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Default Iron Evolution: Phase 6 Westside Barbell, Physical
by BendtheBar 10-03-2011, 10:30 AM

T NATION | Iron Evolution: Phase 6

In the last installment in this series, I described the technical aspect of training the Westside way. As I stated, I believe that technique is 70% of the powerlifting game, so if you skipped over it to get to this section, I suggest you review it.

Note: I can only discuss what was going on at Westside when I was there. I can't tell you what's going on at Westside today. There are only a handful of people who can, and those people train at Westside Barbell. Anyone else is bullshitting you.

So here it is, the vaunted Westside template – Maximum Effort Method, Dynamic Effort, and the Repetition Method. I've covered this material before, but nowhere has it been covered better than in the 8 Keys article published here.

You'll notice that the 8 Keys article is very technical. Today, the trend in strength is to make things simpler, and that's a good thing.

However, once you reach an intermediate level of expertise in strength, simple quits working. Progress slows to a snail's pace. Gains that once came quickly are suddenly painfully hard to come by. This is where adversity, usually in the form of injuries, starts to set in.

Here's a sobering statistic: 90% of powerlifters who take up the sport don't last more than five years.

They have passion and make great progress out the gate, but once simple stops delivering and the going gets tough, they bail. Only a very small percentage of lifters have the desire to do the necessary work to progress. The 8 Keys targeted that small percentage.

The body requires change to continue adapting. The simple approach quits working because it's too fixed, too predictable. What most lifters do the first time they stall is start program jumping like frogs on lily-pads.

However, program bouncing never works for long because there's no magic training program. After a few frustrating years of trial and error, these guys eventually burn out or get injured, and quit.

The essence of Westside is that it's more than just a program. It's a philosophy based on science and decades of experience.

Programs are fixed and don't take into account that each lifter has different needs. Westside is designed to let you detect what the lifter's needs may be and make changes on the fly.

For example, if someone is using Westside and they complain that their bench isn't going up, I can go through a checklist:

* Is their technique good? Check.
* Are their supplemental exercises well selected? Check.
* Speed work? Check.

Suppose I get to the bottom of the list and see that their Max Effort work isn't up to par. I immediately know where to start targeting.

Program jumpers never get to that level of mastery. Something goes wrong and they dump the whole frickin' program.

We all know strength comes in spurts. When it does, it's not because you magically put on some new muscle or experienced a hormonal explosion. It's because you rectified a weak point. This is the beauty of Westside – it's a system designed to identify and rectify weak points in the quickest way possible.

Periodization Reloaded

Basic Western periodization is set up so that you're working on specific strength qualities at different times.

For example, a typical periodization might look like this. I did this for years before moving to Westside:

1) Conditioning: 4-6 weeks
2) Max strength: 4-6 weeks
3) Peak strength: 4 weeks
4) Hypertrophy: 8 weeks

With Westside, you work on a number of strength qualities simultaneously. And despite what you've read or experienced about the dangers of trying to accomplish too many goals at once, Westside works.

The System
Iron Evolution: Phase 6


Louie Simmons has been able to take absolute shit lifters and using Westside, transform them into world champions. I've seen it done many times over.

To be fair, his success has just as much to do with his abilities as a coach as it does his system, but there's no denying the Westside template is the most successful strength building system in existence.

The key is taking the time to understand Westside. The plug and play "just gimme the magic program" types rarely have the same success, unless they're robots being coached by a savant like Louie.

With Westside, in any given week you target strength, conditioning, hypertrophy, and speed – all while targeting your weak points, yet not at the expense of the big lifts.

It took me years of self-study – NSCA journals, Russian and Eastern bloc literature, Spassov, Zatsiorsky, and hundreds others – to get to a level that I could comfortably explain Westside to others.

To this day I marvel at how Louie was able to piece it all together into a cohesive system that not only had structure, yet was flexible enough to allow the lifter to change things as necessary. I've said it before but it bears repeating – Louie Simmons is a genius.

