Westside Barbell Training Explained.

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  • Westside Barbell Training Explained.

    Like many lifters, I’m curious about the much-publicised Westside system, the brainchild of powerlifter and strength coach Louis Simmonds and others at the Westside Barbell Club in Ohio.

    However, knowing where to start can be difficult. When I searched for examples of Westside routines, initially I was puzzled by how different these were from each other. The reason is simply that there are no definitive Westside routines – the Westside system is a set of principles around which individual training programs are constructed.

    Adding to this confusion are two factors. Firstly, the Westside system is continually evolving: in some cases, ideas presented in earlier articles are no longer flavour of the month. Secondly, there seems to be cottage industry of self-styled Westside interpreters, who pop up on threads with cries of “that’s not Westside!”

    The purpose of this article is to try to provide, for complete novices, a simple introduction to the Westside system. I have based this largely on Jim Wendler’s description of the ‘Standard Westside template’ (see Further Reading), which is well worth looking at. I have followed his example in sidestepping any discussion of chains, bands and lifting gear. Please feel free to add constructive comments, including corrections.

    The basics of the standard template.

    The standard Westside template can be summarised as follows:1.It uses a four-day rotation, with two days devoted to bench press and two devoted to squats/deadlifts.

    2.One bench press day is a dynamic effort session. In this, multiple sets are carried out with a light weight, aiming to build speed.

    3.The other bench press day is a max effort session, which uses near maximal weights for a limited number of sets.

    4.As is the case for bench press, one squat/deadlift session per week is dynamic effort, the other is max effort.

    5.Accessory/supplementary exercises are done on all four days.

    Putting this together, a typical rotation would be:

    Sunday – Dynamic Effort Bench

    Monday – Max Effort Squat/DL

    Wednesday – Max Effort Bench Press

    Friday – Dynamic Squat/DL

    The core of the four sessions

    Dynamic Effort Bench Session

    The goal of the dynamic effort sessions is to develop speed. Therefore the emphasis throughout the sets is to move the bar quickly on the concentric part of the exercise. The weight at which the bar can still be moved explosively while still providing adequate resistance will vary, but Wendler suggests 55% of your current raw 1RM

    Do 8-10 sets of 3 repetitions of regular bench press. Although short rest periods between sets are sometimes recommended, Wendler feels this is irrelevant.

    Max Effort Squat/Deadlift Session
    One squat/deadlift based exercise is used in this session and this exercise will be rotated regularly (e.g. every one to three max effort sessions). The easiest way of doing this is to alternate a squat and a deadlift based exercise.

    The goal is to carry out at least three sets of one repetition, using 90% or over of your 1RM for that day. Each session, try to break your PR from your previous effort on that lift. You will probably need to rest 3-5 minutes between your heaviest sets.

    Possible max effort exercises could include:

    High box squats (1-2" above parallel)
    Parallel box squats
    Low box squats (1-2" below parallel),
    Rack deadlifts (or pin pulls)
    Deadlifts while standing on elevated platform
    Reverse band deadlifts

    Using different bars for squats (e.g. safety bars) can increase the variation for the squat exercises still further.

    Max Effort Bench Press Session
    The pattern is similar to the max effort session for squats/deadlifts. Again, pick one exercise and rotate this lift every one to three max effort sessions. The goal is to carry out three sets of one repetition, using 90% or over of your 1RM for that day. Each session, try to break your PR from your previous effort on that lift.

    Suitable exercises include floor press, 2 board press, 3 board press, incline press and close grip bench press. Rest between sets should be as long as is needed to get the lifts.

    Dynamic Effort Squat/Deadlift Session
    On the standard template, dynamic effort squat/deadlift sessions use the box squat. All sets are carried out using a parallel box. A three week wave is used, based on your current 1RM box squat wearing the same equipment:

    Week 1 – 10x2 @ 50% RM
    Week 2 – 10x2 @ 55% RM
    Week 3 – 10x2 @ 60% RM

    Upon completion of the 3rd week, you simply start the wave over again, recalculating according to your new 1RM.

    Supplementary and accessory exercises
    If the correct loading is used for the max effort and dynamic day, then there can be plenty of flexibility on these exercises. Choice of exercise, sets and reps can be adjusted according to how you feel on that day.

    Bench Press sessions

    Triceps - On one session, do high intensity/low volume triceps work. An example might be 4 or 5 board presses or rack lockouts with heavy weights. Wendler prefers to do this on Dynamic Effort day.

    On the other session, carry out low intensity/high volume triceps. Suitable exercises would include triceps extensions and pushdowns.

    Shoulders - One session uses ‘high stress’ exercises, such as dumbbell bench press, dumbbell incline presses, military presses (with dumbbells or a straight bar) and dumbbell floor presses. Wendler prefers to put the high stress shoulder exercises on Dynamic Effort day.

    The other session uses ‘low stress’ exercises, such as front raises, side raises and rear raises.

    Lats/Upper back - Both sessions should include some lat/upper back work and both are done with low intensity, high volume. Choose two lat movements a week, preferably one horizontal row and one vertical pull.

    Squat/deadlift sessions

    Hamstrings – the preferred exercise for supplemental hamstring work is the glute-ham raise. If no dedicated machine is available, it’s possible to improvise using the seat of a lat machine or even the floor. Many lifters will have difficulty performing this exercise at all, let alone varying resistance on it, so Wendler’s recommendation is to “do the exercise and not worry so much about sets/reps”. Alternatively, it is possible to do one exercise for hamstrings and lower back (see below).

    Low Back – It is difficult to work the lower back without hitting the glutes and hamstrings as well Therefore, one exercise carried out with sufficient intensity, could be enough accessory work for both muscle groups. Not everyone can deal with extra low back work twice a week unless one session is very easy.

    Good choices of exercise could include back raises, 45 degree back raises, reverse hyperextensions, pull-throughs and good mornings.

    Abdominals – These are trained heavy in each squat/deadlift session.Some good exercises to choose include weighted sit ups, Roman Chair sit-ups, stability ball, hanging leg raises, side bends.

    Breaking the pattern – ‘working up’
    At regular intervals – about once every three-four weeks, it would be advisable to substitute ‘working up’ for a dynamic effort session. For example, instead of the usual dynamic effort bench press day, the aim would be to work with increasing weights over five sets or so to hit maximum or near maximum lifts. However, to accommodate this change, the next max effort bench press session would just consist of accessory exercises.

    For bench press, including these working up sessions can be played by ear. If you are feeling strong on that particular day, then go ahead. For squat/deadlift sessions, there may need to be some pre-planning, as it might be a good idea to adjust the previous max effort squat/deadlift session, for example, by cutting some of the accessory work.

    Putting it all together – a sample Standard template routine
    From the above, it should be apparent that the standard template allows for a great deal of flexibility, particularly in the supplemental and accessory exercises. The design recognises that we may need to adjust the volume and intensity of work according to how we feel on a particular day.

    However, just for the sake of illustration, I’ve put together an example of what a standard template workout might look like in week one. Remember that in subsequent weeks, the max effort lifts would be rotated and the box squat weights changed according to the wave loading pattern explained above.

    Sunday – Dynamic Effort Bench Press Session
    Bench Press 8 X 3 @ 55% 1RM,
    Triceps - Rack Lockouts, 4 X 5
    Shoulders – Military Press, 4 X 5
    Lats – Pulldowns, 4 X 5

    Monday – Max Effort Squat/Deadlift Session
    Deadlift - Three sets of 1-3 reps @ 90 -100% of 1RM
    Hamstrings – Glute/ham Raises 3 X 6
    Lower back – Reverse Hyperextensions 3 X 10
    Abdominals – Weighted Sit-ups 3 X 10

    Wednesday – Max Effort Bench Session
    Bench Press movement -Two board press, three sets of 1-3 reps @ 90 -100% of 1RM
    Triceps – Barbell Tricep Extensions, 6 X 10
    Shoulders – Rear DB Raises, 3 X 10
    Lats – Seated Row, 5 X 8

    Friday – Dynamic Effort Squat/Deadlift Session
    Squat movement - Box Squat, 10x2 @ 50% 1RM
    Lower back/hamstrings – Stiff-Legged Deadlifts, 5 X 5
    Abdominals – Hanging Leg Raise, 4 X 8

    Last edited by Aldo Raine; 04-04-2016, 11:55.
    Skeggǫld, Skálmǫld, Skildir ro Klofnir.

  • #2
    West Side Barbell Training Part 1.

    I’m a gym scientist. My lab is the weight room and my lab rats are my athletes. Many of these “lab rats” are doing the program you’re about to read. My experiments have proven one thing: this program works. Below I’ve provided four real-world success stories to prove it.

    These four athletes represent only a fraction of the amazing results I’ve seen with this program. Below you’ll see examples of normal high school kids who swore it was “impossible” for them to gain weight. Well, look at them now. These kids have packed on slabs of muscle mass using this program and good nutrition – and they’re still growing! As a bonus, every one of these “hardgainers” has the strength to match their newfound muscle! See for yourself:Success Stories of Former Skinny Bastards

    John Iannuzzi, 18-year-old high school basketball player. John went from 171 to 186 pounds in 15 weeks. He can perform strict single leg squats holding 100-pound dumbbells. John also possesses a jaw-dropping 37 and a half-inch vertical jump!
    Brian Cushing, 17-years-old, #2 ranked high school linebacker in the nation. Brian went from 213 to 231 pounds in 16 weeks. He can now perform 3 sets of 8 strict glute-ham raises on an incline with a mini band strapped around his neck! Brian also ran an official 4.5 second 40-yard dash at a major high school combine!
    Nick Brandreth, 17-year-old high school wrestler. Nick gained 12 pounds this off-season on this modified Westside program. He was also able to maintain his newfound muscle throughout the season. He holds the record for career wins at his high school and was undefeated (31-0) in the county and region this year. Nick has performed 77 consecutive suspended chain push-ups on his repetition upper body day!
    Jim Dray, 17-years-old, one of the most highly recruited tight ends in the nation. Jim went from 208 to 232 pounds in just 13 weeks. He also improved his 185-pound bench press rep test from 10 to 18 reps while on this program!The Method and the Madness

    Many of my programs are based on the principles popularized by Louie Simmons and the Westside Barbell Club. Through my extensive research and experience, I’ve found that this system produces the best results. I’ve also found that, like any other system, you must manipulate it to suit your specific needs.We’re all well aware that the Westside Barbell Club is the home to some of the strongest, most gifted powerlifters in the world. The results this system has produced speaks for itself. The problem is, I don’t train powerlifters. In fact, most of the younger athletes who come to me aren’t physically prepared to jump into such a demanding program.My clientele consists mainly of football players, wrestlers, baseball players, hockey players, basketball players, and track & field athletes. These athletes range from high school kids to professionals. Through my experience of working with these different athletes, I’m constantly manipulating the system so it better suits an athlete’s specific sport and his training level.
    Now, if I were to write about all of the different templates I’ve designed for the different sports and skill levels, this would be the War and Peace of training articles! I don’t think anyone wants to sit at the computer for a couple of hours reading a novel. (My ass hurts just thinking about it!)Instead of writing a novel about how I manipulate the Westside Barbell system for all of the different athletes I work with, I’ve decided to do something much more practical for T-Nation readers. I’ve decided to appeal to the masses!Let me explain. You see, I get flooded with phone calls and emails every day asking for my advice on getting bigger and stronger. These phone calls range from high school athletes to 40-year-old businessmen. Most of these people are dying to know the “secrets” of getting bigger and stronger. These guys usually sound as if they’ve been training their entire lives and they’ve tried every training method known to man. They call me in desperation and in need of a quick fix.The funny thing is, after getting more info about these people, I find they have no right to be desperate and in need of super-advanced techniques! This is because they usually have three things in common:
    #1 – They lack muscle mass.#2 – They’re weak.#3 – They’re inexperienced.

