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Westside for Beginners


Sean F. Kelly, CSCS

Please read - Very important!

Prerequisites for undertaking this program include the ability to correctly and completely execute all of the major full body, free weight lifts: the squat, bench press, dead-lift, standing press and basic assistance exercises through their full ranges of motion. A further requirement is the successful completion of a weight training program involving all of these lifts with an adequate volume of work and successful increases in strength. A basic understanding of lifting equipment such as racks, belts and chalk is also required. This program should not be undertaken without the permission of a physician or by anyone with any injuries or health issues that may result in adverse affects.

Warning: Consult your physician before using this or any exercise program. Any user of this exercise program assumes the risk of injury resulting from performing the exercises or utilizing the suggested equipment. Extreme care must be taken in selecting and using properly maintained exercise equipment. The instruction and advice presented are in no way a substitute for medical counseling. The creators, producers and distributors of this program disclaim any liability in connection with the exercises and advice herein. Nor do they accept any responsibility for any injury, loss, or damage occasioned to any person acting or refraining to act as a result of any information or suggestion contained herein. The materials contained herein are provided for general information purposes only. This information is not intended for use as a substitute for consultation or advice given by a qualified medical practitioner or health practitioner. You should consult a physician before beginning any program of weight lifting, exercise or diet.

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Table of Contents
Introduction The Westside system an explanation Primary methods used What is % training? What are box squats? The 3 week Wave Accommodating resistance Chains Bands The Program The incredible New Exercise Creation Matrix Warming up before lifting The dynamic warm-up Changing assistance exercises Time length of workouts Short, Special workouts Restoration General Physical Preparation (GPP) Flexibility What about muscle size? Why do all this? Why not just lift more and get bigger and stronger? How does Westside get such amazing results? Why Westside? Arent there other elite programs? Differences between this program and the original Westside Measuring your progress Where are you lifting? What about diet? Final Word Summary of the primary methods and principles employed by Westside Miscellaneous exercises Sample Workouts About the author Resources
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QUESTION: Okay, so what the hell is Westside and why is there a weight training program named after it? ANSWER: Westside Barbell Club is a gym located in Columbus, Ohio. Its not just any gym though. Westside is arguably the most successful and famous strength training gym in the free world. The elite members of this private gym are likely the strongest collection of people on the planet. They have the power-lifting world records to prove it. Many members can squat over 1,000 pounds, and bench press over 800. Hell, they have 132 pound ladies who bench press over 400 pounds and squat over 500. The methods these folks use to get so strong are known are known collectively as Westside. The gym is owned and operated by a guy named Louis Simmons. QUESTION: Who is Lou Simmons? ANSWER: Lou Simmons is an elite power-lifter himself (even into his 6th decade) and a hell of a nice guy. Hes also a strength consultant to countless NFL, college and pro teams, and champion athletes from almost every sport under the sun. For decades now, Louis has compiled the best scientific information available from around the globe for creating the strongest, most powerful athletes possible. He collected these mostly unknown methods and ideas from the best Russian, Bulgarian, and Eastern bloc strength coaches and scientists. He also attained this information from other doctors and scientists who themselves gathered and translated this knowledge from around the world. He then summarized all this stuff and put it into practice. Thus, the Westside program was born. He applies these ideas to the athletes at his gym and anyone else who takes the time and effort to understand them. Applying these methods himself, Lou broke all of his own strength records in his 50s! As Louis Simmons and Westside produced more and more champion athletes his ideas became more revered in the world of elite athletics. So much so, that he is not only in demand around the world to divulge the Westside principles, but coaches and athletes the world over come to Westside to learn these successful methods. More and more of the worlds best professional and amateur athletes are benefitting from this elite information on how to become stronger and faster.

What about the rest of us though? What about regular people who aspire to become the best that they can possibly be or those who just want to get into better shape? I know, I know. many of us may not be 19 year old aspiring athletes trying to make the Olympics. The vast majority of us reluctantly slog over to our neighborhood big-box gym to endure 1 or 2 hours of treadmills, stair machines, aerobics classes and isolating gym machine exercises. We submit to the personal trainers and popular methods of our modern fitness industry. We pay a lot of money in the desperate hope that we can improve our physical conditions. Unfortunately, statistics and the mirror prove that these methods are failing us miserably. Just take a stroll through your neighborhood grocery store; most of us are overweight or far worse. The diet and fitness industry is getting a ton of our money though close to $60 billion a year. Talking about elite athletic strength principles and regular folks in the same breath may sound like a complete contradiction. This apparent mismatch may seem at first a preposterous idea:

Wouldnt we get injured? Should non-athletic or older people even attempt this stuff? Why the hell would we even want to try this stuff if were not pro-athletes?
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The answers may surprise you. These ideas are extremely scalable almost anyone can do them. Would you start with the same volumes? Nope. Would you need to use the huge amounts of weight that many elite athletes use? Nope - not even close! Make no mistake though, the average person, regardless of their age or gender can easily use these highly effective methods to succeed like never before.

So, this program asks and then answers the question:

What if you applied the most elite athletic strength and conditioning principles to the average individual, regardless of age or gender?
I first discovered the Westside methods years ago. After using them myself I then began to study the great body of scientific research Westside was based on. I soon realized that amazing congruencies exist between what regular people like me are after and what these elite methods provide. In my experience, here is a list of what we want:

We want fat loss! We want to lose this damn fat, now! We want good looking toned muscles We want to be stronger We want shorter workouts and less time in the gym We want less workouts per week We want our time at the gym to be less boring, less painful and more exhilarating We want results! We want the benefits of working out to highly outweigh the costs (that way - we might actually keep doing this stuff)

I can say with complete confidence that the methods in this program deliver everything on this list. More specifically, they provide the following:
 Minimum time in the gym (3-4 hours per week will be just fine)  Maximum fat loss given the highest possible rise in resting metabolic rate  Most rapid gains in new functional muscle possible  Dramatic increases in bone, tendon and ligament strength  Fastest and most noticeable improvements in physical appearance  Strongest anti-aging effects (due especially to the maximal hormonal responses)  Short, exhilarating workouts that are continually changing  The integral involvement of the brain (improvement in concentration) in the workout  The maximum amount of benefits for the least amount of time in the gym  Due to the uncommon but highly effective methods (reserved for top athletes) the results allow for often never

before experienced levels of strength, function and appearance, regardless of age or gender One of the first things you will need to do when undertaking this type of advanced program is to forget a lot of the less effective information you may have learned at your local big gym stuff like: Do only slow, controlled movements Isolate your muscles one at a time in the nice, comfortable, cool looking machines Just concentrate on pumping up the muscles, dont worry about how much weight you lift No pain no gain

In this program we will address exactly why this information is inferior and can actually prevent you from reaching your goals. Please remember:

The strongest, fastest, physical bad-asses on the planet both male and female are not the bodybuilders and models you see in the popular fitness magazines!
They are in fact top athletes - fighters, football players, weight lifters, strength and Olympic athletes. Dont worry. They too have great looking muscles.
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Many of us read the popular fitness magazines for both men and ladies. They always have a buff model on the cover. The articles are mostly predictable: top 10 ways to get a washboard stomach or 12 ways to get bigger arms, guaranteed!. Unfortunately for us, this stuff is mostly old, regurgitated body building information. The point here is to sell magazines, not to get you into the best shape of your life. You have likely tried the workouts commonly suggested by the fitness industry. These programs typically mix resistance training and cardio training in a non-stop routine with little rest. They are usually high in volume, painful to get through, boring, and require immense will-power to repeat over and over again. The irony here is that these routines are proven to be ineffective and inferior compared to the more advanced scientific methods used by our best athletes. So, even with all of the hard work, pain, discipline, time and money we spend, we end up with really lousy results that were not worth all the time and effort. You may have never heard much of the information in this program before. If some of the exercises, equipment or ideas are new please dont worry, thats to be expected. Most of us are not elite athletes or coaches. Most of us arent reading Bulgarian strength training manuals, the NSCA Journal of Strength and Conditioning, or pouring through the translated scientific work of Zatsiorsky, Verkhoshansky, Medvedyev, Prilepin or Siff. Before we start into this program it is important to explain a few of the elemental principles and methods involved. The next few headings will do just that. This way, the actual program will be far easier to understand and apply.

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The Westside system an explanation

Probably the best place to start in explaining the Westside principles is Newtons second law of motion:

Force = Mass X Acceleration

An increase in either mass or acceleration will increase force. Westside takes both to their reasonable extremes. One training day per week is dedicated to moving as much weight as possible (the maximum effort day) and the other weekly training day is dedicated to accelerating the weight lifted as much as possible (the speed day). The upper and lower body will have both a maximum effort and speed day every week. We want to work on speed because increasing your acceleration or the speed at which you can develop force, will actually improve your absolute strength. Summarizing Newtons first law:

Objects in motion tend to stay in motion

Just think of trying to push a huge car that is stalled on the road, once you get it moving it requires less energy to keep it moving. You just need that really explosive effort at the beginning. The same holds true when pushing or pulling any large weight. So, what this program will do is build the maximum amount of speed along with maximum absolute strength. This is precisely why so many athletes use these methods with such success.

Primary methods used

At the core of the Westside program are the 3 main methods proven to build absolute strength and power via inducing maximal muscle tension: 1. Method of maximal efforts lifting as much weight as possible for single, or very few repetitions 2. Dynamic method lifting a sub-maximal amount of weight with as much speed as possible 3. Repetition method lifting a sub-maximal amount of weight until fatigue causes failure Other amazingly effective methods will be employed as integral parts of this program, but these are the primary 3 that will build our foundation of strength and power. We will apply these methods first and foremost to the basic strength exercises. These free-weight lifts are good representations of biomechanically correct, multijoint human movements: I Squat I Bench press I Dead-lift These lifts, among many others we will use allow our muscles and joints to operate in the ways they are designed to work. These exercises and their variations will make workouts as efficient as possible. Spending the least amount of time in the gym for the greatest results is our priority here.

What is % training?
This is a method of keeping track of the loads you are lifting by classifying all weights as a percentage of the most you can lift in a single all out effort, with correct form. So, if your best single lift in the bench press is 200 pounds, then 200 pounds would be your current 1 repetition maximum (1RM). That would be 100% of the maximum you can possibly lift. Accordingly, 90% of your 1RM would be 180 pounds. Percentage training will apply to every primary lift and is an integral part of applying the Westside program. If you want to accurately estimate your 1RM in any lift, do as many repetitions as you can in correct form with a weight just under, but reasonably close to what you think your maximum might be. Then consult a 1RM table to get an estimate of your 1RM. (See the resources section for links to 1RM estimate tables.)
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What are box squats?

