Attn: Ryno

I had earlier asked Scrapper for some advice to help me break thru a plateau. He suggested I speak to you since you are more familiar with the Westside Barbell concept. I have been currently training with the Westside Barbell Methodology for the last 10-12 weeks or so and have had a great deal of success until recently. If you wouldn't mind, I'd like to discuss some ideas to help me break out of this rut I'm in.

Any help would be appreciated.


Sure, whats the problem?

Did you use one of the beginner programs that are floating around? Or did you do your own thing?

I modified a routine posted by Dave Tate ( The only change I made was compacting it to a 3-day routine instead of 4-days. I can e-mail you my Excel routine if you wouldn't mind checking it out and making some changes. I've tried making all sorts of changes but my bench never seems to get over 275 and my squats never get past 375. I never did a lot of cleans or explosive movements, but am always open to try anything that might spur some change.

Thanks again.


Yeah, send it along.

Does it include poundages leading up until now or no?

Questions -- Are you training for a meet? Do you use any equipment? Are you currently grappling? How's your bench and squat form? How's your diet?

E-mail is sent. All answers to your questions are on it.

Thanks a lot!!!


Got it. We may as well talk here because maybe someone else can benefit.

Hey dude -- do you feel you have a good grasp the Westside concepts? Did someone else tell you to modify Tate's program like this? Am I missing something? Because I'm not seeing any dynamic bench work. You're doing too much on max effort bench days. Overall, it looks to me like you're doing too much work..

If you want to set up a 3 day split.. I'd do it like this

M - ME Squat/DL

W - ME Bench

F - DE Squat/DL

M - DE Bench

W - ME Squat/DL


Right now, you're completely ignoring DE bench.. which not only will hammer good form into your brain, but its also a good way to help your body recover from the max effort work you did earlier in the week.

Get back to me and I'll try to help more. How much progress did you make doing this? I think you may have been better off just doing the exact template that Tate laid out.

Discussing on the forum is perfectly fine with me. I modified it on my own because I felt that the extra day of bench was too much if I wasn't taking any real supplements to help with my recovery and with the max effort every week my chest needed more than 72 hours to recover. I feel I have a good grasp of the concept-I've been researching it for a couple years.

That 3-day split is a very good idea. I should have thought to cycle them each week. Very good idea.

The progress I made originally took my bench from 250 to about 295 and Squats from 335 to 395, but I didn't count this cycle because I was taking Pro Hormones and Creatine, which I believe contributed to an artificial increase. So basically it has taken me from 250 to a stable 275 on bench and squats from 335 to 375.

You see my max effort days as having too much work, in what areas? Should I only do a ME chest exercise and nothing else for chest? How would you design it? Should I throw in some explosion lifts like power cleans or high pulls?

Apologies for the late response-stepped out for a few.

Thanks a lot for your words-they're definitely helpful.



Man I just typed a huge ass response and my cat walked across my keyboard and erased it. But anyways..

First, don't think of the bench press as a chest exercise.. its not when you bench like Westside. You know your form is good though -- elbows tucked, scapula retracted and depressed, back arched, driving w/ your legs?

It looks like you're doing too many fluffy exercises..

Rack Lockout
Incline DB Press
Decline Flys
Lying Bar Extensions
Push Downs
Single Arm Press
DB Side Laterals
Bent over Laterals

I would have done --

A.) Rack Lockout - 1RM (then maybe a couple of downsets.. so if you hit 315 for 1 rep.. maybe 2 sets of 5 w/ 240 or something)

B.) Incline DB Press - 3 or 4 sets of 5

C.) Chins, Rows, or Latpulls - I usually recommend doing these for reps because you mainly just want to make your upper back huge for a big bench and squat

D.) Lateral Raises OR Rear Delts - 3x10

Then get out of the gym. When I was really into WS, I was training my back every workout (4x a week),.. so don't be afraid to beat it up..

You can also try a strength-specific GPP warmup which involves circuits of high-volume, low intensity exercises designed to bring up body parts you feel are weak or lagging. You'd do this before you did your ME or DE exercise


A1.) Latpulls - 4x10
A2.) Hammer Curls -
A3.) Face Pulls -

Do that circuit 4 times w/ no rest as your warmup, then go directly into your max effort bench exercise. You can do the same for squats/dl's (I like sled work here)..

WHere do you feel you are weak in your lifts (top, bottom, middle)? Do you have a dragging sled? What about bands or chains?

I notice you didn't include any triceps in that example. Would you not do any that day and save it for the DE day, or add an exercise on ME day? So I should do one exercise per upper body part on ME Day? So am I doing too much on the DE day as well?

I will try that warmup and see how it helps. I don't much warm up before getting into it, so that should really get the blood flowing. Thanks.

In both Bench and Squats, my weakest point is in the hole. After the bar is about 6 inches off my chest, I'm gold. Same with Squats-if I can get it moving out of the hole I'm fine.