    This is where my modified program comes in. And don’t be fooled by the name, either. This program isn’t just for skinny bastards; you can be a fat bastard and benefit from it as well! Seriously, I’ve used this program for a wide variety of athletes and “normal” people and it’s worked wonders. Simply put, if you’re interested in packing on muscle mass and having the strength to back it up, this program is for you.Westside for Skinny Bastards: The Program

    Below you’ll find my basic training template for this program. Notice that I provide lots of variety for your exercise selection and rep schemes. I don’t like turning people into robots by having them aimlessly follow a set program. Choose the exercises and rep schemes you feel work the best for your body. Add some of your own exercises if you’d like. And if you’re not familiar with all the exercises listed, just use the search engine here at T-mag.After I lay out the basic program, I’ll provide some more detail about it at the end of the article.

    +++++ Max Effort Upper Body (Monday) +++++
    A. MAX-EFFORT LIFT – Work up to a max set of 3-5 reps.Choose one of the following exercises:
    • Thick bar or regular barbell bench press
    • Barbell floor press
    • Rack lockouts
    • Board presses
    • Incline barbell bench
    • Close-grip bench press (index finger on smooth part of bar)
    • Decline bench press
    • Weighted dips

    B. SUPPLEMENTAL LIFT – Perform 3-4 sets of 6-10 reps.Choose one of the following exercises:
    • Flat dumbbell bench press (palms in or palms forward)
    • Incline dumbbell bench press
    • Decline dumbbell bench press

    C. HORIZONTAL ROW – Perform 4 sets of 10-15 reps.
    • Choose one of the following exercises:
    • Chest supported rows
    • Bent-over dumbbell or barbell rows

    • Seated cable rows (various bars)

    D. REAR DELT/UPPER BACK – Perform 2-3 sets of 12-15 reps.Choose one of the following exercises:
    • Seated rear delt machine
    • Seated dumbbell “power cleans”
    • Bent-over cable flyes (single arm)
    • Standing face pulls
    • Rope pulls to throat
    • Bent-over dumbbell rear delt flyes
    • Cable “scarecrows”(shown below)

    E. WEIGHTED ABDOMINAL EXERCISE – 3-4 sets of 8-15 reps.Choose one of the following exercises:
    • Barbell Russian twists
    • Low-cable pull-ins
    • Hanging leg raises
    • Barbell or dumbbell side bends
    • Weighted Swiss ball crunches
    • Low pulley Swiss ball crunches (shown below)

    +++++ LOWER BODY – (Wednesday) +++++
    A. MAX-EFFORT LIFT – Work up to a max set of 5 reps.Choose one of the following exercises:
    • Trap bar deadlift
    • Box squats
    • Rack pulls (partial deadlift)
    • Front squats
    • High bar Olympic squats
    • Straight bar deadlifts (various grips)

    – Perform 3-4 sets of 8-15 reps.Choose one of the following exercises:
    • Single leg squats, back leg elevated
    • Barbell step-ups with knee lift
    • Barbell reverse lunges
    • Barbell reverse lunges, front foot elevated
    • Barbell reverse lunges, front foot elevated (with knee lift)
    • Low-pulley split squats, front foot elevated
    • Walking lunges
    • “Speed-skater” squats (1 and a half rep single leg squats)
    • Barbell step-ups

    C. HAMSTRING / POSTERIOR CHAIN MOVEMENT – Perform 3-4 sets of 6-10 reps.Choose one of the following exercises:
    • Leg curls
    • Glute-ham raises (various resistance, iso-holds, negatives)
    • Romanian deadlifts
    • Seated or standing good mornings
    • Stability ball hamstring lifts
    • Pull-throughs
    • Reverse hypers

    D. GRIP TRAINING – Perform 3 sets of timed sets.
    • Choose one of the following exercises:
    • Thick bar or heavy dumbbell holds
    • Plate pinch gripping
    • Captains of Crush gripper – 3 sets of max reps each hand.
    • Wrist roller

    ++++++ REPETITION UPPER BODY – (Friday) ++++++
    A. REPETITION LIFT – Work up to 3 sets of max reps, rest 60 seconds between sets.Choose one of the following exercises:
    • Barbell bench press (max reps on 95lbs., 135lbs., 185lbs. or 225lbs.)
    • Regular push-ups, bar push-ups or suspended chain push-ups
    • Bodyweight dips
    • Dumbbell benches on Swiss ball, flat bench or incline bench

    B. SUPPLEMENTAL LIFT (triceps)
    – Perform 3-4 sets of 5-10 reps.Choose one of the following exercises:
    • Dumbbell triceps extensions (flat, incline or decline bench)
    • Dumbbell floor presses
    • Rolling triceps extensions
    • Rope pushdowns
    • Skull crushers (EZ bar or straight bar)

    C. VERTICAL PULLING – Perform 4 sets of 8-12 reps.Choose one of the following exercises:
    • Lat pulldowns (various bars)
    • Chin-ups or Pull-ups

    D. MEDIAL DELT or TRAP EXERCISE – Perform 3 sets of 10-15 reps.Choose one of the following exercises:
    • Dumbbell side press (single arm)
    • Dumbbell shoulder press (seated or standing)
    • Lateral raises (dumbbell or cable)
    • Barbell or dumbbell shrugs
    • Bradford presses (shown below)

    E. ELBOW FLEXION EXERCISE – Perform 3 sets of 8-10 reps.Choose one of the following exercises:
    • Thick bar curls
    • Preacher curls (EZ bar or straight bar)
    • Regular barbell curls
    • Hammer curls
    • Alternate dumbbell curls (standing or seated incline)

    Just pick a variety of ab exercises and perform them in circuit fashion with no rest between exercises.

    NOTE: Athletes who are approaching their season and want to incorporate running/conditioning/GPP work into their program can break up the week as follows:

    • MONDAY (A.M.) – MAX-EFFORT Upper Body lift
    • MONDAY (P.M.) – Sprint work, conditioning, GPP or skill training
    • TUESDAY – OFF or Restoration techniques
    • WEDNESDAY – Sprint work, conditioning, GPP or skill training
    • THURSDAY – REPETITION Upper Body lift
    • FRIDAY – Sprint work, conditioning, GPP or skill training
    • SATURDAY – Lower Body lift
    • SUNDAY – OFF or Restoration techniques

    Major Modifications

    Now, before all of the hardcore Westside “disciples” start grumbling, remember that this program is not intended for advanced powerlifters. It’s intended for athletes and regular people looking to pack on some muscle mass without being “all-show, no-go.”Below I’ve provided descriptions of how the key components of this program have been manipulated from the traditional Westside template.

    Max Effort Upper Body Day
    The max effort method is the best method for developing maximal strength. In my opinion, max effort work should be the “nuts and bolts” of any strength-training program. If you’re weak, you’re dead!Remember that most athletic qualities (sprinting speed, jumping power, etc.) rely heavily on your foundation of maximal strength. This is because maximal strength builds the foundation for all other strength qualities such as speed-strength and strength-endurance.Your first exercise on this day will be your max-effort exercise. Traditionally, most advanced lifters will work up to a one-rep max on this exercise. This is very neurologically demanding on your system and it takes great coordination. Because most beginner and intermediate lifters are less neurologically efficient, we’ll shoot for a 3-5 rep max on our max-effort lift in this modified program. This still enables the lifter to train with maximal loads, but it’s much safer than going for a one-rep max. The extra reps also increase the time under tension, which can lead to greater hypertrophy (size) gains.I recommend rotating your max-effort exercise every two to three weeks to prevent your nervous system from getting burned out. Whether you shoot for a 3-rep max or a 5-rep max, the goal is to break your previous record every week!

    Lower Body Day –
    Unlike a traditional Westside template, you’ll notice there’s only one major lower body day in this modified program. There’s a reason for this: most beginner/intermediate athletes couldn’t recover from two lower body days a week in conjunction with their running and conditioning work. Their legs would never fully recover and it would take away from their speed and conditioning workouts. One day has worked out much better for many of my athletes.(If you’re not an athlete or you only play one sport and it’s your off-season, check out the “Extra Workouts, GPP, Conditioning Days” description below for adding another day to your lower body training.)The first exercise on your lower body day will be a max effort lift. You’ll work up to a max set of five reps in this lift. This lift will be rotated every two to three weeks as well.On this modified program you’ll always follow your max effort exercise with a unilateral exercise. This is one of the major differences between this program and a traditional Westside template.I incorporate unilateral movements for many reasons. First of all, most athletes develop muscular imbalances between limbs. Unilateral exercises are a great way to overcome these imbalances. They also improve flexibility, balance and overall conditioning.The unilateral exercises I prescribe are mostly quad-dominant exercises. Yes, I said the four-letter word, quad. The quads have gotten a bad rap lately, while the “posterior chain” has taken center stage. We must remember that the quads are extremely important for athletes and you can’t neglect them. The quads are very active when an athlete accelerates into a sprint due to their forward body lean. The quad muscle on the inside of your knee (vastus medialis) also plays a major role in stabilizing the knee.Finally, one of the most overlooked aspects in all of training is grip and hand strength. Improving your grip and hand strength will help with numerous athletic activities. We usually do our grip training after leg workouts. You’ll see some of my favorite grip exercises in the training template.

    Repetition Upper Body Day –
    I’ve substituted dynamic-effort days with repetition days for the upper body. This may be the biggest change from the traditional Westside template. I’ve also found it to be one of the keys to success for muscular growth in my younger athletes. Simply put, dynamic days just aren’t that productive for weak, skinny bastards!Remember that this modified program was put together for athletes who lack muscle mass. Well, the repetition method is an incredible way to elicit muscular hypertrophy. Compared to a smaller muscle, a bigger muscle has a better chance of becoming a stronger muscle. Packing on some muscle mass by means of the repetition method lays a great foundation for the more advanced dynamic days to come.I even substitute dynamic days with repetition days for my NFL football players during the initial stages of the off-season. This is because repetition work is easier on the joints following a grueling season and it’s a great way to pack on any muscle that was lost during the season.

