I just had a MRI on my lower back and I was told that I have a herniated
disk, but don't need surgery. Has there been anyone at Westside that
has had this injury and was able to compete at the same level again? If
so, how high was the risk of further injury? I would appreciate any
There are a few people at Westside
that have suffered the same injury. Louie is one of these people and that
is how the reverse hyper was developed. Louie determined that if he did
reverse back raises he could still train with very little pain. This turned
into the reverse hyper machine. I have
QUESTION: Great information.
My questions are on recuperation. I am not a powerlifter. I am just trying to stay competitive in the sports I participate in.
I am a 43 year old fat athlete. My goals are to continue to play ultimate frisbee, a sport not normally enjoyed by someone with my build and perhaps someday bench 300 before I get too old.
first. I currently play ultimate two days a week. Afterwards
my knees are sore, but I ride my bicycle for recuperation and I generally
recover in one or two days. I do not think I can recover if I do
a max effort day and a speed day squatting. I read in Charlie Fransis's
Do you think I can forego the speed day of squatting and still improve/maintain my speed and jumping? Or should I incorporate a speed and maximum effort day into the same workout?
I have a question on benching. But I'll wait and see how you address this question.
With your sport and the information
provided I would for go the maximum effort day and keep the speed day.
Your sport does not require much in the nature of maximum strength but
it does require a great deal of dynamic strength. The box squats will provide
you with this dynamic strength. The
QUESTION: The comment was made by a questioneer and Dave you said that the Chuck Taylor sneakers were the best suited for squatting. Reason being that they dont have a heel, hence you get a flat footed feel for it and you can push you feet out to the sides.
Now I am not going to claim to be an expert. I'm only 18 and I haven't put up over a 550 squat yet so I dont know how it gets once the weight gets heavier, but in my experience, basketball shoes have been best because the heel is what I need. When using wrestling shoes, I often found myself
tipping backwards, and in fact one time almost falling back onto my spotter.
Although you do have a tendency to lean forward a little w/ basketball shoes, it is easier to compensate for due to the fact that you are pushing backward against the bar anyway, so there really isn't a question of "am I pushing too far back and gonna tip?" The only thing that ticks me off is
that when I tried the wrestling shoes, I put up about 395 for 5 with basketball shoes and when I tried wrestling shoes I got up around 415 for 5.
I think you are answering your own question here. If you are falling over backwards try forcing your knees out to the sides harder during the entire lift and don't look up but straight ahead. If you are looking to far up you will fall over backwards.
I'm lost... do you think I should stay with the basketball shoes and keep
comfortable or keep trying to make the wrestling shoes work for the sake
of more weight.
Tell him to get off the cable cross over unit and start squatting and deadlifting. Most "Gym Experts" don't have a clue about training. Is it possible to pull a groin or hip flexor dead lifting ? It is possible to pull these muscles a with a number of different movements and yes dead lifting would be one of them. If you warm up proper and use good form there should be no problem. There are many power lifters in this world who pull sumo and they haven't had any problems. This same guy would probably tell you that you would hurt your back if you pulled conventional, so you can't win.
QUESTION: I really liked Korte's 3x3 article, well written, laid out and informative. I'm looking for some info on Louie simmons workouts. I'd like to try Mr. simmons workout plan (particularly for the bench)but have a tough time figuring just where to get started and how often, etc... Is it laid
out anywhere as neatly as korte's workout? Thanks for the help.
The Westside program is not a plan
that you can write out and say "do this." It is a very specific plan designed
around your weaknesses. There is a speed day and a max effort day for each
lift. The rest is left up to you to decided where your weaknesses are and
correct them. You see you are only as
QUESTION: HI DAVE I WOULD LIKE TO KNOW WHAT A RAW LIFTER SHOULD DO TWO OR THREE WEEKS FROM A CONTEST? WHAT EXERCISES AND PERCENTS ON SPEED DAYS SHOULD WE DO? WE WOULD LIKE SOME TYPE OF EXAMPLE ROUTINE. WE ARE GETTING STRONGER BUT WE NEED A LITTLE FINE TUNING FOR A MEET. THANKS ALOT.
Why should it be any different than
somebody who uses equipment? I would only back the percents down the last
squat and bench workout before the meet. The good morning and board presses
are two great exercises to finish up with before a meet.
QUESTION: If done correct will the Westside method increase muscle size and bodyweight if that is the goal. I weigh 210 and would like to get to 220.