The Maximum Effort Method
Iron Evolution: Phase 6

At the heart of Westside is the Maximum Effort Method (ME). ME is lifting in the 90%+ of 1RM for 1-3 reps, which science tells us is the superior way to develop strength while teaching intra and inter-muscular coordination. I like to say ME teaches you to strain.

ME is also a form of "chaos training." The variations of the competitive lifts used teach your body how to recover from worst-case scenarios.

For example, performing a ME good morning is a lot like falling forward in a heavy squat. If you train your posterior chain to handle heavy weights in that position, it might save a squat gone bad in a meet.

Before you start stacking on the plates, technique and core strength must be developed and maintained before taking a run at ME training.

It also never fails to surprise new lifters how much ab and low back work we did at Westside. I would estimate that 50-60% of Monday and Friday's workout were abs and low back.

Lifters often think they can skip or cut back on the core work once they get strong. Big mistake. In my opinion, it's more important to train abs and low back in the Westside program than in a typical progressive overload program.

In a Western periodization program, you typically squat twice a week, which helps develop a strong core. Since squats are rotated in and out in Westside, additional core training is required.

And it's a priority. If we competed on Sunday, we may not squat or deadlift heavy the following Monday. But we would definitely train abs and low back.

ME Memories

I've many Max Effort memories, most of which revolve around me getting the shit knocked out of me because I was always so bad at ME work.

One of the better memories was when we were performing suspended good mornings with a cambered bar. The bar is suspended by chains, and is set so if you dropped your arms to the floor, your hands would be at the same level as where the deadlift bar would be off the floor.

It's an absolutely life-sucking exercise and I was miserable at doing them. I think my PR was something shitty like 455. The other guys I lifted with would warm up with that weight. One day I actually did hit 495, and here's how:

There were six or seven of us doing them that day and I was sitting next to Rob Fusner. I had gotten up to 405 and it felt like crap. I was not having a good day.

After 405 pounds, I sat down and Rob said, "Man, that looked like shit." I didn't argue because I knew it was true. I just wanted to leave.

"So what's next Dave? 455?" asked Rob.

I gave him the best "go **** yourself" look I could muster.

"Dude, 455 is my PR," I said. "You expect me to hit my PR on a day where I feel like shit?"

"So, you're not even going to try?" asked Rob. "What are you, a pussy?"

I could feel him getting into my head, but I was having nothing to do with it.

"Maybe I'll try 425," I said cautiously.

Rob gave me a real condescending look and said, "Dave, you've got 400 pounds on a bar and you're going to put a couple of ****ing dimes on there?"

He got me.

"You're right," I said. I called for 455.

After four unsuccessful tries getting it started, it finally moved, and after what seemed like an hour later, I finally locked it out. When it was over I was seeing stars and my ribs were killing me.

I stumbled down beside Rob and he said, "Dude, that was really stupid."

I could barely speak, but mumbled my agreement.

"I think you got another 20 more pounds in you," said Rob.

Mother****er.

I was beyond done for the day, but by saying that, he started a little war inside my head. On my right shoulder was the angel, saying I was already a mess and 20 more pounds would probably kill me – but on my left was the devil, saying I should just go for it. In my case, the devil usually won out.

The next thing I knew they had 475 pounds loaded for me on the bar. I figured since it's already loaded, I really didn't have much choice in the matter.

After what must have been an hour of me straining to even get the weight moving, I somehow managed to get it up to lockout before collapsing into the chains.

I was a mess. My back was screaming, and there was blood coming out of my nose. The whole gym looked out of focus as I stumbled down next to Rob on the bench.

"Dude," Rob said, "that was really, really, ****ing stupid. I think you got 20 more."

That's max effort work. You have a close to PR set, a PR set, a stupid set, and a really ****ing stupid set.

Max Effort Notes

Beginners should rarely rotate ME lifts, if ever. They need to master the lifts first. Intermediate guys should rotate lifts every 2-3 weeks, and advanced guys should rotate every week.