    Extra Workouts, GPP, Conditioning Days
    Remember that my entire clientele consists of athletes. That’s the reason why there’s “only” three lifting days on my template. I don’t use this program for bodybuilders or physique-geeks. I must leave room for conditioning workouts, GPP (general physical preparedness) and skill training.If you’re a non-athlete just looking to pack on some size and strength, you can incorporate “extra workouts” on non-workout days. Since Wednesday is your only leg day, I recommend a lower body sled-dragging workout on Saturday. This is just one example.There’s a lot of room for variety in this training template. That’s what I love about it. Get creative and find out what works for you!
    Skeggǫld, Skálmǫld, Skildir ro Klofnir.


    • #3
      West Side Barbell Training Part 2.

      The original Westside for Skinny Bastards was the most popular article I’ve ever written. I still receive dozens of emails and phone calls every day regarding this program.Why? Because not only is it an incredible program, but there’s a ton of room in it for variety. The variety that’s built into this program brings up many debates and questions. The most common question I receive is how to incorporate running workouts into this template.Well, ‘tis the season on the East Coast where the weather starts warming up and we go outside to prepare our football players for training camp. Many of our guys are on the “Westside for Skinny Bastards” template, and in this article I’ll explain how we incorporate running into their workouts (in addition to giving an overview of the entire program).Even if you’re not a football player, I think you’ll learn something here about program design and maybe even a new exercise or two.

      Organizing Your Training Week

      As I’ve said before, there are many ways to organize your training week and there are dozens of factors that determine the training split. For example, the athlete’s training age, work schedule, school schedule, practice schedule, etc. must all be taken into consideration.Use this sample as a guide and then find out what works best with your schedule and your training goals:

      Monday, A.M. — Energy System Training (change of direction focus)
      Monday, P.M. — Max Effort Upper Body Lifting
      Tuesday — Lower Body Lifting
      Wednesday— Energy System Training (linear speed focus)
      Thursday — Repetition Upper Body Lifting
      Friday — Strongman Conditioning or Sport-specific Drills
      Saturday — OFF or light aerobic recovery workout (walk, jog)
      Sunday — OFF

      I’ve provided a detailed training template below. You’ll notice that a lot of the lifting has remained the same from my original article. (This is because the program works!) But, I’ve made a few upgrades since the original program was posted. Remember that this sample program is geared toward football players who are preparing for training camp; therefore, conditioning workouts have increased and some adjustments must be made to their weight training, especially their leg workouts.Also note that if you haven’t been doing any running, don’t just jump into these running workouts. Use your best judgment and ease yourself into the program. Remember that the running workouts are sample workouts. After two or three weeks, make sure you add some variety to your change of direction and linear speed drills. Don’t do these same running workouts for the entire off season!Before we get to the program, let’s take a look at two quick success stories:
      Success Stories

      Jimmy St. Louis — Murray State Tight End

      Last year the pro scouts clocked Jimmy between 4.8 and 5.01 seconds in the 40-yard dash. This year, during the second week of December, he hired me to prepare him for his NFL Pro Day. He weighed 246 pounds at a height of 6’6″. After less than three months on the “Skinny Bastard” strength and speed program, he ran an official 4.57-second 40-yard dash, weighing 261 pounds at his NFL Pro Day on March 4th. Jimmy is now up to 270 pounds and he’s currently with the Tennessee Titans.Ryan Lindsey — Don Bosco, Prep High School wide receiver
      Ryan started the “Skinny Bastard” program last year as a bony high school sophomore. He weighed 155 pounds and ran a 4.4-second 40-yard dash. This year, at the Elite College Football Combine, he ran an official 4.29-second 40-yard dash, weighing 176 pounds!Ryan was the fastest player at the prestigious Combine which had over 70 Division I coaches in attendance, including Notre Dame’s Charlie Weis and Florida’s Urban Meyer. Ryan’s scholarship offers have started coming in after his blazing performance!Okay, as usual, I’m sick of typing. Let’s workout!

      The Program

      Monday, A.M. — Energy system training (change of direction focus)
      Dynamic Warm-upGeneral Warm-up Phase
      • Body squats x 10
      • Jumping jacks x 15
      • Seal jumping jacks x 15
      • Front skips — 20 yards down & back
      • Stationary side lunge x 8 each leg
      • Side shuffle, 20 yds. down & back
      • Stationary leg swings (front & back) x 10 each leg
      • Stationary leg swings (side to side) x 10 ea. leg
      • 60% Build-up sprint (arm & posture focus) — 30 yds. down and back
      • Lunge walk x 10 steps down and back
      • Backpedal x 20 yds. down and back
      • Squat jumps x 5
      • 75% Build-up sprint — (knee drive focus) — 40 yds. down and back

      Ground-Based Mobility Phases
      • Back bridges x 10
      • Iron cross x 10 each leg
      • Rollovers into V sits x 10
      • Birddogs (on all 4’s) — 10 each arm/leg
      • Fire hydrant circles (on all 4’s) — 10 fwd, 10 bkw ea. leg
      • Prone scorpions x 10 ea. leg

      • Mountain climbers x 10 ea. leg

      • Groiners x 10

      Frequency Phase
      • Low pogo jumps — 3 x 20 sec.
      • High pogo jumps — 3 x 10 sec.
      • Quick steps/Ankling — 2 sets of 10 yards

      • Wideouts — 2 sets of 5 sec. (in and out as fast as possible!)
      • Lateral quick steps — 2 sets of 10 yards
      • 85% Build-up sprint — 40 yds.

      Change of Direction Drills
      • 20-yard pro-agility shuttle — 3 reps starting to the left, 3 reps starting to your right. Rest 30 seconds between reps.
      • 3-cone drill — 5 reps, rest 1 minute between reps.
      • Illinois drill — 3 reps (The goal is to complete all 3 reps in under 15 seconds. Rest 2 min. between sets.)

      Monday, P.M. — Max-Effort Upper Body Lifting
      A. Max-Effort Lift — Work up to a max set of 3-5 reps.Choose one of the following exercises:
      • Thick bar or regular barbell bench press
      • Barbell floor press
      • Rack lockouts
      • Incline barbell bench
      • Close-grip bench press (index finger on smooth part of bar)
      • Weighted chin-ups
      • Board presses
      B. Supplemental Lift — Perform 3-4 sets of 6-10 repsChoose one of the following exercises:
      • Flat dumbbell bench press (palms in or palms facing out)
      • Incline dumbbell bench press
      • Dumbbell floor press (palms in)

      C. Lat/upper back superset — Superset one exercise from the first group of exercises with one exercise from the second group of exercises. Perform 3-4 supersets of 8-12 reps of each exercise.Group 1
      • Lat pulldowns (various bars & grips)
      • Seated cable rows (various bars & grips)
      • Chest supported rows
      • Bent-over dumbbell rows

      Group 2
      • Standing rope pulls to neck
      • Kneeling scarecrows
      • Straight arm lat pulldowns
      • Seated dumbbell power cleans
      • Rear delt flyes (dumbbells or machine)

      D. Elbow flexor exercise — Perform 3 sets of 6-10 repsChoose one of the following exercises:
      • Hammer curls
      • Zottmann curls
      • Barbell curls
      • Incline dumbbell curls

      E. Abdominal circuitJust pick a variety of ab exercises and perform them in circuit fashion with no rest between exercises.

      Tuesday — Lower Body Strength Training
      I’ve provided two options for your first exercise on lower body day — a max-effort exercise or dynamic box squats. If you’re already big and strong but you lack speed, start your lower body workout with the dynamic box squats.If you’re a weak, skinny bastard, choose one of the max-effort exercises as your first choice. If you’re somewhere in between, perform max-effort work for two weeks and then perform dynamic box squats for two weeks. Keep alternating your two-week mini-cycles throughout your training cycle. A. Max-Effort Lift — Work up to a max set of 3-5 repsChoose one of the following exercises:
      • Trap bar deadlift variation
      • Straight bar deadlift variation
      • Free squat
      • Good morning variation
      • Rack pulls
      • Box squat variation

      ORA. Dynamic Box Squats (with bands and/or chains if necessary) — 8 sets of 2 with 50-60% of your 1RM.B. Unilateral Movement — Perform 3 sets of 8-12 repsChoose one of the following exercises:
      • Step-up variation
      • Lunge variation
      • Bulgarian split squat variation
      C. Hip Extension exercise — Perform 3-4 sets of 8-15 reps (I tend to focus more on hip extension exercises (as opposed to knee flexion exercises) for the hamstrings once we increase the volume of running.Choose one of the following exercises:
      • Reverse hypers
      • Upright sled walks
      • Hyperextensions
      • Swiss ball hip extension + leg curl
      • Low-cable pull-throughs
      D. Neck/Grip superset — Superset one exercise from the first group of exercises with one exercise from the second group of exercises. Perform 3-4 supersets.Group 1
      • Neck harness — flexion/extension
      • Neck machine — flexion/extension
      • Dumbbell or barbell shrugs
      Group 2
      • Thick bar hold (timed set)
      • Wrist roller
      • Captains of Crush or Heavy Grips grippers
      • Plate or dumbbell pinch gripping (timed set)

      Wednesday — Energy System Training (linear speed focus)
      Dynamic Warm-upGeneral Warm-up Phase
      • Body squats x 10
      • Jumping jacks x 15
      • Seal jumping jacks x 15
      • Front skips — 20 yards down & back
      • Stationary side lunge x 8 each leg
      • Side shuffle 20 yds. down & back
      • Stationary leg swings (front & back) x 10 ea. leg
      • Stationary leg swings (side to side) x 10 ea. leg
      • 60 % Build-up sprint (arm & posture focus) — 30 yds. down and back
      • Lunge walk x 10 steps down and back
      • Backpedal x 20 yds. down and back
      • Squat jumps x 5
      • 75% Build-up sprint — (knee drive focus) — 40 yds. Down and back

      Hurdle Mobility Phase — 4-5 hurdles
      • Walking over/under — front (2 sets)
      • Walking over/under — sideways (2 sets)
      • Leg swings over hurdles (2 sets)
      • Trail leg pick-ups over hurdles (2 sets)

      Frequency Phase
      • Jump rope — 3 x 20 seconds
      • Left leg 2 x 15 sec.
      • Right leg 2 x 15 sec.
      • 85% Build-up sprint — 40 yds.

      Linear Speed Workout
      • Hurdle Hops or High Box Jumps — Perform 3 sets of 3 jumps. Rest one minute between sets.
      • Loaded 20-yard sprints (use either a weighted vest or sled) — Perform 6 weighted 20-yard sprints. Rest 30 seconds between sprints.
      • Free sprints (no added weight) — Perform four 20-yard sprints, rest 30 seconds between sprints. After the last sprint, rest one minute then perform three 30-yard sprints. Rest the amount of time it takes you to walk back to the start line. After the last 30-yard sprint, rest one minute then perform two 40-yard sprints. Rest two minutes between the 40-yard sprints.