One of the biggest problems at Westside
is that we can't keep lifters in the lower weight classes. At this time
we all weight over 250 lbs. I would not worry about getting to 220 because
in a year you will probably be 242.
QUESTION: I recently purchased your training journal which I am attemting to follow very closely. Several questions: you list 5 workouts each week-- 1. are there days off between them or is it 5 on, 2 off? 2. if i use bands, how often would i incorporate them into a routine? 3. how often could I
attempt a few heavy max squats, and on which day, the max effort or the conjugate day? thanks, great journal.
If you are doing the running and
GPP work then do it just as it reads. The weight training days should fall
on mon-wed-fri-sun. The maxes are figured into the program. There are certain
times where you will work up in weight and at the end of the program you
should max on the squat, bench press, and
QUESTION: You gave me great advice re squat setup a year ago. I no longer have a weak core and have been using Westside methodologies for a year with great improvement (measurable in meet performance). My question: Dave Caster, a thrower and self proclaimed "Louie Disciple" recommends changing your bench exercise on dynamic day, an example being incline presses for 55%. What do you think? He also brings that line of thinking to dynamic squat day-using safety box squats, front squats etc for SPEED not max effort. Is this a good idea; a conjugate/dynamic theory?
I don't think so. The power developed
from the squat and bench press is much greater than from those other exercises.
To prove my point try taking a max on the box squat then doing only safety
bar squats on dynamic days form three weeks or so then another three weeks
on the front squat then take another squat max. Then try only doing the
box squat for six weeks on the dynamic day and then on max effort day max
on the safety bar and front squat during the cycle twice each. I will guess
your squat in the first example will decrease by at least 20%. In the second
example I will guess to say
QUESTION: question: I am a junior division lifter and currently a 715 lb. squatter, how would tou go by trying 800 by Christmas. I feel mentally that I am ready for it soon because when I hit the 715 a week ago i felt real strong out of the bottom, It was just rough in the set up phase.
I think your question is about setting
up in the squat. If you find it hard to set up the squat you can try arch
back good mornings,walkouts, weight releasers, or heavy bands. These will
all get you used to the heavier weight. Most the time if you just increase
your ab work the problem will go away. I have had the same problem and
tried everything to fix it, nothing seemed to work (I would shake really
bad while setting up) Well what happened was I ran out of things that didn't
work and what I was left with
QUESTION: What would be your recommendation for a a thrower(shot,dicus) as far as using these weight training techniques but still doing other training(plyometrics,sprinting, throwing and drills) as
to what lifting days to combine with other training.
The only thing I would do for a thrower
is add in the incline close grip as a max effort lift, add in the push
press as a max effort lift, and include some heavy medicine ball rotational
work. I would throw first on max effort days and last on speed days. If
you have any more questions about programming give me a call at 1-614-309-6176.
QUESTION: I called the number you gave regarding the Russian books translated by Bud Charniga (The Fundamentals of Speed Strength and Management of a Strength Athlete) but I got a recording stating that the number is invalid. Would you have a current number for Bud? Thank you very much. By the way, great site.
My company can now get these books for you. I have all of them in stock. Give me a call at 614-309-6176.
QUESTION: Hi Dave! I would like to know what the pulling sled is made of. I looked at a picture of one and it looks like it is made of iron. Can you please tell me? And also how is it hooked up? By a strap and hook? I would appreciate it very much and once again thank you Dave.
The sled is made out of steel and there are two nylon straps that come with it. If you have any more questions about the sled you can call me at 888-354-8301 or 614-309-6176. Have a great workout,
QUESTION: I live in Canada and 800 numbers don't work from here. I'd like to get your "Force training" package and Dick Hartzell's Rubberband kit, but can't get to you on the phone. Please give me a phone number that works. Thank you in advance.
We don't sell either of the two items
you mentioned. The number to Jump Stretch, Inc. is 1-330-629-2511
and the force training video 1-920-498-7123
QUESTION: I want to thank you for the time you spent with me on the phone about 6 weeks ago. You told me to let you know how my traininig is going well I took your advice and my bench has shot up 35 pounds!!!!!!!!!!!!. Your advice along with the bench press video has made a increadable difference.
If you don't remember I was on the 3x3 system and was have very little progress. Thanks again and good luck with your business.....
I'm glad I
QUESTION:How much is the suppertraining book and what is in it?
Call me at Elite Fitness Systems
1-614-309-6176 or check my web page for details.
QUESTION:I found an advertisement in arecent PLUSA for a sport-specific training video by Louie. Where can I order it (I don't live in the USA) and how much does it cost?