We used over 200 different lifts, as the goal of ME is to build strength in the lifts that best carry over to the main lifts. This can greatly vary between lifters, so you have to stick with them long enough to spot the correlations.

For example, my two-board press was an awesome indicator of my bench press progress. Every time my two-board went up, I knew my bench was going up. Conversely, my suspended good morning told me jack shit about my squat or pull. All it did was teach me how to strain.

The point is, it took me years to figure that out, but today beginners will try something for a week or two and decide that it's shit and does nothing for them. As a result, they never figure out what works for them.

Weight jumps must be slow. With ME training, I suggest you double your warm-up sets. This not only increases muscle-building volume, but by approaching the heavy weight slowly you can call an audible if necessary.

If it's one of those days and you just know that a PR isn't in the cards, make the change and go for a 3, 4, or 5 rep PR.

Smart lifters know when to push it and when to fight another day. Considering instances like my suspended good morning fiasco happened more times than I can count, I wasn't always a smart lifter. And I paid for it dearly.

The Dynamic Effort Method
Iron Evolution: Phase 6

Before I explain the much-confused Dynamic Effort (DE), I need to make a point about strong lifters versus fast lifters.

Strong lifters move 800 pounds as fast as they move 315 pounds. They're like human cranes. Explosive lifters, on the other hand, push the bar up like a rocket, but they don't have the same limit-strength potential.

Most lifters are usually predominantly one or the other. Very rarely is a lifter both strong and fast, especially without spending considerable time training both qualities directly.

If you're not training both qualities, you're either not training your strength to its full potential or you're avoiding training your weakness.

Most guys who shit on DE training are already very explosive to begin with, so all training DE does is maintain that quality. That's not a bad a thing either, as explosiveness decreases with age.

However, a super-strong/non-explosive guy will reap huge benefits from including a little DE work. Often it can add hundreds of pounds to an otherwise "stuck" PR.

I was very explosive, but not very strong. I sucked at ME work, but I rocked at DE, and loved doing it.

I particularly loved the DE squat day. Those were my best days training at Westside. Back then, that day called for 12 sets of 2 with 60 seconds rest, and I'd often use my inherent explosiveness to try to crush whomever I was training with.

On one occasion it was Chuck Vogelpohl. We were using 405, and I was big and fat and strong and Chuck – who is normally not human – was just coming off of back surgery and not at his best.

While in another gym this would be a time to take it easy on a friend, I saw this as my opportunity to finally kick Chuck's ass and pay him back for all the ass beatings he'd given me.

I started pushing the pace. I'd hit my set as soon as the bar was on my back, cutting the rest to under 45 seconds. Chuck kept up.

10 sets turned to 12, and then 15. We kept going.

Louie saw what was going on and said something like, "Guys, is this really necessary?" but we ignored him. This was all about saying **** you, Chuck.

After 30 sets I was ready to die. I could tell Chuck was fading. With his past few sets the bar speed got slower so I figured he was getting worn out.

I did another set and felt the puke building up in my gut.

Chuck stumbled under the bar, unracked it and sat down on the box. Then he looked back at me and said, "Alright mother****er, here you go."

With that, he rocketed off the box so fast, 405 left his shoulders by about two inches.

I knew the game was over. Chuck won. And to rub it in, he did five more sets like that last one.

Dynamic Effort Notes

I consider DE to be the most important element of Westside training. I would skip ME work before DE any day of the week, and not just because I happened to be an explosive individual. I like DE because training this way makes you a better lifter. It teaches you to drive into and through a weight with everything you have.

Let's face it, a max lift can be ugly. Really ugly. Technique often flies out the window when you're hopped up on ammonia with a grand on your back.

DE on the other hand, is all about reinforcing technique. Doing many, many sets of two or three reps is the most effective way to teach a skill, whether it's a squat, a snatch, or throwing a shot put. What you're really doing by performing 8 sets of 2 or 3 is mentally rehearsing perfect form.

Look at it this way. Let's say you were to do 3 heavy sets of 10. If the percent is high enough, your form will break down after 2-3 reps – so a mere 30% of the set was working on the technical skill of the lift. So in this 3-set session there might 9 reps total that help develop technical mastery.