      Thursday — Repetition Upper Body Strength Training
      A. Repetition Lift — Work up to 3 sets of max reps, rest 90 seconds between sets.Choose one of the following exercises:
      • Dumbbell benches on Swiss ball, flat bench or incline bench
      • Barbell bench press (max reps with 95lbs., 135lbs., 185lbs. or 225lbs.)
      • Bodyweight dips
      • Chin-ups
      • 2-3-4 board press (Choose a weight you can bench about 12-15 times. Perform two-board presses until your bar speed starts to slow down. Then, have your partner immediately switch to a three-board on your chest. Don’t rack the weight when he’s switching boards! Keep repping out, but don’t go to failure. Finally, have your partner switch to a four-board and finish off as many reps as you can. Only perform two sets of this exercise! Rest three minutes between sets.)
      • Regular push-ups, bar push-ups or suspended chain push-ups
      B. Lat/upper back superset — Superset one exercise from the first group of exercises with one exercise from the second group of exercises. Perform 3-4 supersets of 8-12 reps of each exercise.Group 1
      • Lat pulldowns (various bars & grips)
      • Seated cable rows (various bars & grips)
      • Bent-over dumbbell rows
      • Chest supported rows
      Group 2
      • Standing rope pulls to neck
      • Kneeling scarecrows
      • Straight arm lat pulldowns
      • Seated dumbbell power cleans

      C. Medial Delt exercise — Perform 3 – 4 sets of 8-15 reps.Choose one of the following exercises:
      • Dumbbell side press (single arm)
      • Dumbbell shoulder press (seated or standing)
      • Lateral raises (dumbbell or cable)
      • Bradford presses

      D. Upper Arm Superset — Superset one exercise from the first group of exercises with one exercise from the second group of exercises. Perform 2-3 supersets of 8-12 reps of each exercise.Group 1
      • Preacher curls (EZ-bar or straight bar)
      • Regular barbell curls
      • Hammer curls
      • Alternate dumbbell curls (standing or seated incline)
      • Thick bar curls

      Group 2
      • Triceps pushdowns (band or cable)
      • Dumbbell triceps extensions
      • Barbell triceps extensions
      • Incline, elbows-out triceps extensions

      E. Weighted ab superset — Once again, superset one exercise from the first group of exercises with one exercise from the second group. Perform 2-3 supersets of 10-15 reps of each exercise.Group 1
      • Hanging leg raises
      • Low-cable pull-ins
      • Weighted Swiss ball crunches

      Group 2
      • Dumbbell or cable side bends
      • Reverse cable side bends
      • Lateral bridge (timed set)

      Friday — Strongman ConditioningNote: If you can’t perform strongman training on this day, you can substitute it with another running day. This running day can consist of a dynamic warm-up followed by sport-specific drills. Kettlebell training is also another great alternative on this day.
      A. Overhead Keg or Medicine ball toss – 5 tosses, rest 30 seconds between tosses
      B. Tire Flip — 3 sets of 5 flips, rest 3 minutes between sets. Or 3 sets of 30 seconds, rest 3-4 minutes between sets. (In the timed set variation, the athlete performs as many tire flips as possible in the given timeframe.)
      C. “Zigzag” Farmers Walk — Perform 3 sets of 50 yards around cones. Rest 3-4 minutes between sets.
      D. Backward Sled Drag — 2 sets of 40-50 yards. Rest one minute between sets. This is a great “finisher!”
      E. Tug-of-War — The tug-of-war separates the men from the boys. By the end of this workout, most guys are exhausted. Perform a two-out-of-three or three-out-of-five series to finish your workout. We rest one minute between each “war.”

      Skinny bastards can get big and strong too, even if they need to run to prepare for their sports! Use this program as a guide and get to work!
      Skeggǫld, Skálmǫld, Skildir ro Klofnir.


      • #4
        West Side Barbell Training Part 3.

        The Final Chapter

        Joe DeFranco
        When I wrote the original “Skinny Bastards” article, I had a feeling it would generate a great deal of discussion. To be honest, though, I had no idea it would become as popular as it has. At least 75% of the hundreds of emails I receive on a weekly basis refer in some way to the WS4SB program. First, a bit of history…

        After a year of answering questions about my original article and making modifications to it in the gym with my athletes, I decided to write Part 2. In that second installment, I discussed how to incorporate running workouts into the original training template. Another two years have passed now, and the avalanche of questions involving WS4SB continues to kill my inbox! This is what prompted me to sit down and provide more answers to the most common questions people have been asking. In this, my third and final chapter, I will clarify the following:

        • A new 4-day-a-week strength training template for the off-season
        • Explanation of warm-up sets
        • New ways to incorporate speed training and conditioning into the program
        • Sample in-season training templates
        • Bonus “Washed-up Meathead” template
        • The importance of including “indicator” exercises in your program

        Hopefully, after you’re done reading this article, most of your questions regarding the WS4SB saga will be answered. Unlike Sylvester Stallone, I will not drag this out into a 6-part series. I know when to call it quits! I’m confident that what you’re about to read will end the Westside for Skinny Bastards trilogy on top! I want you to find your answers here, once and for all, so you can spend more time in the gym training and less time on the computer asking questions!

        Not a good way to end a series…

        So, without further ado, I present to you, “Westside for Skinny Bastards III – The Final Chapter”…


        My original Skinny Bastard template consisted of three strength training days with an optional fourth day. Although a 3-day template is sufficient for building size and strength, I quickly realized that most people want to train more. WS4SB3 will now provide you with a 4-day strength training template. It’s been over three years since I wrote the original article, so it’s about time you skinny bastards graduated to a 4-day split that more closely resembles a “traditional” Westside split! First, I’ll reveal the new and improved template. After that, I’ll go over the specific details you’ll need to know.

        MONDAYMax-Effort Upper Body
        TUESDAYDynamic-Effort Lower Body
        WEDNESDAY – Off
        THURSDAYRepetition Upper Body
        FRIDAYMax-Effort Lower Body
        SATURDAY – Off
        You can also split up the training like this…

        MONDAYMax-Effort Lower Body
        WEDNESDAYMax-Effort Upper Body
        FRIDAYDynamic-Effort Lower Body
        SUNDAYRepetition Upper Body
        Now that the new template is in place, I’ll reveal the changes I’ve made since my original article…
        Max-Effort Upper Body notes:
        Not much about the max-effort movement has changed since my original article was published. I still prefer a 3-5 rep max (RM) – as opposed to a 1RM – for my skinny bastards. The one thing that has changed – you’ll notice this later on in this article – is the second movement on max-effort upper body day. We recently started having our athletes perform two high-rep sets of an exercise immediately following the max-effort movement.

        This high-rep movement is usually an exercise that’s closely related to the max-effort movement. For example, if our athletes performed a 3RM in the bench press, their second exercise may be two sets of dumbbell benches. We don’t do this all the time, but it’s a new “twist” in our templates that wasn’t covered in previous articles.

        Dynamic-Effort Lower Body notes:

        This is obviously the biggest change from my original skinny bastard program. In my original program there were absolutely no dynamic days. I didn’t use them because I believed my skinny bastards needed to devote all their time to building muscle and developing strength. After all, you can’t flex bone! Although the main focus of my modified Westside program is still to build muscle and strength, I’ve had tremendous success during the past year by incorporating a dynamic-effort lower body day into the program.

        My dynamic-effort lower body day, however, is not what you think. With apologies to all the skinny bastards that were about to lace up their Chuck Taylors, throw on their favorite Westside t-shirt, strap some bands and chains onto the barbell and start squatting explosively — you’re not ready for that yet! Experience has shown me that skinny bastards do NOT respond well to having a barbell on their back two times per week. It’s simply too taxing on their bodies and they can’t recover. Also, most skinny bastards have a hard enough time box squatting with a controlled tempo, so why on earth would I try to have them perform the lift quickly?

        That said, how do I get my skinny bastards to start training their newfound muscle to contract explosively, yet in a safe and effective manner? The answer is simple: basic jump training!

        Incorporating box jumps, vertical jumps, broad jumps and hurdle jumps has had a profound effect on our athletes’ explosiveness and performance. I also like the fact that jumping helps improve athleticism. The box jump is a perfect example of what I’m talking about here. In order to perform a box jump onto a high box, you must develop superior flexibility and mobility, as well as the incredible balance required to stick the landing. I’m a fan of any exercise that helps develop explosive power, mobility and balance simultaneously!

        Another positive aspect of jumping is that it doesn’t make you as sore as squatting. This is important because we don’t want our dynamic-effort lower body day to take away from our max-effort lower body day. You’ll also notice in the sample workouts below that I keep the volume very low on the assistance exercises during dynamic-effort lower body day. Once again, this is because we don’t want to be sore for the max-effort workout. This low volume “jumping” workout has complimented our athletes’ heavy lower body days extremely well!
        Repetition Upper Body notes:
        The Repetition Upper Body Day remains a staple of the Skinny Bastard program. We still perform our main exercise in the same fashion outlined in my original article, choosing an exercise and performing 3 sets of max reps with minimal rest. Although I use the term “max reps,” I advise that you don’t go to failure on the first two sets. Instead, I recommend leaving 1 or 2 reps “in the tank” during the first two sets and then going all out for the third (final) set. Also, in my original article I recommended a one minute rest period between sets. Experience has shown that one minute of rest is insufficient for most athletes. I now recommend 90 seconds rest between repetition sets for most females and beginners, and three minutes rest for stronger athletes. (Three minutes is the max rest period I suggest for the main lift on Rep Upper Body Day.)

        Another change we’ve made is that we don’t always perform 3 sets of max reps on our main lift during Rep Upper Body Day. Sometimes, we just use a basic “bodybuilding” set/rep scheme. For example, instead of performing 3 sets of max reps in the incline dumbbell bench press, we may simply perform 4 sets of 12 reps with 2-3 minutes rest between sets. We’ve found that performing high reps to (almost) failure week after week has a tendency to burn athletes out. This holds true even for beginners.

        Lately, I’ve been throwing in a 2 or 3 week cycle of a “bodybuilding” set/rep scheme on Rep Day every 4-6 weeks. For example, I may have an athlete perform barbell push-ups for 3 sets of max reps for 2 weeks. After that, I may prescribe a 2-week cycle of flat dumbbell bench presses for 3 sets of max reps. After 4 weeks of going to “failure” in this manner, I may then prescribe a 2-week cycle in which the athlete performs incline dumbbell bench presses with a moderate weight for 4 sets of 12. Rotating back and forth between these two “rep methods” is a great way to both build muscle and prevent the athlete from burning out.
        Max-Effort Lower Body notes:
        We have not made any major modifications to our Max-Effort Lower Body Day. Our athletes have developed incredible lower body strength and power on this program. I’m a big believer in this axiom: “If it aint broke, don’t fix it!” That said, we ain’t fixin’ a thing on max-effort lower body day!
        Let’s move on…

        New & Improved Skinny Bastard Template

        Now that you’ve learned some of the theory behind my new training template, it’s time to see it in its entirety. This first schedule is my basic template. It will work for most athletes during their off-season when strength training takes precedence over other forms of conditioning and technical training. You’ll notice, after reading this template, that I’ve provided you with a variety of other templates that can be utilized during different times of the year.