Box squatting is simply a version of the basic squat exercise. The difference is that a low, sturdy box is placed just behind the lifter so that when they squat down into the low position, they sit back onto the box and rest for a second before exploding up off the box to finish the movement. Trying to configure a Westside training template without box squats is sort of like trying to teach someone how to play baseball without using gloves. It can be done, but its not the same. The box squat is such an integral part of this program that removing it completely and just replacing it with alternatives in an attempt to mimic this exercise will not do the Westside program justice. So Im not going to try. Rather, I will provide responsible instruction on how to quickly learn and benefit from this exercise. Please refer to the resources section at the end of this document for some great links to instruction on how to do this valuable lower body exercise. The issue here is not that box squats are an advanced exercise. Rather, it is the importance of being taught this exercise in a responsible way. It also means that only a responsible amount of weight should be used, especially at first. The following simple progression is a good way to begin practicing box squats: 1. With no weight, or a just a wooden bar, sit back gently onto a box that is just below parallel, then squat off the box 2. Squat back onto a box with foam/soft padding and rack pins in place for safety, beginning with a very low bar weight (up to 30% of a 1RM) 3. As above, working up to the 40-50% range of a 1RM 4. As above, but you may remove the extra foam or soft padding If you are not able to go down to below parallel, start at a box height that your flexibility will allow by using inch or 1 inch rubber pads to lower the box height gradually over time until your flexibility will allow you to be just below parallel.

The 3 week Wave

Throughout this program we will refer to a 3 week wave, whereby you will be doing 1 particular exercise over a 3 week period. Over this period you will get stronger by increasing the load you are lifting, increasing the repetitions, or both. With each of the 3 consecutive workouts you will be improving both strength and speed. At the end of each 3 week period, you will complete a lighter transitional week (week 4) and then start a new 3 week wave with a new exercise. Finally, after 3 such consecutive waves (approximately 12 weeks or 3 months) you will take 1-2 weeks of active rest - doing some enjoyable exercise involving activities entirely different than maximal effort resistance training. This period will likely include getting right out of the gym. This basic plan will repeat throughout the program and will allow for continual gains. The 3 week wave and the subsequent rest periods noted provide built in restoration such that your chances of overtraining are slim to none.

Accommodating resistance
Have you ever noticed that when you bench press or squat, the hardest part is when the bar is in the bottom of the lift? With the bench press, thats when the bar touches your chest. This is where many of us get stuck with heavy weight. At the top though, usually just past the mid-point the weight becomes easier to lift. Near the top, generally the weight will feel the lightest. This is why you see a lot of guys not lowering the bar all the way down to their chests when bench pressing. It is also one of the reasons many people dont go all the way down below parallel when doing the squat.
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The simple reason for this difficulty is that in these lower positions, you are in the worst mechanical position for lifting the weight. Your leverage is the weakest here. So for any lift, your posture changes the difficulty throughout the range of motion. Accommodating resistance simply means that you will make up for these differences and maximize muscular tension throughout the entire range of motion. Thus, the force you create will now match your posture. You will make the resistance greater at the top, and lower at the bottom. This is best accomplished by using chains.

Each length of chains should be 5/8 inches in size and 5 feet long. One of those lengths will then weigh approximately 20 pounds. Lighter chain, inch (or smaller size) will loop around each end of the bar. The heavy chain will then loop into the lighter chain so it is hanging off of each end of the bar. The chains must be set up so that when you are lifting the weight, in the bottom (lowest position) of the lift all of the heavy chain is coiled on the ground and only the bar weight (and the light chain) is being held. From that low position, as you lift the bar, more and more heavy chain will then be raised off of the ground thus increasing the load you are lifting. At the top of the lift when you are in the highest position, roughly of the heavy chain should be off of the ground. You dont want the entire length of the heavy chain off the floor, because it will swing in the air. Also, if you keep roughly of the heavy chain on the floor when you are at the top of any lift you can quickly and easily keep track of how much you are lifting at the top by always adding of the total chain weight to the bar and plate weight. So, lets say you used 135 pounds of bar and plates and added one 20 pound chain length on each end of the bar as described above. In the bottom of the lift, your total amount of resistance would be 135 pounds; at the top of the lift it would be 155 pounds. Again, approximately of the heavy chain length should remain on the ground when you are at the top position of your lift. If you want to accommodate the resistance further, just add more heavy chain lengths and follow the same procedure. Chains can be used with dumbbells as well, simply by using one chain at a time. Anyone starting this program may use chains. You can also use chains to suddenly release resistance in almost any lift, body weight or abdominal exercise. Pushups or reverse pushups are a good example. You would start with chains draped over your back, do as many pushups as possible and then have a partner take them off one at a time, allowing you to do more pushups with less resistance, until you stop after completing as many as you can with just your body weight. Please refer to the resources guide at the end of this program for all kinds of further information on how to set up and use chains.

Bands (basically, giant elastic bands) will accommodate resistance much like chains. Although, with bands the tension or resistance is even greater since they stretch. Bands used in conjunction with added weight on a barbell or dumbbell are a very advanced progression in the Westside program. Although anyone may start with chains, bands are not for use by novices in this capacity. Even those who have been on the Westside program for a few years do not need to use bands. They will provide no additional success over the other great tools in this program. In fact, bands will cause more harm than good for beginners. As such, they are a tool only to be used after other adaptations and methods have been thoroughly employed. Only advanced lifters with individual lift totals that are 2 and 3 times their body weight should consider using this advanced tool. We are still going to use bands though! The difference is that we will use only body weight and single bands alone, but no added weight. This will open up a whole new world of adaptations
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that are highly effective and provide new and amazingly effective resistance. You can use a band to do pretty much any movement you can think of; for many exercises all you need is a rack, or something to which you can anchor the band. One example is throwing the band over the top of a power rack, holding it around your neck and doing standing sit-ups. You can do squats or good mornings by standing in a band with your feet on it and looping it over your back. Use your imagination and you can do pretty much any resistance movement. Simply change to a stronger band or add more bands to create more tension. The resources at the end of the program will provide some great instruction. Devices that allow for accommodation of resistance such as bands and chains allow maximum speed at the beginning of the movement and maximum overload at the top where the lift is easier and requires an increase in load.

The Program
This program will involve 4 workouts per week two for the upper body and two for the lower body. Remember Newtons equation: Force = Mass X Acceleration. For the lower body, you will have one day dedicated to the maximum amount of weight you can lift (maximal effort day) and one day a week dedicated to acceleration (speed day). You will do the same thing for the upper body two workouts per week, one for maximal efforts and one for speed. So, you are creating as much force as possible by addressing both mass (the amount of weight lifted) and acceleration (the speed at which you can move the weight) Lower body days generally cover the muscles of the legs and lower back. Upper body days cover all muscles. W E S T S I D E T Y P I C A L W E E K LY S C H E D U L E : other

Max effort Lower body


Max effort Upper body


Speed Lower body


Speed Upper body

This weekly schedule is set up to allow for 3 days of recovery after the heavier maximal effort day workouts before the same muscle groups are worked again on the speed days. Of course, as long as adequate rest between workouts exists, you can change the workout days of the week to fit your own schedule. I have divided and listed the exercises you will be doing under the headings primary, assistance and additional. So please refer to a particular list to choose a designated exercise. Now lets look at what to do on each particular day:

M A X E F F O R T L O W E R B O D Y D AY I Choose 1 exercise from the Lower Body - Primary Exercises list and after warm up sets, work up to a weight at or above 90% of your 1RM, where you can complete only 2-3 repetitions with an absolute maximal effort. Do 2 additional sets with the same weight or less, but use a load that is still above 90%. The next week you will try and beat the records you set by doing the same weight for additional repetitions or by adding weight. When you reach 5 repetitions or more it is time to add weight such that you can only do 2-3. Do the same exercise for 3 weeks, improving your numbers each week. You will then take a transitional week and after that start a new primary lower body exercise for a new 3 week wave. I Choose 2 exercises from the Lower Body Assistance Exercises list and complete 3 sets of 5-10 repetitions. I Choose 1 exercise from the Lower Body Additional Exercises list and complete 3 sets of 7-15 repetitions. I Choose 1 exercise from the Abdominals list and complete 2 sets of 12 to 20 repetitions or higher. Even though they are obviously not lower body muscles, lat work, shrugs or other upper back work may be done on this day. This will allow you to skip that muscle group on upper body days. These muscle groups would be done last at the end of the workout.
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M A X E F F O R T U P P E R B O D Y D AY I Choose 1 exercise from the Upper Body - Primary Exercises list and after warm up sets, work up to a weight at or above 90% of your 1RM, where you can complete only 2-3 repetitions with an absolute maximal effort. Do 2 additional sets with the same weight or less, but use a load that is still above 90%. The next week you will try and beat the records you set by doing the same weight for additional repetitions or by adding weight. When you reach 5 repetitions or more it is time to add weight such that you can only do 2-3 reps. Do the same exercise for 3 weeks, improving your numbers each week, then start a new primary lower body exercise. You will then take a transitional week and after that start a new primary upper body exercise for a new 3 week wave. I Choose 1 exercise from the Triceps list and complete 4 sets of 5-10 repetitions. I Choose 1 exercise from the Upper back and Lats list and complete 3 sets of 7-15 repetitions. I Choose 1 exercise from the Shoulders list and complete 3 sets of 7-15 repetitions. I Choose 1 exercise from the Abdominals list and complete 2 sets of 12 to 20 repetitions or even higher.

M A X E F F O R T D AY S G E N E R A L G U I D E L I N E S I The 2 additional primary exercise sets on maximum effort days are to be completed with the same explosive effort as the first set, but small decreases in the amount of weight lifted may allow for slightly higher repetitions. Still, the same amount of weight used for the first set (or even more) may also be used. Ex. first attempt for 3 repetitions resulted in 5, so weight increases by 10 pounds and a second attempt for 3 repetitions, 3rd set attempt another 3 repetitions at the same weight. The lifter will adjust their basic plan here depending on their first set and how they feel during each workout. There are no strict rules regarding varying the reps as long as the most intense efforts are made and the load is above 90% of a 1RM. Examples of repetitions from first to last set could include: (3,3,3) (2,3,5) (1,3,3) etc. Rest between sets of primary exercises will typically be from 3 to 5 minutes. I Rotate all of the exercise choices over the 3 week waves such that they are all being included in your program. The primary exercises especially must be rotated such that they are equally included. Example, the first 3 week wave for the lower body max effort day may include a squat, and then the next 3 week wave would involve a form of deadlift, followed by a good-morning. I Dont get too psyched up before lifting or you will burn yourself out.

L O W E R B O D Y S P E E D D AY I The primary exercise on this day will be in the form of a box squat. Choose 1 form of squat exercise only from the Lower Body - Primary Exercises list and after warm up sets, start with 40% of your estimated 1RM and do 5 sets of 2 repetitions off of a box. You will rest only 1 minute between sets here. The idea is to concentrate on moving the bar with as much speed as humanly possible. After resting on the box for a split second, think of exploding off of it with as much force and speed as possible. Use approximately 10% of additional chain weight at the top of the lift to accommodate resistance. The next week, repeat the exact same box squat but this time use 45% of your estimated 1RM on the bar. Use the same sets and reps and add the same chain weight. The 3rd week, move up to 50% of your estimated 1RM on the bar. This 5% weekly increase in the load is known as a pendulum wave. Again, do 5 sets of 2 reps and keep everything else the same. Once this 3 week wave is completed and after taking a transitional week, start a new type of box squat and repeat the process, starting with 40% of a 1RM for a new 3 week wave. The height of the box can be varied from 1) below parallel 2) upper leg parallel to the floor 3) just above parallel.
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I Any

form of the dead-lift may be added right after the squats. You should do 5 sets of 1 repetition only and use 60% of a 1RM. Take no more than 45 seconds rest between these single rep sets. Like the squats, these dead-lifts must be completed with as much emphasis on explosive speed as possible. You do not need to add these dead-lifts sets to every lower body speed day. You can add these as much as every 2nd workout or even once every 3 or 4 workouts. For dead-lifts, simply drape the chains evenly over the ends of the bar, so that as you raise the bar the chain is progressively lifted off of the floor. I Choose 1 exercise from the Lower Body Assistance Exercises list and complete 3 sets of 10 15 repetitions. I Choose 1 exercise from the Lower Body Additional Exercises list and complete 3 sets of 10 - 15 repetitions. I Choose 1 exercise from the Abdominals list and complete 2 sets of 12 to 20 repetitions or even higher. Always change exercises each 3 week period, via bars, bands, chains, stance, box height, etc. For example, a safety squat bar may be used for 3 weeks, followed by a cambered bar, then a regular bar. Front squats, high bar squats or low bar squats may also be rotated. A box squat of some form will always be done on this day. Box heights variations include below parallel, at parallel and just above parallel.

