Westside/Louie Simmons Frequently Asked Questions

QUESTION:  Dave, Finally I am today going to be mail ordering my West Side Tapes from you!!!   In the pamhlet you recently sent me it listed a strap for the sled.  I rigged up something with a tire and plates.  What is the strap and how could it help me and does it come with any instructions?

The sled strap is nothing more than a nylon strap with a loop on each end. You could use it to attach to the tire and another to run through to first for upper body and ankle dragging.

QUESTION: What exercises do you do for your hamstrings? What rep range would you recommend? Thanks

Hamstrings are trained with the reverse hyper, good mornings and glute ham raise. I have not do a leg curl for over 7 years. Rep range depends on your training goals. I use one rep on the max effort work and up to 8 for supplemental exercises.

QUESTION: Dave, I believe I saw in a recent PLUSA a book that lays out a year long program on the Westside System, and also sport specific training. Is it available through your company? If not, where can i find it? Thanks for your attention to this.

I do sell the book. It is an eight week journal put together by John Davies and myself. This journal outlines all the training for an eight week cycle. It is intended for the field athlete (football, soccer, ect) not a power lifter. I am in the process of putting together a video series for the beginner, intermediate and advanced athlete. These videos will only include the strength work.

QUESTION: I wanted to know the weight totals to get your masters and your elite in the 308 wieght class for the apf. I would apprieciate your answer thank you.

I am not positive but I think the Elite is 2000. I know the Elite at 275 is 1946 and the SHW class is 2033. I don't know the masters because we only concentrate on getting people to there Elite status. The rest of the classes are as follows. These are the same totals needed to qualify for the Westside
invitational (Feb. 21, 2000)

114= 1063
123= 1157
132= 1245
148= 1394
165= 1526
181= 1642
198= 1731
220= 1824
242= 1890
275= 1946
308= 2000
shw= 2033

QUESTION: I'm a college student traing to play football in the next year or two and I wanted to know if I could follow the Westside methods? And the place I workout does not allow chains could I get the same benefits by just using the bands? And should I do power cleans and snatchs or follow the
Westside program and include plyometrics and speed drills?

The Westside system is currently being used by many NFL teams and Universities. We have found the bands to work better than the chains (We think because of the stored Kinetic energy). If you chose to do speed (running, agility, GPP) work make sure to include it before your max effort workouts and after your speed workouts. This keep your CNS more responsive to the training goals you are trying to achieve.

QUESTION: Hi Dave, my question is about nutrition. I'm a vegetarian and started training since March '99.  Though I have made increases, benching, squatting, etc. I don't really see real gains physically.  I'm wondering if this because of being a vegetarian?  My other question is that with all the information about training I don't see any information about food intake? thank you for any info or suggestions :)

You may be having a problem with your Protein intake. I have seen great results with those who try to get close to 1 gram per pound of bodyweight. The reason I do not write that much about Nutrition is that I feel that it is not as important as people make it out to be. I have been around Elite athletes my whole life an have never seen one who ate the way the "experts" claim you should eat. It has always seemed to me that the athletes who are always on a strict healthy diet are the ones who can't get past the local and state level in there given sport. Don't get me wrong, I am not saying to go out and live on junk food, just don't worry that much about it. If you want to gain weight eat more if you want to lose weight eat less. 


Try to use it much the same way except use it as your warm up work. This way you can take out your old warm up exercises and replace them with the sled. This way you can keep you Volume to a manageable level.

QUESTION: The Westside program is working well for me.  My question is that I recently tested my Squat Max and found that my weakness (in the squat) was with coming "out of the hole".  The box was about one inch above parallel. What is this a symptom of...weak hamstrings?.  What exercises should I focus in on to improve this part of my squat?  Thanks for your help!

It depends on what happened when you came out of the hole. Did you fall forward? Then it would be abs and lower back. Did you fall backward? Then it is your hips and glutes. Did you round over? then it is your upper back. Most of the time it is some combination of the above with a few other things
mixed it. It could also be your technique. Take your box down to at least parallel.

QUESTION: I am a 40 year old powerlifter who is competing in a Bench Press meet 3 weeks from Sat.  My question is the following.  I have been pushing very hard and feel as though my workout this past weekend were very sub par. I have been giving myself 5 full days rest between max effort bench
workouts, with a speed day two days before max effort day.  I am freaking myself out because I feel that I may be overtraining or even approaching an overtrained state.  I feel that I need to back off my training to prevent overtraining,  but do not want to hurt my chances for competing, I only have
3 weeks left.  Is there anything I can do to help bring my body out of this overtrained state and still compete at 100%.

You will be fine, just back off the last 7 days out from the meet. Do not do anything the last week except very light tricep work.

QUESTION: Dave, I have been using the Westside tactics for about five months and have continued to make progress in the floor press, 2 board press, 3 board press, and pin presses. Strange as this sounds, my bench press has only slightly increased. I must be missing my weak link. Referring to one of last months answers, I am performing as follows:

A.) Floor press: I can get 83% of my bench shirt max with a medium grip, 89% of my bench shirt max with a wider grip
B.) 2 Board press: I can get 95% of my bench shirt max
C.) 3 Board press: I can get 92% of my bench shirt max

I only use the bench shirt the week before a meet to see where I am at, and during the meet.