        MONDAY – Max-Effort Upper Body
        Max-Effort Exercise – work up to a max set of 3-5 reps in one of the following exercises:

        • Thick bar or regular barbell bench press
        • Barbell floor press
        • Rack lockouts / Suspended chain lockouts
        • Incline barbell bench press (regular grip or close grip)
        • Close-grip bench press (index finger on smooth part of bar)
        • Weighted chin-ups
        • Board presses or foam presses
        • Chain bench press (*recommended for not-so-skinny bastards)
        • Band bench press (*recommended for not-so-skinny bastards)
        • Reverse band bench press (*recommended for not-so-skinny bastards)

        Supplemental Exercise – perform 2 sets of max reps in one of the following exercises. (Choose a weight you can perform for 15-20 reps on the 1st set. Use the same weight for both sets and rest 3-4 minutes between sets).

        • Flat DB bench press (palms in or out)
        • Incline DB bench press (palms in or out)
        • DB floor press (palms in)
        • Barbell push-ups (wearing weighted vest)
        • Blast strap push-ups (wearing weighted vest)
        • “Criss-cross” chain push-ups
        • “Triceps death”
        • Chin-ups (don’t perform these if you chose to do weighted chin-ups for your first exercise)

        Horizontal pulling / Rear delt superset – Superset one exercise from “Group 1” with one exercise from “Group 2.” Perform 3-4 supersets of 8-12 reps of each exercise.

        • Group 1
          • DB rows
          • Barbell rows
          • Seated cable rows (various bars)
          • T-bar rows
          • Chest supported rows

        • Group 2
          • Rear delt flyes
          • Scarecrows
          • Face pulls
          • Seated DB “power cleans”
          • Band pull-aparts

        1. Traps – Perform 3 – 4 sets of 8-15 reps of one of the following exercises:
          • DB shrugs
          • Barbell shrugs
          • Safety squat bar shrugs
          • Behind the back barbell shrugs

        2. Elbow flexor exercise – Perform 3-4 sets of 8-15 reps of one of the following exercises:
          • Barbell curls (regular or thick bar)
          • DB curls (standing)
          • Seated Incline DB curls
          • Hammer curls
          • Zottmann curls
          • Iso-hold DB curls

        TUESDAY – Dynamic-Effort Lower Body

        Jump training – choose one of the following exercises and perform 5-8 sets of 1-3 jumps:

        1. Unilateral exercise (w/ added ROM) – choose one of the following exercises and perform 2-3 sets of 8-10 reps:
          • Bulgarian split squats, front leg elevated (holding DB’s or with a barbell)
          • Barbell reverse lunge, front foot elevated
          • Barbell reverse lunge w/ knee lift (front foot elevated)
          • Step-ups (box height slightly above knee)

        2. Hip extension exercise – choose one of the following exercises and perform 3 sets of 8-12 reps:
          • 45-degree hyperextensions
          • Reverse hyperextensions
          • Pull-throughs
          • Swiss ball back bridge + leg curl
          • Glute-ham raises
          • Romanian deadlift
          • Forward sled dragging, upright posture (3 sets of 30 yards)

        3. Weighted Abdominals – choose one of the following exercises and perform 4 sets of 10-15 reps:
          • DB side bends
          • Offset barbell side bends
          • Barbell Russian twists
          • Low cable or band pull-ins
          • Hanging leg raises
          • Weighted Swiss ball crunches
          • Spread-eagle sit-ups (holding DB over chest)
          • Standing sit-ups (using a band or a high pulley)

        THURSDAY – Repetition Upper Body

        Repetition Exercise – choose one of the following exercises and perform 3 sets of max reps OR 4 sets of 12-15 reps:

        • Flat DB bench press (palms in or out)
        • Incline DB bench press (palms in or out)
        • DB bench press on Swiss ball (palms in or out)
        • DB floor press (palms in)
        • Push-up variations
        • Chin-up variations
        • Barbell bench press (55-60% of 1RM)

        1. Vertical pulling / Rear delt superset – Superset one exercise from “Group 1” with one exercise from “Group 2.” Perform 3-4 supersets of 8-12 reps of each exercise.
          • Group 1
            • Lat pulldowns (various bars)
            • Chin-ups (don’t perform these if you chose to do chin-ups for your first exercise)
            • Straight arm pulldowns

          • Group 2
            • Rear delt flyes
            • Scarecrows
            • Face pulls
            • Seated DB “power cleans”
            • Band pull-aparts

        2. Medial delts – choose one of the following exercises and perform 4 sets of 8-12 reps:
          • DB lateral raises
          • L-lateral raises
          • Cable lateral raises
          • DB military press
          • DB side press

        3. Traps / Arms superset – Superset one exercise from “Group 1” with one exercise from “Group 2.” Perform 3 supersets.
          • Group 1 (Perform 8-10 reps)
            • DB shrugs
            • Barbell shrugs
            • Safety squat bar shrugs
            • Behind the back barbell shrugs

          • Group 2
            • Barbell curls (8-10 reps each set)
            • DB curls (8-10 reps each set)
            • Seated Incline DB curls (8-10 reps each set)
            • Hammer curls (8-10 reps each set)
            • Zottmann curls (8-10 reps each set)
            • Iso-hold DB curls (8-10 reps each set)
            • DB triceps extensions (10-15 reps each set)
            • Triceps pushdowns (15-25 reps each set)

        4. Grip / Forearms – choose one of the following exercises:
          • Wrist roller (2-3 sets of 2-3 reps)
          • Thick bar or heavy DB holds (2-3 sets of max time)
          • Plate pinch gripping (2-3 sets of 2-3 reps)
          • Captains of Crush gripper (3 sets of max reps each hand)
          • Rice digs (3 timed sets)

        *DON’T train your grip/forearms if you’re planning on deadlifting the next day

        FRIDAY – Max-Effort Lower Body

        MAX-EFFORT LIFT work up to a max set of 3-5 reps in one of the following exercises:

        • Box squats (regular bar, safety squat bar, cambered bar, buffalo bar)
        • Free squats (regular bar, safety squat bar, cambered bar, buffalo bar)
        • Straight bar deadlifts (traditional style, sumo style)
        • Trap Bar deadlifts
        • Rack pulls (partial deadlifts)
        • Tire flip – (remember, your max-effort lifts don’t necessarily have to be limited to just barbell exercises!)

        *Bands and/or chains can be incorporated into all of the above exercises for the not-so-skinny bastards reading this article.

        1. UNILATERAL MOVEMENTchoose one of the following exercises and perform 3 sets of 6-12 reps:
          • Bulgarian split squat variation (holding DB’s or with a barbell)
          • Reverse lunge variation
          • Step-up variation
          • Walking lunges
          • Backward sled drags (3 sets of 30 yards)
          • Forward sled drags, 45-degree angle (3 sets of 30 yards)

        2. HAMSTRING / POSTERIOR CHAIN MOVEMENTchoose one of the following exercises and perform 3 sets of 8-12 reps:
          • 45-degree hyperextensions
          • Reverse hyperextensions
          • Pull-throughs
          • Swiss ball back bridge + leg curl
          • Glute-ham raises
          • Romanian deadlifts
          • Forward sled dragging (upright posture)

        3. Ground-based, high-rep abdominal circuit – Example: sprinter sit-ups, V-ups, toe touches, hip thrusts. Perform 10-20 reps of each exercise and go through the circuit 2-3 times. Rest 1-2 minutes between circuits.

        Notes regarding warm-up sets

        You’ll notice that I don’t list the number of warm-up sets for your main lift on Max-Effort days or Repetition Upper Body days. Instead, I use the term “work up.” This is because the number of warm-up sets you’ll be performing is determined by how strong you are! The stronger you are, the more sets you’ll need to reach your max weight. I favor multiple sets of low reps for warming up on Max-Effort Day and just 1 or 2 sets of 6-8 reps before your first exercise on Rep Upper Body Day.

        Before you warm up with weights, however, you should be performing a 5-15 minute general warm-up. Make sure you have a light sweat going before getting under the bar.
        Here’s an example of “working up” to a max set of 3 reps in the box squat. Assuming the athlete’s goal is to box squat 315 lbs. for 3 reps, a sample warm-up would look something like this:

        95 X 5
        135 X 5
        185 X 3
        225 X 3
        275 X 3
        295 X 3
        315 X 3
        It should be noted that these warm-up weights are not engraved in stone! Some people like to take bigger jumps and some prefer smaller. YOU must figure out what works best for YOU! The one thing I will suggest is that if you are a weak, skinny bastard, you must make sure you’re performing at least 5 total sets for your max-effort exercise. For example, let’s say you’re going for a 5RM in the box squat and your goal is 185 lbs. Don’t just do 95 X 5, 135 X 5 and 185 X 5. Skinny bastards need more volume in order to grow, so make sure you make smaller jumps in weight and get more sets in before your main set.

        On Rep Upper Body Day – where you’re performing “3 sets of max reps” – you won’t need to perform as many warm-up sets before your first actual work set because you’re not handling a maximal weight. For example, let’s say a workout calls for you to perform 3 sets of max reps of DB benches on the Swiss ball. If you’re using 65 lb. DB’s, and your goal is 25 reps on the first set, I suggest you only perform 1 or 2 sets of 6-8 reps before your first work set. Here, you might do 45 lb. DB’s for 8 reps and then 55 lb. DB’s for 6 reps. Another option would be to perform just 1 set of 8 reps with 50 lb. DB’s before your first work set. Again, you must decide, through trial and error, what works best for you!

        Now that the basic template is in place and we’re clear on how to perform our warm-up sets, let’s check out some other training templates…

        New way to organize your speed training/conditioning

        The most popular question I get regarding my WS4SB template is how to incorporate speed training and conditioning into the routine. Everyone is perpetually searching for the best way to incorporate running into their lifting program. It’s the Holy Grail of training, and it seems to be what everyone is constantly after. I’m here to tell you, however, that there is no single best way to do this. Each athlete’s template has to be based on his or her specific schedule and preparedness.

        Nonetheless, I will provide you with one of the more popular and, more importantly, practical templates that I’ve used with my athletes. The use of this template has achieved incredible results for us. Remember, this is only one of MANY effective ways to organize your strength and speed/conditioning workouts.


        MONDAY – Max-Effort Upper Body
        This workout remains the same as described on our basic template with one exception – you’re not going to work up to a true max on your max-effort exercise. Once I start incorporating more running into my athletes’ workouts, I like to drop the percentages down on their “max-effort” lifts. This prevents the athlete from burning out – while simultaneously maintaining strength levels – as we ramp up the conditioning aspect of the program. I suggest working up to 2 sets of 3 reps with 80-82% of your 1RM for your max-effort lift. If you’re a more advanced athlete, you can work up to 2-3 singles with 90-92% of your 1RM for your max-effort lift. If you’re feeling really good on a given day, you can work up to a true max set. The rest of this workout can remain the same as outlined in the basic template.

