Possible strength routine?

Discussion in 'Strength-Specific Training (SST)' started by thedrivethruguy, Feb 20, 2004.

  1. thedrivethruguy

    thedrivethruguy New Member

    Based on what I've gathered, I'm going to do a semi i think kinda sorta westside style routine. My question is that can you somehow fit all exercises into 1 day, for example here is a possible routine.
    day 1 speed- leg press, SLDLs, bench, chins
    day 2 strength- same as day 1, only heavier weights and a spotter
    Can that be done? I'm thinking maybe 4 reps and 4 sets per exercise. Now thats 16 sets per day, but its low volume. Besides the typical "well it depends, everyone is different" is that ok or too much. I would keep my rest at 1:30 or 2 min between sets.
    Again, I could be just way off in all of this and I'm getting in way over my head, but thats why I posted it, to get some opinions :D
    Maybe people who have done a strength routine anywhere near what i think im trying to do, could post it here
    Thanks guys [​IMG]
  2. thedrivethruguy

    thedrivethruguy New Member

  3. savagebeast

    savagebeast New Member

    I'm no expert on strength training, but I too am doing "a semi i think kinda sorta westside style routine." Westside doesn't train chins, but like you I want to get better at them so I incorporated them into my routine. I tried to mirror the bench press strength training in creating a strength program for chin-ups.

    Now for some comments on your routine.

    First of all, you don't want to do the same exact exercises on your max effort and dynamic effort days. You should change them up just slightly. I dont' think this is terribly important, though. You probably also want to add in some supplemental and accessory movements. These should target the weak muscles in your lifts, but if you're like me you'll just pick the most commonly performed ones. Also, WSB says that you should change up your max effort lifts every 1-3 weeks, but I don't think this is too important unless you are REALLY strong (which I am not, so I don't really worry about it).

    While WSB does help to improve the deadlift, the program does not include any deadlifting. Instead, it focuses on strengthening the legs and lower back as a part of squat training, which in turn carries over to the deadlift. WSB includes a LOT of work for the lower back. Most of the time they do some sort of good morning as a max effort exercise for the squat. Unfortunately, I don't know how to perform them correctly so I stick to lifts that I am comfortable with.

    I would say that doing the entiere program in 2 days a week is not such a good idea. You may be able to do all of your dynamic work in one day, but it would probably be better to split it up and add in some supplemental and accessory movements. More importantly, it would be unwise to try and do four max effort movements in one workout. WSB only does one max effort exercise per max effort workout. The reason for this is that max strength is dependent upon neural factors. It is necessary to induce neural fatigue in order to get stronger, but if you try to do four max effort movements in one workout, your CNS will be exhausted and you will not be able to truly max on your 3rd and 4th max effort movements. I assume that 2 max effort workouts would be OK in the same workout, so long as they don't target the same muscles. For example, I do my max effort chin-up and bench press exercises on the same day.

    Another comment about your max effort movements: you want to do more than 4 sets and less than 4 reps. WSB says that you should work up to your 1 or 3 rep max. Start at a really light weight and do 3-5 reps, then increase the weight until you can no longer get 3 reps. At this point, go for 1 rep until you max out.

    The rest time between sets when doing your max effort exercise should be 2-5 minutes. Just so it doesn't take forever, I only rest about a minute between sets while the weight is pretty easy. I think the point is that fatigue should not limit the weight you can lift.

    The rest time between sets when doing your dynamic effort exercise should be 1 minute. This is supposed to be important. No more, no less.

    I definitely think you should add in some supplemental and accessory movements, but if you can't for some reason (like time constraints) then you could probably do alright without them. I think they would help your progress, though.