Now if you were to do 10 sets of 3, 100% of the reps would be working on technical mastery. Which do you think reinforces technique better?

In short, skip DE at your own peril!

* A beginner should use 70% of their 1RM, whereas a more experienced (raw) lifter should go with 50 or 60%. The reason is that most beginners simply don't know how strong they really are, so percentages become almost worthless. Use them more as a starting point.
* Intermediates should wave their DE percentages. I would start at 60% of raw squat for one week, and bookend that with weeks at 55% and 65%.
* The weight should pop. Watch the video below to make sure you know what I'm talking about. DE is fast, explosive work. The typical gym rat has probably never trained this way, at least not with weights.

* Bands and chains are great additions, and in some cases necessary, although this is an article in itself.
* Finally, don't discount the power of DE work. I took a natural raw lifter from a 275-pound squat to 505 in just three months by working on tapping his explosiveness and reinforcing proper technique. For most of you, there's a sea of untapped potential waiting.


The Repetition Method

Research tells us that training a muscle with multiple repetitions to failure is an effective hypertrophy protocol. A modified repetition method should stop just short of failure – usually one rep in the hole – although in my case this line was blurred on many occasions.

This method was used on supplemental lifts only. Let's review what these moves are intended to accomplish.

Supplemental exercises are exercises that build the ME lifts. Remember, you can either train a lift or build a lift. Bench pressing to increase the bench is training the lift. Performing ME two-board presses to increase the bench is building the lift.

Therefore, supplemental work is performing rolling triceps extensions to build your two-board press, cause you know when that lift goes up, your bench press goes up.

See the correlation? Find what max effort movements build the main lift and then select special exercises that will make these movements better.

This is worth repeating: If all you had to do was bench press to get a big bench, then everyone who benched would have a big bench. You have to find movements that correlate and carry over to the bench that can be tested frequently to know if you're making progress. Once these are discovered, your supplemental work needs to be designed to make those movements stronger.

Repetition Method Notes

* I suggest experimenting and trying new lifts, but always try to stick with the same ones for at least 3-4 weeks to look for correlations and to minimize guess work.
* Avoid going to failure, and keep the reps on the high side. Remember why you're doing the lifts to begin with (building the ME lift).
* Include accessory work as well, such as rotator cuff work, reverse hypers, and high-rep pressdowns for elbow health. I used to always skip this stuff and I paid for it.


The Rest: GPP, Work Capacity, and Conditioning

To get the most out of this kind of training you have to be in shape. The fat powerlifter isn't on the verge of extinction, but every fat guy will tell you they feel better when they're in shape.

I used to do a variety of sled drags on my days off for recovery. I'd drag forwards, backwards, and do ankle-drags. I'd throw in some prone hyperextensions and be done in half an hour.

This was something I'd skip when life got busy, but I always performed and felt better when I made the time to do it. I suggest you do the same.

What Would I Change About My Training at Westside?

The nature of Louie's system is that it's constantly evolving, constantly adapting. That's why when I look back at the things I'd change, most of them already have changed!

I'd have put more thought into choosing the supplemental lifts. Each week we usually did the same thing, namely exercises we enjoyed doing. In hindsight, I think putting a little more thought into what we did would've been beneficial.

Staying on the topic of supplemental lifts, I would've played with the loading parameters more. Instead of just doing straight sets and reps, I would've experimented with things like clusters, supersets, pre-exhaustion, and sets to failure. We did do some of this but nothing to its full potential.

I would've listened to Louie and backed off more. Zippy might have been my best friend on ME day, but he eventually caught up with me and wrecked my career.

I caused the most damage by training through all the injuries. It wasn't uncommon for me to tear a muscle and never miss a workout. I'd find a way to dull the pain, wrap it up, tape it, etc. This would've been understandable 3-4 weeks out [from a meet] but not 4 months out.

But to me, 20 weeks out was the same as 4. Big mistake.

