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My Westside Training or Westside-ish
A lot of people that I talk to are curious about the training that I did when I was competing. I don’t know why that I don’t write about my old training more, but I dedided to take the time. Looking back at my old journals, I see a lot of things that did right, and I also see a lot of things that I could have done better. There are so many things that I have learned since then that I would love to have applied. I also see a lot of principles that I applied instinctively that people write about nowadays.
When I was training, I got most of my ideas from the great Louie Simmons. I had speed days and max effort days. I used bands and chains. Here is what really happened:
Speed/Dynamic Squat Day
I would start out with the prescribed numbers and percentages that the workout prescribed. For example, I might use 405lbs of Bar Weight + the Blue Bands choked up. The Blue Bands would normally add about 125-150lbs per side. The rep scheme would look something like this: 5-7 sets of 2 reps. I would normally start working heavier on the last two sets. Then I would end up hitting a max or near maximal one rep max with the bands. Then if I felt really good, I would take the bands off and work to a heavy single with straight weight.
There were some definite pros and cons with this kind of training. The most obvious benefit was the post activation potentiation that occurred from warming up with the bands. There is some decent research that used bands to warm up and showed some great results. There was a ton of work going on here as well. I was known to be one of the most conditioned powerlifters. I rarely got tired, and in one competition I took over five world record attempts. The downside was that I probably beat my body up a little too much, but whatever it worked. Lol
I would treat the deadlift in the same way. I used a band platform that I bought from Westside Barbell. The bands would be stretched out and doubled. I would use about 60-70% of my max for bar weight with the bands. I used mainly doubles and singles, so it might look like this: 480lb+Bands/2 reps x 4 sets, and then 560lbs+bands/singles x 3 sets. Then I would work up heavy.
Speed/Dynamic Bench Press Day
I treated this day in much the same way. For example, I might use 275 pounds of bar weight with two mini-bands doubled per side for 7 sets of 3 reps. Once again, I would end up working up to a max single. Once again, if that went well, I would strip the bands off and max out.
This style of training really increased my max bench press. My raw bench press was at 435lbs before beginning this style of training. This dynamic work pushed my raw bench to 535lbs. However, there were some major consequences. I attribute the extreme bands to hurting my shoulder and contributing to some major neck issues. Bands used wisely are awesome in my opinion.
Max Effort Lower Body
Once again, I would start out with a type of squat. I used several different specialty bars like: buffalo, cambered, and safety squat bar. I would pick a bar, a rep scheme, and then max out. Another tool that I would use were weight releasers. Weight releasers were tools that you could hang on each side of the bar with added weight. When the lifter reached the bottom of the squat, the weight releasers were designed to kick off of the bar. You could actually lower 900lbs and ascend with 800lbs, great way to bring PAP into play.
I loved using boxes of varying heights for the deadlift. Normally I would start with the bar somewhere at my knee and about every 2-3 week, I would lower the bar a few inches. I liked keeping the reps between 3-5, and I would work up to a rep max. When the bar was about 4 inches from the floor, I would work up to a single. I also pulled from a deficit 1-2 weeks out of a training cycle. This style of training got me used to very heavy weights which is half the battle in the sport of powerlifting.
Max Effort Upper Body
I loved using boards for Max Effort Days. If you are a raw lifter, I would stay with a 1 and 2 board. Using a 3 Board or higher allows one to go way past your 1 rep max to chest which is pointless. I used rep schemes between 1-5 reps working up to a rep max. The big thing that I did differently from Westside Barbell was that I always ended with reps to the chest. It was a great way to push the max up. Call it PAP or call it feeling extra heavy weight, but benching to the chest after board pressing was always easier.
Lower Body Assistance
I would use these exercises for assistance work in my lower body days:
• Suspended from Chain Goodmornings
• Seated Goodmornings
• Reverse Hypers
• Zercher Squats
• Zercher Squats from the pins
• Cable Pull Throughs
• Barbell Hip Bridges
• Step Ups
Upper Body Assistance
Here are the exercises that I used in my upper body work:
• DB Tricep Extension
• Floor presses
• Bentover Rows
• Plate Raises
• DB Power Cleans
• Fat Bar Curls
• Lateral Raises
• Cable Face Pulls
This type of programming worked super well with getting me to the top of the strength world. I was able to be strong with or without the equipment used in powerlifting. I am going to write a plan that mixes this type of program with the new ideas that I learned in the last ten years. I believe that I can write the super plan. Hopefully, I will come out with something in the next few weeks.
We hope that we can help as many people reach their goals as possible. Here are a couple ways that we can help you:
1. If you are a weightlifting purist and are searching for a team and coach, try out the Mash Mafia Weightlifting Team. I am going to keep the prices the same for the first couple of weeks, and then they will increase to reflect the quality. To check out the online team, click on the link below:
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