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Old 12-09-2011, 05:13 PM   #9
LtL
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Join Date: Jan 2010
Location: Reading, Berkshire, UK
Posts: 12,019
Training Exp: 5 years
Training Type: Powerlifting
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So this is the second part of the evolution of my training, starting from after my meet in January when I switched to Westside and taking up to my current version of the Westside split.

So when I started Westside I did a lot of reading and research across the internet. Now as a RAW drug-free lifter there are two main problems with 99% of the literature available on Westside:

1. It is written by and for guys on gear
2. It is written by and for guys in gear

Great so here I am, RAW, natural trying to find a needle in a haystack. I eventually came across this template:

Westside Template for the Raw lifter

Monday ME Upper

1. ME Upper variation work up to a heavy triple or single
Choose from the following:-
 Floor press
 Incline BP
 CG BP
 CG Incline BP
 Flat BP
 CG Floor press

2. Supplemental press exercise 3-4 sets of 8-12
Choose from the following:-
 DB BP (palms in or out)
 Incline DB BP (palms in or out)
 BB BP variations

3. Triceps low intensity/high volume exercise 3-4 sets of 8-12
Choose one of the following:-
 DB skull crushers
 BB extensions
 Pushdowns

4. Horizontal Back work 3-4 sets of 8-12
Choose one of the following:-
 Seated row variation
 T bar rows
 DB rows
 BB rows

5. Shoulder prehab 2-3 sets of 12-15
Choose one of the following:-
 Scarecrows
 Lateral raises
 Rear delt machine

6. Bicep variation 3-4 sets of 6-15 reps
Choose one of the following:-
 BB curls
 Incline curls
 Preacher curls

Wednesday ME lower

1. ME lower exercise Work up to a heavy triple or single
Choose one of the following:-
 Squats
 Box squats
 Dead lifts
 Rack pulls
 Front squats

2. Supplemental Quad exercise 3-4 sets of 6-12
Choose one of the following:-
 Lunge variations
 Split squat variations
 Squat variation

3. Lower back/hamstring exercise 3-4 sets of 8-12
Choose one of the following:-
 SL dead lifts
 Hypers
 Glute ham raises
 Stability ball leg curls

4. Abs 3-4 sets of 6-12
Choose 1 or 2 of the following:-
 Leg raises
 Cable crunches
 Incline Sit ups
 Stability ball cable crunches

Friday DE upper

1. Speed Bench 8 sets of 3 (using various grips) 50-60% 1RM

2. Heavy pressing variation 3-4 sets of 2-8 reps
Choose one of the following:-
 BP
 CG BP
 Rack lockouts
 Floor press
 JM press

3. Vertical Pull variation 3-4 sets of 6-12
Choose one of the following:-
 Chin ups
 Pull ups
 Pull down variations

4. Vertical press variation 3-4 sets of 6-12
Choose one of the following:-
 Seated/Standing Military press
 DB press
 Bradford press
 Single arm press

5. Arms superset 3-4 sets of 8-12:-
Group A:
 BB curls
 Incline curls
 DB curls
 Preacher curls

Group B:
 Pushdowns
 DB skullcrushers
 BB extensions
 Tricep pullovers

6. Grip training

Sunday DE lower

1. Speed squats 8 sets of 2 (60-70%)

2. Supplemental Quad exercise 3-4 sets of 6-12
Choose one of the following:-
 Lunge variations
 Split squat variations
 Squat variation

3. Lower back/hamstring exercise 3-4 sets of 8-12
Choose one of the following:-
 dead lifts
 Hypers
 Glute ham raises
 Stability ball leg curls

4. Abs 3-4 sets of 6-12
Choose 1 or 2 of the following:-
 Leg raises
 Cable crunches
 Incline Sit ups
 Stability ball cable crunches

First thing you notice about this is that there is a LOT of volume in there. I had come off 5/3/1 and periodisation and was not used to volume in any form really. I had been running very much on a less is more mentality. So the first thing I did was to cut all of the assistance work other than the main lifts for the day, down to 2 sets per exercise. Other than that I pretty much ran this template as is, 4 days per week and saw what happened.

