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Old 01-21-2011, 01:39 PM   #1
Gareth Rees
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Default Westside Barbell

I've read lots of people's opinions on here on training programs, mainly 5/3/1 and the Texas Method, but there's also a huge following of Westside Barbell in the world of strength training, and I've not heard a single person mention it on here.

So I was just wondering what everybody on here's opinions on it were, pro's and con's, how it measures up to other programs, or any other feelings you have on it?
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Old 01-21-2011, 02:23 PM   #2
Blair Lowe
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Looks pretty interesting. I've been watching Louie in the CFJ. Still, I lack equipment for it and I think a cycle of 531 would be better for me for now.
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Old 01-21-2011, 05:03 PM   #3
Derek Weaver
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I think it's got some drawbacks and is now optimal for the beginner to intermediate trainee.

I would replace the dynamic effort days with repetition effort, unless you are more advanced or lift in gear. Or both. I think I saw it in 5/3/1 that Wendler noted that bands and chains skew the strength curve and are not optimal for raw lifters.

Louie's got a bunch of special exercises he does, but I can't comment on them.

Here's the thing to remember. WSBB is certainly the most famous US gym for PL. They also are dedicated only to PL, and Louie makes no qualms about his steroid use. He said so in that movie Bigger Stronger Fast or whatever it was. I can't and won't say that the rest of their lifters are juiced, but I would take the programming suggestions with a grain of salt and be careful if you employ them.

Just like with bodybuilding, if the person recommending something to you has "help" of some sort, it's likely not optimal for you.

A WSBB "inspired" set up that has worked is Defranco's WSBB for skinny Bastards. He's got it set up for athletes as well in what I think is the third installment.
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Old 01-21-2011, 07:18 PM   #4
Samuel Hughes
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WSBB stuff flat out works according to the guys I know that do it. To follow their stuff before you are a late intermediate is a waste of time, however. Like Derek said, it is for power lifters... i.e. people who have no qualms about gaining weight, people whom would also have no problem doing SS while it works for them. But basically, you vary exercises so that every workout you hit a PR. It may be 18" squats with bands, or 14" squats with chains, raw squats, suited squats, etc.

That being said, you can adapt some of the principles to whatever style suits you. I can't get away from a "powerbuilding" style, but I still work in dynamic/speed work with chains, bands, etc fairly often. Like any program/style it has its pros and cons depending on your goals.


EDIT: I think doing WSBB with Louie (or another expert) coaching you would be incredible. Thinking you are doing it while coaching yourself could largely be a waste of time.
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Old 01-22-2011, 04:43 AM   #5
Gareth Rees
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Default

Very interesting responses and views, guys.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Derek Weaver View Post
I think it's got some drawbacks and is now optimal for the beginner to intermediate trainee.

I would replace the dynamic effort days with repetition effort, unless you are more advanced or lift in gear. Or both. I think I saw it in 5/3/1 that Wendler noted that bands and chains skew the strength curve and are not optimal for raw lifters.

Louie's got a bunch of special exercises he does, but I can't comment on them.

Here's the thing to remember. WSBB is certainly the most famous US gym for PL. They also are dedicated only to PL, and Louie makes no qualms about his steroid use. He said so in that movie Bigger Stronger Fast or whatever it was. I can't and won't say that the rest of their lifters are juiced, but I would take the programming suggestions with a grain of salt and be careful if you employ them.

Just like with bodybuilding, if the person recommending something to you has "help" of some sort, it's likely not optimal for you.

A WSBB "inspired" set up that has worked is Defranco's WSBB for skinny Bastards. He's got it set up for athletes as well in what I think is the third installment.
Great response, just a few questions on your points that crept up. Why would you switch the dynamic effort for repetition effort? As far as I understand a DE day would benefit PL and WL's better than just a RE because it'd maintain co-ordination of the core lifts and increase speed-strength. And I'd think that the accomodating resistance from the bands/chains would be more for compensating for de-celeration of the bar at the end of its movement, and I've tried them and they definately increase speed during the eccentric phase, making reversal strength better.

I live in the UK, and he's very well known in the PL circle here too. And I definately agree with the steroid use point.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Samuel Hughes View Post
WSBB stuff flat out works according to the guys I know that do it. To follow their stuff before you are a late intermediate is a waste of time, however. Like Derek said, it is for power lifters... i.e. people who have no qualms about gaining weight, people whom would also have no problem doing SS while it works for them. But basically, you vary exercises so that every workout you hit a PR. It may be 18" squats with bands, or 14" squats with chains, raw squats, suited squats, etc.

That being said, you can adapt some of the principles to whatever style suits you. I can't get away from a "powerbuilding" style, but I still work in dynamic/speed work with chains, bands, etc fairly often. Like any program/style it has its pros and cons depending on your goals.