I continue to get stuck about 4" to 6" off my chest during a contest. Can you provide exercise suggestions to get through this sticking point? Based on your suggestions, would I still only perform these exercises for two week mini-cycles or would I extend the mini-cycle because it is a weak point? Thanks for all your help. Great website!

Based on the information given, I don't think you are using your legs and lats to their fullest when you bench. Your floor press is above the 82% average. When you can do more on the floor than the average it means you have strong delts and triceps. By being on the floor you are flat, so you
take your legs out of the movement, it is also very hard to keep your shoulder blades pulled together because you don't have your legs to use as a brace. Now when you go to the bench you don't get the same carry over. This means you are still only using the same floor press muscles and patterns.
Learn to drive your shoulder blades into the bench by driving your heels into the floor.

QUESTION: I was wondering how you might write up a program for a m,w,f rotation and include GPP on tue. & thur. Could you try and combine the max effort and speed days of sqt. and bch. into one three day work week or make it into a two week rotation where work not covered in week one would spill
over into the monday of the second week?

If you were to utilize a MWF routine, I would suggest letting the four day pattern rotate through the three days. If you combine the max effort and speed days make sure to keep them together. For example Speed Squat and Speed Bench not max effort squat and speed bench. Combining could work but it would have to be done on the Mon and Fri. This leaves wed open for GPP and speed work. You would not want to do any strength training on this day because then you would not be getting enough recovery  throughout the week. The GPP on tue and thursay using the spill over rotation will work well
because of the added restoration it can provide.

QUESTION: Hello, this question may take too long for an anwer.  I just starting powerlifting and I keep hearing about the West Side routine.  What exactly is it?  Where can I get info about it?

Read the articles on Strength online by Louie Simmons and myself.

QUESTION: Hey Dave, it's me again.  I just have one weird question.  You don't have to answer it if you don't want to.  But, I would like to know how Matt Dimel died.  Also how old was he?

Matt died big and strong and was a great asset to Westside barbell and all the lifters he touched

QUESTION: Hey Dave, when doing the dumbbell tricept extensions you recommend 15 - 20 second rest between sets. what type of rest period do you use for the barbell extensions (nose smashers, etc..) & JM's since the weights are heavier and the reps lowered to sets of 3 - 5?

Rest around 1.5 to 2.0 minutes for the heavier lifts.

QUESTION: HI Dave,  Just reading your October Q & A and as my goals for using West Side as my training template like one of this months writers is muscle size and bodyweigth in addtion to strength what can I expect over the course of this next year.  FYI I am 47, 5'8", 210 now ( In the last month I
reviewed my dietary intake which I do a few times a year and was advised to add in more carbs I did- not so much, ti ws pretty easy to do and I gained 9 lbs to my current 210!)  according to my adviser ( and apparently correct for a PL I was under carbed.  I have plenty of protein inmy diet)  I am now
gratefully under the tutelage of Mike Stuchiner for learnong the ways of WestSide here on Long Island.  So, I am confident I will be limplementing/learning West Side correctly. In the past week my
endocryonolgist has prescribed 200 of testosterone every 2 weeks for drive and low test. levels.  SO, if all these factors are considered what is reasonable to expect for my body weight one y!
ear from now?

You can expect whatever you set your mind to achieve. Determine your goals first. We have seen increases of 20 to 80 pounds in one year. It seem like you are on the right track. Good luck training with Mike (Paper). You will need it!!!

QUESTION: Dear Dave, I have a couple of questions for you:  1) what type of diet/nutrition plan do you guys try and follow at WSB?

Cracker Barrel, Bob Evans, TJ's, Lone Star, and any buffet. We don't have a specific diet plan. Most of us just try to keep our protein up. When people come to visit Westside they can't believe that some lifters walk in the gym eating donuts and drinking chocolate milk. The plan is really very simple:
If you want to get bigger and lift bigger weights then you have to eat more food. We have a few lifters who are trying to stay at a certain weight class so they watch there carbs and try to eat healthy foods for most the week.

2)How do you estimate what weight to use for pulling the sled?

Guess, Start light 45 pounds and work up as you get stronger.

QUESTION: Dear Gentleman: Question 1:What type of traning do you recomend me to do,
Olimpic lifting or your Powerlifting system?

This is a decision for you to make on your own.

  Question 2:Why do Powerlifters use all type of equipment ( suits,belts,wraps,etc...),and Olimpic lifters dont use any equipment?

It is and will always be part of the sport. I guess it is because we are lifting weights than can cause serious injury. A Olympic lifter may lift 400 - 500 pounds while a power lifter is lifting 700 - 900 pounds.

  Question 3:What squat is better,full Olimpic style squat or Powerlifting squat?

This depends on your training goals.