So the first thing that I noticed happening was on the Max Effort days I was feeling a little flat. The problem was that after the speed work on dynamic day, I either worked up to a heavier set of 1-3 or I put a lot of volume in afterwards, often in the form of a competition for rep's with the guys. For example after speed bench I would keep the bands on and work up to around 80% of my max for a double or after speed squats I'd do a couple of sets of goblet squats and then rep' out. Basically I was burning myself out. So what did I do? Two things:

1. I cut back on the stupid competitions on $hit that didn't matter like reverse grip bench press.
2. I made sure I knew what the aim of the dynamic day was: to concentrate on improving bar speed and technique on the speed work and then to work on weak points through assistance. It is NOT to go heavy. The geared guys could get away with it, I couldn't.

So now the speed days were a little easier and I could concentrate on upping my work capacity by taking less rest inbetween sets and slowly adding in more volume. This isn't strictly chronological but while we're on the subject of dynamic days, I may as well talk about the second major problem that I had on these which is that without the heavy work or the rep' outs, they were dull. I got into powerlifting because session after session of high volume, moderate weight bodybuilding routines bored me to tears and somehow I had ended up with a routine which was 50% like this again. I knew I needed some heavy work in there but I also knew I couldn't handle full ROM so first of all I added board work on dynamic effort upper day. This was done after the speed sets and I often left the bands on to lower the bar weight even more and not tax my CNS and joints as much. I would run through various different close grip variations including:

- Tricep hell (search YouTube for Dave Tate's video of this if you're not familiar)
- CGBP lockout work off the 3 board, with or without bands/Fat Gripz
- CG rep' work off the 3 board

And lastly sometimes I would just use my competition grip and lockout some uber heavy weights off the 3 board. This worked great but I was still missing something similar for dynamic lower. I was struggling locking out heavy deadlifts so Fazc suggested GMs. I added them after speed squats and they worked perfectly. Now I rotate through variations of those each week, keep the rep's high generally but sometimes I'll drop down to a triple and throw some plates on. Feels good and I'm hoping Sunday will show that it's helping my pulls.

So that pretty much covers the changes that I made on dynamic effort days. I took some stuff out and then have gradually adding stuff back in. Now to move onto max effort days. I have to say that there wasn't a lot that I did for the lower day other than drop the assistance down to one exercise instead of two as I was knackered after squatting or pulling heavy. On upper day it wasn't so simple. First off I didn't like the selection of max effort exercises so I used board presses. So for around three months I pressed heavy off my chest at best one week in three, possibly one week in four. This did NOT help my competition press. I had basically been ego pressing for three months. Now this wasn't without benefit: my tricep strength had gone through the roof but I didn't have the bottom end strength or stability to take advantage of it so I went back to the drawing board and switched to an alternating system: one week off the chest working to a single, double or triple and then the next week I'd do the same but on a partial ROM. The partial exercises I used were mostly things which made presses harder:

- One board presses
- Floor Press
- Incline CGBP (not really partial ROM but not flat bench to chest either so it gets included here)

I also included overload work with:

- Reverse band benching (reverse light bands taking around 15kgs at the chest)
- 2 board press

After 2 months of this, I put 7.5kgs on my PB and felt a lot stronger at the bottom of the press. Shortly after this I easily paused a weight just 5kgs under my touch and go max. Long may this continue

After my daughter was born in July I was determined to continue training the same and for three weeks I did. Four days per week, every week but it took its toll. I was averaging around 4.5 hours sleep per night but more importantly with working late on top of training, I wasn't seeing my family so I cut down to 3 days per week. To counter the lost day I did two things (you'll notice I like to double up on action points but never more than that. Any more and you can't track what's working.)

1. I upped the volume on speed days with more sets for assistance concentrating on quad's, posterior chain and tri's. Quote from Mark Bell @ Supertraining who trained under Louie Simmons for some years:

Quote:
If you're training Westside right, the whole back side of your body should hurt all of the time.
2. I stopped deloading. When I was doing 4 days per week, I could only handle five to six weeks of full training before I felt broken and had to rest. With the three day per week protocol, two weeks in four are lighter weeks with two dynamic sessions and one max effort so that took the place of the deload.

Last problem I had was that my pull wasn't progressing as much as I thought it should. Westside pulls heavy from the floor infrequently which I was fine with but I wasn't doing enough speed work so I added in speed pulls on dynamic effort lower day.

Wow. I haven't looked back to check yet but I'm sure this is the longest post I've ever made. It probably won't all fit in one So I'll finish now and just add one post after this with my current template and exercise choices. The choices are pretty much just guidelines though. I choose assistance exercises based somewhat on feel. For example if I've pulled heavy on Saturday, I wouldn't do any back work to include lower back, I'd do some machine work to give it a break. If it felt fine though, I'd push through.

Thanks for reading and well done if you got this far

LtL
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