    In case you want to use it as a reference, here is my routine. This is the first strength program I have designed. It's not perfect, but it's the best I could do. Ideally, I would workout 4 times a week. This is how I split it up:

    Max Effort Squat
    Max Effort Bench Press/Pull-Ups
    Dynamic Effort Squat
    Dynamic Effort Bench Press/Pull-Ups


    1. Max Effort Exercise (work up to 1-3 rep max)
    Box Squat/Front Squat

    2. Supplemental Movement
    Leg Curls – 3 to 6 sets of 5 to 8 reps

    3. Accessory Movements
    Abdominal Exercise – 3 to 4 sets of 8 to 12 reps
    Lower Back Exercise – 3 to 4 sets of 8 to 12 reps

    4. Prehabilitation Movements
    Exercises for knee and hip joints

    1. Max Effort Exercise (work up to 1-3 rep max)
    Incline Press/Military Press

    2. Supplemental Movement
    Tricep Movement – 6 to 8 sets of 8 to 12 reps

    3. Accessory Movements
    Shoulders: Shoulder Raises – (Light)

    1. Max Effort Exercise (work up to 1-3 rep max)
    Pull-Ups/Barbell Rows

    2. Supplemental Movement
    Curls – 6 to 8 sets of 8 to 12 reps

    3. Accessory Movements
    Lats: Rows / Pull-Ups – 4 sets of 5 to 8

    Load (Intensity) = 90% to 100%
    Number of Exercises = 1
    Reps = 1-3
    Rest Interval = 2-5 minutes
    Frequency/Week = 1 (Squat Day) / 1 (Bench Day)
    Weeks per Exercise = 1-3

    * Rest is always 1 minute
    ** Workouts should include 1 set at 80% or higher

    1. Dynamic Effort Exercise (8 sets of 2 reps)
    Box Squat/Front Squat - 50% 1 RM, 53%, 56%, 60%
    (The 1 RM % increases slightly each week. After 4 weeks, I guess you would just repeat the cycle.)

    2. Supplemental Movement
    Leg Curls – 4 to 6 sets of 5 to 8 reps

    3. Accessory Movements
    Abdominal Exercise - 3 to 5 sets of 6 to 12 reps
    Lower Back Exercise – 3 to 4 sets of 8 reps

    4. Prehabilitation Movements
    Exercises for knee and hip joints

    1. Dynamic Effort Exercise (8 sets of 3 reps)
    Bench Press/Military Press - 50% 1 RM

    2. Supplemental Movement
    Tricep Movement (high intensity) – 2 to 4 sets for 2 to 8 reps

    3. Accessory Movements
    Shoulders: Shoulder Raises – (Light)

    1. Dynamic Effort Exercise (8 sets of 3 reps)
    Barbell Rows - 50% 1 RM

    2. Supplemental Movement
    Curls (high intensity) – 2 to 4 sets for 2 to 8 reps

    3. Accessory Movements
    Lats: Pull-Ups – 4 sets of 5 to 8

    And just so you know I didn't make all of this up, here are the websites where I got most of the information for this program from.