QUESTION: Hello Dave.  Not a question, just a comment for your readers.  Dave Tate and the Westside Barbell Club have figured this stuff out.  This system works and having a resource such as Dave available is a great help.  The advice you gave and the training aids I've been able to get from you have been a great help.  I cannot believe the improvements I've made in the short period of time on this program.  You guys are strength training geniuses.  Thanks for your help.

Thanks Rocco

QUESTION: What do you think about the super slow or hit training? Ther was a recent debate on GH that said that speed squats wont work.

I read the same debate. I am not a scientist and never intend to be so I am not going to start debating about the force velocity curve and newtons second law. What I find interesting is that everybody is so quick to point out that this training won't work, but they all forgot to tell us because we all keep getting stronger. I also find it interesting that they never offer any better solution. If it doesn't work then what will work better? and if it will work better then what scientific proof do you have that it will? If they have the proof, are there other studies to show that it doesn't work, because if there are then it must not be the best way. That is the nature of science. Nothing is ever proved conclusively every time. So when they say speed training doesn't work because this study says so then they don't really understand science at all. I am not bashing science because I feel it
is very important but it also very limitating. For example, it will probably be a few years until they prove that bands and chains can make a difference. It will take them three years to figure out what most of us already know. You see the thing is I don't have three years to wait and find out. I want to find out for myself now.

What do I think of super slow training and Hit training. I feel they are both principles of training but not programs in them self's. It would be like saying all I am going to do is a forced rep program. All these things are just components of a program. They do serve a purpose at certain times and places in a properly designed program. Our approach to training uses some of these methods (sometime we train to failure and sometimes we use slow movements) but we also use a whole host of other methods to make up a full strength training program.

I feel like I keep repeating my self but who have they trained? Since we are talking about strength training I would like to know what power lifters, weightlifters, highland games, or strong man athletes they have trained. The reason I list these sports is because I have seen coaches state that this
football teams uses this method so it must work. I have seen many football teams that have  weaker players then other teams win many national titles. Talent does account for something. A strength training program should make one stronger (hence the term strength training). To me the easiest sports to determine absolute strength are the ones listed above. When they can provide the names and phone numbers (only because I have spoke to some lifters that are supposed to have trained a certain way only to find out that they never have and have), then I will compare resumes. Also why is everyone so quick to point out the people who train with Westside methods all use drugs. Are the people who use this type of training the only ones who use drugs or could it be possible that other lifters and athletes on other programs use drugs as well? I can name a very large number of drug free lifters who train with Westside methods and I can also name a large number of lifters who do
use drugs with these methods. The funny thing is they are all getting stronger but you don't have to take my word for it, just ask around. This brings me to my next point. WE do not have to go around the country and sell our program to anyone. We never have forced anyone to train with these
methods. This is because the lifters and supporters outside our club do this for us. They do this for free because they believe in the program because they have seen it work for themselves, their training partners and friends. This is why the defend it, why else would they? Where are the defenders of
these other methods. Not the coaches, but the real end customer "the lifters". Sure Louie and My self spend a lot of time promoting this program, but most of this time is spent helping athletes with putting the program together (answering questions), not trying to convince somebody to train this way. I will never try to convince someone to train our way because it is a waste of my time. There are to many people who will listen to what we have to say, and those are the ones I want to help.

In closing, about the debate. I think Mel Siff and Tom O'Brien steeped in a put an end to it real quick. It is real easy to talk over peoples heads when most of them have no idea what the hell you're talking about. It is another thing to defend your self to experts in the field.

QUESTION: I have read where you guys are using a special 12 inch cambered bar to do good morninings and squats. Do you sell this bar? If not where can I get one. I believe I read this in one of Louies articles.

I just got off the phone with the manufacture of these bars. We will be selling them within the next two weeks. The bar you are asking about is a 12 inch cambered bar. This is the best bar I have ever used for good mornings. We use this bar for low box squats, suspended good mornings, and good
mornings. We will also be selling a 2 inch cambered bench bar, a 4 inch cambered bench bar, Trap bar, power bars (1500), deadlift bars. This manufacture tells me he has over 70 different types of bars. For more information call me at 1-888-854-8806 or 1-614-309-6176

QUESTION: I am reading on another message board about Louie's lack of scientific knowledge and his misunderstanding of Physics. I have noticed that there have not been any replys from westside. I am woundering what you all think about his "lack of knowledge".

Here I find myself defending Westside again. First off if you don't like it, then don't do it. I don't want to get into Louie education but I will point out a few valid items. Louie did not go to college and study Physics, biomechanics or any other subject as far as that goes. Everything he has learned about training is self taught through his extensive reading and time tested experience in the strength game. What he has done is create a very effective way to train based on his reading and experience. What scientist has created such a program? What Physicist has created such a program? Who
have any of them trained and what have they done themselves. Does Louie misunderstand some scientific concepts? Who among us can understand all the concepts. Does Louie misunderstand how to make people strong? NO. Who would you rather have in your corner? The scientist who understands all the science and has no idea how to make people strong, or the coach who may have some misunderstanding about scientific terms but knows how to make people strong? I made my decision 9 years ago and have the total to prove it. I leave it up to you to decide.