Call the number in the article. The
price should be listed as well (in the ad). We do not sell the video.
QUESTION:Dave, on assistance exercises AFTER the core lifts, how much time do you allow between sets (reverse hypers, side laterals, etc). Does it vary according to the number of reps used in the set? Thanks for your devotion to the sport!
We don't really
time it, but I would guess to say some where between 1 and 3 minutes
QUESTION: I have a problem with my knees buckling inward (toward each other) when I squat. I know what muscles are weak but which assistance exercise(s) would you recommend.
I have corrected
this several time with the use of a pink jump stretch "flex" band. Double
the band up and put you legs through it in a standing or seated position.
Place the band at knee level (you should be in a medium squat stance).
Force your knees against the bands and hold for a 2 count. Try to get a
few sets of 15 reps.
QUESTION: I was wondering what kind of GPP work a powerlifter could do if he does not own a sled. Could you do some light workouts for your weak points, ex. some light extensions for your triceps or light raises for the shoulders ? How much influence do GPP work have on your results ?
Light workout are good, but they
need to be very light. I like the sled because it seems to take the lowering
of the weight out of the movement. A medicine ball is another great GPP
devise. GPP has a great influence on your training results because you
can only get as strong as your general level
QUESTION: I injuried my right arm at work and can,t hold the bar on my back to do squats.Do you sell the safety squat bar or the front squat harness?If so what is the cost?If not can you tell me who does? Thanks for the help.
We do sell the safety squat bar for
$385.00 (shipping is included). You will have to check power lifting USA
for the front squat harness. I am not to sure who sells it. Your best bet
would be the safety squat bar because you still have to hold the bar some
what with the front squat harness. You don't
or call 614-309-6176 and pay with
a credit card.
QUESTION:Hello. I have been doing squats and deadlifts again after a long (years) hiatus. My question is, what exercises should I do in order to strengthen my lower back (which is bothering me)?
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.
Cable Side Bends: This exercise is designed to isolate the side oblique. 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.
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
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. Donít
let your body swing. Lower your legs in a
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.
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.
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
QUESTION: My trianing partner and I have been using the westside method for 4 months and it is working awesome. Both of us have been training for more than 10 years. Since starting the program we have gained considerable strength and size.
I am going to put some boards together for board presses. Any reccomendations on height and width would really help. What different heights do you use at westside?
We use 2 by
eight boards that are cut about 12 -14 inches in length. We try to stick
with 2 and 3 boards but will some times go as high as 5.
QUESTION: Dave, I have another question. I have a very large carry over on my bench. Without a shirt I can do 265. With a shirt, I can get 380. Is it unheard of to carry over 115lbs? I read the article about J.M. Blakely and he said in that article that he gets 90lbs or so. I also use a denim.
Is this all in my head or is what I am experiencing what J.M. is talking about? What about the other Westside boys? What are you all getting out of your shirts?
is outstanding! I wish I got the same. The reason your carry over is so
high is because your lats and pec are your weak link and the shirt is takeing
the difference. The avg carry over is around 10%.
QUESTION: Thanks for taking time to answer my question. The WBC training system is the most logical method of training that I have ever encountered. I have modified it slightly by doing the speed-day workout 4 times a week and the max-effort day once a week. I got the idea from seeing Olympic
weightlifters go through grueling exercises several times a day (eg. they are able to squat 2 to 3 times a day, every day) by forcing their bodies to adapt to greater workloads. This led me to think that such a philosophy can be carried over to powerlifting. What is your opinion on this method, is it too much? If so, then why do nearly all world class Olympic weightlifters train this way and not powerlifters? I cannot get anybody to give me a straight answer on this issue. Your help is greatly appreciated.
You are doing
what? 4 speed workout a week and 1 max effort. Is this for each lift? That
would be 8 speed workouts and 2 max effort workouts. I guess it doesn't
matter because either way is to much. Lets think about the difference between
weight lifters and power lifters and the load that is placed on the body
in a given workout. A very strong weight lifter may lift 400 pounds 8 or
10 times in a workout whereas a very strong power lifter may lift 600 -
700 pounds 8 or 10 times in a workout. This is a very general example but
I think you can get the point. There is much more pounding on the body
in power lifting when compared to weightlifting. The injuries will tell
you this. How often does a weight lifter tear a muscle off (such as pec,
tricep, bicep, quad. These are common power lifting injuries. I am not
QUESTION: I read that your floor press should be around 90% of you max bench press. Do you have any other numbers like this for any other lifts?