I Our primary exercise here will be the bench press using a barbell.

Choose 1 form of the bench press involving any type of barbell or grip and after warm up sets, use 60% of your 1RM. Do 5 sets of 3 repetitions. You will rest only 1 minute between sets here. The idea is to concentrate on moving the bar with as much speed as humanly possible. Try and improve your speed each week. Then start a new variation on the bench press. Use roughly 10% of additional chain weight at the top of the lift to accommodate resistance. I Choose 1 exercise from the Triceps list and complete 4 sets of 10-15 repetitions I Choose 1 exercise from the Upper back and Lats list and complete 3 sets of 10-15 repetitions I Choose 1 exercise from the Biceps list and complete 3 sets of 7-15 repetitions I Choose 1 exercise from the Abdominals list and complete 2 sets of 12 to 20 repetitions or even higher Pendulum waves are not used in the primary pressing exercise on speed days, like they are with box squats just 60% of a 1RM with a primary goal of continually increasing the bar speed. Only a new 1RM record (or 1RM estimate given higher reps) in the bench press therefore will increase the bar weight since it will always be 60% of your 1RM. Grips may be changed continually from a close grip where arms are roughly parallel, to an extra wide grip, one hand space outside of your regular grip. You may apply these grip variations to the sets in each workout, or change them for every 3 week wave. Lower the bar and reverse it as quickly as possible, catching as though it is falling and reversing hard. Always use chains if they are available to accommodate resistance. Use approximately 10% additional weight in chains, in addition to the 60% of a 1RM bar weight. Do only 3 reps per set and keep rest periods no longer than 60 seconds between sets.

I One

of the underlying principles here is that with sub-maximal weights you can exert more force than is actually on the bar as long as speed is adequate, since F = M x A. Explosive bar speed is the most important factor here! I Always use a barbell for the main lift. I Chains should always be used if available to help accommodate resistance. I Always change the primary exercise for each new 3 week period, via chains, grip, stance, etc. I Remember, repetitions for the primary lifts on speed day will always be: - 2 for squats - 3 for bench - 1 for dead-lift
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The reason here is to ensure the lifter can do the rep(s) at maximal velocity, without slowing down. These numbers have been carefully arrived at. Do not increase the reps just because you can! Put all your effort into moving the bar as fast as you possibly can for those few short repetitions. I Rest between sets will be 1 minute or less. I Lower the bar with control, but with as much speed as possible. (see high speed eccentrics a little later on for explanation as to why). I The weights used on speed days will be increased only when new 1RM maximums in the bench press and squat have been achieved since they are percentages (%) based on 1RMs. I All of the assistance and additional exercises on speed days should be completed with more emphasis on speed and explosiveness. As such, the repetition ranges are a little higher to allow for weights that are a little lighter than on the maximum effort days. THE TRANSITION WEEKS As mentioned earlier, after every 3 week wave, take the 4th week as a transition week. For the upper body, that means on max effort day, substitute the usual primary, low rep barbell exercise with dumbbell presses. Any form can be used incline, decline, off the floor, etc. Use a weight that allows a rep range of 15 to 20 and you must go to failure. 3 sets should be completed with up to 5 minutes rest between sets. Weighted pushups may also be used in the same way. The additional assistance work will remain the same; choose any of the exercises and do the prescribed or even higher repetition ranges. For the lower body max effort day choose anything but a primary lower body exercise and do 3 sets of repetitions from 15 to 20 or even higher. That could be calf-glute-ham raises, back extensions, lunges, or any other assistance exercise. The additional assistance work will remain the same; choose any of the exercises and do the prescribed or even higher repetition ranges. For the lower and upper body speed days, you can take them off entirely. Get out of the gym and enjoy some other form of physical activity. Alternatively, if you wish to stay in the gym choose any of the exercises on the respective lower and upper body days or variations thereof that you have not done recently or have never tried and do reps of 30 or above. The total # of sets and reps on these days will be purely at your discretion. Keep these workouts under 1 hour. You will take another 1-2 week transitional period after 12 weeks have passed (3 full 3 week waves along with the subsequent transition week after each wave). Take 1-2 weeks off, get out of the gym and enjoy some other form of exercises (active rest). For those who just cant stand to be out of the gym, take just 1 transition week but do completely different exercises that you wouldnt normally do on this program, or high repetition versions (even in the 30 to 100 rep and higher range) of exercises that you have never tried.

Please make sure you are following this list of responsible guidelines:

set should stop immediately as soon as the correct technique for an exercise can no longer be maintained I Any exercises that are new must be approached with reasonable caution, respecting the new movement pattern. Emphasis must be on correct technique and as such low weights should be used when first learning these lifts. Injury prevention is of paramount importance here. I Once you are have effectively learned a new exercise, all repetitions must be done as explosively as possible with a primary emphasis on speed of movement, regardless of the load. Lighter loads on all speed days for all of the exercises will especially accommodate this emphasis. I Repetitions and loads must be increased relentlessly. When repetitions of an exercise exceed a given range at one weight, increase the weight to lower the repetition range then work up to higher reps again. Repeat this process. I For higher repetition abdominal exercises work up and into the burn but not through it. Increase repetitions and add resistance in the form of equipment adjustments to more difficult positions, added weight or band resistance. (Working through exquisite pain via higher and higher repetition abdominal exercises is one of the best ways to ensure you will eventually quit doing them. There is no need for this. Just do the work, change up the exercises and your abdominals will become incredibly strong because of consistently working them.)
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I Pre-loading the weight before you lift is important, such that the weight is never jerked, risking joint damage,

ex. "squeezing the bar off the floor in completing a dead-lift. This will be automatic in almost every exercise since we are using free weights and not machines. I Nutrition and possibly supplements (before, during, and especially after workouts) must be adequately addressed to ensure adequate recovery from intense workouts. I Participants in this program should have a basic understanding of belts, chalk and the basic strength equipment. I This program includes partial ranges of the basic lifts, such as rack pulls to work the top part of the dead-lift, or bench pressing off the pins above chest height. The high leverage and short range of these movements will allow for weights that are actually above your 1RM. Keep the ranges here long enough such that you only exceed your 1RM weight by a maximum of 10%. Note: choose the exercises and subsequent variations based on the equipment to which you have access. If you dont have access to chains or some of the other stuff dont sweat it. Just do the exercise without them. LOWER BODY PRIMARY EXERCISES I Low bar back squat I High bar back squat (can also use a Manta Ray accessory) I Front squat I Safety squat I Zercher squat I Belt Squat I Good morning (only in low bar position) I Dead lift (conventional) I Dead lift (sumo) I Dead lift with trap bar (allows for a neutral grip) L O W E R B O D Y - A S S I S TA N C E E X E R C I S E S I Romanian dead-lifts I Dimel dead-lifts I Stiff legged dead-lifts I Pull-throughs I Back extensions I Calf-glute-ham raises I Reverse-hypers I Power cleans (limit sets to 3 repetitions) I Power snatch (limit sets to 3 repetitions) I Leg Press LOWER BODY ADDITIONAL EXERCISES I Single leg squats I Step ups I Split squats I Bulgarian squats I Leg curls I Jumps up onto a box (not depth jumps) I Reverse lunges
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I Forward

lunges I Walking lunges I Bridges I Seated cable rows to the abdominals (various attachments and grips) I Calf raises I Sled pulls I Prowler pushes Note: on Lower Body days, for added variations on the exercises, forms of the Primary exercises may also be completed as higher repetition Assistance or Additional exercises. Similarly, forms of Assistance exercises may also be performed as Additional exercises (but not Primary). Exercises on the Additional list may not be used under the other two headings UPPER BODY PRIMARY EXERCISES I Bench press I Incline press I Floor press

TRICEPS I Close grip bench press I Dips I Triceps pushdowns I Triceps extensions I Dumbbell triceps extensions I Dumbbell flared triceps extensions (elbows out to the sides) I Dumbbell floor press I Triceps reverse dips I Overhead triceps extensions

U P P E R B A C K A N D L AT S I Seated cable rows to the chest or higher (various attachments and grips) I Barbell rows I Dumbbell rows I Chest supported rows I Reverse push-ups I Upright rows I Lat pull-downs (various attachments and grips) I Chin ups I Pull ups I Rope face-pulls I Scarecrows I Reverse flyes I Upright rows
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SHOULDERS I Shoulder Press I Dumbell press (various types) I Push press I Dumbbell laterals - front I Dumbbell laterals side

BICEPS I Barbell curls I Dumbbell curls I Zottman curls I Hammer curls I Cable curls (various grips and angles)

ABDOMINALS EXERCISES I Side bends (with single dumbbell, overhead band or cable) I Leg raises (from lying and hanging positions) I Roman chair sit ups I Standing sit ups, pulling down over the shoulder (resistance is from above) I Bridges (held static) I Landmine Russian twists I Sit ups while holding a ball or cushion between the knees. The following variations are also useful: - Spread eagle, using a wide foot stance and holding the feet under a support - Sit-ups at different angles - With added weight or bands - Static method, holding for 3-5 seconds in different positions - Russian twist variations with added weight, such as a medicine ball or a plate Note: Standing abdominal work is the most popular at Westside. The rational here is that when you are playing most sports, wrestling, fighting, working, or lifting weights, for the most part you are standing up.