  4. k, savage, let me just point out a couple things. your ideas are good, but a few specifics are questionable. I'm under the assumption from your post that you are not an advanced lifter. Not saying you're not good or strong or anything, just that you havent spent a lot of your life doing it. neither have I.
    The box squat is used mostly on dynamic day. it help starting strength and explosiveness out of the bottom. really its more for the DL. the front squat is ok, but you use a lot less weight and have to balance differently. to maximally stimulate yourself, you should max w/ a squat just how you would do it in a competition. i know WSB doesnt do the regular squat a whole lot, but for people who havent been doing it for years its necessary to build up the motor coordination and familiarity w/ the movement. i say this b/c when i did WSB, i got stronger in all the ME moves but not in the squat or bench, so it was pointless. beginners need to practice practice practice the core lifts. do regular squats at least every other week.
    WSB doesnt like leg curls. they like to work the hams from both sides, like when you run or jump or w/e. good mornings and GHR's are great for this. if you dont know how to do them, go to EXRX. thats the good morning. if u still dont get it, ask someone. believe me its worth it. its so much better than the leg curls and develops awesome lower back strength. helps prevent injury.
    Same thing here. do the regular bench every other week so u'll develop the motor skills for it. the incline isnt the best choice b/c it doesnt work the lower part of the pec as well. the military is a very poor choice b/c it ignores the chest altogether. the best other MEs for the bench are the close grip bench press (for tris), board presses (lockout strength), and maybe floor or dumbbell presses. i personally like dumbbells b/c of the stretch and the emphasis on stabilizers.
    again here, you dont need the military press, not ever at all, as your DE move. if you want a shoulder exercise do like Dave Tate and do raises for reps. personal confession, i like the military press and sometimes sneak in 2 sets of 6-10. but still, its supplementary. as for the percentage, usually 60-65% is more on target. but the percentage doesnt really matter. do w/e weight you can get in 3 full reps in about 3 seconds. push as fast as you can. the time matters more than the weight. for the squats, keep doing it the way u are.
    Closing comments - do heavy supplemental work on ME days. do it lighter w/ higher reps on DE days. Louie has said its not good to mix intensity ranges. every once in a while, do deadlifts. you need to develop skill in lifting them. when youve been training for 10 years or so u can afford to cut them out. finally, this program looks good, but may not be for you. WSB didnt work well for me. as i said, i got stronger in the ME moves but didnt get good carryover, and it was b/c im not advanced enough and have enough practice w/ the core moves to take them out. you may find the same thing happen to you. but u might as well go ahead and try it. tweak it a little like i said and then go for it w/ everything u got. if it works well, great! let us know. if it doesnt, hey, at least u learned what works for u and what doesnt and u can find another way. keep at it!!
  5. savagebeast

    savagebeast New Member


    My only reason for using Front Squats and Military Press are for when I work out at home because I don't have the weight or equipment to max out on Squat or Bench Press. Otherwise I would use them. I know Military Press doesn't work the pecs at all, but I couldn't think of anything better using the equipment I have at home. At least it hits the shoulders and triceps, which are also used in Bench Press.

    I know WSB doesn't really advocate Leg Curls. I suppose I could try to learn how to do Good Mornings, but I'm a little wary of them.

    One coach told me that they actually do more harm than good. He said that he's seen athletes with messed up backs from Good Mornings. To play it safe, I'd prefer to stick with leg curls and work the lower back in other ways, like with hyperextensions.

    So basically, I had to sacrifice in making some of my exercise selections for the sake of convenience. Thanks for the advice, though. Whenever possible, I will stick with squat and bench press.
  6. thedrivethruguy

    thedrivethruguy New Member

    First of all, thank you both for the responses. Maybe WSB isnt for me, at least its nots what i thought it was. I thought it involved a lot of speed work for all lifts, like one max and one speed day for each exercise (i was just combined those into 1 day, something i wont do so thank you) I can only lift 3 days a week, because of school and work, M/W/F. Also I hate squats, I either need to get used to them or get rid of them. With any type of decent load on the bar, i CANNOT find a comfortable position for it, shoulders, traps, upper traps, i just cant find a spot where it doesnt hurt. Front squats, the balance is weird, I feel like i'll fall on my face, plus i'm not too confident that crossing my arms to hold hundreds of pounds is something i can do. Sorry seems like i'm just whining like a baby.
    I guess nevermind the labels and all that, I just wanna get stronger whatever i have to do. Taking into consideration that i shouldnt do a whole bench of maxes on one day, would it be ok to just spread out the maxes and do speed on the other exercises? like max bench, then speed chins/legpress/sldls? Ive confuzed myself, so i dont expect any of you to unconfuze me. Basically I like the idea of speed, and the idea of having one day a week/per exercise that you max out. Thanks for any ideas guys...
  7. savagebeast