QUESTION: I was wondering if you could explain the technique of three exercises? The ones i'm wondering about are the floor press, board press and pull throughs. Also, how many sets and reps should I do for my abs. Any help would be greatly appreciated. Thanks.
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.
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.
Grasp a tricep rope and put in on a low pulley unit. Stand away from the
weight stack, reach down and grab the rope between your legs. Walk forward
two of three steps. Keep your legs slightly bent and pull the rope up so
you are in a standing position. In the bottom position make sure
Your ab work
should consist of two or three heavy days per week consisting of 6 to 8
reps and as many light days as you want consisting of 15-20 reps.
QUESTION:When you talk about lifting shoes for the squat you mention the best choice is flat soled shoes such as "Chuck Taylors". I don't own a pair but believe there is some cushioning inside the shoe which in theory would tend to give you less support. I have read that the best shoe is one which
gives very little such as a hard innersoled shoe. The only problem is that these shoes typically have a heel which I believe is your reasoning for using Chuck Taylors. If you could find a shoe in which the innersole does not give would that be better than a basketball shoe ? If so do you know where to get such shoes ?
No I don't.
If you don't like the "chucks" try a pair of wrestling shoes. Everyone
in our club has worn "chucks" for the last 20 or so years. We have never
had an injury because of lack of shoe support. The reason we wear the "chuck"
is to push our feet out against the side of the shoes. With other shoes
your foot will roll over if you push out to hard.
QUESTION: You made mention to med balls as GPP work. What kind of ball do you use and what exercises.
I use the D-Ball
medicine ball. I have found them to be the best ball for total strength
purposes. They can be purchased through my company EFS @ 1-614-309-6176.
We have them in sizes up to 60 pounds. I use them for over head behind
the back tosses (this simulates the sumo deadlift) This exercise will teach
you to fall back more explosively with your deadlift. I also use the chest
pass, over head pass, and Russian twist. I start with 60 pounds on day
1, 40 pounds on day 2 and 20 pounds on day three. I include this in with
my sled dragging. The reps are not counted I keep going until the distance
decreases. This is usually around 5 to 8 reps.
QUESTION: I deadlift with a conventional style and I have a weak/slow start and I feel that my quads are weak in the starting position - My stiff legged deadlift is almost as strong as my competition deadlift! How I can improve my power off the floor.
You are not starting the lift correctly.
Make sure to fill your stomach with as much air as possible and push out
against your belt before you begin the lift. After you squat down and grab
the bar make sure you fall back on your heals so your shoulders are behind
the bar. When you pull you want to be in
1. Deadlifting off mats or plates
that equal 3 inches.
QUESTION: I'm going to do more doubles and singles on my speed day for Box squats.
What were you doing before now? We always do doubles for 8 sets. This way we keep the work load up. If you did all singles then you are cutting your workload in half. It is okay to work up and do some singles after the doubles.
How does that sounds? I just order some bands. How do I incorporate them to my workout?
Bands or the
contrast method is best used on the speed days. Start the first week of
the mini cycle so you have 45% to 50% barbell weight on the bar. Set the
top tension so there is 30% at the top and 17-20% at the bottom. This all
works out to 62% on the box and 75% at the top. The percentages are
What should I do for my last mini cycle on my max effort day? For a DL exercises?
Good mornings always great to finish with.
Have you ever done those 5 board presses for the triceps. Did you like them?
I like them
after my bench press sets. I would suggest a few heavy triples for a few
weeks then switch to the JM press or carpet press for a few weeks.
QUESTION: One last thing thing, I hope I am not bothering you. I just got some chains and I am having great progress with it. I read all the articles about the chain and I have 2 20 lb. chains because my bench is just under 400. My question is will this weight of chain work for a bencher with a top bench of 115? The percent used for this person is 56% which is 65 lbs. At the top of the lift, the weight will be at 85 lbs and that will be at 74% of his 1RM. If I used the chain, the top will be at 230 which is 60% of my 1RM. I use 210 lbs which is 55% of 380. Will this large difference in percent interfere with the training of the person who can only bench 115?
Is the answer to use lighter chain so he can equall my top chain percentage of 60% instead of him doing 74% at the top of his bench with these chains? It seems that these chains would be too heavy and would be counter productive since his bench is quite low. I mean, If I used 74% at the top
of my bench with chain! , the weight would be at 281 lbs and as you know, my top raw bench is 265
and I couldn't imagine him using 74% at the top of a bench with chain. If this were me, I would fail on the first rep.
