for your column and answering some of my other questions a while back.
I am impressed with the generosity you West Siders keep delivering.
I am on my first WS 10 week cycle of 5 2 week mini-cycles "being shown the ropes" long distance by correspondence with a friend who has and continues to study and practice WS. I workout 4 days a week: M, T, TH and F at lunch time. I can get about 1 1/2 hrs in on T and TH. So, I am limited to what the gym across from the office building has and by my time. They don't have a Reverse Hypertension machine or a set up for Reverse Back Raises.( I may be getting some of my terms mixed- sorry) I want to incorporate all that I can of the most effective assistance exercises and if not the closest approximates.
(Whew!) With that said my question is what variations of those can I do keeping in mind what the gym doesn't have ( It does have power racks, free weights, hyperextion benches) and the time constraints on set up. The gym does have a machine in the corner that is labeled Horizontal Glute.... Machine. COuld that machine or other quick set up exercises on standard gym equipment be used ?
A:There is no substitute for the reverse hyper. Try these exercises to target the same muscle groups:
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
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 reverse the movement to return to the starting position.
I have heard of some lifters who will lay across a hyperextension bench in the opposite dirrection and perform the reverse hyper.
This will only simulate part of the motion because the feet will not be pulled under you as far. It is still however better than nothing.
Thanks again for all you help.
P.S. Do you get paid for this or just do it for the joy of it?
No, I am not paid for this. My reasons for doing this Q and A are:
I get a change to network with many other lifters and coaches. I have learned a lot of great training information from the lifters that email or call me.
Q: I have been following Westside methods for about 5 years and have best lifts of 780 SQ, 445 BP and 680 DL. I just bought a sled from you. About 4 years ago while deadlifting I ruptured my right bicep tendon and tore it off the bone. I had surgery to repair it. I rehabed it and began deadlifting again, turning the injured hand palm towards my shins. Then 9 months later I did the same thing to my left arm deadlifting and had this arm repaired.
I am really gun shy now and go to meets, do well in the SQ and BP and then just take a token deadlift of 315lbs. This just kills me. I'm 41 years old now and my last surgery was about 3 years ago. Do you have any experience with injuries like this? Any tips would be appreciated. I really can't afford to reinjure my arms again as I am also a single father of three children who depend on me. However, I really want to compete effectively again in all three lifts. Thanks for the taking the time to answer!
A:Tendons take time to heal. I have torn my pec major tendon and had problem with it ever since. I think I have found a way around it. I have not had a problem for over a year now. There are many things that need to be considered. Joint Flexibility: keep the biceps flexible.
Nutrition: eat a balanced diet and keep you protein up. Supplements have helped me greatly. Any joint stack product and MSM seem to work well for me.
Technique: I will bet something is wrong with your deadlift technique. You are pulling to much with your arms. Your arms should never bend. Keep them as straight as possible. Do not try to curl the bar. It may help to change you deadlift style. If you pull conventional switch to sumo. If you pull sumo then switch to conventional. I have listed the proper tech for each below:
Massage: have deep tissue work done at least once a month to keep the scar tissue down.
Talk to a physical Therapist: If you can find a good one, it will really pay off.
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
Sumo Style Dead Lift: 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,
Q: Dave, I read Louie's article in the recent Powerlifting USA mag. I have a couple of questions concerning the training. One, Louie says that 6 out of 10 workouts on the lower body Max effort day are Good Mornings. I tried to look up Good Morning in several books but found nothing. I saw in one issue of Muscle & Fitness that a Good Morning was a Stiff-Legged Deadlift with a plate held in both hands. Can you please tell me what a Good Morning is.
are several types of good mornings:
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.
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.
Also, how do I know which stance to assume in the deadlift. I can lift more sumo, but I have heard from several sources that conventional is a more efficient method.
The most efficient method is the one that works best for you.
Also, in the
recent article in PL USA, Louie says to work the lats before the delts
in the assistance work.
This is really individual and depends on the day. The lats are a more important and a larger muscle a should be trained first in your case.
Q: what is gpp? how is it a type of restoration? do you use a steam, sauna or whirlpool?
A: GPP stands for general physical preparedness. This simply states that you have to get in shape to train, not train to get in shape. In outer words if you are not in shape you will not get the most from your training. It is important to keep this GPP work specific to how and what you will be training. This is where sled dragging is very beneficial to the powerlifter. Running would not be.
Restoration is the most under utilized factor in most training programs today. Everybody wants to know what kind of training program this team uses or that team uses. They want to know what program the soviet to get , or how this lifter squatted 1000 pounds. They pay little attention to what they do in between training sessions. The sad thing in this country nobody seems to care. In outer countries there is sometimes up to one hour of restoration daily. The Russian system of restoration is based what type of sport is being performed, what stage of training they are in, the time of day, type of stress, and level of fitness. It is safe to say that they have pretty much figured it out.