        TUESDAY – Speed training

        1. General Warm-up / Movement skills (5-15 minutes) – The goal of this portion of the workout is to increase your core temperature by performing basic movement skills and calisthenics. (Example: bodyweight squats, jumping jacks, skipping, back pedaling, etc…)
        2. Ground-based mobility (5-15 minutes) – Once you’ve broken a sweat and your muscles are warm, I suggest performing ground-based mobility drills for 5-15 minutes. (Sample mobility drills include: roll-overs into V-sits, fire hydrant circles, mountain climbers, groiners, etc…)
        3. Frequency drills (2-3 minutes) – I always like to conclude my warm-up with 1 or 2 drills that excite the central nervous system before beginning the speed training portion of the workout. These drills should only last 5-10 seconds, and I recommend 2-3 sets for each. (Example: low pogo jumps, wideouts, ankling, etc.)
        4. Speed training – We always separate “speed training” from conditioning. When I refer to speed training for non-track athletes, I’m talking about distances of 60 yards or less, with complete (or close to it) recovery between sprints. The goal of this workout is to actually get faster. That’s why it’s done early in the week when your legs are at their freshest. For example, if a football player wants to incorporate some Combine tests into his weekly template, today would be the ideal day to do so. A sample workout would look like this:

        1. 10-yard starts – 8 sprints with 1 minute rest between sprints
        2. 20-yard shuttle – 5-6 reps with 1-2 minutes rest between sprints
        3. 3-Cone drill – 4 reps with 2-3 minutes rest between sprints

        *A football player who isn’t concerned about incorporating Combine tests into his workout could do a sample linear speed workout as follows:

        1. 10-yard sprints – 10 sprints with 1 minute rest
        2. 20-yard sprints – 6 sprints with 2 minutes rest
        3. 40-yard sprints – 4 sprints with 4 minutes rest

        *I obviously can’t write a hundred different sample workouts for every sport and position. I’m hoping you’ll understand the goal of this Tuesday workout and can design, for yourself, a plan that best suits your needs. Simply put, this workout should consist of short, explosive sprints or agility drills with full recovery.

        WEDNESDAY – Off

        THURSDAY – Max-Effort Lower Body & Conditioning

        1. Max-effort exercise – You will not work up to a true max on this exercise. I suggest working up to 2 sets of 3 reps with 75-80% of your 1RM. Another option is to work up to 2-3 singles with 90% of your 1RM if you’re an advanced athlete.
        2. Hip extension exercisechoose one of the following exercises and perform 3 sets of 10 reps:
          • 45-degree back raises
          • Reverse hyperextensions
          • Pull-throughs

        3. Sprinter sit-ups – 3 sets of 20 reps
        4. Conditioning “finisher” – choose one of the following exercises…
          • *Prowler sprints – perform 4-10 30-yard sprints with about 1 minute rest between sprints (depending on your conditioning level).
            *I don’t endorse many pieces of equipment, but if you’re a serious athlete looking to get in shape, you have to get a prowler. I’ve used it with all types of athletes – from professional boxers to NFL football players and rugby players. No matter what sport you play, this thing will get you in the best shape of your life. You can purchase one HERE.

          • Farmers walks – perform 4–6 sets of 40-60 yards with 1-2 minutes rest between sets
          • Forward or backward sled drags – perform 4-6 sets of 30-50 yards with 1-2 minutes rest between sets

        FRIDAY – Repetition Upper Body

        *Done the same way as described earlier in the new 4-day program. The only difference is that you’re going to finish the workout with weighted abdominals instead of grip training.

        SATURDAY – Conditioning

        1. Warm-up – Same format as Tuesday’s workout (General warm-up, ground-based mobility, frequency drills)

        After the warm-up, choose one of the following 3 options…

        OPTION 1 – Conditioning “test”
        If you’re a football player – or any other athlete – and you have a conditioning test you’ll have to perform when you get to training camp, you can train for it on this day. (NOTE: Although I feel that most football conditioning tests suck, your coach, unfortunately, is going to evaluate you on how well you perform them. You’ll therefore need to practice whichever one he uses before showing up to camp. For example, I have no idea how running 16 110-yard sprints carries over to football, but if that’s your conditioning test, you should drill it on Saturday if you decide to use this template).

        OPTION 2 – Skill conditioning
        This involves performing a specific aspect of your sport with incomplete rest intervals. For example, if you’re a football wide receiver, you can get a quarterback to throw to you as you practice running pass routes with minimal rest between repetitions. Another example would be for a basketball player to play a pick-up game of basketball. A soccer player can go to a soccer field and work on his or her ball handling skills up and down the field. Hopefully, you get my point. The possibilities are endless for any sport.

        OPTION 3 – General conditioning
        This option entails sprinting for various distances, performing cone drills – or other such conditioning drills – with incomplete rest periods. For example, a football player could perform sprints/drills that take 5-15 seconds to complete, resting for only 30-60 seconds between drills. Here is a sample general conditioning workout we performed with our football players this summer:

        1. Mountain climbers into 10-yard sprint – 8 sets with 30 seconds rest between sets. After you complete the 8 sprints, rest 1 minute before moving onto the 2nd exercise.
        2. Wideouts into 15-yard sprint – perform wideouts for 5 seconds and then sprint 15 yards on command. Perform 6 sets with 45 seconds rest between sets. After you complete the 6 sets, rest 2 minutes before moving onto the third exercise.
        3. 60-yard shuttle – perform 4 shuttles with 45 seconds rest between sets. After you complete the 4 sets, rest 1 minute before moving onto the final exercise.
        4. Illinois Drill – perform 3 sets with 1 minute rest between sets.

        SUNDAY – Off


        Most athletes will work diligently to improve their strength during the off-season, only to lose all their hard-earned gains when they need them most: during the season! Think about what I’m saying here. What good is it for a football player to be as strong as hell in April, yet weak as a schoolgirl in November?

        I believe most athletes lose their off-season gains during the season because they’ve not been properly educated on the correct way to perform their in-season training. Many athletes try to perform their off-season workouts during the season. Those who do this quickly realize that their off-season program is too demanding to maintain. As a result, they eventually become frustrated and stop training altogether! This, obviously, is the worst thing an athlete can possibly do!

        Athletes need to understand that they can maintain their strength during the season on very little volume – IF they’re doing the right exercises at the proper intensity. Speaking of proper intensity, it’s important to get a true max on your “indicator” lifts before the season starts. This will enable you to make proper weight selections for your main lifts during the season. For example, two weeks before all of our high school football players started training camp, we tested their box squat and bench press. Our training weights and percentages for our in-season programs are based on those max lifts.

        Another point I need to make about in-season training is that it’s extremely unpredictable! Athletes constantly contact me in search of the magic in-season program and, as usual, such a program simply doesn’t exist. There’s no way to predict how an athlete will make it through an entire season. There are just too many variables involved – injuries, school schedule, practice time, easy games, hard games, etc…

        The key is to listen to your body! If you’ve just had an easy game – a blowout, let’s say – in which you were taken out at halftime, you can hit the weights a little harder during the week. If you’re coming off a tough game in which you suffered an injury and you have another tough game the following week, your best bet is to go easy in the weight room that week and just perform some restoration exercises. Taking all this into account, I’ll now give you some guidance by providing you with one (of many) sample in-season programs that I’ve used with my football clients.

        WORKOUT #1

        *This workout was performed on Monday. (Their game was on Saturday.)
        1. Max-Effort Upper Body liftwork up to 5RM week 1 & work up to 3RM week 2. *Be somewhat conservative with your weight selections. I don’t advocate forced reps during the season. The goal is to work up to a heavy weight, but you want to get all reps on your own.*I also like performing 2-week mini-cycles during the season in which you alternate between full-range max-effort lifts and partial range lifts for the upper body. For example: Weeks 1&2 = bench press; Weeks 3&4 = 3-board press; Weeks 5&6 = incline bench press; Weeks 7&8 = floor press; Weeks 9&10 = close grip bench press; Weeks 11&12 = 4-board press
        2. “Blackburns”Perform 2 sets of the 4 exercises that are shown in the video link. Hold each position for 10-20 seconds. Rest 1 minute between sets.
        3. Unilateral lower body movement – perform 3 sets of 8 reps
        4. 1 -Rowing variation – 3 sets of 10-12 reps
        5. 2 -DB Shrugs – 3 sets of 10-12 reps
        6. High rep abdominal circuit – perform 3-4 exercises and go through circuit 2X

        WORKOUT #2

        *This workout was performed on Wednesday, but it can also be performed on Thursday.
        1. Box Jumps – perform 3 sets of 3
        2. Box squats – perform 3-week mini-cycles with the following percentages: Week 1 = 60% of 1RM for 6 sets of 2 w/ 1 minute rest between sets; Week 2 = 70% of 1RM for 5 sets of 2 w/ 1 minute rest between sets; Week 3 = work up to 3 singles w/ 80-85% of your 1RM. Rest 2-3 minutes between sets. After 3 weeks, start the cycle over. You may increase or decrease the percentages depending on how you feel. Alternate between a regular barbell & safety squat bar every 3 weeks if you can.
        3. 1 – DB bench variation – perform 3 sets of 8-12reps
        4. 2 – Rear Delt/Upper Back exercise – choose one of the following exercises & perform 3 sets of 8-12 reps
          • Rear delt flyes
          • Scarecrows
          • Face pulls
          • Seated DB “power cleans”
          • Band pull-aparts

        1. DB or cable lateral raises – perform 2-3 sets of 12-15 reps

        1. Abs/Low back superset – perform 2-3 supersets of your favorite ab exercise with either 45-degree back raises or reverse hyperextensions. Perform 10-20 reps of each exercise.

        Although I’ve now officially published a sample in-season template, I know I’m bound to receive a thousand emails asking me, “What should I do if I can only train once a week during the in-season?”

        I’m well aware that sports such as basketball, baseball and soccer – among others – have multiple games per week. This certainly makes in-season training a little more complicated. One way to combat this is to simply alternate between the two in-season templates provided above. For example, perform Workout #1 on one of your off days during the first week of your season. During an off day on week 2, perform Workout #2. Go back to Workout #1 again during week 3, and so on. If a light week comes up in which you only have one or two games, you can perform both workouts that week. As I’ve stated before, you must use your best judgment.

        *If you know in advance that you’re definitely not going to be able to train more than once a week during the season, I suggest designing one full-body workout that incorporates a squat variation, bench press variation and a row variation. This workout should also cover any weak points that you need to address during the season.