P.S. Bill Gates dropped out of college to start a company. I sure he had some misunderstanding about business but went on to create Microsoft. Sometimes you don't need to understand everything but only those things that happen to be most important.

QUESTION: Thanks Dave for the response on hamstrings. One more question, on speed day bench I've been doing 8 sets of 3 with 60% and bands (the pink ones). I've been using the bands for the last 7 speed day workouts. Should I switch to the chains for a while or continue with the bands? Which in your opinion is more effective? Thanks Dave

The bands are by far better than the chains.

QUESTION:I'm very confused about one thing from all of the "net" QandA's. Does the system you use use "Periodization"? . I know the old way was to train heavy in the off-season then go liter as the season progressed. The confusion comes from where people write "Louie rejects periodization",
but they always seems to throw in pyramiding in the same sentence.  Could you please explain to me periodization/  and or the "wave-up" as opposed to the old school off-seson/in-season / periodization.

Periodisation is a way of planning and organizing ALL training. All training is some form of periodisation. For example periodisation is a way to organize training based on:

1. The Training Session: one workout
2. The Micro Cycle: usually 5 to 10 days
3. The Meso Cycle: a set number of micro cycles usually 1-4 months
4. The Macro Cycle: this is usually the competitive season, usually 10-12 months
5. Quadrennial: This is a four year Olympic cycle

The way it is structured Westside Style is:

1. The Training Session: one workout
2. The Micro Cycle: 7 days (2 max effort workouts and two dynamic effort workouts)
3. The Meso Cycle: (we have what is known as coupled meso cycles. This is know as the conjugate training system)

The way we do this is:
~ Speed or dynamic days are cycled in a step like wave pattern for a 4 week mesocycle
~ Max Effort days are cycled in a 1 to 3 week Asymmetric Pyramid fashion. This means we are maxing out on a exercise for 1 to three weeks (as long as the max effort increases), then we switch to another exercise and being the upward pattern again.

4. The Macro Cycle: This is the time leading up to a meet. For us this is year round because we are always training for a meet. We start to increase the intensity around 16-20 weeks out.

5. Quadrennial: We don't use this for programming, but we expect all our lifters to reach their Elite Level within a four year quadrennial.

We also incorporate in what is known a cybernetic periodisation. This means when we feel we need to back off some, then we back off. When we feel like we need to take it up a bit, then we take it up. You need to listen to what your body is telling you. We also have a large number of different types of
meso cycles, the supra maximal cycle is an example of one we use right before a meet.  Other examples are shock cycles and restorative cycles. Most of time these cycles are coupled in with the other meso cycles. An example of this is the use of the empirical rule of 60% we use with the sled
dragging. This type of cycle is a restorative cycle coupled with the supra maximal cycle to aid in restoration

What Louie disagrees with is the standard model of periodisation that is being practiced today. This method of periodisation is made up of a hypertrophy, strength, power, peak and active rest phase. The basic parameters are listed below:

Hypertrophy Phase: Usually 3 to 4 sets of 10 reps using aprox 70% for 4 to 6 weeks.
Strength Phase: Usually 3-5 sets of 5 reps using aprox 86% for 4 to 6 weeks.
Power Phase: Usually 3 to 5 sets of 3 reps using aprox 92% for 2-4 weeks.
Peak Phase. Usually 2 to 3 sets of 1 to 2 reps using aprox 95%+ for 2 to 4 weeks
Active Rest Phase: usually 2 to 4 weeks

Some of the problems Louie and Myself have with this type of training program are:

1.  This is a percentage based system with the max being preformed 2 to 4 weeks before the start of the Hypertrophy phase. The question then is: Is this really a true max after a four week lay off ? I know I can lose between 10 to 20 percent with a 2 week lay off. Lets assume I lose 10 percent after
the four week active rest. I have to begin with 70% for 4 sets of 10 reps. Now this 70% is really 80%. If I make it through the hypertrophy phase and the strength phase then one of two things are going to happen in the power phase. First, I miss the weights, I can not do the workout because the percent is too high. Second, I do make it through the phase then go to the meet and find out that I did more weight in the gym then I did in the meet because the percent was to high.

2. What exercises are the parameters supposed to be used with? Is it just the main core lifts or all the lifts?

3. The specific ability of each phase are not maintained. For example, much of muscle mass gained in phase one is lost in phase 4.

4. What do you do if you have two or three meets scheduled in a five of six week period?

There are many more but this should be enough to get you thinking. Another important thing to remember about this type of periodisation is it history. It was taken from a text written by Matveyev and was designed as a  intermediate meso cycle to be used as a transitional cycle for Jim Ryun (a
mid distance runner) to be used as unloading and restoration between a demanding competitive season. matveyev him self posted this question " Why not retain sporting form permanently as a state which is optimal for the athlete". At Westside we ask the same question.

I hope this helps answered your question. I go over this in greater detail during the Westside seminars. It is also covered  in the book "super Training" by Siff and Verkhoshansky.

