Training update for me as well. I've been training in a Westside fashion for the past 9 weeks, for those that know me I detest to try someone else's 'program' but I have to give this credit where it's due. I'm stronger and feel like I have more potential to be strong than I ever have been. Going straight into it, a few things I've learned which pertain to my own training:
The whole program:
To do Westside you really need to do it all. It's not possible to work part of the routine and really benefit. For example you need to box squat, if you don't you won't benefit from the abundant of assistance work aimed at the posterior.
can be thought of as purely assistance work. It isn't the time to max on the competition lifts, absolutely nothing could be further from the truth. It's the time to strain but on lifts which will help the main lift.
The number of sets is key here. Approximately 10-12 sets seems optimal including warm ups. Work up to the top weights slowly, even if that means you max on a weight which is less than if you took bigger jumps. The point is NOT to max on as heaviest weight as possible. The point is to work a few lifts close to 100% and strain.
Secondly switch between heavier and lighter
is where you train the lifts, and to work the lifts correctly in the right form it MUST be heavy. Anyone can train decent form with light weights but attempting to train fast with good form with heavier weight is the key here.
By my quick estimations weights ranging from 70-85% of a geared max, which is bar and band weight, is about the right range. Now let's take a look at that closer:
- Briefs are used, rather than full gear.
- Squats are paused on the box, rather than touch and go.
Bearing in mind these two things, the 70-85% range is actually very heavy and more than sufficient to work the groove properly.
Combining Max and Dynamic:
What I've found here is that if you think about what you want to accomplish in the next 3 week block this should effect how you're going to organise your max and dynamic sessions. For example if you want to work on top end strength then do raw perhaps even bandless speed benches for 3 weeks and use the max sessions to concentrate exclusively on top end work. This is a top end block I would use:
Week 1: Raw Bench Speed + Reverse Band Max
Week 2: Raw Bench Speed + 3 Board Press Max
Week 3: Raw Bench Speed + Slingshot against bands Max
If you were to focus your speed sessions on top-end strength as well (added bands+slingshot for example) your bottom end strength might suffer and your top end strength might become overworked.
Improving your work capacity
so you can actually perform some rep work after the heavy stuff is a must. Done correctly it actually requires a lot of work capacity to do all that, continuously 4 days a week.
ZERO aches, pains and sprains.
The only lifts that I do repeatedly through the week are the competition lifts and they are done explosively for weights less than max. This takes a LOT of repetitive strain off the body.
My knees are absolutely fine right now. A far cry from earlier in the year, when walking up and down stairs was tough.
You don't necessarily need a deload
in the common sense of the word. I did a consistent deload for every 3rd week out of the last 9 YEARS. For the past 9 weeks I have trained continuously and constantly heavy, something I never thought I would be able to do. The constant rotation of exercises and intensity is key.
Further thoughts on each lift:
Squat and Deadlift:
This has been where I have seen most benefit, for the reasons stated above. The box squats which are absolutely key to the entire thing puts a massive workload on the hamstrings/hips/lower back and even sets the correct groove for the Squat and Sumo Deadlift. The two lifts which are mostly used in competition (rather than the Conv Dead).
I fully believe now that the box squat method is the absolutely best way to build a squat, after experiencing this first hand and now I've actually committed to doing it correctly I can safely say that it is the best way. I sit wider, lower and more upright than ever before. With more weight and less strain on my joints. It is absolutely the best way. I can't speak highly enough of them.
As a consequence of that the Sumo Deadlift gets built alongside it, however I do always pull at least once a week a well. Again for speed but heavy and with added band tension. My last Deadlift session added up to 90%+ at the top and I repeatedly pulled that for 8 singles with just briefs.
The combination of the very wide stance Squats and Sumo Deads trained together is a very hard one to beat.
This one has been a little harder to crack. However I have gotten stronger but this lift feels far more inconsistent. I generally work up in 3 week waves as noted before. What I find is I rotate between raw and slingshot work based on shoulder/chest soreness. What I do here is to usually have a few sessions where I'm working on bottom end strength followed by a top end session. I still haven't quite figured this out in the same way as the Squat and Deadlift however I have a few ideas why and I'm experimenting with them at the moment.
Experimenting with increased volume on upper back and tricep work. I think this might be the key to figuring out the right Bench form. I know the right Bench form but it's the inconsistency which is causing issues at the moment. That is indicative of the 'right' bench form not yet being my 'strongest' bench form. Increased tricep and upper back strength should lock my triceps into place and prevent outward rotation of the arms which i'm currently getting. That is indicative of an overly dominant chest/shoulder which will ultimately be self-defeating.
One solution might be to lower the speed weight and continously pound nothing but top-end tricep orientated exercises for a good couple of months to completely regroove my press. It's an option but I'm not sure if it's the best one for a number of reasons.
THAT is my update! I should really edit that a little and turn it into an article.