10% of 1000
pounds is 100 pounds while 10% of 100 pounds is only 10 pounds. I know
this sounds very elementary but it shows how percentages grow as the weight
gets bigger. My point is that the weaker lifter can most always train with
a higher percentage than the stronger lifter. It is much better to base
QUESTION: In one of your replies to a question I read once, you mentioned that reps in the 15-20 range were what you considered to be effective for hypertrophy.
I was wondering about what percentage of a 1 rep max that rep range might be in? I realize that all exercises differ in this aspect but what would be the average for each of the big three lifts? As always any information is always appreciated.
is the best range for 15-20 reps. Don't over due this type of training
because it is very hard to stay with and will lead to burnout very fast.
QUESTION: I used to squat but soon I lost the love for it and started concentrating on the bench. The problem that I have is that my bench is equalled to my squat if not more. I have been bitten by the squat bug once again but someone told me that if I started squatting again, my bench would digress due to over taxing the body, poorer recouperation, thus a derease in bench power. Is this true?
No, if done
properly. Keep in mind both Kenny Patterson and George halbert have squatted
over 700 with Kenny doing over 800. Neither of these two are squatting
now because they want to keep there body weight down. If they wanted to
move up a weight class the first thing they would do is start
QUESTION: Dave, hello from your old town of Findlay. I just recently moved here from Port Clinton. I grew up with Phil Mendoza, Troy Taylor and the rest of them. Anyway, my question is for training for the highland games. The popular theory is to train the olympic lifts for explosiveness. I use the westside routine exclusively and do no olympic lifting. I read that you said they are too technical to learn and you can usually put fifty pounds on a guys squat in no time. Mendoza has me doing box squats, good mornings, reverse hypers,20 rep explosive rack deads. I'm sure he picked up a thing
or two training with Tom but, can you think of any exercises I've not mention that may help? Thank you, Greg Howe.
ball work would be a great help. Keep up the good mornings and add in some
low box squatting and good morning squats. This is because of the squatting
and bending you have to do in competition. Also eat allot of Wilson's hamburgers.
Phil should know what he is talking about and would
QUESTION: I'm a beginner powerlifter with a background in (unsuccessful) bodybuilding. I started with a Westside PL routine and have made good progress. It has been suggested by an experienced and trusted lifter that I hybredize WSB to include 3x3 type stuff for my heavy lifts. Would you recommend a full WSB routine for a beginner or should I use the hybrid routine?
When you decide
to do a program then DECIDE to do that program. The word decide means "to
cut off". This means do the Westside program and cut off all other programs
until you see if it works for you or not. I have seen this routine produce
twenty 2000 pound totals, four 2200 pound totals, one
QUESTION:I´m a chiropractic student from Denmark, and I have been using the westside system for a few years now. Unfortunately things at school are really busy at this time of year, and I have only time for three powerlifting sessions a week. What changes can I make, if I still want to train westside style, but only on a 3 day shedule ? I hope you can help me, because I dont want to lay off completely.
the days in a mon - wed - fri fashion. You schedule would look like this:
QUESTION: Please explain "Carpet Presses"!?!?!
is nothing more than a JM press down to a rolled up piece of carpet ( aprox
5 inches thick and 8 inches wide). Unrack the bar the same you would a
close grip bench press, tuck your elbows and begin to lower the bar the
same way you would a close grip bench press when the bar get about 2
QUESTION: I have worked various deadlift routines for nine years and I just can't seem to get over the 500 lb barrier. Could you please recommend a routine, assistance work, diet and supplements. My current max is 480 and my best deadlift is a 490.
On one workout each week load the
bar up to 285 and pull 10 singles with 45 seconds rest between lifts. Try
to pull the bar as fast as possible on each lift. Train you abs heavy for
sets of 5 to 8 reps and start doing good mornings for heavy sets of 1 to
3 reps. On the fifth workout do you first 4 sets with 285 then work up
and pull 500 for a single. This will work if you pull every rep as fast
as possible and visualize the weight is 500 every time you pull. I guarantee
this will work.
QUESTION: Will you be giving any seminars in Flordia any time soon. I would be very interested in attending.
I am looking for seminar hosts right
now. I would like to find a host in Fla, Ca, Ny, and where ever else people
would like my to go. If any body is interested in being a host they need
to provide an equipped gym for me to present in and take care of some of
the minor details on their end. In exchange for the work the host does
there will be a percentage of the revenue paid. A attendance minimum will
be set with each seminar. If anybody is interested in being a host please
contact me at 614-309-6176.