QUESTION:What's the "Deadlift Secrets" video about? Just a clip that says "Don't train the deadlift" ? :-)

Pretty much the same thing as the squat video except there is information and demonstration on how to do the deadlift.

BTW I really appreciate the time you spend answering questions about training! I have one question. If the videos will give me the answer, just let me know. It's about arching in the squat and in the sumo deadlift:

I did a training session with one of the Norwegian national team coaches. He seemed to have a different opinion about several things compared to my understanding of WSB training.

Squat: he agreed that I should sit back as much as possible as long as I didn't bend forward too much. He didn't like that I really pushed the knees out. It is my understanding that this is done to get maximum activation of the hips and this will also make it easier to really sit back?

What does he want you to do; push them in? When you push the knees out you are shortening the lever arm of the lift. In other words you shorten your stroke. Ask him why he wants you to squat with a bigger stroke. I for one don't want to have to squat 3 or four inches further then I already have to.

Arching in the squat: he said that the rotation of the pelvis in the bottom position of the squat is dangerous. He said that if I have a big arch I get a rotation of the pelvis in the bottom position because it's almost impossible to keep the arch when you get down to parallel. He told me to push the hips forward in the standing postition to get a *flat* lower back (not an arch) and a straight (not arched) upper back. Then sit back/down and keep the back in the same position (flat, not arched). I'm not sure how to really sit back if I'm not arching?

What the hell? If you do not arch then the bar will not travel in a direct line equal to the midline of the body. This is important because if the barbell breaks the midline of the body your are falling out of the grove. this is when missed lifts happen. Also the bar will travel a greater distance when it is out of the midline.

Also in the sumo he said that I should push the hips forward in the standing position to get a flat lower back, slightly round the shoulders and upper back forward, then descend to the bar in this position and immediately start the lift.
He said that the mechanical leverage in a sumo deadlift is better when you have hips forward, a flat lower back and shoulders forward, compared to an arched lower/upper back. I have to admit it felt *great* when I did like he told me. I got really great leverage. I accidentally arched the back in one
of my attempts and even though it was a light weight I couldn't get it off the floor... I've never tried sumo before, but still I busted my old PR (conventional style) by 10 kg (210 kg) the first time I tried sumo! He said sumo was the perfect style for me.

The dead lift is different then the squat. You need to keep your shoulders behind the bar at all times but you do not need an arched back. The pelvic tilt is different when lifting from the floor, lifting over head, and squatting. He is correct in telling you how to sumo dead lift.

1) Are chains and bands only used on speed days?

Bands on speed days and chains on max effort days.
2) Should/Could a shot-putter replace bench press with inclines?  touched on this in another Q&A, I just wanted to know your opinion) and why or why not?

I would keep it to the bench press because the incline takes the lats out of the movement more so the bench press. I would however work in some close grip incline work out max effort day.

3) For medicine work you said in one post " 6-8 reps or until the  distance decreases."  6-8 reps doesn't seem like a lot of reps, how heavy a ball are you throwing?

20-40-60lb ball depending on the day. I wav in on a four day wav with the forth day being off using the empirical rule of 60%. I start day 1 with the 60 pound ball, Day 2 the 40 pound ball, Day 3 the 20 pound ball, Day 4 off. I try to work the heavy day on the same days I train the upper body (our max
effort and speed bench days).  The key with med ball training is intensity. You have to really explode through the ball.

QUESTION: What sort of rest do you take between sets on your main lift on max effort day?

We usually have a group of 4 to 7 guys doing the same exercise. The rest is however long it takes them to complete their set. This is probably 4 to 5 minutes at first. As someone drops out we move faster because they are no longer there. By the time there is only two or three left, we are move at
about a sets per 2 minutes

QUESTION:I've been to Westside & picked Louie's brains for a few hours &, so far, found no contradictions between our conversation and your writings.

I hope not, I taught him everything I know.  I have been training with Louie or the past 10 years. He has taught me more about the sport than anybody else ever could. Everything I have achieved in the sport is due in part to him. I did all the work but he showed me the way.

I have one question however. Why is it that you vary the load on box squats on speed days (now even more with the circa-maximum method)using a very systematic cycle, but, on speed bench you always stick to 60% of a shirted bench plus chains/bands? I've brought my bench 50 lbs in 6 months using this method but I find myself wondering if it would'nt be effective to use a wave between 50 to 65% over a few weeks?

The is due in part to the load being used. We are only training with 255 to 300 pounds on the bench (not including bands) whereas we are using 455 plus bands on the squat. The Volume of an average squat workout is 9760 lbs where an average bench workout is 7320. Plus the squat is a much more physically demanding exercise. We need to wav it for recuperation. We recuperate very fast from the bench workouts. When we feel beat up we will wave the bench but only then.

Has it been tried? Charles Poliquin thinks that, neurally,  the upper body gets "bored" quicker than the lower body and would require even more variation. What's your take on all this stuff?