        As a result of overwhelming popular demand, I’ve decided to devote a small section of this article to all you “washed-up meatheads” out there. Washed-up meatheads are essentially non-athletes who don’t want to go to the gym and train like everyone else. Washed-up meatheads come from all walks of life – they’re police officers, corporate CEO’s, school teachers, coaches and small business owners. Most of them are former high school and/or college athletes who’ve maintained that same competitive spirit as they’ve gotten older. Unlike most health club members, washed-up meatheads go to the gym to train – not to socialize and make friends! Hey, just because you’re over 40, or 50 – or, in my dad’s case, 60 – it doesn’t mean you can’t still train hard and get results!
        Although washed-up meatheads don’t want to do the “Average Joe” workout, they also don’t need to do everything a college or pro athlete does. Keeping this in mind, here are some thoughts on a very practical and productive washed-up meatheads template:

        MONDAYMax-Effort Upper Body
        WEDNESDAYMax-Effort Lower Body
        FRIDAYRepetition Upper Body

        As you can see, this template is very similar to the base 4-day template I outlined earlier in this article, and your workouts can follow the exact same format I laid out there. The only day I’ve omitted is the dynamic-effort lower body day. I just don’t feel that the dynamic-effort lower body day is necessary if you’re a washed-up meathead looking to get jacked. On the other hand, if you’re in your meathead infancy years (late twenties to early thirties) and you want to improve your athleticism while you’re getting jacked, you can follow the exact 4-day template I outlined earlier in the article.


        To summarize, my base template for washed-up meatheads is the 3-day plan outlined above. If you’re a meathead that’s looking to get jacked and you want to add a fourth day of lifting to my base template, here’s what I recommend:
        MONDAYMax-Effort Upper Body
        WEDNESDAYMax-Effort Lower Body
        THURSDAYRepetition Upper Body
        SATURDAY“Vanity” Day (This workout can consist of extra biceps, shoulders, calves & abs)

        Thoughts on conditioning for Washed-up Meatheads

        Most of the washed-up meatheads that have contacted me aren’t only concerned about getting jacked. They’re also at a point in their lives where they want to be healthy. Believe it or not, there comes a time in some people’s lives at which being healthy enough to play with their kids takes precedence over max-effort deadlifts! For these people, I recommend incorporating 2-3 days a week of “cardio” – or some kind of conditioning.

        Although I prefer sprints, prowler pushes, sled dragging or similar high-intensity activities, I realize that not all meatheads are healthy enough to perform these types of activities anymore. Whether it’s an old injury that’s holding you back or you’ve simply let yourself get out of shape, make sure you don’t neglect your conditioning just because you can’t do the “hardcore” things you used to do when you were an athlete. Make sure you do some form of conditioning 2-3 times a week. This can entail going for a one-mile jog, riding a stationary bike or just going for a walk. If you’re in good enough condition, I highly recommend sprinting, prowler pushes, sled dragging and other forms of high-intensity movements as your best forms of conditioning. These activities will simultaneously get you in kick-ass shape AND have a positive effect on your physique.

        To summarize, I don’t care what form of conditioning you choose – just do something 2-3 times per week. If you need to perform low intensity activities like walking or jogging, it doesn’t matter when you do them. You can engage in your “cardio” movement(s) as a warm-up before your workouts. You can also do something after your workouts. Another option is to get the work in on your non-lifting days.

        If you’re able to perform the high intensity movements I’ve discussed, I recommend doing them after your two upper body workouts. Coupling your high-intensity conditioning with your upper body days will enable you to have more days off and more time to recover. If performing your high-intensity conditioning on the same days as your upper body workouts isn’t practical, you can try conditioning on your off days. See how you feel after the first week and then make the necessary adjustments. Whether you’re a washed-up meathead or an elite athlete, you must listen to your body!


        Now that I’ve provided you with all my templates, I’d like to wrap things up by discussing the importance of having indicator exercises in your program.
        I firmly believe that every strength program must include indicator exercises. Your indicator exercises are, essentially, your “money” exercises. They’re the exercises that’ll tell you whether your program is working or not. There are no rules to what your indicator exercises should be. I recommend simply choosing 3-5 exercises that you feel are the most important movements in your strength program in terms of determining your progress. You must then figure out which exercises help strengthen your indicator exercises, as well as which exercises don’t carry over to your indicator exercises. Keep the exercises in your program that strengthen your indicator exercises. Eliminate the ones that don’t carry over.

        Generally speaking, in our strength program, we have four indicator exercises – two upper body and two lower. Our indicator exercises are:
        #1 – Box Squat
        #2 – Vertical jump and/or Box Jump
        #3 – Bench Press
        #4 – Chin-ups

        For the majority of our athletes, all of the other exercises we perform in our program are intended to “build” our four indicator exercises. If we can simultaneously improve these four exercises, we know we’re developing many different aspects of strength. For example, the box squat and bench press require absolute strength for the lower and upper body, respectively. The vertical jump (or box jump) requires an athlete to display his/her strength rapidly – explosive power – and we’ve also found that jump height directly correlates with an athlete’s sprinting speed. The chin-up test requires tremendous relative body strength which we’ve also found to correlate with an athlete’s sprinting speed. As you can see, if we can improve our four indicator exercises, we know our clients are developing “balanced” strength and power. This builds a terrific foundation for all athletes.

        By contrast, if an athlete’s bench press and box squat numbers have improved, but their vertical jump and chin-up performance have deteriorated, we know we need to alter the program and reevaluate the athlete’s nutritional habits, etc. If an athlete increases only his/her absolute strength, without improvement in relative strength or explosive power, he/she may become slower and less agile. This is why we place a huge emphasis on improving ALL FOUR of our indicator exercises.

        To summarize:

        If you determine what your indicator exercises are, you’ll be better able to design a productive program for yourself. Every couple of weeks (or months), test yourself in your indicator exercises. If they improve, no one can tell you that your program sucks! If your indicator exercises do not improve, you’ll then know that you have to make changes to your exercise selection, training volume, diet, or any other training variables that may be hindering your progress. By having indicator exercises, you’ll constantly be able to monitor your progress and make adjustments along the way. This will improve your results dramatically, as well as your training knowledge and your ability to design a program that best suits your needs!
        Skeggǫld, Skálmǫld, Skildir ro Klofnir.


        • #5
          Aangezien West Side Barbell Training bedoeld is voor het verbeteren van de sportprestaties zal ik hieronder nog drie artikelen plaatsen die ook gebruikt kunnen worden voor het verbeteren van algehele sportprestaties.
          Skeggǫld, Skálmǫld, Skildir ro Klofnir.


          • #6
            Pre-Season Rugby Training Routine: Strength & Power

            There is more to strength training than looking like a musclebound Peter Sutcliffe, bench pressing a small family car and eating your body weight in chicken breast.I mean Gaston clearly trained for strength – necking loads of eggs and generally showing off how much heavy shit he could carry or throw.But then he spent the rest of the film being all sinister and trying to rape Belle.Beauty and the Beast is a pretty fucked up film when you think about it.

            Basically, what I’m trying to say is that you need to put all that strength training to good work, and since pitched medieval battles in fields are no longer the cool way to settle national disputes, your next best option is team sports.Preferably intense, brutal and physically demanding team sports.Like Rugby.

            This article will deal with the pre-season training routine of a rugby prop forward (me) looking to build the explosive strength and power needed for the position.The prop forward is historically the most rotund, strong and physically intimidating member of the playing squad.Whilst also being the laziest, most keen to hit the beer, and often not genetically blessed with the gift of a neck or a metabolism.I also benefit from a lower centre of gravity thanks to my stumpy legs, and a fucking abrasive ginger beard which can be used as a weapon of last resort.

            Rugby? I don’t think I’ve heard of that muscle?

            First of all, it’s probably a good idea to introduce the uninitiated to the sport of rugby.Essentially, you can only throw the ball backwards and there is no pussying out at any time.You also need balls-out intensity and concentration at all times.Can you name any other sports where you take to the field wearing no padding whatsoever with only an absurdly short pair of shorts to cover your modesty?

            With rugby, you essentially embark on pitched battle against 15 other ape like human beings hell bent on smashing you into the ground on their way to victory.Plus when the weather gets real shitty it essential becomes one big, slightly complicated, homoerotic mud wrestle, with the addition of an egg shaped ball and a dude with a whistle.

            Players are split into two groups.If you train for physique and spend a lot of time checking yourself out in the mirror before, during and after every gym session, then you are a back.And you might as well stop reading now and go back to creeping on girls in All Bar One, this post is not for you.If you train for strength, treat every callous as a trophy and think there is a special place in hell reserved for anybody who curls in the squat rack, then you are a forward. Welcome to the fraternity.

            What is a Prop?

            The props are two of the eight ‘forwards’ in a team.The two props with the hooker between them form the ‘front row’ in each scrum.As a rule:

            ● The more muscle the better
            ● The tougher the better
            ● The stronger the better
            ● The more intimidating the better

            Packing in to a scrum is very physically demanding.A short, thick, muscular neck is really useful as it will reduce the risk of injuryTo get the idea of the strength involved at the top of the game here’s South Africa’s Tendai ‘The Beast’ Mtawarira shoulder pressing his 112kg colleague.Another great example is former England prop Andrew Sheridan.According to his Wikipedia page Sheridan is disgustingly powerful.He is a near-elite class power lifter and able to bench press 225 kg (35 st 6 lb; 496 lb) and squat 275 kilograms (43 st 4 lb; 606 lb).

            Pre-season Phase 1: Power

            OK, so this is technically pre-pre season before we start working stamina which means, gulp, cardio.As such we can almost exclusively focus on power.This is without a doubt my favourite part of pre-season as I can go to the gym, lift heavy, and then go home and feel quietly smug with myself.This phase is all about lifting as heavy as you can, adding slabs of muscle, and pushing your 5RM to the absolute limit.So with this in mind I have basically tweaked the standard SL 5X5.Once you are warmed up, every session will begin with squats – good, deep, heavy squats.

            And as long as you have come close but haven’t shit your intestines out of your arsehole, you may progress to the rest of the session. For vanity reasons I also chuck in some arm work – it’d be fucking embarrassing if you cannot fill out the sleeves on your jersey at the start of the season.If you know you have a certain deficiency then this early pre-season is also a great time to get to work on it.Personally I have to work on my inability to haul my fat arse up for more than 3 chin-ups.I haven’t listed specific weights as I don’t want to turn this into a dick measuring contest.(There’s always someone who can lift more, and there’s always someone with a bigger dick.)

            The Routine
            This power and strength routine includes three full-body workouts and one gentle cardio session per week.

            Day 1

            Bench Press
            Bent Over Row
            Seated External Rotation
            Farmer’s Walks
            To Failure

            Day 2

            Military Press
            Chin Ups
            3 Front, 3 Each Side
            1 Minute Each

            Day 3

            Bench Press
            Good Mornings
            Seated External Rotation
            Farmer’s Walks
            To Failure
            Day 4
            Gentle 3-5k run.

            No shoes
            Take your shoes off for deadlifts, squats and military press.I added 20kg to deadlift overnight and all my other lifts are progressing much quicker thanks to an improvement in stability and form.

            Good Mornings
            Good mornings are fantastic.Good back strength is crucial in setting the height of the scrum at engagement and dominating your opposite number.But I only do them during off-season otherwise your back never recovers for games.And if you are new to them, start with half your body weight at most and slowly work up.Form is important as you don’t want to decapitate yourself, and be prepared for your hammies to burn the next day.

