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Articles.elitefts.com-elitefts Classic Training the Bench Press by Jim Wendler

Articles.elitefts.com-elitefts Classic Training the Bench Press by Jim Wendler

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Published by Thomas Aquinas 33
wendler on bench press
wendler on bench press

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Published by: Thomas Aquinas 33 on Oct 13, 2013
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elitefts™ Classic: Training The Bench Press by Jim Wendler 
elitefts™ Sunday Edition
Originally Published: December 13, 2003
The training program explained here is one based on the principles of Westside. While Westside originated inCulver City, California, Louie has taken the attitude and innovative training techniques to Columbus, Ohio. I willattempt to explain the myths, method and the program.Let’s examine some of the misconceptions of this type of training. First, Westside is not about chains andbands. Adding chains and bands does not automatically make a program stronger. Members of Westsidetrained for many years without the use of chains and bands and have always had impressive results. They aremerely a tool, and when used appropriately, can cause large increases in strength. The Westside methodrevolves combining the Dynamic Effort, Max Effort, and Repeated Effort Method—coupling them together in amethod called “conjugated periodization.” Another common myth is that this type of training is only for thosewho use anabolic/androgenic drugs. Most of the lifters that I’ve talked with on the internet and in person donot use drugs. Once they grasp the concepts behind this training, they undoubtedly make huge gains. The trickis not overtraining, which is common among drug-free lifters, and strengthening your weaknesses. In fact,when one looks at a drug-free lifter’s program, the volume and total number of exercises often exceeds adrugged lifter. The trick is knowing your own strength and staying within your workload and capacity.Let’s look at some of the science behind the training. Here is an excerpt from the article “HIT or Miss?” byLouie from the 1998 issue of 
Powerlifting USA.
“A.S. Prilepin suggested that to achieve the proper intensity, one should use the rep/set scheme shown in thetable, to ensure the greatest development of speed and strength. He discovered that if 7 or more reps wereperformed at 70%, the bar speed slowed and power decreased. The same holds true when using 80% or 90%;once one goes above the rep range shown, the bar slows, which translates to less power. Doing fewer or morelifts than Prilepin suggests will cause a decrease in training effect.”
55-653-62418-3070-753-61812-2480-852-41510-2090+1-274-10These percentages and rep ranges are what the Westside program is based upon. Louie has also usedVladimir Zatsiorsky, Mel Siff, and many other Soviet experts to help design the program. According to Zatsiorsky there are three ways to achieve maximal muscle tension:1. The Maximum Effort Method (Lifting a maximal load).
2. The Dynamic Effort Method (Lifting a non-maximal load as fast as possible).3. The Repeated Effort Method (Lifting a non-maximal load to failure or near failure).If one wishes to gain strength, all three methods should be employed. Why limit yourself to just one method?By improving both speed and strength (combining the Maximal Effort and Dynamic Effort Method), it teachesthe muscles to contract in the shortest amount of time. The Repeated Effort Method is used to develop thenecessary hypertrophy for leverage and muscle mass. This method is used with various auxiliary exercises butnot with conventional exercises like the bench, squat and deadlift.
Max Effort Bench Press
Lifting maximal loads (at or above 90%) is “considered superior for improving both intramuscular andintermuscular coordination; the muscles and central nervous system (CNS) adapt only to the load placed uponthem. This method should be used to bring forth the greatest strength increments” (Zatsiorsky 100). The bigdrawback with handling weights at this percentage is that after three weeks, the nervous system begins toweaken. Thus, your strength diminishes.So how does one use the benefits of maximal effort training without the negative consequences?
Switchexercises every one to three weeks.
This keeps the body fresh and the athlete is able to train this way year-round. Another benefit of this training is that a sense of accomplishment and well-being is maintained in theweight room. By keeping accurate records and encouraging the athletes to break them, athletes have proof of getting stronger every week. There is no need to wait 12 weeks for proof of strength gains. This can dowonders for the morale of the team, as well as increasing the emotional intensity in the weight room. Acompetition-like atmosphere is created and thus athletes are forced to respond in a positive manner.
Here is a sample Max Effort Exercise.
Floor Press1545159515135131851322513275113151136511405114251145In the above example, 450 pounds would be the lifters 1RM for the floor press. This number is to be recordedand broken. As you can see, the lifter makes small weight increases and begins with a general warm-up. He willdrop from three reps to one rep when he feels the weight getting heavier. The athlete will then keep increasing
the weight until he reaches his 1RM. It is important to try and break records, but it is imperative that the athletestrain.
The general loading parameters of Max Effort:
# of Exercises
Rest Interval
2-5 min
The Dynamic Effort Method and the Bench Press
The Dynamic Effort Method is not used to develop maximal strength but to increase force production andexplosive strength. By training at 50-70% and using compensatory acceleration, the athlete will become moreexplosive. Using compensatory acceleration (pushing as hard and as fast as one can during the concentricphase of the lift) allows the athlete to push maximally against sub-maximal weights. Thus, an athlete that canbench press 300 pounds using 180 pounds (60%) can produce 300 pounds of force as long as heconcentrates on accelerating the bar. The training of force development is imperative in order for an athlete toachieve his potential.
Here is a sample Dynamic Bench workout. The athlete has a 450-pound bench press and trains at 50% of his max (225).
ExerciseSetsRepsWeightRest Interval
Bench Press25451min15951min131351min131851min832251minIt should be noted that the percents could vary from 50-60% depending on the athlete. The more advanced theathlete, the lower the percentage and vice versa. There are two things that the coach must do to insure thatthe athlete is training at the right percentage:1. Monitor bar speed. Having an experienced coach watch the athlete is crucial. The athlete should alsoknow that the weight shouldn’t be heavy and should move explosively.2. Monitor Max Effort workouts. When the athlete fails to improve on the max effort day, it is usually theresult of too high of a percentage on dynamic day. The coach should always error on the side of thelighter percentage.The athlete should use three different grips on dynamic day; all should be inside the rings. The rest periodsare crucial to the dynamic day. The goal is to fatigue the fast twitch muscle fibers and thus make them

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