I don't know about the body getting bored. I do know that your neuromuscular system can take a beating if you train with maximum weight for too long. This is why we rotate the max effort exercises every 1 to 3 weeks.

QUESTION: Dave,  I am a 41 year old natural lifter, I find I get into overtraining fairly easily. I was making fair gains with the Westside program then crashed and burned, how do I adapt the Westside methods to this problem? Thanks.

I don't know what you were doing but i will guess and say your volume was too high. Try to lower your training volume and see what happens. If you have any more questions give me a call and we will get it worked out. 888-854-8806


You should do both the glute ham raise and reverse hyper on the same day. If you have to do them both in the same training session, then I would recommend the glute ham raise first. Sets and reps are really best for you to figure out your self. a good place to start might be one day heavy and one day light. On the heavy day train with sets of 5 to 6 reps for 3 to 5 sets. On the light day train with 2 to 3 sets of 10 to 12 reps. The key to both of these movements is to try to really push the weight up. I don't know what kind of training program you are on but doing the deads on the same day as the squat is a good idea. Try to keep the dead lift weight around 50 to 60 percent and pull 5 to 8 singles.

QUESTION: About 2 days ago I pulled my right groin muscle. The doctor told me that he felt a weakness when he felt for a herina. A friend of mine at my workplace told me that I will have
a herina shortly. There is no way around it (he has had 2 herina operations).  The doctor told me to take it easy when I lift weights and take asprin or ibuprofen when I need it. I know not to question
the doctor.  But, is my friend right? I been lifting for 4 years now. I love to do squats. What should I do? How long should I wait?

I am not sure that a hernia is related to a groin injury. I do know that a groin injury takes a long time to get over. I never recommend stopping training altogether. I would try to find some light groin work to do. This will supply the muscle with a fresh supply of blood. I would also try flexibility work for the groin until you get back a pain free range ofmotion. Either way always pay attention to what your doctor says.

QUESTION: I am a powerlifter who will be entering the police acadamy soon I have been consentrating on alot of cardio to get in shape my bodyweight has suffered I was wandering what your advice is on how I could maintain the strength I have so I could continue the sport when I get out.I am using the
basic exercices with the 12-14 week % cycles. What can I do? I dont want my hard work to be lost THANK YOU!

When ever you push up your cardio there most always will be some strength loss. The only thing I can suggest is to try to find a balance to train both. If you notice a large drop in strength then cut back some on the cardio. If you notice a loss in the cardio then cut back some on the strength work.

QUESTION:  I had reconstructive shoulder surgey about five years ago.My triceps and lats are fairly strong, but I feel that my delts and rotator cuff is holding back my bench. Any solutions to this problem? thank you very much for your time

Do more delt and rotator cuff work.......    Try sled dragging for the delt work as well as one arm dumbbell press and front plate raises. Dumbbell cleans are great for the posterior deltoids. Kenny Patterson also does a lot of over head pin presses. If you decide to do this movement work in to it
slowly because some people experience shoulder problem with this movement.

QUESTION: Hi,Dave,   I do my usually 8 doubles with bands. Then once a month maybe? I'll do a
heavy single after the doubles. I have four favorite exercises for the DL- Rack pulls, DL off plates, Band DL's, and Reverse band DL's. Is this a good sequence or should I do it different? I've only been doing the westside workout for 7 months. TIA.

Are you dead lifting every max effort workout? If so, you need to work in more good mornings and low box work. The dead lift should only be done about once every 8 weeks. If you are rotating your dead lift exercises in this manor then you are okay.

QUESTION: First I would like to say "Thanks" for this Q & A forum it is really a big help.  My question is, when I do a maximum squat, bench, or deadlift, I have a tendency to hold my breath throughout the entire lift. Is this alright or should I only hold my breath only during the concentric
part of the lift.

This is what you are supposed to do. This creates intra abdominal pressure to help stabilize the spine. It also help to keep your chest up and upper back arched.

QUESTION: I just read the article "The circa maximal phase". I would like to apply it to the bench press but I am not sure about how to do the preparatory phase, when it comes to the bench.

Only use the chain during the prep phase. The bands will be to hard on you to use that long. Bring the bands in 7 weeks before the meet and drop them back the last two weeks.

QUESTION: I gave up lifting several years ago to pursue competitive curling. Now in my forties I would like to start lifting again. The problem is, I am limited to the length of time of my workouts and the weekly frequency. 
Two questions
1) are progressive gains possible lifting 3 times per week at 1 hour intervals at a home gym
with limited assistance equipment

With the right program strength gain can be made with as little as two workouts per week..

2) would much muscle memory be evident after 7 years of no lifting

The muscle memory is very evident after a much longer time than that. Muscle mass can be added at any age. 

QUESTION: I am interested in learning how to do olympic lifting.  How would I incorporate olympic lifting with the west side training method? Should I do olympic lifting in the morning and a west side workout at night- or should I combine them?  Could you give me a sample workout.