INSURANCE EXERCISES I Rotator cuff (various) I All unilateral (one limb at a time) exercises, especially done at higher repetitions I Static planks and bridges (various) I Any exercise with 30% of a 1RM or less for 30 - 100 repetitions or higher

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The incredible New Exercise Creation Matrix

The following chart will give you a virtually endless array of new exercises to try, both primary and assistance. Variation is of paramount importance to this program because your muscles will keep responding only if new and different adaptations are continuously applied. Take any exercise and apply any of the following possible variations to create new exercises: Grip regular, medium, narrow, wide, neutral, overhand, underhand, reverse, snatch, thumb-less Stance shoulder width, medium or really wide (sumo) Type of Load - barbells, dumbbells, kettlebells, plates, rings, cables, body weight, strongman equipment, sled, etc. Position of load relative to the body distance of load from the pivot point. More distance = greater resistance Type of bar - regular, fat grips, football, trap bar, safety-squat bar, cambered bar, etc. Position of bar front, high bar, low bar, etc. Apparatus type Zercher harness, Manta Ray, sled, box squat, hassock (soft box), board press, carpet roll, foam, etc Height of platform off the floor Angle of the body, the platform or bench incline, decline and to various degrees Accommodating resistance chains, bands, weight release (and combinations) Method used ex. concentric, interval, repetitions, max effort, dynamic, contrast, reactive, ballistic, lightened, etc. Type of muscular action dynamic, isometric, quasi-isometric (really slow) iso-inertial (free weight), etc. Range of movement partial movements of a lift only, or extended beyond normal, ex. dead-lift standing on blocks Unilateral vs. bilateral using both limbs, or one single limb at a time Body position seated, standing, hanging, lying on the floor, etc. Timing and sequence of exercises Supersets, ladders, hybrid exercises, etc. Note - all of the above can be combined (where practical) to create many additional variations

Warming up before lifting

A 3 part warm-up must be completed prior to each workout: 1. Cardio: 5 to 12 minutes of light cardiovascular exercise to break a sweat and warm up the body. 2. General: move every joint about its full range of motion from your neck to your ankles. Give lots of attention to the hip area and shoulders. 3. Dynamic: 3 to 5 light sets of the exercise you will be performing (the next heading will have a more detailed explanation of this important part of the warm-up). This protocol is essential, even if brief; especially #1 and #3. Workouts should not be attempted if there is no time to properly warm up. Proper preparation is required both mentally and physically before intense lifting. Chances of injury will increase greatly without a proper warm-up.

The dynamic warm- up

Dynamic warm-up sets for the first primary exercise on maximum effort day should increase progressively until within approximately 20% of the first maximum effort set. These are not the main work sets. Their purpose is to prepare the body for the actual maximum effort sets. As such, do not turn the warm up sets into a pyramid
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of progressively harder sets. Minimal mental and physical effort should be put into these sets. Correct technique and breathing only should be emphasized. The purpose of these warm ups is to condition the body to the movement pattern and technique of the lift and to prepare the mind, muscles and connective tissue for the heavy, maximum effort weights you will be lifting. This way, when the first maximal effort set is executed, the vast majority of mental effort will be on explosively driving the weight up and not on the fine points of technique. For example, in a workout that involves squatting 200 pounds for 3 repetitions as the first max effort set, a typical dynamic warm up would be as follows: 45 lb bar 95 lbs 135 lbs 180 lbs x x x x 10 repetitions 5 repetitions 2-3 repetitions 1 repetition

Although this general protocol must be followed, this is only one example. Actual weights used will differ for each individual. Some respond better on their first work set after more lower-weight, higher rep warm up sets. Whereas some will attain greater results by warming up with single repetitions that are even closer to the weight used for their first max effort set. Following the first primary exercise, generally fewer warm up sets are required for the remaining exercises in the workout, especially those which involve the same body parts (ex. squats then dead-lifts).

Changing assistance exercises

Assistance exercises can change more often than the primary ones to enhance adaptations and prevent boredom. The exact timing on changing exercises will depend on how each individual adapts to each exercise, but plateaus in strength or simple boredom are excellent signals to change. I like to do the same assistance exercise for at least 2-3 weeks if only to show progress in strength via increased repetitions or weight lifted. If in doubt, changing at least every three 3 weeks along with the primary exercises will work just fine. It will always be of primary concern to use assistance exercises to improve weaker muscle groups. When weak areas are exposed, prioritizing them will always be an important reason to change exercises.

Time length of workouts

After warming up, your workout should be completed within roughly 45 minutes to 1 hour. That is, starting with your first work set until you are done. The reason for this is that intense resistance exercise carried on for longer than approximately 1 hour will result in a your hormonal response changing from anabolic (building up) to catabolic (breaking down). When this happens, the experience is often described as hitting a wall. Dont worry if occasionally it takes a little over an hour to get everything done, as higher intensities demand longer rest periods between sets. Workouts may also be shorter and more frequent, as described under the next heading.

Short, special workouts

What if you are progressing well on this program but want to improve to an even greater degree? You would need to do more work. Still, there are definite limits on training volume given high intensities. If an intense workout is optimal at 45-60 minutes only (energy and testosterone levels fall dramatically after that) then longer workouts are not the answer. Obviously, steroids will never be an option for most people.
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The answer is small, special workouts lasting only 15-30 minutes. These workouts were proven to work by the world leading strength athletes of Bulgaria. These special workouts are also a highly successful tool in the Westside program. They will be short and specific to one particular area or issue. They may be used for increasing the strength of one lagging muscle group. They are also highly effective to improve flexibility, agility, or dexterity. These workouts may also be used for restoration, or speeding up the recovery of muscles. This is accomplished by using high repetition ranges with a load of 30% or less of a 1RM. Ironically, using these short workouts for restoration creates an interesting paradox in that more workouts = the ability to train more, given a faster recovery. Thus, short, restorative workouts will allow for even more frequent and effective intense training sessions. Short, special workouts are a fantastic tool for added fat loss. Remember, every time you train intensely you are not only creating more fat burning muscle, but you are also raising your resting metabolic rate. This increased revving up of your metabolic engine will increase your fat burn to radically high new levels. Further, this method is entirely natural. The effects on fat loss for the average person who has never experienced this will be dramatic. Special workouts should include 1-3 exercises with 2-5 sets per exercise (depending on the # of reps) and should involve loads that allow higher reps of 15-25 per set, or reps to failure. They can include body weight exercises like push-ups or the use of bands alone with body weight. Exercises must be done briskly and almost non-stop. This will build muscle mass in the area needed and also raise work capacity. Really high reps up to 100-200 are also highly beneficial for restoration and building tendon and ligament strength. Progressions should start with one small workout per week, adding another and continuing as one feels the benefits continue. Again, the duration of these short, special workouts should be limited to only 15 to 30 minutes, including any abdominal work. Finally, these workouts are an excellent way to modify your schedule if you do not have enough time to adequately train all body parts in a particular workout. For example, you may plan on doing your primary upper body exercise, then triceps, then shoulders in an upper body maximum effort workout, but find you run out of time and cannot fit in your shoulder work. You could easily do shoulders on their own later that evening or the next day in a short, special workout specifically for that body part. Similarly, you can add these workouts for other body parts you wish to work, but cannot fit in to your regular workouts. Common areas include forearms, calves, neck or grip work.

One of the best things about participating in elite strength training is experiencing the relationship between training intensity, volume, and rest. As intensity goes up, volume will go down. Even better, as intensity goes up, rest and general restoration must also increase accordingly. The Westside program is about as intense as it gets. That means short workouts and lots of rest. This is especially true compared to common high-volume body-building routines. With this type of training Less is More. Training Volume



This is exactly why we will be spending much less time in the gym compared to many of the common lower intensity methods. It is also why common body building routines and circuit training, with their non-stop pace and high volume can seem so long and arduous. When training for intense strength and power, in a 1 hour
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training session, the actual time under a load will be well under 5 minutes. Plenty of rest between the heaviest sets and between workouts is absolutely necessary. The weekly workout schedule is based largely on the fact that large muscle groups can be trained every 72 hours and smaller muscle groups every 24 hours. These are the approximate times for restoration. Further, please remember that short workouts using loads of less than 30% of a 1RM can actually be used to restore tired muscles. To build muscular strength, loads of 30%-100% of a 1RM must be used. This causes a restricted blood supply resulting in hard muscle contraction thus providing a strength gain. Using 30% or less will positively affect restoration by increasing circulation. Restoration is built into this program via changing exercises, changing methods (max effort, speed, repetition), 3 week waves, transitional 4th weeks, and taking 1-2 weeks off every 3 months or so. You will still need to add more ongoing restoration including active rest on an ongoing basis. Popular forms of restoration include: stretching, yoga, massage, Jacuzzis, acupuncture, etc. are all wonderful ideas. Please remember:

If you do not properly address active rest and restoration rest and restoration will address you!
Colds, the flu, and other illnesses will result regularly from a weakened immune system. Injuries will be far more likely and every few months you will hit a wall where gains will either stop or your strength will suddenly decreases sharply. Again, please follow the plan! These guidelines are strongly supported by a tremendous body of documented research and experience. Following these guidelines will help to ensure steady progress, keep the program enjoyable and exhilarating and avoid injury and overtraining. In this respect, these active periods of rest are just as vital to progress as the actual training days. Enjoy this wonderful part of advanced training rest and relaxation.

General Physical Preparation (GPP)

For athletes, GPP is the foundation of their physical fitness ability. It is the base upon which their particular, special sporting skills are developed. Great athletes are separated by their amazing technical skills specific to their sport. Yet, these skills can never be manifest unless the rudimentary abilities and fitness levels they are based on are not initially and then continually developed. A fighters wickedly fast, knock-out left hook will do him no good if he is too tired to even hold his arm up by the 3rd round. A hockey players blistering wrist shot into the top left hand corner of the net cannot be revealed if he is too tired to repeat the shot or drive down the ice. For the average person, GPP is even more straightforward. The idea is to not only build faster, stronger fat burning muscle, but also to get into better and better overall physical condition. Okay, we may not be playing a professional sport. But we may be playing a sport at some level in our spare time. We may be doing other stuff we love like mountain climbing, sailing or martial arts. We may have intensely physical jobs. Regardless, this program will build our functional abilities and skills at those activities. Even jogging or walking on a regular basis will help improve our levels of GPP. These other activities outside of the gym will in turn build our physical conditioning and enable us to get even faster and stronger at the gym. This is in fact a vital relationship - one reinforces the other. Doing this program alone will improve your GPP. On speed days especially there is very little rest between sets. Utilizing short rests between sets of assistance exercises, sled work, and the higher repetitions of transitional weeks will all improve GPP. The repetition method with short rests of less than 2 minutes between sets will serve to improve GPP. The General Physical
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Preparation idea is seminal to improving absolute strength because it allows a physical fitness level that permits one to continually increase loads and repetitions. Further, we can use GPP work to fill in the holes by addressing our weak points with specific exercises. Examples would be sled work or repetitive functional exercises working the week muscles or muscle groups. Doing short, special workouts involving higher repetitions at a fast pace will improve GPP and hit a weak point at the same time. Adding extra sets and repetitions in the regular workouts will serve the same purpose. Please remember A pyramid is only as tall and strong as its base will permit.

Just to complete the primary strength exercises through their full ranges requires a good measure of flexibility. To get into a low squat position with a straight back requires excellent posterior chain and hip flexor flexibility. Placing the bar in the low bar position on your back will require good external shoulder rotation. Nonetheless, this program will continually build new muscle and ongoing stretching is required to ensure that flexibility increases or at least remains the same. An proven rule of thumb is to increase your flexibility to 20% beyond what you normally require. This creates a buffer zone that your body can occasionally be pushed into without causing injury. Restorative stretching and flexibility work should take place on training days that did not involve the particular area of the body being stretched or on non-training days. Ex. stretching a particular part of the body a few days after it was trained; stretching the lower body muscles and areas immediately after a workout targeting the upper body and vice-versa. Please see the resources section for further great information regarding improving and retaining your flexibility.

What about muscle size?

