITIES-this is a reoccurring theme in the training of just about all their junior athletes, ALL disciplines-it's fascinating to read about the methods they used to train biathletes for strength endurance so they could hold a rifle real still in competition regardless of fatigue).

    So what does this mean? Especially for youth shot putters (and I define youth as grammar or middle-school age), you had best pay attention to this capacities disparity if you desire to get on with the business of really teaching them a technique that will work.

    You can play agility games until the cows come home and have flawless form when not under duress-but the proof of the pudding comes whren you give the little one a 4K shot and see if all that agility can be replicated under duress. We've found that increases in shot put performance for youths is dependent on proper respect and attention to that link between technique and strength.

    Ever see a good shotputter who is weak? Anybody remember those lift numbers of Ramona Pagel's? I sure do.

    I've heard all the technique freaks talk about how technique is king; and that is TRUE. Unfortunately, technique without strength means jack when the implement is of a heavier nature. Because the bus can't be driven well with a weak engine.

    Which brings up another point-when strength training for success in shot, how many pay attention to the key elements of explosive strength?-those elements being:
    1.) absolute speed
    2.) starting strength
    3.) accelerating strength
    4.) absolute strength

    These four critical capacities are developed independently of each other (there is a rather weak correlation between the improvement of one element because of the singular improvement of another); yet, when all four capacities are addressed in a manner suitable for attainment of maximum explosive strength for your PARTICULAR EVENT, you can dramatically increase explosiveness. Elements # 3 and 4 are easier to improve, while elements 1 & 2 take much time and diligent training, and are somewhat bound by genetics. As the numbers progress (from absolute speed to absolute strength) the qualities become increasingly easier to attain. The trick, if you make a chain out of these four elements, is to figure out where along the chain your emphasis should be, and which elements along this chain are not or have not been properly attended to.

    The problem arises in the inability to recognize the weaknesses, and the lack of knowledge as to what specific training protocol is the best one to fix your problem.

    Throwers playing "olympic lifter" and riding high on the accelerating strength end of the chain while neglecting starting strength will make a big, strong, slow thrower.
    There are better ways to use the olympic lift variants to address items like starting strength (thru proper weight selection, distance of pull, set rep schemes, etc.-this is something John Smith can talk more directly on, as Connie's use of certain variants address this directly-and well-it's no accident that she throws like she does).
    This is really important for the ladies, as their body weight to implement weight ratio is much different than that of the men, necessitating a slight difference in the way the explosive strength chain is maintained.
    Squats and Throwing
    Your question regarding the front squats is a good one. You will find good results by switching the nature of the squat, and even the set/rep scheme, every 4 weeks.

    A live example from the throwing world I can give you is from Sonja Fitts, who was interim throws coach at SU -she had her throwers squatting and doing lower body-oriented movements on Monday, then she would have them do upper-body related things on Wednesday . . . she rotated traditioinal box squats done in Westside fashion and with similar percents with front squats (no box), done for higher reps and less sets. The squat-du-jour was followed by either band squat-jumps or Bear machine squat jumps, back hypers, calves and abs. Partial hi-rep deadlifts were ocasionally worked in, as well. They really liked these, as well as the Bear jumps.

    On Wednesday, either a percent-driven bench routine, or a max-effort style rack bench workout for heavy singles, or a hybrid using incline benches, would be picked, run for 4 weeks, then alternated. The primary upper-body work was followed with lat assistance work, calves, abs & back hypers once again. Choice of which bench-related routine to use was dependent upon where in the season they were.

    One of her throwers, a 6-0 200 lb. freshman, really took to this training mode, and was able to move his best put from 47 to 52-4 in 3 months. Sonja had him mixing his implements up as well, and he eventually worked his 18 lb. throws to a consistent 47, establishing a nice differential between the 18 and the 16. She also had him sensibly mix his deliveries so that he would work from half-turns to full turns and end up getting 30+ full velocity throws per session. She carefully juggled the capacities concerns with appropriate drilling to improve his spin, while also mixing up the shots and constantly (but SLOWLY) working towards increased number of throws per week.