The best way to do this in my option is to do the Westside training in the AM and then do the Olympic lifting technique work in the pm workouts. I would wave the tech. work so you are only using a small percentage of weight 80% of the time. The goal is to use the Westside program to increases your strength and the Olympic work to better your technique. I would also incorporate some over head work, high pulls, and shoulder flexibility into the Westside program. I would also cut down on the pressing work (bench presses, floor presses, ect). You may also try dropping the bench work altogether and put you tech work during these days instead. Just an idea... There are many ways
to do this, I have only given you a couple. If you are really interested, give me a call.888-854-8806

QUESTION: Hi there! I'm 22, 6ft, 205lb. About 50lb of this is fat. I want to be strong, big and lean. What's the best way to achieve this? I personally would like to lose some fat first before I bulk up, unless there is any way in which I can lose fat and gain muscle at the same time. I'm mentally strong and determined, so I would not be scared about training my ass off in a big way! Please help!

It is always better to train while you are losing weight. This is because the added muscle mass will burn more calories. This is like putting a bigger engine in a car. The bigger the engine the more gas it will need to run. If you only put in some many calories you body will look to its fat stores for energy. It has been proven that an hour of weight training will burn more fat then a hour of cardio work. For information about dieting seek out a registered dietician.

QUESTION:I have just heard about the system, and I know I do not have a handle on it due to second hand info.
Can the system be used for the following:

Mon.  Squat, Bench, Back
Wed.  Deadlift, Bench
Fri.  Squat, Bench, Back

Thanks!  I will get the system, but some preliminary info would be helpful.

Read the information on strength online. You don't really have a handle on this yet. There are many articles by Louie Simmons and myself to help you put something together.

QUESTION: I am a raw bencher. I have been training Westside style. I've arranged my SQ/DL M.E days correctly and both lifts improved significantly. I have problems with my bench. I emphasized the second half of the lift with exercises like the rack press, decline press...(I've set new P.R's, yet my max bench went way down) Now I find that my starting acceleration is lagging (previously it was from midpoint up). As a raw lifter I have to emphasize both the lockout AND the start. Can you give me some suggestions on how to arange the mini-cycles please? Thank you!

A raw lifter does not have to do anything different. If those who follow the Westside program increase there shirt bench I can bet there raw bench press has went up as well. If you acceleration has went down it is probably because you are training your bench press with to much weight.

QUESTION: I would just like to know how looses your suit is exactly when you box squat on Fridays.  Can you please tell me how much bigger your loose suit is compared to your competition suit?  I currently wear a 44 for a Champion suit for competition.  How big do I go for box squats if my size is
44?  How big do you go and what suit do you like to wear on both box squatting days and competition days?  Thanks Dave for all of the help you have been giving all of us.

I really cant tell you how much bigger my suit is because it is ten years old. I can say however I have no problem putting it on my self. You do need it tight enough that you have to sit back into it to work. I will guess and say one size bigger or one of you old meet suits should do.

QUESTION: I have a problem that hopefully you might have an answer for. Do you know of any web site that might have pictures of the different muscle groups? For example, If a certain excercise
works on the inner and medial triceps head, I would like to be ale to see where exactly that is. Thanks.

I don't know of any web sites that do this but there is a book published by Human Kinetics titled "Target Bodybuilding". The authors of this book did MRI's during different movements to determine the muscle activity.

QUESTION: I first would like to thank westside for the great workout. My question is, I just maxed out tonight at 425lb bench, competition grip for our max exercise. When I put a single layer poly. shirt on I can do 500lbs. I have been doing this workout for one year now and when I first started I was only getting 55lbs out of my shirt. So now that mmy tri's are doing really good I need to know what exercises to do for the first 5" off my chest.Should I throw in extra chest exercises in at the end of my workout or do wide grip instead of doing close grip after max and speed bench? I'm 6' 285lbs 25 year old with only a 51" chest. I know if i could get it bigger I could be on my way to 600lbs.HELP!!!!!

Try the ultra wide grips for a mini cycle every three or four cycles. You may also want to try a denim bench shirt It sounds like what ever you have been doing is working....

QUESTION: my question is what bench shirt is the best  ive been using the Iinzer EHPHD poly for a few years with good success but im constantly hearing about these denim shirts im a big guy 308  and im hitting in the 575-600lb range lifetime drug free would it be worth it to me to try a denim and if
som who makes the best one thanx 

If you are benching close to 600 then a denim shirt will help. You will probably need at least a double ply shirt to get the average 10% carry over. The best shirts are made by INZER. Tell them (1-800-222-6897) you want the Westside cut.

QUESTION: Is there a book that explains louies principles ?  I know there are tapes but  Iive read all these pages for 3 days now 10 hours a day  and im going nuts still figuring odds and ends !  also can you employ both power / olympic training to mixed system ? apprecitate it dave in the highest
regards !

If you can't figure it out give me a call and we will work it out. Check the Q and A for Olympic training information. I just answered a question about it.

QUESTION:  hello,my quistion is regarding injuries im a 630lb bencher and abot 2 years ago every time i start yo go higher than 550 for some reps i pull my pec or get a minor tear.  what can i do to get rid of this problem im 25 and wiegh 300lbs and i bench with my elbows in using mostly shoulder and tricep strength,i can shoulder press 405 for a triple im from canada but i am seriously cosidering comeing up there in the very near future.