I would've done more shoulder rehab and pre-hab work, and a lot more stretching. I wouldn't do 30 minutes of bullshit dynamic warm-up that you see these Yodas doing nowadays, but I would've done a few specific drills to get me ready to lift safely. I'll be covering this in detail in the next installment. Could rattle a few cages. Stay tuned.

I would've used less wraps and gear. You shouldn't look like an extra from the cast of The Road Warrior in the gym.

I'm NOT saying I would've competed raw, although most of our training was done raw – the only time we wore our full gear was at meets.

What I'm talking about is wrapping my groin with knee wraps because of a groin pull, duct taping my ribs because of a torn intercostal, etc. Not smart.

Six weeks post meet, I wouldn't have done a thing with a straight barbell in my hand or on my back. That means I would've done things like yoke bar squats, belt squats, and lots of dumbbell work at a lower intensity. You can't make progress in the gym if you're lying? on a physiotherapist's table. Lesson learned.

I would've eaten better. Actually no, I wouldn't have.

Much has been made about all the crap I used to eat, and I'm not denying a thing. I did eat that way and it really was that bad. I had and still have a junk food addiction.

But it was also determined that 308 pounds was the best weight for me to be competitive. I had to eat a lot to get and stay there. Chicken, yams, and broccoli would've been smarter, but I needed 7000 calories a day to make that weight. There's no way I'd get to 280, much less 310, eating that way.

Possibly, I would've used Flameout™ for the blood lipid benefits, and likely GPC Fast-Acting Shot on explosive training days. After that it's a short list. I doubt I'd even have taken a multivitamin cause even PopTarts are vitamin-fortified.

I'd have been more consistent with my conditioning. Sled dragging is simply unbeatable at improving work capacity. My meets always sucked whenever I'd decided that I didn't need or didn't have time to do it.

Ideally, I would've performed at least two conditioning sessions a week and performed two additional ab/low back work on days off. In hindsight, what I did in the gym simply wasn't enough.

Putting it All Together: A Sample 9 Week Westside Workout
Iron Evolution: Phase 6


For those of you who are dying to jump into this system, I've put together a sample 9-week program.

Please, before you start snorting ammonia and tossing chalk and slapping your buddy, please review the previous two sections (mental and technical) carefully. If you don't respect Westside, it'll crush you. Actually, it will probably crush you regardless, but at least this way you know what you were getting yourself into.
Week 1

Day 1 (max effort squat day)
Exercise Sets Reps
A Good Mornings*
B Glute-Ham Raises** 3 10
C Reverse Hypers*** 3 8
D Pulldown Abs 5 10-15
E Straight Leg Raises 5 15

* Warm up doing sets of three reps until you feel you can no longer perform three reps.
** Stress the eccentric, try to get a four count on the way down.
*** Using the small strap.
Day 2 (max effort bench day)
Exercise Sets Reps
A Board Press*
B Lying Dumbbell Triceps Extensions 6 10**
C Pushdowns 3 10
D One-Arm Press 3 15

* Warm up doing sets of three reps until you feel you can no longer perform three reps.
** With 30 seconds rest.
Day 3 (dynamic effort squat day)
Exercise Sets Reps
A Box Squats* 10 2
B Reverse Hypers** 3 8
C One-Leg Squats 4 10 with each leg
D Paused Dumbbell Rows 4 6***
E Barbell Shrugs 3 15

* With 50% of 1RM, 45 to 60 seconds rest between sets.
** Using a slow eccentric.
*** Pause each rep on the floor.
Day 4 (dynamic effort bench day)
Exercise Sets Reps
A Bench Press* 10 3
B Lying Barbell Triceps Extensions** 2 6
C Dumbbell Side Raises 3 10
D Bent Over Dumbbell Side Raises 3 10

* With 60% of 1RM, use three different grips, 45 to 60 seconds rest between sets.
** Work up to 2 heavy sets of 6 reps.
Week 2