    The big thing is to choose a squat variant that is in an appropriate percent range, work it hard but well in advance of the comp date (ideally, if you threw on Saturday it would be best to do this on Sunday), and switch it every 4 weeks. There are many variants you can use. You may find that hypertrophy-type schemes work better earlier in the season and quickly-moved percents in the latter season. John Smith has had good luck with the Hatfield squat bar and if you have access to one, you should definitely give it a whirl during the offseason.

    Lifting super-heavy weights or lifting till the cows come home is not necessary, and is counterproductive if you are drug free.

    If a thrower is a high-volume thrower who likes to use a wide array of implements and throws good volume year-round, I question whether or not a max effort day separate from the speed is ever needed for the lower body, or if the rotating in and out of max effort routines (or occasional heavy lifts) on that one particular leg day would be the appropriate strategy-I'm sure this will vary widely from individual to individual.

    When mixing max effort with percents on the same day, always do the percent (speed) work first, then the max effort reps, then any hypertrophy work.

    If you have any other specific questions, feel free to e-mail me at CASTERD@FNBROCH.COM.

    Good luck and train hard.
    Yes, the top of the squat is about 3/4 to lockout.

    Actually, when using chains, we hang them such that the bulk of the chain, in the bottom position of the squat or bench, is resting upon a box or the floor. As the bar ascends and the chains are taken up, the load increases. With the chains, this is nice and linear.

    We use a light chain to hang the heavier chains from when we desire to have a minimal load at the bottom.

    You can play with how much is loaded and how much is unloaded and have that be a meaningful training variable. Some will hang 80lbs. of chain, and have 40 of the 80 lbs unload at the bottom, leaving 40 lbs of resistance via the chain still remaining. This helps train stability as well as allowing you to take advantage of the accomodation to your strength curve (as the nature of the exercise is somewhat changed by having something hanging from the bar.

    The bands are a little wilder, they do not engage as linearly. But they are very fun to use and will give you a screaming burn that you can't get with regular weight training. And they will really promote a kinetic energy build-up with respect to what they can do to enhance the effects of reversible muscle action.

    Thanks for the insight regarding the use of the hanging O/L variants at Nebraska.
    You are correct regarding hang cleans and snatches. And regarding the plyo effect at the bottom of the squat-yes, this is key. Even when box squatting, a certain degree of the kinetic energy built during the descent in the squat movement is preserved-making the box squat an interesting alternative depending on how long you stop on the box (it takes 2 seconds for the kinetic energy built on descent to be dissipated as heat; so 1-2 seconds works well).

    Verkhoshansky had an interesting squat bar, which was horseshoe-shaped and would essentially drape over the lifter's shoulders-bumper plates could be attached to splines near the bottom of the bar-in simplest terms, the horseshoe shape of the bar allowed the bumper plates to be carried real low-low enough to strike the ground once the lifter hit the appropriate depth. Much like a ballistic bench, the bar path then reversed itself very quickly by virtue of the bounce, and the lifter would have to accelerate to catch up with the bounce and drive the heavy weight home.

    The Westside guys do the same thing with rubber bands and chains-the elemental difference is that rather than bouncing to make the reversal of bar path quick, the weight is light enough in the down position to do this on your own. Example-Louie uses 495 for his box squats, but oftentimes attaches rubber bands that add approx. 150 lbs. in the full standing position. Therefore, the % of max for Louie in the low position of the squat is 60%, but rises to 78-79% at the top-this allows him to be extremely fast off the box, and allows him to push like hell through the top part of the lift-making full use of the accomodation supplied by the bands. You would have to see this first-hand to realize how quickly he (and many others) can execute this.

    I would think that a thrower could make excellent use of such concepts. I wonder if Lisovskaya did (in particular with Verkhoshansky's bar, or variants thereof).

    I would also think that real quick reversible muscle action squats, perhaps done with bands alone, would be extremely useful for a thrower. As would partial hi-rep deadlifts.

