Sometimes without trying we can end up all agreeing on some things. During this heated political climate its nice to take a break from the various campaign news and get back to what I know, or at least what I thought I knew – weight lifting. I heard before that really we all end up coming to the same conclusions about weight training after a certain amount of time. For me, I came to these conclusions years ago – big weights, multi-joint movements, constant progression. It turns out I was also following a famous training guideline without even knowing it.
Louis Simmons, founder of Westside Barbell in Ohio, has been using this method for decades. What is now called the “Westside Method” actually dates back to the old Soviet Union – Russia and Bulgaria in particular. Simmons read all he could about these guys and how they were training and applied it to himself and his trainees. The results were off the charts, and led to lifters setting new records, staying injury free, and competing for more years.
The Westside method is divided into three parts – “Max Effort”, “Dynamic”, and “Repetition”. Max Effort is a day of training where you’ll work your way up to your 1 rep max, doing short sets of 1-2 reps with as much time as needed between sets. Dynamic days focus completely on speed. Heavy weights are not needed, but with sets of only 3 reps or so, rest periods should be short – about 1 minute. Repetition work is just about everything else. Repetition movements are to be done on both Max Effort days and Dynamic days.
A (very) simple template for a schedule would look like:
Monday – Max Effort Squat/Deadlift
Wednesday – Max Effort Bench Press
Friday – Dynamic Squat/Deadlift
Sunday – Dynamic Bench Press
Turns out that I’ve been doing this for some time already. Focusing on heavy lifts one day (max effort), then light but fast lifts (dynamic) another day. Each training day includes extra repetition work to improve whatever weak points I feel I may have. Using these three methods a trainee can maximize strength and speed, the keys to creating power – hence power lifting.
Now, I don’t claim to be an expert (or even knowledgable) about the Westside method. Louis Simmons has done the research and experimented with this method for a long time and he’s without a doubt one of the smartest men on the subject of power lifting. But its interesting that without knowing it we came to the same conclusions about the way to arrange a training schedule. For more info visit Westside Barbell’s website.