Restoration can cut down on non-recovery symptoms such as: reduction of work capacity, lack of desire to train, muscle pains, poor sleep, lose of body weight, injury, and strength loss. Dr. Mel Siff writes in his book "super training" that rebabilation refers to therapy to restore an injured athlete to full functional capability. Very often the need for rehab is the consequence of inadequate restoration. I agree with him 100%. I have seen to many lifters who could have saved themselves from being hurt if only they used restoration. I include myself in this group. The difference between those other lifters and myself is that I try to learn from my mistakes to find better ways to do things.
problem of restoration aside from just not doing it is the over use of
any technique. Some forms of restoration such as active "sled dragging"
and a sauna can be as hard if not harder on your body than a heavy workout,
This over use will lead to ineffectiveness of the type of restoration
being used. The body will adapt very quickly to any form of restoration
so you will need to change it as much as you would your training exercises.
Thus the type of restoration being used should be changed in type
If you use the sled dragging as a form of restoration, remember to keep it light and change the exercises very often. If you want to try to use a steam or sauna, I will provide you with some sample guidelines that I follow.
1. In either
case start with a cold shower for 5 minutes. Let the water cover the entire
body. When you go to get in the steam or sauna, make sure to lay down.
The reason for this is to keep your blood pressure down. Just by being
in there your blood pressure will rise. If you lay down it will rise less.
Since you are trying to relax, it would be best to keep the BP low. It
also is a good idea to roll up a towel and place it behind your neck. This
will let your neck relax. You should also wet a towel with cold water to
place over your head while you are in there.
Q: I am a 25 year old powerlifter who has been lifting for 2 years now, but only 6 months on your routine. I have made a 90lb gain in my bench since december. after I do speed bench I pic one tricep exercise and do it for 6 to 8 sets of 6 to 8 reps, while supersetting every second set with
pushdowns for 15 reps,then I do 4 sets of shoulders. After max bench day I do the same tri and shoulder workout as speed day. After 3 workouts I change the exercises. The question I have is I am training five other guys and two of them aren't going up in weight that much when comps. come around. they are both in their 30's and 40's. I was wanting to know if they should cut back tri work or go lighter? My first 3 sets of tris are easy,but I keep going up in weight until I cant do anymore then I start dropping back. Is that too much for them? I feel bad because they look to me for help , but it isn't working.
is different and requires a different approach. You didn't mention how
much their benches went up. When you compare anybody's training to your
90 pound increase, it will look bad. Your increase is outstanding! Not
everybody can expect that kind of difference. If they have gone up 20 -
You tricep work seem all right except I would make the first exercise heavier with reps in the 3-5 range. Work up to a heavy max set of 3 or 5, then break it down for one or two down sets.
If they still don't increases then change their volume a little. Try adjusting upward first. They may not be doing enough. If that doesn't work then adjust it down. Have them pay attention to when they feel the strongest with in the micro cycle. It will be those exercises they are doing at that time which will make the greatest difference.
Q: What equipment do you train with? Do you use a belt and how far out do you start using wraps?
A: We train with only suit bottoms on speed squat day, This is to teach the lifter to sit back against the suit. When you do not where one you get into a habit of sitting straight down. The suit also helps protect from groin injuries. The rest of the time we use no equipment. The belt is used sometimes on max effort day but we try to not use it as much as possible.
Why wear the suit bottom when box squatting on speed day? How much weight do you think that it lifts (assuming it is "loose" like Louie says in the articles).
Thanks for this clarification.
The loose suit is to teach you to
sit back against the suit and to protect from groin injuries. It really
doesn't provide and assistance because they are so loose.
Q: WHY NOT USE SINGLES ON SPEED DAY? IN ONE OF LOUIE'S INTERVIEWS HE MENTIONED INCLINE SQUATS ,WHAT ARE THEY?
on speed day?
Q: I am a freshman at the University of Nebraska, studying to be an exercise physiologist. However my primary interest is athletic sport type training, as I am also a football player. I am very interested in the Westside training methods due to the ideas of increasing power production, a common goal to most athletes. My problem is that there is very little information about training for power, other than olympic lifts and plyometrics. My questions therefore are:
1. What sources does Louie Simmons primarily use for his ideas and methods of training.
1. "Super Training" by Siff and Verkhoshansky (Elite Fitness Systems
2. Do Westside lifters ever practice the Olympic lifts for overall power benefits.
No. These lifts are not specific to our sport and who not have any carry over effect. We have had some lifters try these lifts with very little return.
3. Do you know of any other source that would carry the book Supertraining, as the website (Strengthcoach.com) you listed at a previous post on this website is not currently operating.