    As far as ideal squat percents, you may find that using some accomodating device may work well-like chains or bands. You may find that keeping the resistance between 60-80% (60 on the bottom, 80 at the top) may work best. For powerlifting, moving the weight on the bar from 50 to 60% over the course of 4 weeks works well, then, re-starting at 50%. Remember to hook on bands or chains to toss that extra 20% on the topmost part of the movement.

    I question what use it is to go 90+% in a full squat for a thrower. I would bet most trainees could generate more force using a lesser percent than 90. If the mutants at Westside don't go above 60% for fully 90% of their workload, I see no reason why a thrower who needs to be much faster would waste his/her time. The soviets fount that there is a point at which the attainment of absolute strength has a negative, inhibitory effect on absolute speed. This can really effect lady throwers negatively in particular due to implement weight and protracted recovery times.

    Your view on 40% is correct. This is where squat jumps, partial hi-rep deads, rubber band squats, Bear machine jumps and the like would fall into place to play with the reversible muscle action and influence starting strength more.

    I bet you would find that heavier squats earlier in the week, and lighter jumps/pulls later in the week will work real well. Pay close attention to everything John Smith has said about the use of the squat, its cycling, and where it should be placed in the weekly / bi-weekly / monthly / peaking cycle. What he has to say about this is the most intelligent rendering for use by the thrower.
    Thanks for your questions, and I thank you for your self-analysis of your current training. THAT's what it's all about.


    I would venture to say you may want to just do a percent-based squat session early in the week and leave max-effort training for the offseason. Although, you can get a taste of what max effort training has to offer by going a bit heavier on your last two sets. Example-Louie will go 495 for multiple doubles in the squat with an additional load at the top afforded by bands which increase the resistance by 150 lbs. He will then sometimes take 1 or 2 sets with an additional 90 lbs (making it 585 on the bottom and 735 on the top, not exactly what one would consider a light load, especially moved as fast as he moves it, after a dead stop on a parallel box). Try something like that, and maybe some partial squat singles in the squat to finish off. The max effort stuff is definitely an offseason playtoy, if treated as a workout in itself.

    Remember-you will be able to generate more force out of a real fast 400 squat than a snailman 600.



















