EDIT: I think doing WSBB with Louie (or another expert) coaching you would be incredible. Thinking you are doing it while coaching yourself could largely be a waste of time.
Why do you say it's a waste of time for athletes before the late intermediates? I've read Rippetoe's 'Practical Programming' by the way and I agree that it's not the optimal way. And I also agree that it's not ideal for WL as it's completely tailored for PL, but do you think it may be useful for a strength cycle for a WL'er (maybe with a change of bench to press, and maybe a few of the core lifts)?

What would you say the general Pro's and Con's are?

I'm currently reading Louie's 'The Book of Methods', and it's got to be said that his system of training is extremely well thought out. The only problem I see with it (though I'm obviously no expert) is that he tries to be too clever and incorporate and train everything in one big never-ending cycle leading to way too much volume for those who don't have 'assistance' in their recovery, whereas i think that it may be better to cycle some of the qualities, in a 'periodized' manner.
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Old 01-22-2011, 08:29 AM   #6
Cain Morano
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Default ...with chains

We've used DE at our gym. We also use chains, bands, and box squats outside of regular programming on random lifting days. The DE days worked out well for the few of us that stuck with it. I went through four three week cycles, plus chains. Three of us added 40 pounds to our DL after a month. One of us was not new to dead lifting. Whatever the case may be, novice adaptations or not, we found that DE has two positive effects:
1) added volume with the bench, back squat, and DL (or press also) if you don't have regular strength training
2) development of technique and explosive power
We use max effort workouts as well, but not systematically, and not always 1RM. We have heavy days every week, where we do 1,3 or 5 rep maxes of many different lifts. Today we did 5RM press and 1RM snatch balance. Earlier in the week it as 3RM squat clean. A couple weeks ago we did press 1RM, push press 3RM, push jerk 5RM (my favorite workout). Louie Simmons has great methods and cites his sources, I read Zatsiorsky's book also. Zatsiorsky doesn't detail programming of DE, max effort, and repitition method but he talks about them as being the major training modalities.

Also, working out with chains is fun.
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Old 01-22-2011, 09:46 AM   #7
Derek Weaver
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Gareth,
I would think RE over DE for the ungeared and unassisted would be better from two stand points. Allowing hypertrophy of the involved muscles, assuming calories are sufficient, as well as strengthening of the connective tissue through the increased volume, time under tension etc. The other would be grooving appropriate movement patterns. I'm not talking about getting rid of 1-3 rep speed sets, but I am talking about hitting 5-8's. One problem with dynamic efforts is that the trainee can get a little over zealous trying to get the bar going fast, and result in the bar path being inconsistent.

Addressing Cain's take on the chains or bands. The deadlift is the one lift that I think could use something like that. Most people have some sort of sticking point at or around the knees. Chains or bands getting tighter or heavier during the course of the repetition help to overload the point most people have problems with.

Personally, I feel like a weight gets pinned to the floor, but can rack pull it for 5-7 reps with no straps.

For a WL guy, I wouldn't use Louie's stuff. I tend to be of the mind that if all you are doing is power/explosive stuff, working the slow grinding stuff while maintaining speed and technique in your competition lifts is better than incorporating a complicated system into your strength blocks.

Something like the CA Workout as an example.

I'm tired as I type this and still haven't shaken the jet lag, so I reserve the right to edit this post and my thoughts. That's what I've got for now.
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Old 01-22-2011, 10:52 AM   #8
Donald Lee
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I think Mike Tuscherer's usage of bands and chains is much better than Westside's. I don't have much time to elaborate, but you can check out his forum over at Reactive Training Systems where he has talked about it.
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Old 01-24-2011, 08:01 PM   #9
Gavin Harrison
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Why is it that in these discussions people bash on WSBB for steroid use and claim practitioners who don't use steroids will fail to recover, etc, but those sorts of concerns don't seem to come up when discussing super secret russian methods which have shit tons more volume.

Anyhow, Joe Defranco's said before that WSBB inspired training is great for people who need to get strong really fast (ie, a 12 week summer break from college to prepare for football camp), but for the long term he prefers more traditional types of periodization.

My brother used a WSBB template he got from the EliteFTS basic training manual and had good results over a summer. I knew another guy who used it, before I knew what it was.. he was one of the biggest, strongest people I've met. That's all I've got for anecdotes.

That said, there are tons of other training templates that work, and are far less easy to screw up. 5/3/1 is basically color by numbers.
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Old 01-25-2011, 09:11 AM   #10
Robert Callahan
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Gavin Harrison View Post
Why is it that in these discussions people bash on WSBB for steroid use and claim practitioners who don't use steroids will fail to recover, etc, but those sorts of concerns don't seem to come up when discussing super secret russian methods which have shit tons more volume
Not sure who you been having discussions Russian lifting methods with but most discussions i have read include the drug use as the primary concern....
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