Q&A: Westside For Raw Lifters
I’ve done Westside for raw training in the past and I always had the best meets, numbers wise, when training that way. I just never knew how to properly implement it for a raw lifter. After seeing your post and the article linked about how to adjust Westside for raw guys, I had some questions of my own that you would hopefully be able to answer.
1) For speed work, what % would a raw lifter work with?
2) For the speed work, do you rotate bars/angles or mostly stick to flat bench, free weight. Same for SQ/DL.
3) Box squatting for speed work or free squat?
4) I saw you wrote max effort work having varied rep ranges, from singles to 5s. Do you wave up/down with it or go on feel that day?
5) When it comes to accommodating resistance, if your prescribed weight for speed bench is, say, 180lbs .. is that 180lbs going to be 180lbs straight weight plus chains/bands, or would be that something more like 140lbs bar weight and 40lbs in chain?
- Speed work can usually vary anywhere between 50-70% without the use of contrast (bands & chains). When using contrast, you can narrow your percentage range down to 50-60%. It is better to steer towards the direction of lifting light on speed day as opposed to using too much weight.
- For speed work on bench, we always use flat bench. Speed work helps reinforce motor patterns & allows you opportunity to practice your technique on the competition lift. Incline is reserved for dumbbell pressing as an accessory movement. We use bands & chains on occasion, though not too often as it can tax the rotator cuffs. For squat, we vary up the barbell being used by employing special bars into the mix. The safety squat bar, Duffalo/Buffalo bar, cambered bar, and so on all help provide variety needed in speed work for squats. You can even vary your stance, bar position, and tempo to provide more options on speed work. For deadlift, constant use of bands/chains is fine.
- Box squats can be waved in, but don’t provide a tremendous carryover for raw lifters. You are likely better off using pause squats to build stopping power out of the hole, while not altering the movement pattern of your squat. Though you can sit back more during a box squat, you tend to round forward more when your butt is kicked back. This especially applies when you have nothing to sit on during a free squat.
- It is waved and usually not decided based on “feel” for the day. It is fine to use max singles every week, but in my personal experience you’re leaving yourself up to increased rate of injury and fatigue from doing so. It seems that the strength community has caught onto this as well, and you won’t see any raw top lifter do max singles every week like in the old days of Westside.
- You count the bar weight only. If your max bench is 400 and you must do 50% of your 1 rep max for speed work, it is 200 pounds PLUS whichever resistance you decide to use for that session.