The principles behind this program allow you to control how big your muscles become. The hormonal responses from the intense creation of your new speed and strength will allow you to build a maximal amount of size. Conversely, it will be easy to minimize muscle size and build mainly powerful, contractile muscle. Since we are talking about size, we might as well address other common goals as well. The following table makes general sense out of loads, repetition ranges and goals: LOADS AND REPETITION ASSIGNMENTS BASED ON TRAINING GOAL

Training Goal
Strength Muscle Size (Hypertrophy) Muscular Endurance

Load (% of 1 Rep Max)

> 85% 67 85% < 67%

Goal Repetitions
<6 6 - 12 >12

# of Sets to Complete
2-6 3-6 2-3

Rest period between sets

3-5 mins 30 secs 2 mins < 30 secs

On max effort days we are creating maximal force by completing intense low repetitions with heavy loads. Here we will optimally address the goal of added strength by consistently being above 90% of a 1RM on our primary exercises. We are also maximizing force on speed days with the primary, high acceleration lifts we do at the beginning of the workout. With regard to hormone production, both maximal efforts and speed days will absolutely maximize our testosterone production (more Human growth hormone (HGH) and insulin growth factors if you are female). We love these hormones. Trust me - we want them; especially as we grow older. They keep us young, strong, vivacious and charge our libidos with youthful exuberance. Hypertrophy refers to muscle size. When we are doing our assistance exercises every workout, we are mostly within the 6-12 repetition range with less than 2 minutes rest between sets. As identified in the chart above,
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this use of the repetition method will maximize muscle size. The burn or pump you feel includes high lactic acid production which increases HGH hormone levels. Even higher repetitions above 12 will still contribute to increasing muscle size. So, the key to creating additional muscle size is to simply add more use of the repetition method with our assistance exercises. Using the repetition method after we have done a maximal effort with a low-rep primary exercise or created maximal acceleration will best set the stage for maximal muscle size, since both of these methods drive production of the anabolic hormone testosterone to the greatest degree. Hormonally, for men this is the secret to attaining absolutely huge muscles. In this way we can control how much muscle size we create. We have all the tools to get the strongest, and if we like - the biggest we can become. Muscular endurance is also strongly addressed as we go above the 12 repetition mark on a regular basis, even into the 30, 50, and multiple 100 rep range. This is done mainly during the transitional weeks and in short, special workouts. Thus, with regard to goals we are intensely covering all of them at the same time. Further, we do not need to give up one goal for the sake of another. Indeed, even on the hormonal level, this program covers all bases concurrently.

Why do all this? Why not just lift more and get bigger and stronger?
Simple progressive overload doesnt work on its own for very long. Try bench pressing more weight each workout and see how long it takes before you stop making gains and even go backward. It will happen within a few short months. Conversely, this program will allow you to create new muscle and increase strength continually. That is exactly why the strongest athletes on the planet use it with such success. Regardless of your age, gender, athletic experience or ability this program is about increasing your absolute strength. Why? Because more absolute strength means that you have created more functional, contractile muscle - not just bigger, puffy muscles. This muscle not only looks great but makes you faster, stronger, and more injury proof. With regard to attaining a lean muscular physique, this is most important because - MUSCLE BURNS FAT. You create functional, fat burning muscle when the contractile, working parts of the largest muscle cells have been engaged. Thus, you need to use the most effective methods known to increase your absolute strength. This will be the simple empirical measure of your progress on all levels. Your mirror and how your clothes fit will strongly reinforce this relationship. It gets better! Working out this way causes the highest possible increase in your resting metabolic rate, for up to days after the workout. So, aside from the new fat burning muscle which will burn fat constantly, the workout itself will amp up your fat-burn like nothing else. Doing this stuff will increase your fat-burn after the workout, to a much higher degree than a typical boot-camp or long, difficult cardio workout.

How does Westside get such amazing results?

Reading the proven scientific research that Westside is based upon, one begins to understand how it takes the most successful and proven methods and effectively combines them into one unified system. The lifter is constantly developing speed, but at the same time is building absolute strength. One continually feeds the other. Concurrently, the lifter is improving their general physical fitness and endurance levels. Lifting maximal weights above 90% but also completing high repetitions until failure ensures that the optimal anabolic hormonal responses are triggered - maximizing both testosterone and human growth hormone production. Restoration is inherent in the program and thus, the lifter can improve steadily all year long, in all types of special strengths. On a physiological level, we know that muscle burns fat. Going a little deeper here, please recall Newtons equation: Force = Mass x Acceleration. Now, twice a week on both our max effort and speed days we are
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pushing the force equation to its limit. By causing the biggest muscle groups in our upper and lower body to create as much force as possible, we are engaging the largest, fastest muscle fibers we have. Muscle fibers engage sequentially. So, the smallest and slowest ones engage first, followed by the mid-size ones, then the largest and fastest. This efficient process happens at lightning speed depending on just how much force is required when we contract a muscle. Using a Westside program, 4 times a week we require 100% of the force we can possibly create via either the mass or acceleration parts of the equation.


The black circles represent individual muscle cells/fibers engaging as the force we create increases. The greater the intensity of muscular contraction, the higher the amount of force that is produced.
Thus, creating as much force as possible engages all of these muscle fibers. Without getting too clinical, all of the mitochondria in all the cells burn more fat and they all get stronger. This is one reason intense resistance training creates the greatest fat after-burn following the workout. This is also why increasing absolute strength via the Westside system automatically improves other special strengths including:
I Reactive

strength the ability to display quick, instantaneous muscular strength I Starting strength rapid and immediate muscular strength and power from rest I Accelerating strength strength driving a rapidly increasing speed of movement I Speed-strength the ability to exhibit muscular strength at high speed I Explosive strength all the above combined, with the greatest rate of max force development I Strength-endurance the ability to display muscular strength repeatedly over time Research shows that if any of these specific types of strength are not trained during a three-week period, a loss of strength of 10% or greater can occur. This is also true for agility, coordination, and flexibility. Uniquely, Westside delivers the concurrent development of all special strengths in the same program. As a prerequisite for building physical strength, Westside concentrates primarily on the largest muscle groups of the body. The powerful working muscles of the back, hips, hamstrings, and triceps get the most attention. The same priority is not given to shaping individual showy muscles like the pecs and biceps so commonly but erroneously associated with physical improvement. Knowing the effect of new, contractile muscle fiber on fat loss, the reasons for effectiveness are more than obvious. Another overriding, key concept at Westside is explosiveness. Every exercise whether primary or assistance, high rep or low rep, must be completed with as much explosive effort as possible.


Indeed, at work, in sports, in emergencies or life in general, moving with incredible speed and power can be vital. Moving slowly is not a problem we can always slow down! Speed on the other hand is an invaluable ability that will set us apart physically. For athletes, its the difference between mediocrity and greatness.
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Westside uses an analytic-synthetic philosophy in regard to improving strength. The idea is that if the individual muscles involved in any lift are stronger, then that primary movement will then be stronger. So when an individual who can bench press 400 pounds has brought up his triceps, delt, back, and pectoral strength to that of a 600 pound bench presser, he too will bench 600 pounds. This is why the assistance exercises are so important for improving the strength of the individual muscle groups. They build the foundation of strength in the primary lifts. Further, if the following are true:
I Strength has increased in the many variations of the primary exercises on max effort days I Speed of movement has increased on speed days I Strength has increased in the assistance exercises emphasizing specific muscle groups

Then it will be a simple matter of fact that absolute strength has increased. It follows then that this increase in strength is irrefutable proof of valuable, fat burning new muscle. In addition, by constantly breaking gym records in the different primary and assistance exercises new confidence is also created.

Increasing numbers do not lie!

Finally, the constant variation of exercises allows for the exposure of weak points that can be subsequently improved upon. The Westside program inherently avoids sticking points or plateaus in performance since there is pro-active training to constantly attack these weak muscle groups or ranges in a lift. The constant rotation of exercises serves to expose weaknesses that may subsequently be improved with assistance exercises and special attention to those weaker muscles. Dont pick the exercises you like, pick the ones that work. That is, the ones that improve your weakest areas. All of the processes just mentioned are taking place on a weekly basis, continually. Thus, Westside delivers a highly efficient synergy which covers elite physical development on every level. Best of all, Westside is entirely scalable anyone can begin to use and benefit from these methods regardless of their initial strength. It is a Westside assertion that there is no reason that a beginner should not start with an advanced system. Allowing beginners to achieve these benefits is the primary goal of this program.

Why Westside? Arent there other elite programs?

Westside is actually an amalgam or collection of the best methods known. These methods are based on science and proof the many great athletes who have benefited from them. Westside is also method agnostic; it will incorporate any proven methods into the program as long as they work. Since this system is known to build the most strength, speed and power, these abilities can then be transferred by the practitioner to sports, work or life in general. It improves all special strengths, and general conditioning, not just those specific to one type of sport or athlete. Finally, this training system delivers immense benefits for the relatively small amount of time required. Thus, it is most congruent with the lives and goals of average people and non-athletic individuals who are trying to improve physically. There are certainly other good programs that include some of the methods and ideas used at Westside. The difference is that Westside for Beginners has been carefully derived directly from the source.
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Differences between this program and the original Westside

The essence of the Westside program is alive and well in this introduction. All of the key elements are intact. There are, of course some advanced progressions not included in this program. They wont do any good for folks who are new to the program. The exercises and equipment included in this program can easily provide continued strength gains for years. Lifters using more advanced progressions not included here should have primary lifts that each approximates a minimum of 2-3 times their body weight or more.

Measuring your progress

After 2 or 3 months, has your relative strength increased? Did you get stronger and lose a little weight, or stay the same but get stronger? If yes, then congratulations because you have successfully added some lean, functional muscle to your body. This is also true if you have gained body weight, but are stronger per pound than at your old weight. You are officially a better fat burning machine. Numbers dont lie, (either does the mirror). You have gained lean muscle mass and lost fat. Its that simple; keep going. To track your progress more specifically, some classic exercises for measuring your strength increases include the following:
I Squats (touch I Dead-lifts I Bench press I Vertical jump I Chin-ups

& go off a low pin, or with someone watching to ensure correct depth)

Remember, repetitions are fine. There is no need to do 1RM attempts. Just consult the percentage training table for your 1RM estimates.

Where are you lifting?

Where you lift is very important. The right atmosphere is vital. The following clues will help you realize you are in the wrong gym:
I You are surrounded by a bunch of vain, arrogant men and women, who are constantly staring

at themselves in the mirrors. I Your gym is jammed with rows of cardio equipment and all kinds of isolating machines but very few free weights. I There are no power-racks, platforms, calf-glute-ham raises, chains or chalk. I When you ask staff a training question they either dont know or cannot back up what they say with a substantial, scientifically proven answer or site a credible source. I People gawk at you when you do a floor press, a box squat or if you fail or miss on a lift. I People keep to themselves, no one is helpful, no one seems positive. I No one seems to know how to spot a lift properly. I You get yelled at (yet again) by a class instructor for dropping a dead-lift when your grip gives out or for dropping your power clean. I have had the privilege of visiting the Westside gym on a few occasions to learn from the best. I have yet to visit and not break a PR (personal record) in one or more lifts. There is nothing like
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hearing the other 17 people in the room loudly yell out their intentions for you to DRIVE! up the bar when you are under a heavy weight. This helps to explain the importance of a positively charged room filled with great people. Finally, as long as it does not meet any of the negative criteria listed above, try and find a gym where there are plenty of people who are stronger and more knowledgeable than you. You will benefit greatly from what you can learn from these folks.

What about diet?