Day 1 (max effort squat day)
Exercise Sets Reps
A Good Mornings*
B Glute-Ham Raises** 3 8
C Reverse Hypers 3 8
D Pulldown Abs 5 10-15
E Straight Leg Raises 3 20

* Warm up doing sets of three reps until you feel you can no longer perform three reps. Your last set should exceed the weight you did last week.
** Stress the eccentric, try to get a four count on the way down.
Day 2 (max effort bench day)
Exercise Sets Reps
A Board Press*
B Lying Dumbbell Triceps Extensions 6 10**
C Pushdowns 3 10
D One-Arm Press 3 15

* Warm up doing sets of three reps until you feel you can no longer perform three reps. At this point drop the reps to one and continue working up to a one-rep max.
** With 30 seconds rest.
Day 3 (dynamic effort squat day)
Exercise Sets Reps
A Box Squats* 10 2
B Reverse Hypers 3 8
C One-Leg Squats 4 10**
D Paused Dumbbell Rows 4 6***
E Barbell Shrugs 3 15

* With 54% of 1RM, 45 to 60 seconds rest between sets.
** Each leg.
*** Pause each rep on the floor.
Day 4 (dynamic effort bench day)
Exercise Sets Reps
A Bench Press* 10 3
B Lying Barbell Triceps Extensions** 2 6
C Dumbbell Side Raises 3 10
D Bent Over Dumbbell Side Raises 3 10

* With 60% of 1RM, use three different grips, 45 to 60 seconds rest between sets.
** Work up to 2 heavy sets of 6 reps.
Week 3

Day 1 (max effort squat day)
Exercise Sets Reps
A Good Mornings*
B Glute-Ham Raises 3 8
C Reverse Hypers 3 8
D Pulldown Abs 5 10-15
E Straight Leg Raises 3 20

* Warm up doing sets of three reps until you feel you can no longer perform three reps. At this point drop the reps to one and continue working up to a one-rep max.
Day 2 (max effort bench day)
Exercise Sets Reps
A Board Press*
B Lying Dumbbell Triceps Extensions 6 10**
C Pushdowns 3 10
D One-Arm Press 3 15

* Warm up doing sets of three reps until you feel you can no longer perform three reps. At this point drop the reps to one and continue working up to a one-rep max.
** With 30 seconds rest.
Day 3 (dynamic effort squat day)
Exercise Sets Reps
A Box Squats* 10 2
B Reverse Hypers 3 8
C One-Leg Squats 4 10**
D Paused Dumbbell Rows 4 6***
E Barbell Shrugs 3 15

* With 56% of 1RM, 45 to 60 seconds rest between sets.
** Each leg.
*** Pause each rep on the floor.
Day 4 (dynamic effort bench day)
Exercise Sets Reps
A Bench Press* 10 3
B Dumbbell Side Raises 3 10
C Bent Over Dumbbell Side Raises 3 10

* With 60% of 1RM, use three different grips, 45 to 60 seconds rest between sets.
Week 4
Iron Evolution: Phase 6

Day 1 (max effort squat day)
Exercise Sets Reps
A Low Box Squat*
B Glute-Ham Raises 5 5
C Partial Deadlifts 3 20
D Reverse Hypers 3 8
E Pulldown Abs 5 10-15

* Warm up doing sets of three reps until you feel you can no longer perform three reps. At this point drop the reps to one and continue working up to a one-rep max.
Day 2 (max effort bench day)
Exercise Sets Reps
A Floor Press*
B JM Press** 2 5
C Incline Dumbbell Press 2 10
D Seated Dumbbell Cleans 4 8
E Straight Leg Raises 5 15

* Warm up doing sets of three reps until you feel you can no longer perform three reps. At this point drop the reps to one and continue working up to a one-rep max.
** Work up to 2 sets of 5 reps.
Day 3 (dynamic effort squat day)
Exercise Sets Reps
A Box Squats* 10 2
B Reverse Hypers 5 8
C Chest Supported Rows 4 8
D Glute Ham Raises 3 6
E Pulldown Abs 5 10