            Farmer’s Walks
            No matter how busy the gym is, do Farmer’s Walks.Take your dumbbells over to the matts or just take them for a walk past the sexcersizer, whatever keeps you going.Take my advice and try to avoid walking into the guys bigger than you, and be careful when you fail to avoid dropping the fucking things on your toes.

            An important aspect to bear in mind when squatting is the pace at which you do it.For this stage you should be aiming for a 30X0.By which I mean you take 3 seconds to slowly lower the weight, and then once you are at your lowest point, you immediately explode upwards.There is no resting at the top – you must instantly begin taking the weight down again.This gives the squats a sweat factor of 10.After squatting heavy every session the 5k run will feel like 15k.

            Try to avoid any steep inclines and remember that the focus in this phase is power, so don’t feel like too much of a douche if you have to sacrifice a little running distance to keep your squats strong.

            Seated External Rotation
            You should aim for 10% of your 5RM bench.Admittedly you’ll feel a bit of a tit when the 8kg dumbbell has you sweating on the last set.Personally I have seen great improvements in shoulder strength and flexibility, as well as quicker gains on the bench and shoulder press compared to before I started.

            As a bloater this is the bit I’m shit at. I just love food too much – I train dirty, I eat dirty. But little changes go a long way.For instance, I cut 5kg (probably a lot more fat than that as I gained muscle) in one month by just reducing carb intake.I had tuna/chicken and salad at lunch, much smaller carb portions at dinner, and snacked smarter, eating fruit, nuts (almonds are fucking delicious and a great source of protein) and biltong (thank you South Africa for your meat drying skills – and while we are at it well done for abandoning racial segregation as a means of maintaining minority rule).
            Important: you need fuel to lift so carbs are still essential.
            Don’t suddenly cut back on the calories or your lifts will be shit, your training will be a waste of time, and you’ll just generally be a disappointment to everyone
            Last edited by Aldo Raine; 20-04-2016, 07:50.
            Skeggǫld, Skálmǫld, Skildir ro Klofnir.


            • #7
              Off-Season Strength Training for Amateur Rugby Players

              Forget the complicated split training programs. Forget the long workouts. If you want to be a successful amateur player, you need a program that will get you stronger and will probably get you faster as a by-product. You are not a professional, so you only want to train two or three times a week. You can even do this in a home/garage gym if you set it up correctly and organize a few of your mates to help out. Proper conditioning can take you from a guy taking up space on the bench to a leader on the team. just because it is a hobby does not mean you shouldn't want to kick some ass in the time you have available.

              Quite simply, you use the exercises that deliver the most effect for your time, these are all compound large muscle group exercises. The program can be used year-round to good effect, both off-season (three sessions per week) and in-season (two sessions per week). If you are not familiar with these movements, find someone to teach/coach you initially. Get the technique correct from the very first session and always maintain the technique before loading. If you have to alter the technique to lift the load, the load is currently too heavy for you.
              The program is just three exercises each training day plus a core movement at completion (or start, it is up to you). The movements fall into one of three categories, Pull, Push and Squat.

              Training Options Pull Push Squat
              1 Power Clean Dips Back squat
              2 Power Snatch Overhead Press Back Squat
              3 Deadlift Bench Press Back Squat
              4 Rack Pulls Incline Bench Back Squat
              You can rotate through this list of training options so that it takes five workouts to complete the list, so on a three-day a week program, you would do the following:

              Week 1: Monday – Option 1, Wednesday – Option 2, Friday – Option 3 then the following week;
              Week 2: Monday – Option 4, Wednesday – Option 5, Friday – Option 1.

              Continuing through for the duration of your off-season plan then, when your season commences, select a different workout and perform on a Monday and a Thursday throughout the season. As for the core training, I prefer to work full body as well and like the approach of Pavel Tsatsouline when he advises to select three to five exercises and perform three to five sets of three to five reps for three to five sessions per week. Follow this and you can not go wrong.

              As for sets and reps, I would advise the following structure for you to follow for off-season and in-season, initially though, for the first month, do four sets of six reps, adding weight when you have completed all sets and reps in good technique. Do not add weight if you lose your technique. A good rule to follow is that if you can complete the same workout twice with the same load and have no technique breakdowns, then add 5% to the bar for the next workout. After the first month, I would have you follow the plan outlined below.

              Off-Season (First Three Weeks)

              Weeks Sets x Reps
              1 4 x 6
              2 2 x 5 then 3 x 3
              3 5,4,3,2,1
              Then calculate 75% of your weight for the one rep you achieved on the last set of week three and use this as your start weight for the first set of six for the re-start of the program in week one.
              Off-Season (Second Three Weeks)

              Weeks Sets x Reps
              1 6,5,4,4
              2 5,4,3,3
              3 4,3,2,2
              As for core strength program, these are the movements I recommend:
              · Barbell Sit Ups
              · Full Body Twist
              · Barbell Roll-outs
              · Side Deadlift with Olympic Bar
              · Turkish Get-Ups

              Metabolic Conditioning
              Since most club rugby players have limited time to commit to physical preparation it is important for any program to maximize the gains from the time available. The best method for achieving this goal is the use of modified anaerobic games. Modified games not only train the metabolic systems, both aerobic and anaerobic, but also speed and acceleration, all the time while developing vision, spatial awareness and decision-making with the ball in hand. Two or three sessions per week of around 45-60 minutes would be an ideal way to maximize your fitness for rugby. My top five modified games for rugby fitness are:

              Goal Line “D”
              Attackers have two extra players than defenders. Attack starts five meters away from goal line place another cone two meters out from goal line the defenders can not move out past this cone, attackers just have to run across the line to score they do not have to ground the ball, if an attacker is tagged (two-handed) the ball is passed back to the five meter line to start the next attack, attackers have two minutes to score as many points as possible, any time the ball is dropped, knocked on, passed forward that attacking raid is finished and the ball has to go back to the five meter line to go again.

              Offside Touch
              First pass must always go back then attack to furthest try line, attacking team gets two touches, after secondtouch turnover, ball can be passed after the restart pass in any direction, to ensure everyone is working all the time all the attacking team must be inside the 22 meter area before the try can be scored, the team that scores retains possession and defending team must push inside the attacking half way line otherwise the try is worth two points, another version is man on man where you can only tag your partner and vice versa, plus you can add a sweeper that can tag anyone as well, can be played as a kicking game grubber kicks only and no running with the ball post reception of the grubber kick.

              Speed Ball
              Played with a soccer ball, normal soccer rules apply but if you can catch the ball on the full you then play on for three touches with normal touch football rules applying after the thirdtouch the ball is dropped and neither the defender or attacker involved in that last play are allowed to touch the ball. The same rule applies for forward pass or knocked on ball. Play on full field.

              One Touch
              Best played across the field 50 meter line to try line being sidelines, both teams start on the sidelines (now try lines) one in possession the other being defenders, normal touch rules apply attackers only get one play when touched they all have to sprint back to their respective try line before they can push up in D, the new attacking team must pass once from the breakdown and then play continues in same fashion. Upon a try being scored the scoring team stays in possession and both teams swap side and restart from the try lines.

              Drop Off Touch
              Normal touch rules apply, other than when a person makes a touch he has to sprint around his own goal posts before being eligible to be on D again, attacking team gets six touches, no kicking is allowed.

              If you can not get enough mates together to play the games listed above then I would recommend field intervals, if you can find a rugby field that is correctly marked then you will not need cones as the lines on the field will give you over 25 different length running options from five meters to 500 meters. When developing your plan just apply a few simple rules:
              1. The shorter the distance the harder you run and the longer you rest (3-5 times the length of the run time)
              2. The longer you run the less hard you run and the shorter you rest (equal to or half the length of run time)
              3. Always warm up and stretch dynamically and cool down and stretch statically.

              My top five field intervals are:

              200m/100m Drill
              Start on the try line and run to the far try line turn around and sprint back in 40 seconds, rest 20 seconds, then sprint to the far try line in 20 seconds and rest 40 seconds, this is one repetition. The toughest version of this is to add another interval of 300m first, so it looks like this 300m in 45 seconds/rest 15 seconds, 200m in 30 seconds/30 seconds and finally 100m in 15 seconds/rest 45 seconds, to date I have only ever had one player who could handle that.

              Coat Hangers
              Begin at junction of the half-way line and side line, sprint to goal post around then straight down field to goal post around and back to starting position, can be competitive with another player running the same from the other side of the field or in the opposite direction on the same side, the distance is 222 meters.

              Malcolm Drill
              Named after former Great Britain and Newcastle Knights rugby league coach Mal Reilly, start on middle of the halfway line on chest, get up and back pedal to 10 meter line down on chest, get up and sprint to far 10 meter line down on chest, get up back pedal to the halfway line get on chest this is one repetition repeat for a total of six reps. Standard for NRL players is less than eighty seconds for a complete set of six reps.

              Start on try line jog to far 22m line then sprint to try line, turn around and jog to half way line then sprint to try line, turn around and jog to 22m line then sprint to far try line turn around and brisk walk to far try line, this is one repetition.

              Half Gassers
              A favorite in the American football, start on one side line down on your chest with chin on the sideline get up and sprint to far side line go down on the ground get up and sprint back to start, this is one repetition.

              When developing your plan start out conservatively so you can complete the session and use the 10% rule to increase your distances, the total volume (distance) of a session should not be increased by more than 10% to allow for adaptation and minimize the risk of injuries due to a too rapid increase in volume. I would start at around 1500 to 2400 metres initially for the total volume of the session and limit the volume over time to no more than 4000 metres.

              Once you have mastered these interval sessions you are ready for a blast of professional conditioning such as this:

              Fitness A Menu

              AB Shuttle
              3 x 22m in <15 seconds, jog to far try line in <30 seconds
              (new rep starts every 45 seconds) x 10
              Rest 2.5 minutes

              Rugby Suicide
              Start at half way line, sprint 10 meters, back pedal 10 meters, sprint to 22m line back pedal to 10 meter line, sprint to try line in < 30 seconds jog back to halfway line in <15 seconds, rest 15 seconds (new rep every minute) x 10
              Rest 2.5 minutes

              Out & Back Shuttle
              Try line to far 22 meter line and back in < 30 seconds, rest 30 seconds
              (new rep every minute) x 10

              Fitness B Menu

              VO2 Grids
              Set 1: 87 meters long x 52 meters wide each side in 20 seconds x 5 minutes
              Rest 2.5 minutes
              Set 2: 72 meters x 39 meters each side in 15 seconds x 5 minutes
              Rest 2.5 minutes
              Set 3: 50 meters x 22 meters each side in 10 seconds x 5 minutes
              Rest 2.5 minutes
              Set 4: Repeat the VO2 Grid of your choice for 5 minutes
              Give these techniques a try. There is plenty of variety here to turn you into a stronger and faster player. Train hard and enjoy the results of a fitter start to next season.
              Skeggǫld, Skálmǫld, Skildir ro Klofnir.


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