You can get it through my company "Elite Fitness Systems"
dragging a sled benefit a football player that primarily needs explosive
strength and power
We have found dragging a sled will help almost everybody. The sled dragging does a great job of building up the muscles of the posterior chain.
5. Would there
be a measureable increase in either vertical jump, or short sprint ability
What do you think? There would be a huge difference. The bands teach you to explode through the top. This will train the CNS to respond more explosively through out entire movement. This is what the contrast method is all about.
6. Will there be any written material in the near future describing the Westside training methods and special exercises in entirety.
would be a very difficult book to write because we are always looking,
learning, and trying new things The best way to keep up is through this
site and Louie's articles in Powerlifting USA. For any of our methods (by
the way, they have never been our methods. We just use them) the book
Q:I am a football player (defensive back) and have noticed that you don't include any olympic lifts in your training. Do you feel that these aren't needed since you have a speed day for squats every week?
feel they are not needed. We are training the CNS with the speed day. We
don't believe in these lifts for a few reasons.
What about one-legged lifts such as step-ups, lunges, one-legged squats, etc? Aren't these types of exercises supposed to help increase running speed?
Yes, and they should be trained The best time to train them is after the squat or max effort exercise..
Q:Hey, I have been weight training for 3 weeks now, already I have noticed that my
left bi is smaller thatn my right, should i do extra weight for the left, or extra sets, to catch it up with the mass of the right?
It is very
common for one arm to be bigger than the other. The size isn't as important
as the strength. If one arm is stronger than the other then you need to
find a way to balance this out. Correct it now so it will not become a
problem later. If it is a biceps imbalance try one arm dumbbell curls with
BTW, I feel so much better now, I had been having back problems, but these are disappearing. I have more energy, etc.
I have a weider 138 bench, but it seems to be pretty light duty, What would you suggest for a person on a budget?
A: This depends on the budget. If you are training at home a power rack with spotters is a must. This will allow you to still train heavy and be safe. You will also need a good barbell, plates, and dumbbells.
A complete home gym should include (in order of importance)
Rack (this rack includes a bench)
that would be helpful:
Q: I HAVE WATCHED ALL THE WEST SIDE TAPES AND FOLLOW METHODS WITH GOOD
SUCCESS. HAVE BANDS AND REVERSE HYPER. SOMETIMES WHAT I DONT HAVE IS TIME TO GET ALL 4 WORKOUTS IN. IS THERE A WAY TO USE WEST SIDE SYSTEM IN 3 DAYS PER WEEK AND STILL GET MAX RESULTS IN ALL 3 LIFTS. THANK YOU FOR YOUR HELP.
have had some luck with my clients using such a program. I don't recommend
it if you can fit in the four days, but if there is no possible way give
it a try. Train on a Mon. - Wed - Fri. or Tu. - Thurs. - Sat program and
rotate the workouts. What you will be doing are still the four main workouts
Q: Hallo, I am a 27 year old lifter from Norway and I have got some questions for you about the assistance exercises. For the triceps I work up to a 3 or 5 rep max with a barbell on the max efford day, and on the speed day I do 5 sets of 10 reps on some dumbell exercise. In some articles by Louie Simmons I`ve read that you are supposed to do about 60 reps for the triceps when training with dumbells, either 5 sets of 10 or 7 sets of 8. How many of those sets are done to failure?
None we always leave a rep or two. We also do the heavy tricep sets of 3 and 5 after the bench press (usually JM Presses, close grip bench presses, or extensions) and the rep work after the max effort exercise.
I feel that going to failure on all of the sets is too hard, because I have to recover for the max efford day. So now I usually stop the sets a couple of reps before failure. What do you think about this?
I also read in Sean Anderson`s notes from a Westside seminar that you are only supposed to go for a new rep max on one of the assistance exercises, not all 4 or 5 because this will burn you out. Does this mean that you don`t go to failure on the other assistance exercises?
We very rarely go to failure on any exercise. The only one I can think of would be the stability ball press for high reps sets.
I read in Louie
Simmons` article "The squat workout" that you raise the volume of special
exercises when the training percentage in the squat gets higher. Does this
mean that you increase the numbers of sets on the assistance exercises
on the 55%,57.5% and the 60% week and then decrease
Volume increases as we get toward a meet. As the meet approaches usually
8 to 12 weeks out we begin to push up to sets on the reverse hyper, abs
and dragging. This works extremely well for me but I can't keep it up for
longer than 12 weeks. My body could handle it but my mind can't. I do so
My work capacity
has increased to this point over the last nine years. I do not suggest
it for everybody because it will burn you out. This is why I can only handle
it for 8 to 12 weeks at a time. I have found however that this is what
I have to do to get ready to compete.