    Eccentric and Concentric Training

    The powerlifts require many special strength qualities. Two of these are the ability to lower eccentric work and raise concentric work. In benching there Is a pause at the meet, but in training a pause Is not done because the stretch reflex is stored internally for most lifters 2 seconds and for the highly trained athlete up to 4 seconds (as reported by Wilson, 1998). Because the bench and the squat require eccentric work followed by concentric work, both must be worked.
    The deadlift does not require the ability to lower a weight, only to raise it concentrically. To overcome inertia, a great amount of starting strength is required. At Westside we do good mornings about 70% of the time on max effort day, once every 7 days. This day is for both squatting and deadlifting. Half of the good mornings on this day are done concentrically by supporting the bar in heavy - duty chains. Chains are used Instead of a rack to allow the bar to swing freely front to back and left to right. This builds greater stability. With this exercise, as in the deadlift, one must overcome inertia without the aid of the stretch reflex from the lowering, or eccentric, phase. This is very physically demanding, but this type of strength is needed exclusively in the deadlift. We will use several different bars that change the distance between the lower back and the center of the bar. About four different heights are used, to ensure strength development in the entire range of motion. This is very awkward and represents only strength work, not technical work.
    This supported chain method works well for bench pressing also. This method of training will overcome a minimax, commonly referred to as a sticking point. A sticking point occurs when the body’s leverages are poorest and the resistance is greatest, causing one to fail at that point. If a maximum weight, say 400 lbs., stops 6 inches above your chest, why doesn’t 350? The 400 lbs. stops when zero velocity occurs at the minimax. But momentum carries the bar through the minimax. Momentum is the product of the mass of an object and its velocity, that Is, if the velocity of the bar is more than zero. Training at or near your minimax is one solution.
    A second solution Is concentrating on bar velocity, which consists of an acceleration phase and a deceleration phase. The latter can be greatly reduced by adding bands or chains to the bar. Many think of resistance as the amount of weight on a bar, but every lift Is related to time. For example, if a lifter can exert maximal force for only 3.5 seconds and the course of the bar is not completed in that amount of time, he will fail. So learn to build acceleration. Bar speed Is critical. Our experiments, together with Verkhoshansky’s studies, show that training at 60% will produce the greatest amount of force. We devote 120 lifts a month to the development of max force by doing 3 reps in the bench press and 2 reps in the squat.
    If two lifters use the dynamic method to develop their squat, a weak man who can squat only 2 times bodyweight, e.g., 200 lb. bodyweight with a 400 max, and a 200 lb. man who squats 800, there is no comparison in force production because the second man is moving twice the load at the same speed. 60% of 400 = 240 and with max acceleration 400 pounds of force is generated; 60% of 800 = 480 and with max acceleration 800 pounds of force Is generated. The training is proportional to the external load.
    A common misconception is that the weaker lifter is moving the weight faster than his stronger and more powerful counterpart. The 800 lb. squatter is moving the bar just as fast.
    What about eccentric work? Eccentric work has never been found to make one stronger, but it has been shown to cause most muscle soreness related to weight training. Also, It has been found to produce most muscle growth: 40% more work is done in the eccentric phase. But it also causes many injuries.
    Strength training books often state a warning of the potential danger as the bar gains speed near the chest or bottom of a squat. The bodybuilding community lowers weight slowly for mass, not strength. A big mistake is to lower weights slowly and to raise them slowly. This may be therapeutic but will not build great strength. This method defies the logic behind doing Olympic or power lifts explosively and completely contradicts plyometrics.
    So what is the answer? Through many experiments at Westside, we have coupled many methods of training. Most of our eccentric resistance comes from heavy - duty rubber bands, a small amount of weight, and a considerable amount of chain on weight releasers attached to the bar, which is a reactive method (see photo). What must be considered as a training effect is not the load in the concentric phase but the speed and acceleration.
    The bands work much like the muscles and connective tissue, and they accommodate resistance and the strength - curve deficiencies of the body.
    The weight releasers serve two purposes when horizontal bars have been welded onto the vertical portion (see photo): (1) to load chains that we deload to your strength level, at the bottom, and (2) to act as a contrast method, ridding the lifter of much of the load.
    We performed a test on six men all world or national champions, with squats ranging from 900 to 975. First the bar was loaded with 640 lbs. of band tension at the top part of the squat. At the bottom sitting on a just - below - parallel box, the band tension was 470. The bands were added slowly as a warm-up. Then bar weight was added until 285 was on the bar. That equals 925 at the top and 755 at the bottom. All six lifters performed a single rep, which was timed on a video camera. Then 80 lbs. of chain was placed on the weight releasers. The bar was lowered fairly fast, 1.5 seconds. After the 80 lbs of chain was deloaded at the bottom the lifters recovered faster concentrically than without the additional chains. The lift represents 1005 at the top, which was reduced to 755. Again 80 lbs. more of chain was added to the weight releasers. The weight at the top was 1085 and again 755 at the bottom. The concentric phase speed of the lifters was even faster. When 80 lbs more of chain was added, to total 1165 at the top and again 755 at the bottom, the bar speed increased again.
    An explosive start, acceleration, and a decrease in the deceleration phase are what we are after, as are jumpers, sprinters, and ball players. Everyone has a method. We combine all methods into a basic training philosophy that links together the training of all athletes.
    One huge advantage of using the bands and chains in the deloading process is that the lifter can control the bar speed eccentrically. Note that most of the resistance is provided by the bands. With just the force of gravity, the bar would travel at 32 feet per second. With bands causing overspeed eccentrics, the bar travels much faster than with gravity alone. This kinetic energy is transferred into the muscles and connective tissue and causes a great stretch reflex. This will cause a very strong concentric start, producing a strong acceleration phase. In addition, because the bands remain on the bar to accommodate resistance, the deceleration phase is almost eliminated. This process combines a contrast and a reactive method.
    Charlie Francis used a contrast method for sprinters: heavy weight lifting in the morning and sprinting In the afternoon. It worked, but the method presented above Is more systematic. For sprinters or jumpers I recommend 18 lifts at 60%, 2 reps per set, once a week, and 3 lifts at 90-100+% per week. This represents 72 lifts at 60% in a monthly plan; 12 lifts at 90-100+%, in a monthly plan Is two workouts separated by 72 hours, one for force training and one for max strength.
    The eccentric work method should be used no more than 2 weeks in a row and only once every 12-14 weeks. A benefit of this style of training is that it will automatically increase your pulling strength without doing any pulls.
    I must remind you that this is very demanding on the athlete, and this is only one method used on maximal effort day, which is performed on Monday. (Our dynamic day is Friday.) We use several special squats, good mornings, and pulls on max effort day. We will switch each week to a new core exercise. This allows us to make or attempt weights that are over 100% each week throughout the year. I am sure it will help you, as it has helped us at Westside Barbell. Remember, weight training is merely combining math, physics, and biomechanics.



