Is the Westside System Designed for Geared Powerlifting Only?

Guys “Conjugate: Westside Inspired Weightlifting” has dropped. Get it for only $29 during this release period at:



Is the Westside System Designed for Geared Powerlifting Only?

This is an argument that I have heard thrown around by two of my good friends lately, and I can see why. They see most of the guys at Westside doing geared powerlifting, and I guess from that they deduce the system is designed for geared powerlifting. Since I love both of the coaches that I am talking about, I will answer this in a cordial way.

First I am not sure in what way that the program is designed for geared powerlifting. That’s a broad statement, and I haven’t heard the statement supported with examples. I am assuming the box squats, bands, and partial movements like board presses, but other than that I am not certain. I will start with these examples, and then I will briefly go through the system to show how it’s not just for geared powerlifting.

Let’s look at Box Squats because I am the first to say that box squats are great for geared powerlifting. Box Squats teach a lifter to sit back, which isn’t conducive to a raw squat especially that of a weightlifters. However there are more advantages of the box squat than just a squat. First they force an athlete to have a controlled eccentric contraction, which could have some major carry over to the strength, stability, and injury prevention of a weightlifter. What about pauses? That’s a great point except that most weightlifters will control the eccentric contraction during the first several inches of the movement, and once again collapse during the last few inches. Those are the crucial inches that need strengthening in a weightlifter.

Box squats are also good for starting strength, which a lot of weightlifters could use. Even as a powerlifter, I noticed that the box squats aided my pull more than my squat. I know of several weightlifters that could benefit from a stronger pull. High box squats are something that I want to try to aid the jerk. I want to strengthen the dip and drive through that specific range of motion. It has been proven clearly that high squats positively affect vertical leaps and sprinting times, so I would like to see what happens with a jerk. Once again I would urge my colleagues not to throw out the baby with the bath water. Also none of us can use the research argument because there simply isn’t a lot of research on much of our industry. All that we can do is use the research that has been done to support our decisions to try new ideas. Once again the two coaches that I am responding to are amazing coaches with amazing results, so this has nothing to do with their abilities to coach. I am just supporting my own claims as my results are equally supported.

Bands are another animal all together, and there are a lot of other coaches smarter than me that are using bands and chains to get amazing results for their athletes in the area of velocity based training. There is a lot of literature to support the use of bands during squatting and pulling, and a lot of Division I and Pro Strength Coaches use them routinely to build the best athletes in America. Guys like Coach Joe Kenn, Carolina Panthers Head Strength Coach, Ryan Horn, Wake Forest Head Strength Coach for Basketball, and Jonas Sahratian, Head Strength Coach For UNC Basketball. Of course we all know guys like Buddy Morris and Tim Kontos that also use the Westside System with amazing results. I mean doesn’t this show that the Westside System isn’t just for geared powerlifting. I mean you won’t find a basketball player at UNC (National Champions by the way) or Wake Forest using a squat suit. Coach Kenn isn’t using bench shirts with the Panthers.

Bands are great for simply increasing speed. All you have to do is use a tendo unit with and without bands, and you will see the difference. Maybe you don’t think that velocity has anything to do with strength. However in my experience it surely has almost everything to do with strength. I mean I used the system to squat over 800lb several times with just a belt on. I benched 550lb raw. I deadlifted 804lb in competition with just a singlet and belt. All of these were at a bodyweight of 220lb, so it at least worked for me a little bit.

I use partial movements like board presses and pulls from blocks on all of my raw powerlifters with amazing results. I am using the max effort method with these partial movements to prepare the CNS for heavy weight. I like to use movements that allow the athlete to feel weights anywhere from 5-10% above their maxes on the full lifts. This method is no different that snatches and cleans from blocks. Personally I normally end with a full range of motion movement, and a lot of my athletes experience a personal record from post activation potentiation.

Here’s the Westside System broken down simply:

Dynamic Effort- this day is centered around a focus on speed somewhere around .7-.8m/s. The intensity is going to average around 80% (sound familiar?). Total volume is going to match prilepin’s chart somewhere between the low to high suggestion.

Max Effort Method- this day is going to be more like the Bulgarian Method. They are going to pick a version of the competitive lift and go as heavy as possible. When it comes to the Olympic lifts, I personally stay specific 6-8 weeks out with maybe a small variation like pull+snatch or clean+front squat+jerk.

Special Exercises- this one is my favorite, and I do believe that the two coaches that I am talking about totally agree with me on this one. Louie simply uses special exercises to target any weaknesses. Make sense?

General Physical Preparedness- this is a fancy phrase for work capacity. Louie encourages using sleds, wheelbarrows, prowlers, and carries to strengthen, condition, and recover. My team uses this method on a daily basis. We use movements that are lacking eccentric contractions, low loads on the major joints, and emphasize stability in weak positions.

Repetition Method- this is a cool way of saying bodybuilding. Most athletes need this especially in the beginning. Some basic muscle mass is required for acquiring massive amounts of strength. All athletes should use this method to destroy weaknesses.

Look this is just skimming the surface of the Westside Method. I suggest that everyone that is skeptical should visit. It’s really hard to say that you have an understanding without visiting. It’s like saying that you grasp the Chinese Methods without having spent quality time with their team. No you don’t! I am pumped to take my buddy Coach Sean Waxman to Westside Barbell for a meeting of the minds. Everyone that knows me, understands that I totally respect Coach Waxman, and I consider him a major mentor. I think that him and Louie can teach each other some major concepts, and I hope to be the fly on the wall. Get ready for that Strength and Conditioning Explosion!

Guys “Conjugate: Westside Inspired Weightlifting” has dropped. Get it for only $29 during this release period at:


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