* With 60% of 1RM, 45 to 60 seconds rest between sets. Note: After your sets of box squats, work up to a heavy double. This isn't a maximum attempt so don't miss the lifts.
Day 4 (dynamic effort bench day)
Exercise Sets Reps
A Bench Press* 10 3
B Close Grip Bench Press** 2 5
C One Arm Dumbbell Extensions 3 10
D Front Plate Raises 3 10

* With 60% of 1RM, use three different grips, 45 to 60 seconds rest between sets.
** Work up to 2 sets of 5 reps.
Week 5

Day 1 (max effort squat day)
Exercise Sets Reps
A Low Box Squat*
B Glute-Ham Raises 5 5
C Partial Deadlifts 3 20
D Reverse Hypers** 3 8
E Pulldown Abs 5 10-15

* Warm up doing sets of three reps until you feel you can no longer perform three reps. At this point drop the reps to one and continue working up to a one-rep max.
** Using the small strap.
Day 2 (max effort bench day)
Exercise Sets Reps
A Floor Press*
B JM Press** 2 3
C Incline Dumbbell Press 2 10
D Seated Dumbbell Cleans 4 8
E Straight Leg Raises 5 15

* Warm up doing sets of three reps until you feel you can no longer perform three reps. At this point drop the reps to one and continue working up to a one-rep max.
** Work up to 2 sets of 3 reps.
Day 3 (dynamic effort squat day)
Exercise Sets Reps
A Box Squats* 10 2
B Speed Deadlifts** 8 2
C Reverse Hypers 5 8
D Chest Supported Rows 4 8
E Glute Ham Raises 3 6
F Pulldown Abs 5 10

* With 50% of 1RM, 45 to 60 seconds rest between sets.
** With 50%.
Day 4 (dynamic effort bench day)
Exercise Sets Reps
A Bench Press* 10 3
B Close Grip Bench Press** 2 3
C Front Plate Raises 3 10

* With 60% of 1RM, use three different grips, 45 to 60 seconds rest between sets. Note: After your sets, work up to a heavy single. This isn't a maximum attempt so don't miss the lift.
** Work up to 2 sets of 3 reps.
Week 6

Day 1 (max effort squat day)
Exercise Sets Reps
A Low Box Squat*
B Glute-Ham Raises 5 5
C Partial Deadlifts 3 20
D Reverse Hypers** 3 8
E Pulldown Abs 5 10-15

* Warm up doing sets of three reps until you feel you can no longer perform three reps. At this point drop the reps to one and continue working up to a one-rep max.
** Using the small strap.
Day 2 (max effort bench day)
Exercise Sets Reps
A Floor Press*
B Incline Dumbbell Press 2 10
C Seated Dumbbell Cleans 4 8
D Straight Leg Raises 5 15

* Warm up doing sets of three reps until you feel you can no longer perform three reps. At this point drop the reps to one and continue working up to a one-rep max.
Day 3 (dynamic effort squat day)
Exercise Sets Reps
A Box Squats* 10 2
B Speed Deadlifts** 8 2
C Reverse Hypers 5 8
D Chest Supported Rows 4 8

* With 52% of 1RM, 45 to 60 seconds rest between sets.
** With 55%.
Day 4 (dynamic effort bench day)
Exercise Sets Reps
A Bench Press* 10 3
B Close Grip Bench Press** 2 3
C One Arm Dumbbell Extensions 3 10
D Front Plate Raises 3 10

* With 60% of 1RM, use three different grips, 45 to 60 seconds rest between sets.
** Work up to 2 sets of 3 reps.
Week 7

Day 1 (max effort squat day)
Exercise Sets Reps
A Good Morning Squats*
B Glute-Ham Raises 5 5
C Reverse Hypers** 3 8
D Pulldown Abs 5 10-15

* Warm up doing sets of three reps until you feel you can no longer perform three reps. At this point drop the reps to one and continue working up to a one-rep max.
** Using the small strap.
Day 2 (max effort bench day)
Exercise Sets Reps
A Flat Dumbbell Press 3 20*
B Seated Dumbbell Shoulder Press 5 10
C Face Pulls 5 15