Your diet will always be the most important part of any plan for physical improvement including this one. This is perhaps a bold statement to make in the body of an advanced strength training program. Nonetheless it is absolutely true. I can confidently sum up the greatest dietary advice you will ever receive in one sentence:

Follow a human evolutionary diet!

Humans like any other animal on the planet have a natural diet that we evolved to eat. This diet is often referred to as Paleolithic since that was the last epoch in time prior to the advent of the modern unhealthy foods we currently consume. Specifically, the healthy evolutionary foods we should make the staples of our diet include: I Naturally raised animals: meat, fish, eggs, etc. I Fruits I Vegetables I Nuts and seeds Humans evolved eating these natural foods over 5 million years. We only began to add dairy, grains and other non-evolutionary foods over roughly the last 10,000 years. In recent decades what we generally consider our food has become far more dangerous. All kinds of unhealthy fats, sugars, salt and chemical ingredients have been added to the unhealthy processed foods most of us regularly consume. The horrible consequences are all around us: obesity, heart disease, diabetes, cancer, etc. Regardless of your physical goals in following this program, we all want to be lean, exceedingly healthy and in fantastic shape well into old age. I can promise you that eating primarily a human evolutionary diet will be your single greatest tool in achieving these goals. It is also the perfect dietary philosophy for strength training since it is highly nutritious and feeds new muscle growth without adding unwanted fat. This original human diet is exceedingly healthy, beneficial and simply melts off body fat. Like the information in this program, where food is concerned, science, logic and veracity should be our only guides. Does this mean that you should never again eat ice cream, bread, cheese, pancakes, pizza, alcohol and some of the foods you really love? Nope! Not a chance! Dont worry; the healthy Paleolithic foods listed above will not be your only sustenance. I have spent a good part of my life researching exactly how to follow this diet in modern times with great success and ease. Please refer to for the details.

Final Word
Please do not do more than what is generally prescribed here. Increase your intensity increase the reps and then the loads, but keep the volume as prescribed. Yes, you can add a few extra sets of the assistance exercises to build up weak muscle groups or get bigger arms, but keep your workouts within approximately 1 hour. The best way to attack weak points is with the short, special workouts already explained. The most common errors are doing too much volume and
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not applying adequate restoration. Progress will eventually stall if either mistake is made. All of this stuff, the sets, reps, rest periods, 3 week wave, the primary exercises, the different methods they have all been carefully arrived at by scientifically studying thousands of athletes over decades. This thing would be over 1000 pages long if we included all of the science and research to back it up. You can find that additional reading in the resources section. The methods used at Westside and the champion athletes who use them are elite. Rest assured you are in excellent company.

Summary of the primary methods and principles employed by Westside

This section has been included to provide a little additional information as to why the hell we are fooling around with chains and bands and doing all of these strange exercises and variations on loads and resistance. Without getting too detailed, I will briefly go over some of the main principles and methods behind why the Westside program works so well. Further detailed explanation by the great scientific authors of these ideas may be found in the resources section under Additional reading. C O N J U G AT E M E T H O D : This is the main principle behind how training is organized using the Westside system. The conjugate method involves the sequential introduction of different training means and methods one after the other. Each new method builds on and improves on the last; thus constantly improving fitness and strength levels. I liken it to conjugating a verb in grammar. The base verb is the same, but the tense and context of that verb changes slightly. In the same way, we are continually doing the basic primary movements, a press, a squat, a pull, but changing them slightly every 3 weeks. Ground breaking scientists like Medvedyev discovered that when training with weights over 90% of your current 1RM for 4-5 weeks, negative effects on your central nervous system (CNS) occur and progress will quickly decrease due to this CNS fatigue. The Westside answer is to train a primary exercise for no more than 3 weeks and then switch. By combining dedicated maximum strength and speed workouts for all the major muscle groups within the same week both of these qualities are developed continuously and simultaneously. Going a little deeper here into how Westside was created, the maximum effort day builds on the method used so successfully by the great Bulgarian strength athletes the continual use of maximal efforts. Maximal efforts above 90% of a 1RM are put forth using the primary upper and lower body exercises, twice per week. Yet, there is an obvious limitation lifting this way, especially with a limited amount of variation as explained in the previous paragraph. Applying a conjugate system and changing exercises at least every 3 weeks allows these maximal efforts to continue indefinitely. This proven idea involves doing lifts that are similar, but not identical to, the main upper and lower body primary exercises. So, the conjugate method used at Westside is based on the proven concept that greater training results can be obtained over a greater length of time by using constantly rotated variations on the primary lifts, rather than those primary lifts themselves (Ajan, Baroga) This is why the new exercise creation matrix presented earlier will be of assistance in constantly creating new exercises. REST OVERCOME BY DYNAMIC WORK This idea involves a relaxed muscle, suddenly activated into concentric action. An example would be a bench press off of the pins in a rack. The muscles are relaxed and must suddenly
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activate to move the bar. This type of muscular activation is excellent for building the starting strength necessary to move a load from a resting position. S TAT I C O V E R C O M E B Y D Y N A M I C W O R K This type of action involves muscles that are contracted but not actually moving anything. The muscular force is then suddenly increased to overcome the resistance and move an object. With box squatting for example, the upper body and core muscles are kept tight and contracted when you rest on the box, but some of the leg and hip muscles come to rest very briefly, before exploding off of the box. Similarly, with floor presses or board presses some muscles are kept tight while others relax for a second before contracting hard to directly or indirectly drive the bar up explosively. By using these two concepts: 1) Rest overcome by dynamic and 2) Static overcome by dynamic, we are essentially breaking up a movement into 3 parts. The first part is the eccentric, or lowering of the weight. The second part is the very brief static transition phase between lowering and raising the weight. The third part is the lifting of the weight. Breaking the lift up this way makes it harder, but concentrates effort on each distinct phase. It also removes the stretch reflex that helps us in the lift when we do it without pausing and resting muscles briefly between the lowering and lifting phases. Specifically, these methods develop starting, explosive and absolute strengths. As mentioned, many of the key exercises in the Westside system combine both of these concepts elegantly because during the pause some of the muscles are contracted and some are briefly relaxed. INTERVAL METHOD By enlisting shorter and shorter rest intervals between sets, more intensity is created via an increase in the number of muscle fibers recruited. Lactic acid production goes up and so does the production of human growth hormone (HGH). Using the repetition method with shorter rests between sets maximizes these effects. We are utilizing this method primarily on speed day, with assistance exercises, in special workouts, and during transitional weeks. REACTIVE METHOD This idea refers to the reaction of the brain to a sudden change in the load we are lifting. Use of chains provides a good example of this principle in action. When in the bottom of the lift, the bar is suddenly much lighter than the load at the top, there is a subsequent neural reaction to explosively drive the bar up given this sudden difference. A sudden release of weight will accomplish the same thing. An example would be if you were to complete 5 pushups with 60 pounds of chain on your back and then had a training partner quickly remove them all in the bottom of your last pushup. Accustomed to the heavy chain, your brain would have prepared for a maximal effort and you would explode out of the bottom. This is another way to develop speed, starting and explosive strengths. CONTRAST METHOD The contrast method simply involves a contrast in the loads being used, enabling the previous principles to manifest. As such, chains, bands, releasing weight, or suddenly changing from heavy to light weight in almost any capacity describes the use of the contrast method. As an example, with chains, the weight is lighter in the bottom of the lift and heavier at the top creating an obvious contrast. The lighter load at the bottom where the mechanical advantage is weakest causes the sudden reactive concentric phase. This occurs since the lifter is reacting as though they are lifting the higher resistance on the top. Also, the use of chains and bands provides a strong neurological response to build both starting and explosive strength, but the lifter will also need to drive hard to the top to complete the lift. Without the contrast in load, they would naturally decelerate and not push as hard due to the mechanical advantage closer to the top and because the lift is coming to an end. The added effort required causes the muscles to remain under high tension longer, building accelerating and absolute strength. Therefore, using the reactive and contrast methods causes the lifter to: 1. Explode out of the bottom of the lift
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2. Accelerate throughout the entire movement to the finish Muscular contraction or tension can only take place for so long under a load. These two ideas will train the muscles to work effectively to lift the weight successfully in the limited amount of time they have to do so.

BALLISTIC METHOD When we engage in any positive (concentric) muscular action where we are not required to stop or end the motion, we are practicing ballistics. A standing jump is a great example. Here we are trying to leap upward as high as we possibly can. There is no end point we will try to stop at. Its just the opposite as we will jump as high as our strength will allow and then come down to land, usually on a box that is higher than the floor. When we throw a medicine ball up in the air, against a wall or onto the floor as hard as we can we are also practicing the ballistic method. Another great way to practice this method is by pushing or pulling a weighted sled to work the upper body. Here we can create as much ballistic force as possible without worrying about the sled stopping since the force we create will simply cause it to slide forward until it comes to rest. Using chains allows us to reverse our lifts from the negative to the positive in a ballistic way. This reversal from the eccentric part of the movement to the concentric should be as rapid and aggressively ballistic as possible. Specifically, on speed day with the primary exercise, the bar should be lowered as quickly as possible, then caught and reversed as fast as possible as though you are trying to throw the bar up in the air. Adding chains allows us to practice this fast, ballistic effort since their increasing load as the bar goes up will help prevent the bar from flying out of our hands, yet we can still push like hell as though we want it to.

LIGHTENED METHOD This is another specific method that employs the contrast and reactive ideas already explained. As the bar is lowered it will become lighter and lighter until it reaches the bottom of the range of motion. Then as it is lifted it steadily becomes heavier again. This effect is accomplished by placing a bar within elastic bands which then stretch as the load is lowered. The accommodation of resistance provided here is similar to using chains. Unlike with chains though, using bands this way creates elastic energy in the rebound out of the bottom of the lift. Picture a squat or a bench press done in a power rack, whereby bands are fastened or draped over the top of the rack and hanging down. The bar is then placed within the bands. With added weight on the bar, as it is lowered, the bands will stretch making the load lighter as it moves down. In the bottom of the lift, the elastic energy will help rebound the bar up. As the bar moves back to the starting position, less and less elastic energy remains until just the bar weight remains at the top of the lift. This is an excellent example of the reactive method at work, since the lighter load will create a sharp rebound out of the bottom of the lift which will build reactive, starting, and explosive strength. Also, given the contrast in the weight the brain quickly learns that the load, while very light at the bottom, becomes quite heavy at the top. This teaches one to accelerate maximally to completion and not to decelerate near completion (which occurs with just barbell weight). Unlike with chains, one tries to take advantage of the elastic rebound with bands and beat the band in the race to the top of the lift. On max effort day, the difference in load from the bottom to the top of the lift should be approximately 15%25%. If using this method on speed day, for example with squats, the load would be lowered at the bottom by roughly 20%, with approximately 40-60% of a 1RM at the top. This reverse use of bands to make the bar lighter is the one exception for beginners where we may use bands and bar weight together. This method may be used with all three lifts including the dead-lift whereby 135 pounds is commonly taken out of the bottom of the lift by using bands. This method is also extremely useful for forms of the dead-lift where the bar does not actually touch the floor when lowered, such as Romanian dead-lifts or Dimel dead-lifts. The lightened method can also be used for the overhead press, power cleans, triceps extensions, inclines, and many other lifts. It may also be employed creatively for all types of sporting movements. It teaches one to accelerate throughout the entire range of motion. Other than bands, another option to create the lightened method is the use of large foam blocks on each side of the barbell. As the bar is lowered the ends of the bar will sink into the foam and this will lighten the load
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accordingly. The degree of elasticity for both methods will differ depending on the type of foam, degree to which the bar sinks into the foam, band tension, type of bands, etc.