Q:QUESTION: There seems to be alot of westside bashing go on lately. How do you and Louie feel about that? What is it like to train with Louie and the guys at westside? How long have you trained with Louie and have you always trained that way?
bashing????? All I hear is good stuff about the system. First off they
are not bashing our system but the science behind it. I guess if they knew
any of it in the first place then they wouldn't bash it. Second, We just
competed this past weekend and I over heard Louie say to someone in the
How is it to train with Louie? It has been the best 9 years of my life.
I used to train every way possible and used to think he was nuts. Then
after being stuck with a 1945 total for four years and just coming back
from tearing my pec minor tendon I decided to give it a try and my lifts
Q: what is your routine for the week prior to a bench meet?
Our last speed bench day is the Sunday before. I won't do anything until
the meet. Some of the other guys might do some light tricep work the wed.
before the meet.
Q:...where are the elbows supposed to be on bench?? Are you saying
they should be in tight against the sides ? I would think my arms/elbows are abducted out to sides almost 80 degrees,,,is this wrong?
A: Try to keep them as tight as possible. This will be different depending on the size of one's lats. The bar should hit you on the lower part of your chest (or lower) and be pushed straight up, not back.
Is the reverse band and band press explained some where? Any pics?
the bands (the heavy blue ones) from the top of the power rack. Slide the
bar through the bands. When you put 135 on the bar it should be floating
at chest level (this makes it = 0 at the chest) If it is not floating at
chest level then lower the bands (you may be able to loop them one the
safety pins at a high level). As you work up in weight you will find that
the lift becomes much harder at the top. Work up to a Max set of 1 or 3
Q: I'm an exercise science student at University of Kansas and want to be a top notch strength coach.What further education and/or work experience would you reccomend to accomplish this goal? Also, after reading Bompas book Perid. of Sports I was wondering why he advocates using back to back training days, and up to 4-5 session/week during maximum strength phases? I thought FT fibers need a long time to restore. If you can help me understand this concept better I woould
appreciate it. If you've read the book it's pg.76-80. THANKS!
he writes about the maximum strength training phase he is referring to
a whole microcycle is devoted to maximum strength training. Not all the
training sessions are of the maximum strength method. If you read further
here are only two workouts where MsS sessions are planed. The other
Load = 85-100%
This is almost
the same as our max effort day. We pick one exercise and work out to a
1 to 3 rep max (85-100%). The number of exercise per workouts is around
5. Our average sets per session is close to 12-15., and we have 2 max effort
workouts per week, one for the squat and one for the bench. The only difference
would be the rest period. We may rest 3 minutes but rarely take up to 6.
He also has
parameters for power:
This would be very simular to our speed days. We train at 50 - 70% on the squat and bench. We perform 2 reps for the squat and 3 for the bench, both very dynamically. The number of exercises per workout is around 3 to 4. The difference would be the rest period. Our rest period for the squat and bench is 1 min. max.
The book you have is not Bompa's best work. Try reading Periodization of Strength and Theory and Methodology of training. Both should be available at Amazon.com. The other book you may want to consider, and the one I feel is the best out there in the field of strength training is SuperTraining by Mel Siff and Yuri Verkhoshansky. This booked seemed to be hard for many to get so I decided to carry it through my company Elite Fitness Systems 1-614-309-6176. I am not in the book business so I don't carry the Bompa books or any other books as far as that goes.
As far a suggestions in regards to your education:
First, read everything you can on training. I have listed several books on the past Q and A. Get them and read them. Stay away from any book you can buy in a book store. The muscle magazines are good for entertainment and that's about it. Although sometimes there will be a good article.
Second, be wary of Internet information. The problem with the Internet is everyone is an expert.
Third, start training. I don't care what anybody says, the best strength coaches and trainers I have spoke with could actually lift weights. This may sound stupid but you would not believe how many don't or have never trained. Start training for powerlifting, strongman, or weightlifting competitions.
Fourth, don't listen to most personal trainers. I don't want to sound like they are all bad. I am a trainer myself and there are many excellent ones out there. If you talk to the right ones you can learn a lot. I have learned a ton of information from other trainers and stregth coaches. The problem is there may only be one good one to every 1000 trainers. I don't think any of the other trainers who know what they are doing would disagree with my statement.
Fifth, talk to as may good coaches and trainers as you can. You will learn more from then than any other source.
your roots planted. In other words start volunteering and doing internships.
The strength and conditioning field is a tough one to get into. It always
helps to know the right people.
Q: We just started using chains in our box squats. I thought that it felt pretty good. The problem we have is that we still are throwing the weight off our backs at the top. Should we use more chains to stop this or what? We are using the correct percentages according to our maxs.
A: The percent should be the same as before except now you have added chain weight to the top. If the bar is coming off your shoulders then add more chain or more weight.
How much do the bands cost and where can we get them from? Phone or maybe a web address?
I am not to
sure of the cost. You can get them through Jump Stretch Inc. 1-800-344-3539