* Average rest period = 5 minutes.
Day 3 (dynamic effort squat day)
Exercise Sets Reps
A Box Squats* 10 2
B Reverse Hypers 4 8
C Pulldowns 3 8
D Glute Ham Raises 4 15

* With 54% of 1RM, 45 to 60 seconds rest between sets. Note: After your sets, work up to a heavy double. Again, this isn't a maximum lift so don't miss the attempts.
Day 4 (dynamic effort bench day)
Exercise Sets Reps
A Bench Press* 10 3
B Dumbbell Triceps Extensions 4 6
C Front/Side/Rear Delt Combo Raise 2 60**
D Pulldown Abs 5 10

* With 60% of 1RM, use three different grips, 45 to 60 seconds rest between sets. Note: After your sets, work up to a heavy double. Again, this isn't a maximum lift so don't miss the attempts.
** 20 each raise.
Week 8

Day 1 (max effort squat day)
Exercise Sets Reps
A Good Morning Squats*
B Glute-Ham Raises 5 5
C Reverse Hypers** 3 8
D Pulldown Abs 5 10-15

* Warm up doing sets of three reps until you feel you can no longer perform three reps. At this point drop the reps to one and continue working up to a one-rep max.
** Using the small strap.
Day 2 (max effort bench day)
Exercise Sets Reps
A Flat Dumbbell Press 3 20*
B Seated Dumbbell Shoulder Press 5 10
C Face Pulls 5 15

* Average rest period = 5 minutes.
Day 3 (dynamic effort squat day)
Exercise Sets Reps
A Box Squats* 10 2
B Speed Pulls** 8 1
C Reverse Hypers 4 8
D Pulldowns 3 8
E Glute Ham Raises 4 15

* With 62% of 1RM, 45 to 60 seconds rest between sets.
** With 60%.
Day 4 (dynamic effort bench day)
Exercise Sets Reps
A Bench Press* 10 3
B Dumbbell Triceps Extensions 4 6
C Reverse Grip Pushdowns 3 15
D Front/Side/Rear Delt Combo Raise 2 60**
E Pulldown Abs 5 10

* With 60% of 1RM, use three different grips, 45 to 60 seconds rest between sets.
** 20 each raise.
Week 9

Max day near end of week

Box Squat: work up to a 1-rep max
Bench Press: work up to a 1-rep max
Deadlift: work up to a 1-rep max

Note: These maxes will be used as the 1RM for the next eight-week cycle.

The Westside Wrap-up
Iron Evolution: Phase 6


This article is already a bloated mess and I'm afraid it barely scratches the surface of my training at Westside.

If there's anything you'd like me to revisit, please post your questions/requests in the LiveSpill and I'll expand on it further after this series has wrapped up.

In the next installment, I'll discuss my retirement from competitive powerlifting and the long road back to health.

The nutritional side of that phase has been covered extensively, but what hasn't been covered is the hell I went through in the gym just getting my "functionality" back.

This will be more exciting than it sounds, and dare I say controversial. Pretty much everything I was told that would work for joint health, mobility, and nutrition didn't work.

There was a lot of stumbling around until things began to get better and become more dialed in.

Editors' Note: As we tried to pull Dave's thoughts into (hopefully) one cohesive article, we relied heavily on a fantastic eBook Dave wrote called "The Vault".

"The Vault" is filled with great info and anecdotes, not to mention everything you need to set up and troubleshoot your own program.

If you're already a serious powerlifter or just interested in getting stronger, "The Vault" will answer questions you haven't even thought of yet.

Best of all, it's free.

To get your copy, just head to EliteFTS - Powerlifting and Strength Training Products and Knowledge for Lifters, Athletes, Coaches, and Trainers and sign up for the Strength Club. Dave will send you a link to download your free copy.
__________________
---------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

Destroy That Which Destroys You

"Let bravery be thy choice, but not bravado."


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