H E A V Y- L I G H T M E T H O D Used on speed days, this method employs added weight for the first few sets and repetitions. The bar is then quickly stripped of some weight making it feel unusually light and the remaining sets are then completed. The contrast between the heavier and lighter loads causes added stimulus to the CNS producing added acceleration with the lighter sets. This method can be used for all 3 lifts. Heavy-light method can be done on speed day by using a bar weight with 90% of a 1RM for 1 or 2 reps for a few sets, then quickly dropping to 40-60% for 2-3 fast sets of 2-3 repetitions. Other options for using this method include using a training partner to quickly strip some plates off of the bar after the first heavy repetition and then completing a few very fast repetitions. The heavy-light method is simple and easy to use with even basic equipment. It will help develop reactive, explosive and speed strengths. If the equipment is available, weight release, or eccentric hooks are an excellent way to apply the Heavy-light method. Hooks loaded with extra weight hang from the ends of the bar, such that when they hit the ground, that extra weight is released. The bar can then be raised explosively with the lighter weight for 2-3 fast repetitions.

CONCENTRIC METHOD This idea involves working primarily the positive or concentric part of a lift. As an example, for a squat or a good-morning, you would rest the bar on the pins in a rack at a height that places the bar at the lowest part of the lift. You could also suspend the bar in hanging chains in the same low position. You would then get under the bar and lift it concentrically, lowering it to then repeat the lift from this rested position. This is also an example of the rest overcome by dynamic method discussed earlier. Any movement involving pushing or pulling a weighted sled will inherently remove the negative or eccentric phase. For example, pushing a bar forward that is attached at either end to a weighted sled behind you will require only that you step forward into position for the next positive or concentric repetition to again push the bar forward.

A N A LY T I C - S Y N T H E T I C M E T H O D Analytics refers to the idea of analyzing a process and breaking it down into its separate component parts which can then be improved individually. Synthesizing it refers to bringing the parts back together, resulting in what will logically be a better process than before. This is exactly why we are breaking the basic movements down into their negative, static and positive parts. Applying this idea, we are also working portions of the movement on their own. For example - Romanian dead-lifts, rack pulls, board presses, box squats, concentrics, etc. The net result is that when we re-synthesize the movement back as a whole, we will be stronger and faster in that lift. We are improving the individual parts of a given movement so that the sum of those parts now creates a stronger whole movement. This same approach is expressed when we build up the individual muscles involved in the primary lifts. To build strength in the squat, we will strengthen our abdominals, lower back muscles, hamstrings, and glutes individually. If they are all stronger, it follows that ones squat will also be stronger. This is why this program involves so many choices for assistance exercises to constantly rotate and build up the separate muscles that are involved in the main lifts. The body will need to constantly adapt to these new variations. Finally, this analytic approach automatically exposes weak areas which can then be improved upon to produce greater overall absolute strength and performance.
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MUSCLE PRIORITY SETS Westside presents a consistent order of sequential training for different muscle groups on both the lower and upper body days. On the lower body days, after the primary lower body exercise is completed, the optimal sequential order for working the lower body muscles is as follows: 1. Lower back 2. Hamstrings 3. Glutes 4. Calves 5. Abdominals On the upper body days, after the primary upper body exercise the optimal sequential order for working the upper body muscles is as follows: 1. Triceps 2. Lats 3. Upper back 4. Delts (shoulders) 5. Biceps 6. Abdominals This default order may be changed temporarily to train the most underdeveloped or lagging muscle groups. This is the basic idea behind muscle priority sets. The same can be done for particular exercises that are lacking. These areas may be trained first, or more often. They can also be trained in short, special workouts as described earlier. Upper body workouts may be split up such that more time is given to each particular area. For example, the primary pressing exercise and triceps could be done on one day, and lats, upper back, and shoulders on the next day. Biceps could even be done at the end of the next lower body day. There is much less flexibility here with the lower body, but the calves may certainly be done separately. Regardless of how you split up your workouts, try and do abdominals at the end of every training session.

HIGH SPEED ECCENTRICS When eccentric movements are performed slowly they contribute to muscle size (hypertrophy). This part of the movement is also the primary cause of muscle soreness after lifting. For improving absolute strength though, slow eccentrics (negative) movements fail miserably. Conversely, fast or over-speed eccentrics will contribute greatly to strength increases via maximizing the natural stretch reflex. This is the rebound we experience when rapidly transitioning from the negative to the positive part of any movement. Using heavy weights will not add to this rebound phase as effectively as using higher speeds in this eccentric phase. Here is exactly why - in the calculation of kinetic energy (KE), increasing velocity is much more important than increasing mass, since velocity is squared into the equation:

KE = (1/2)Mass*Velocity2
Up to 50% more force can be created in the eccentric portion of a lift. Yet, if we increase the mass (weight) then the bar will be heavier and one tends to lower it more slowly for the sake of safety. As the bar gets heavier, we cant drop it too fast since we have to control and then stop it. Slowing down though, allows the kinetic energy created and stored in the muscles and tendons to dissipate. Adding mass then is counterproductive since we need primarily speed during the eccentric phase to create higher KE and a stronger stretch reflex. However, high speed or over-speed eccentrics with lighter weights allowing maximal speed will increase KE safely. This is exactly why plyometrics explosive jumps, depth jumps and similar upper body movements work so well to develop the powerful stretch reflex from the eccentric to the positive drive part of a movement. This powerful stretch reflex will then help immensely to improve all of the special strengths. The loads used with plyometric exercises are mostly body weight alone and are so effective because velocity is more important than mass. It is important to note that just like elite athletes, we will develop very high forces of elastic energy in the tendons rather than the muscles when using these methods.
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The rationale here then is to use as little muscle tension as possible in the eccentric phase. So, only enough eccentric muscle tension should be used to control the correct bar path of the movement. Also, muscles primarily involved in the concentric phase should be relaxed and used as little as possible during the eccentric phase. For example, the back muscles primarily should be contracted when lowering the bench press. This will preserve the muscular force of the drive muscles for the concentric drive up. We will use high-speed eccentrics on speed days during the primary exercises. Also, when completing any assistance exercises, the eccentric part of any lift should be done as quickly as possible. This will build a stronger and stronger rebound into the positive concentric part of any lift. This will dramatically improve speed, explosiveness and all of the special strengths, including absolute strength. Finally, high speed eccentrics used for any lift will increase recovery, since the use of the muscles will be minimized. Muscle soreness can be greatly diminished this way. This idea reinforces the earlier maxim Nothing at Westside is done slowly every movement is explosive.

Miscellaneous exercises
There is an almost endless variety of new and different exercises to try. Many are unique versions of the originals named after the folks who created them or the particular sport for which they were adapted. Examples include: Dimel dead-lifts, JM presses, or Speed-skater squats. The following list is by no means complete, but includes some variations of the basic exercises and others that have been used successfully at Westside. Please check the resources guide for further information on how to correctly execute these lifts.


Front squats the bar is held against the front deltoids, instead of on the back. This will require a much straighter back and much more use of the quadriceps muscles in the front of the upper leg. High bar squats here the bar is placed on top of the trap muscles at the base of the neck. This also requires a more straight-up back position and more use of the quadriceps. There will also be more stress on the knees since they will be more directly under the load. A small accessory called a Manta ray that keeps the bar in the correct position is also helpful if you are used to the low bar position. Safety-squat-bar squats this bar allows a hands-free squat. The bar will be in a slightly higher position than with high bar squats causing an even more pronounced effect. Cambered bar squats this bar changes the angle and positioning of the load on the back, placing it even lower than with a low bar back squat. Extra wide Sumo style squats will develop more hip strength and dramatically increase the use of the inner thigh or groin muscles. Very low box squats for example, with a box as low as 8-10 inches high. Box squats below parallel with wide stance this is the most common form of box squatting at Westside and is especially good for improving weak hip muscles.
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Box squats below parallel with a regular stance for improving lower back strength. Box squats at parallel with a close stance for improving quadriceps strength. Box squats set at the exact height where a sticking point occurs this will improve strength precisely where a weak part of the movement exists. Belt squats a perfect way to work the lower body with no stress or trauma on the spine, this exercise is also therapeutic as it will traction the spine and re-align the vertebrae. Belt squats - at below parallel, parallel and above parallel, with a very wide stance, or a very close stance. Free squats done with just your body weight. Reps in the 20-100+ range are recommended. Squats with a band only hook a jump stretch band around your upper back and neck and stand on both ends, then squat. Wall squats slide your back against a wall to the angle where you want to work your legs and hold for 15-60 seconds. Excellent for working particularly weak positions in the squat. Single leg squats place one foot back, elevated on a box or bench. Place the other foot far out in front. Stance width can vary from narrow to staggered wide. This builds the entire leg while increasing hip and groin flexibility.


Dead-lifts behind the back - difficult if the lifter has large hamstrings, but will build great leg strength. I Calf-glute-ham raises - raising the back of the machine up to 30 inches off the ground will make if far more challenging and work the lower hamstrings closer to the knee.

Hook a strap to the rear of your belt and attached to a power rack, lean forward so you are on an angle with the strap holding you up. Now perform dead-lifts (dumbbells or barbells). This will emphasize all of the posterior chain muscles. Power arched good mornings use a very wide stance, a low bar back position and lean forward until the bar is in front of the knees. Keep the knees only slightly bent for stability. Lower the bar as far as possible without losing the arch in your back. Good mornings - done with different bars and stances from close to sumo and in between. Suspended good mornings suspend the bar in chains or in the rack pins in the low position and start the lift here. These are very effective to improve dead-lift strength. Seated good mornings - from a parallel or above box. Will obviously not work the hamstrings or glutes, but will isolate the lower back.


Seated good mornings off the floor sitting on the floor with the legs wide and out in front, use a very light weight or just the bar. Relax when dropping down and dont arch the back when coming back up, but rather push hard with the heels (use this only to increase flexibility). I Good mornings - raising the heels by 2 inches will provide extra work for the lower back. Raising the toes by 1-2 inches will place extra emphasis on the hamstrings.

Band Good mornings - done with bands alone, for example with a band looped around the neck and shoulders, standing in the band with both feet. Combo squat/good mornings - this exercise involves bending over into a good morning, then dropping into a parallel squat then squatting the bar back up to the starting position. Box dead-lifts done by standing on a platform from a range of 1-4 inches off the floor. This will build tremendous strength throughout the lift due to the increased total range. Grip strength will improve since the bar must be held for longer. Dimel dead-lifts like a Romanian dead-lift, but the knees are bent as the bar is lowered to just below the knee, then straightened as the bar is raised back up. Rack pulls choose pin heights that allow only about 10% over your best regular dead-lift. This is usually no more than 6-8 inches off the floor. Dead-lifts switch up conventional and Sumo styles as one will improve the other. One arm dead-lifts use Sumo style.
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Pull throughs using a kettlebell this exercises will work the glutes and hamstrings very well, especially at the high insertion between these two muscles. I Pull throughs with straight legs this will directly hit the lower back, bending the legs will engage the hamstrings. Doing a semi-squat will activate the hamstrings and glutes. I Pull throughs - standing on a box for added range of motion. I Reverse hypers done up to a 90 degree range of motion and also up to only 45 degrees. Done at 45 degrees, they will more dramatically hit the lower back and hamstrings. Generally, tilted at a forward angle, reverse hyper work will hit the lower back more directly. Tilted back, so the head is higher will hit the glutes and hamstrings more directly. This exercise builds the hamstrings, glutes and spinal erectors, but also tractions the lowest vertebrae, providing excellent therapy for the lower back. I Band leg curls choke a band to a rack, and place one end around the heel while sitting on a bench, lying face down, standing or at any angle that engages the hamstrings. I Sled work walking forward, backward and laterally and with straps attached to each leg. I Prowler - pushing or pulling. I Tire flips. I Farmers walk. I Weighted wheel barrow walk. I Pushing or pulling a car.

