If you’ve heard of lifting weights, you’ve heard of Westside Barbell.
Perhaps the original “garage gym,” Westside started with a step back: a careful reconsideration of everything “known” about strength training and getting stronger. Linear periodization had become popular; powerlifters routinely just did the same exercises over and over using a “pyramid” every day, all year. Boredom broke many top competitors. But Louie Simmons, founder of Westside, changed all that.
An upstart gym 20 years ago, Westside took over powerlifting in the late ’90s. Complete dominance. Westside forced reconsideration of training, offering not just a variation of the same old thing but a completely new mindset. Now those seeking power flock to Columbus, Ohio to talk to Louie. And he makes time for all of them. More on that later.
I trained Westside exclusively for almost four years. Its influence shows up in our CrossFit workouts every day, but we’ve never done a specific Westside cycle until now because it’s so different. For one thing, Westside makes you great at powerlifting…but less great at everything else. It will strengthen your back, but it will not help your clean.
Your squat will go up, but your pullups will go down. Let’s be clear about that. Westside is a method, not a strength program to be added to “the big picture.” While conditioning days are important in Westside, those who are used to CrossFit will not find themselves out of breath while doing Westside GPP work. But they WILL get tired. Oh, yes.
Here’s how your program will look:
Four days each week, you’ll lift. Heavy or fast. You’ll do it in a very specific way.
You’ll rotate “max effort” lifts every 2 weeks, and work to an absolute max at least twice every week.
You’ll do a ton of “assistance” work – good mornings, GHRs, reverse hyperextensions. You won’t do wall balls.
You’ll use accommodating resistance–bands and chains–at very high speed.
You will focus on Rate of Force Development. Your Central Nervous System will improve. Your work capacity will not.
You will be hungry all.the.time.
You might need naps.
You will learn to box squat. And you’ll squat wide.
You won’t be doing OLY. But you’ll be doing speed work.
You will bench press a LOT.
You will become hip-dominant.
None of these things are bad–they’re just specific. Want to get stronger? Do Westside. Want to learn new stuff and watch your deadlift go up? Do Westside. Want to be a better CrossFitter? Do CrossFit.
Charity’s Westside Group will be a LOT of fun. Now that I’ve made all the disclaimers, here are some facts: all my biggest competition numbers came while using Westside. My back and hamstrings were never stronger, and my vertical leap was never higher. It’s FUN to hit a max twice every week, and it’s fun to bench press all the time. It’s fun to hit PRs almost every training day.
You’ll also learn a LOT about how your body works, about how to keep your back strong forever, and how to PUSH yourself with the barbell. Weightlifting is technical; Westside is brutal.
Sign up by clicking here. Non-members will need an Open Gym membership to do homework.
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