    Iron Addict
    Last edited by iron addict; 09-13-2003 at 07:17 PM.

  2. Doctor Science
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    geez that is a long damn thread . hey IA didnt you say there was a website for them? i am asking because i need to see some of the exercise machines they do so i can tell you if my gym has that stuff..
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    The best place to get westside info is:

    http://www.elitefts.com/

    It's ran by Dave Tate, who has Loius blessing and is one of the "other" westside Gurus.

    Iron Addict
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    Or, you could have just wrote www.elitefts.com instead of copying and pasting, not to mention probably not even getting permission from elitefts to post all their articles.


    Edit: we were posting at the same time
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    Well, Dave MIGHT feel differently, but my guess is: this, and posts like this is exactly what will drive LOTS of people over to his board. And that is what any board owner wants. I know, I have ran a couple of websites in my time.

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    Yeah, my friend from college knows that dude; well, the president from WBB. He gave him a whole routine/program to him. He said he could hook me up w/ one if I like. Lots of reading though, not much time at the moment. The friend said it was working wonders though.
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    Im a very visual person... is there any site for pictures/videos of those exercises?
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    Yes, see www.elitefts.com they have a very comrehensive section with descriptions and photos. Its under the "ask Dave" section.

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    IA, What'd you think about doing plyometrics instead of dragging ?
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    i wanted to ask the same thing.. ive always thought the world of plyo's for calves..
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    Dragging is FAR superior as it is:

    almost infinitely adaptable to the trainees long and short term needs. You can literally hit any and every muscle with various dragging styles.

    Is usually plate loaded allowing any resistance level from bare empty, to stop you dead in your tracks heavy.

    You can do long duration low intensity pulls for time, or HEAVY pulls for time/distance, and even when loaded to your max, since there is effectively no eccentrically loaded portion of MOST movements. This means no DOMS, and less joint stress.

    Pulling can be done by many trainees that have severe joint point to the point of making most other forms of cardio/GPP work impossible. As an example, my left knee is pretty beat-up. About 1 out of 5 squat days it hurts too bad to get much past warm-ups. When and if these days happens, I pull HEAVY for trying to beat me last pull weight and distance covered in a set amount of time.

    OK, I could keep going on, but the sled wins hands down over polymetrics, and if you go over to Dave's board you will see many people offering alternatives and asking the Master's there for their opinion, and the sled offers a degree of flexibility just not found with most other GPP methods.

    Iron Addict
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    IA im glad you mentioned that! i plan on starting that when i start my speed training to help get my 40 time as low as possible!
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    Cool



    Awesome post.
    I've been looking all over for this info.
    TheChosen12012 A.P.F California State Champion& 2 Class Record Holder (Deadlifts)
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    i agree it might be illegal to plagerize this
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    and its way too long
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    holy post batman!!! I guess there is no letter count limit on a post. Looks like good info through cant wait to print and read
    "The only good is knowledge and the only evil is ignorance." - Socrates
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