UPPER BODY Bench press with changing grips - use 3-4 different grips. Your closest grip should be where arms are just inside of parallel. An extra wide grip would be at least one full hand width outside of your regular grip. Other grip variations will then be between these two. I Bench pressing off the pins, or from hanging chains - this can be done at various heights from the chest and involves using the Static or Resting Overcome by Dynamic Methods. This will develop a fast rate of force development. Simply relax the muscles at the bottom when the bar comes to rest and then contract them concentrically as fast as possible. The effect is maximized, the longer the rest before the concentric phase (as long as 3-4 seconds) as this delay will cause all stored kinetic energy to dissipate from the connective tissue, and only muscular energy will remain to drive up the bar. Chains can be added to accommodate resistance. Never lower the weight down onto the pins on the first rep. Always press it right off the pins or out of the chains, overcoming inertia. Generally, use a closer grip for this exercise. The bar should move approximately 4-5 inches on the highest pin, and 10-12 inches on the lowest. This exercise is also commonly referred to as rack lockouts. I Board presses 2 inch x 6 inch boards are used for this exercise. Different ranges are produced by using anywhere from 1 6 of the boards, fastened together to create different thicknesses. Using a thickness of anywhere from 3 6 boards will primarily work the triceps and generally a closer grip should be used. With that many boards this may be considered a supplemental exercise for the triceps. Unlike rack presses where body contact is only with the hands, here the entire weight is transferred through the boards to the chest, shoulders and arms (the effect is somewhat like a box squat for benching). I Floor presses lower the bar until the triceps are completely on the floor, relax for a second before pressing the bar up hard. This brief pause breaks up the eccentric/concentric chain. This builds explosive strength and will improve the bottom part of the bench press. When using chains, they can be simply draped over the ends of the bar. I Weighted pushups may be used for reps in place of a max effort lift, or as an assistance exercise. I Close grip bench primarily for the triceps. Use all variations including different bars, types of resistance, incline, decline, etc.
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Dumbbell triceps extensions hold the dumbbells with the palms facing each other and thumbs down, lower by bending the elbows only until they touch the upper chest and raise again. This will build tremendous tension at the part of the triceps that connects to the inside of the elbow. The dumbbells may also be lowered to the forehead, or beside the head. Variations include: - Incline - Decline - Lying on the floor - Flat bench - Standing - With chains, using bands, etc. I Flared arm dumbbell extensions keep elbows pointed out to the sides, touch the upper chest and try to keep the dumbbells touching the entire time. I Band triceps pushdowns choke a band on the top of a power rack and do band push-downs. I Band triceps extensions - with the band behind the head, or lying down extending directly up. I JM press lower the bar with a close grip, in a straight line toward the upper chest to about 4-5 inches from the chest. Pause for a second and press up hard. Elbows should be pointed toward the feet as this is primarily a triceps exercise. I Straight bar triceps extensions hold the elbows in tightly. Use a grip where the arms are roughly parallel to each other. Start the bar over the lower chest. Lower the bar in an arch by raising your elbows and pushing them toward your head this will stress the triceps where they meet the elbow which is where extension strength comes from. The bar may be lowered to the forehead, nose, chin, or throat. The closer you are to the throat or upper chest, the harder you will hit the area around your elbows. Variations include: - Incline - Decline - Lying on the floor - Flat bench - Chains, etc. I Upper body sled work all kinds of pushes and pulls with different grips and attachments. I Static lat work mostly with bands around a power rack, holding the ends in hand and contracting the lats for as long as 2-4 minutes. During the bench press the lats are contracted statically the entire time. I Inverted flyes - for working the upper back, can be done with a single band while seated or standing. I Upright rows done with dumbbells; will allow for a natural and free movement pattern. I Dumbbell power cleans done one arm at a time, or together. I Forearm exercises of all kinds - will assist in building a stronger bench press. I External rotator cuff work external shoulder rotation is vitally important to strengthen the rotator cuff muscles which help to stabilize the bar during heavy bench pressing. Specifically, these muscles assists in pushing the bar apart when bench pressing. Rotator cuff exercises will especially help to prevent shoulder injuries.


Janda sit ups - contracting the hamstrings when doing any type of seated sit up or crunch will cause the muscles in the top, front part of the legs to relax (the hip flexor muscles). This will then allow the abdominal muscles to do the work during this type of movement. Looping bands around the heels and then attaching the other ends to a rack or bench while performing sit ups is an excellent way to accomplish this isolating
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effect. You can also hold a large stability ball behind the knees, contracting the hamstrings as you work the abdominals. I Hanging leg raises try and drive the feet all the way up to the bar you are holding onto (180 degrees).

Sample Workouts
The following are examples of possible workout scenarios for each of the 4 upper and lower body days. These workouts would typically be done for 3 weeks before changing exercises. Again, these are just examples; the variety of exercises and combinations are almost endless.

M A X E F F O R T L O W E R B O D Y D AY Example 1 I Good mornings with chains (sets of 3, 3, then lower weight 10 pounds for a final set of 5 reps) I Calf-glute-ham raises (sets of 12, 12, and 10 reps holding a 10 lb plate) I Power snatch (3 sets of 8 reps) I Walking lunges (3 sets of 12 steps per leg, holding dumbbells) I Side bends for abdominals (2 sets of 16 reps per arm with a dumbbell) Example 2 I Dead lift with trap bar standing on a 2 inch block (sets of 3, 3, then add weight, final set of 2 reps) I Front squats (3 sets of 10 reps) I Leg press (3 sets of 7 reps) I Sled pulls (4 runs of roughly 80 meters pulling 90 pounds on the sled) I Landmine Russian twists (3 sets of 12 reps per side with Olympic bar + 25 lb plate)

M A X E F F O R T U P P E R B O D Y D AY Example 1 I Bench press off the pins just above chest height, regular grip (sets of 3, 3, and 2 reps) I Triceps push-downs with rope handle (4 sets of 7 reps) I Reverse push-ups with chains for added weight (sets of 12, 12, and 10 reps) I Front delt raises (3 sets of 12 reps) I Straight bar curls (3 sets of 8 reps) I Abdominals side bridges for minimum of 45 seconds (2 sets per side) Example 2 I Floor presses with Football bar (neutral grip) and chains (set of 5, then add weight for 2, 2 reps) I Dumbbell flyes (3 sets of 7 reps) I Triceps dips with 45 lb plate on weighted belt (sets of 8, 7, 5 and 5 reps) I Seated dumbbell triceps extensions (sets of 12, 10 and 9 reps) I Overhead press off of the pins at forehead height (sets of 9, 7, and 6 reps) I Janda sit ups (2 sets of 20 reps) (In example 2, the upper back and lat work may be done in a separate workout the following day. Alternatively, this work may be completed at the end of the next lower body speed day or in a short special workout dedicated to these particular body parts.)
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L O W E R B O D Y S P E E D D AY Example 1 I Safety squat bar box squats off a parallel box, with chains, regular stance (5 sets of 2 reps) I Pull-throughs, wide stance, bending knees, holding a kettlebell (3 sets of 20 reps) I Leg curls with a medium band, seated on a bench (3 sets of 15 reps) I Standing sit-ups with a heavy band draped over a power rack (2 sets of 25 reps) Example 2 I Low bar back squat onto a below parallel box with chains, wide stance (5 sets of 2 reps) I Speed dead-lifts, conventional stance, with 20 lb. chains draped over the bar (5 sets of 1 rep) I Back extensions, holding a 25 lb plate (3 sets of 20 reps) I Step-ups, holding dumbbells (3 sets of 12 reps) I Leg raises off of a bench, with chains hanging from ankles (2 sets of 20 reps)

U P P E R B O D Y S P E E D D AY Example 1 I Incline bench press, regular grip, with chains (5 sets of 3 reps) I Triceps reverse dips with light band around shoulders (sets of 20, 16, 14, and 12 reps) I Dumbbell rows (3 sets of 15 reps) I Zottman curls (3 sets of 10 reps) I Sit ups using a medicine ball for twist at the top (2 sets of 16 reps) Example 2 I Bench press with medium grip, with chains (5 sets of 3 reps) I Dumbbell flared triceps extensions (4 sets of 15 reps) I Chin-ups on the rings (sets of 10, 8, and 7 reps) I Rope face pulls (3 sets of 16 reps) I Roman chair sit-ups (set of 25, then another set of 20) (In example 2, extra upper back work is done since the biceps will be done at the end of the next lower body day, or in a short special workout dedicated to that body part.)

S H O R T, S P E C I A L W O R K O U T S Example 1 Shoulders I One arm dumbbell press (3 sets of 12-16 reps done consecutively) I Barbell front delt raises (3 sets of 15 reps) I Standing dumbbell rotator press against a wall (4 sets of 15 reps) Example 2 Biceps I Barbell curls with a wide grip (3 sets of 12-15 reps) I Single arm cable curls (4 sets of 15 to 20 reps) I Standing sit-ups, leaning to one side using cable rope attachment (2 sets of 25 reps) Example 3 Abdominals I Hanging leg raises (3 sets of 15 20 reps) I Roman chair lateral (on your side) sit-ups (3 sets of 12 reps) I Front bridge static holds (2 sets for over 45 seconds)
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About The Author

Sean Kelly an NSCA (National Strength and Conditioning Association) CSCS (Certified Strength and Conditioning Specialist) and CPT (Certified Personal Trainer). He holds a Westside Barbell certification from elite athletic strength trainer and Westside founder, Louis Simmons. Sean holds over a dozen national and world raw power-lifting records. Seans main areas of interest include advanced strength training and anthropology & diet. Specifically, his two main areas of practical study have been adapting advanced strength methodologies to the goals of the general public and successfully following an evolutionary diet in contemporary society. Sean puts the ideas in this program into practice every day at Fortis gym, Here, the uniquely effective philosophies regarding diet, exercise and building muscle are combined and put into practice. The unification of these proven ideas is detailed in the book Why We are Fat and How Not To Be, Ever Again! at Sean is 46 years old. For over 20 years he has been researching and discovering the endemic causes of our societys obesity and diet related ill-health epidemics. He has practiced and applied these unconventional but highly effective solutions with great success.

Where to find a good athletic strength training gym:

Instruction on the lifts:

About the originator and creator of Westside Louis Simmons:

Published articles by Louis Simmons
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How to lose fat permanently using diet, exercise and building muscle

Additional reading and instruction:

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