This was my curse for many years. Cycle in more full range max effort movements such as reverse band press, close grip bench press, incline press, close grip, high rep dumbbell work. Also try to do cable cross over work and pec dek work from multiple angles. Increase your rear delt work as well.
There can be many reasons why this is happening: over training, muscle imbalance, technique.

QUESTION: I was wondering what the diference is between doing these 3 exercises: floor press, board pess, and rack lockouts if they are all done from the same height off your chest? Also, how often do you recomend doing speed work for the deadlift, and what reps, sets, and %'s do you use?

Good question.

The floor press takes your legs out of the movement and places more stress on your anterior delts, pecs, and triceps

The Board Press takes your lats and pecs out of the movement little while placing more stress on the anterior delts and triceps.

The pin press takes your stabilizing muscles out of the motion and places a great deal of stress on your tendons

QUESTION: I am familar with the the WSB method for powerlifting but would be interested in applying its principles to sport training. Do you have any specific videos or programs?

I have a training journal for the field athlete. You can order it for $35.00 at 888-854-8806

QUESTION: A lot of people have been asking me to explain why you told me to not do Zercher squats

Your arms will fail before your abs and back. If not then you need a stronger back anyway. This will be better achieved by doing good mornings

, seated GM's

Good every now and then but we don't lift in a seated position. The movements are better when the are more sport specific.

, walkouts

A tremendous waste of time. If you have a hard time walking out weights then train your abs. If you need to get used to heavier weight then use more band tension or do arch backed good mornings.

, dips

most heavier guys cant do them without shoulder pain. This movement is better done in a quarter dip fashion. Stand on a box or bench and only press up the top quarter of the movement. As a side note, after Louie threw away the dip rack everybody bench went up. The time is better spent on extension work.

or manual hamstring curls.

Nobody does them right in the first place. The time is better spent on glute ham raises or pull throughs. With a manual hamstring curl the tension is to great at the mid point that there is a high risk of muscle strain with a heavier lifter.

 Knowing will also help me with future exercise selction.  Thanks a lot.  Again.  Note to self: when I make it to a WS camp take Dave to dinner :-)

Because the time is better spent on better movements.

QUESTION: Can a person get stronger from doing just the speed day workouts?

A person will get more powerful and explosive but not stronger. Many times I recommend football players during the season to cut out the max effort work and concentrate on the speed work. This seems to maintain their explosion and strength. Some even get stronger. The reason for the max effort and speed days are too train two different aspects of strength development. The muscular system and the neuromuscular system.

QUESTION: What amount of weight is being used in the bend over abs exercise and what are the sets and reps????

This is determined by how strong the person is. I use 5 - 7 (15 pound plates) for sets of 6 to 10. The sets depend on how I feel but are never less than 5.


The five board press is between 1 to 2 inches for most of us. The carpet press is the same as the JM Press grip


I have no idea. Perhaps someone will email you with the information. I am posting your email with my answer ERJ01@MSN.COM

QUESTION: I just read that the carry over for good mornings should be 71% of a persons deadlift. I must be doing something wrong because I've pulled 545 and I good morning parallel 225# for 6 and arched back 275 for 6. I lift raw and I squat in the low 400's, and bench in the low 300's. Any advice?

Your carry over may be correct. We base the percentages on a one rep max with the good morning. If you do 275 for 6 then what can you do for 1? When you figure this out then check the percentages again.

QUESTION:How about using the same type of cushioning on the pins in the squat rack? Also, when you place the bar on the pins you could continue your descent one or two more inches to reduce compression on the spine. Then you could reset yourself under the bar, contract the hip flexors, and ascend.

Squatting to pins is not a good alternative to the box squat for several reasons:

1. When you squat down to the pins the weight of the barbell is sitting on the pins so there is a total release of muscle tension; While on the box the weight is still on your shoulders so there is still tension on the body. The only thing you are supposed to relax on the box is your hip flexors.

2. When squatting to pins you will be less likely to sit back far enough. This will cause the squatter to sit down more so taking much of the tension of the hamstrings. A power lifting squat is about having great form, meaning sitting back.

3. It is almost impossible to maintain proper squatting posture when squatting down to pins. Your upper back will lose it tightness, and your lower back will lose its arch. I am assuming you are pausing on the pins. If you are not pausing on the pins, then you are going to just bounce the weight up. Also, if you bounce of the pins you lose the training effect of going from a static to dynamic.

4. Squatting of pins is much like dead lifting off pins. You will never keep the bar in the same groove as you would squatting in a contest. 

5. There are some other reasons, but I feel this is enough "food for thought". Another important factor. Most of the people I see box squatting don't really have a good understanding of the movement. You do not bounce off the box or rock back then forward while sitting on the box. We have never had a back injury in our gym from box squatting, or any of the other exercises we do.  Any exercise performed with bad form can be a high risk exercise.