I work out at Gold's Gym, so no bands, chains, or sled. The only Powerlifting-specific gym closed down 6 months after it opened.

How did the WS routine work out for you? Did it provide a great deal of strength? This is definitely providing a great deal of info I couldn't get around here. Thanks Ryno.

Your triceps would have gotten plenty of work if you did what I just posted.. The incline presses on top of the lockouts is enough.

But if you're talking about extensions and things like that, I actually prefer to put those on DE day because I do them for higher reps. Thats just a personal preference though.. I like the heavier assistance work on ME days, and lighter stuff on DE days. But if you were to look at the training logs of some Westside guys you'll see that some of them like heavier assistance work after both ME and DE days.. so just like it after DE days and not ME days.. so its all about finding what works for you.

I don't know if you're doing too much on DE day because you don't even have a DE day listed on this spreadsheet. I'd set it up pretty similar though so like --

GPP Warmup

A.) Dynamic Effort Benches (varying grips)
8x3 (45-60%).. then maybe every other week, or every third week, after your DE sets .. work up to a heavy double, but stay at or below 90%.

B.) DB Extensions, DB Floor Presses, Pressdowns

C.) Lat/Upperback work

D.) Delts (reps, maybe raises, or DB presses)

But yeah, if you're weak in the bottom of your lifts.. you need to start including speed work.

How are your box squats coming along? What % do you use? Are you fast? Form is good?

Chains and bands aren't necessary, but they're definitely fun and they helped me out quite a bit. Chains are kind of expensive, but bands aren't -- they're really useful for all kinds of different things.. you may want to look into 'em.

A sled can be built for a few bucks or free really. You can drag an old tire around, or get a piece of plywood and attach a length of 1.5" pipe to fit olympic plates. I would recommend you do this.. I think sled work is one of the best training tools for pretty much any athlete (PL & MMA for sure).. its cheap and it works great.

Westside was, by far, the best program I've ever done. I got bigger and stronger in about 4 months than I had in the 2 years before it.. I went too long w/o a break though (20something weeks).. and I used too much band tension.. so my elbows paid the price. I've been resting up lately though and they feel good again..

Anyone that asks about how to get strong -- my first response is Westside. But it doesn't have to be exactly like how Louie sets it up for powerlifters.. Its so easy to mold in to whatever you need -- thats why its the best.

Hope this helped.

This does help out tremendously. Thanks.

My DE Day did look exactly like that. 8*3 of 50-60%with 3 grips. On DE Day, what % should I train at so as to prevent my muscles from being too tired when ME Day comes about? 70-80 on assistances, or full out?

My Box Squat is pretty good. When I go to heavy on ME days I tend to relax when I hit the bottom, which hurts my back for about a week, for obvious reasons. On DE Day, I stick to 10*2 with 50-60%. Don't do much else on that day.

I am incorporating your suggestions into a new workout to start tomorrow. Thanks a lot for the help. I'll keep you posted as to how things are progressing as the weeks pass. If I can be of any assistance to you, please let me know (you have my e-mail). I owe ya one.


Yeah stick to 50-60% on DE benches.. You can wave it so like wk1. 50%, wk2. 55%, wk3. 60%.. then drop back down to 50%.

As far as assistance work goes, don't worry about %. If you want to do 3x10, use your 12RM and do 3 sets.. But really, you can just feel this stuff out. You know yourself better than I do.

When you box squat, are you able to sit back so your shins are past perpendicular?

When you say ME box squats,.. you are talking about low box squats, yeah? The parallel box speed squats should pretty much be used exclusively on DE day. Your back shouldn't hurt though.. you gotta learn to stay tight.. Make absolutely sure that you're filling your belly with air and pushing it out before you descend to the box.

BTW, I like to cycle ME squat work like this --

Wk1. Good Morning variation

Wk2. Low Box Squat

Wk3. Good Morning variation

Wk4. Pull (rack pull, DLs on boxes, reverse band DL, etc.)

But thats if you're changing movements every week.. Which you probably should be by now if you've already gone 12 weeks. If you feel you still need work, go no more than 2 weeks with the same ME exercise. You have to cycle them.

Definitely keep me posted, and ask questions as you think of them. I'm here to help.. good luck dude.

Yes, I am talking about Low Box Squats. My shins aren't definitely below perpendicular on ME Day. I made certain that I was going below a 90 degree angle when I made the box. I use the Gym's box to do DE Box Squats, as it is much higher than mine.

I usually cycle ME lifts every 3 weeks, but will change up to every week. Good idea to cycle every week so I'm not hitting the same lift too often. Did read about it, just didn't apply that knowledge.

Again, Thanks a lot. I have a feeling this workout will get me much closer to my goals than before.

Talk to ya later.


You're welcome. Just keep me posted.. I'm interested in seeing how you do.

ttt for my threads

Hows training going, man?