    savagebeast New Member

    About your troubles with squats and finding the right placement for the bar. I found that HST helped with this. I used to need a pad for the bar. When I started HST I was using light weights for the 15s. I found a good spot for the bar while using light weight, and it was still comfortable as I increased the weight. So you may want to perfect your form with light weights, then increase the weights.
  8. for thedrivethru guy i can give some suggestions. first, strength and muscle mass are related. you can get stronger w/o necessarily getting bigger, and you can get bigger w/o necessarily getting stronger, but thats not how its supposed to work. so, if you arent anywhere near your genetic limit of hypertrophy, the fastest way to get stronger is to get bigger. a bunch of researchers (sorry i forget the names and the study, ill see if i can find it if you really want) found that in untrained people, hypertrophy was the major factor in increasing strength for the first 2 years, and then after that its usefullness declined and increasing neural efficiency became more important.
    So all thats to say, getting bigger is the best way to get stronger if you're a beginner or intermediate trainer. what ive taken to doing is like a HST hybrid. doing weights a lot under what u can do isnt really good for strength and power development. so i cut out the first week of 15's and 10's. then instead of concentrating on how many reps i get, i just keep incrementing up and dropping the reps as necessary. when u start getting to about 5 reps, push the weights really fast. we're developing power now and time under tension isnt so much a factor. do this all the way to your 1RM. so really the program resembles periodisation. go ahead and throw in some negs in if you want, otherwise SD. Don't take too long on your SD, strength tends to decline after about 14 days (i believe, have to check.)
    Anyway, that's an option for you. it seems to be working pretty well for me. in the last 4 weeks ive gained about 3 pounds and my strength has improved drastically. you can find other programs at WeighTrainer or Crain's Muscle World. anyway, find what you like and let me know how it goes for you.
  9. thedrivethruguy

    thedrivethruguy New Member

    thank you chacha, i like your idea. Anyway you could post your routine here? What your saying is just increase the weight, and dont worry about how many reps?
    so (to make the math easy) if i bench 100 for 5 reps, try to bench 110 for 5, then 120 for 5 and if i cant do that then 120 for 4, 130 for 4, etc? Thanks for your time and knowledge.
  10. yeah thats the basic idea. i do a week of 15s and either 1 or 2 weeks of 10s just like normal HST. Thats my main muscle growth section. When the loads get heavier, its more about fiber recruitment and motor units and all that stuff. Basically, don't expect a whole lot of growth under the real low rep ranges, but thats where youll get a lot stronger. push the weights as explosively as possible. you're going for max force application here, not time under load or a slow negative or anything. for the bench, go ahead and use the arch when you get down to near your max. for the squat, always go at least to parallel, a little deeper if you can. one thing. i only go below 5 reps on the heavy compound lifts. i dont max out my triceps or any kind of isolation exercise. its actually a good idea to cut back on your assistance work as you near your max.

    anyway, my routine. Tue, Thurs, Sat full body until the maxes. then i max squat Tue, bench Thurs, DL Sat

    flat bench - 1 warmup 10 reps at 50% of workset 2 worksets
    -occasionally do dumbbells to help your stabilizers and get a good stretch out of the bottom i like to do these in the higher rep ranges especially

    rows - i vary between BB,DB,seated 2-3 worksets

    squats or deadlifts - 1 warmup 10 reps at 50% workset as i get closer to my max i throw in another heavier warmup at 3 reps 2 worksets *break parallel* when doing DLs, reset after each rep and get your form back. theres no negative to a DL in powerlifting.

    good mornings or SLDL's - 2 worksets these are supplementary exercises for the Sq and DL so, just to repeat,i never go below 5 reps i save my energy for the power lifts do the GMs wide stance for more hamstring involvement

    military press - 2 worksets these can overwork your shoulders w/ the benching, so depending on how my body feels i either drop them or switch to front raises as the weights approach max

    bench dips or tri ext. supersetted w/ EZ bar curls - 2 worksets

    lateral (rear) raises - 2 worksets Dave Tate was big on these for helping the bench, so i decided to go for it

    abs - throw them in somewhere honestly im not as consistent as i should be theyre important for the squat so i usually train them w/ low reps high resistance some guys have done real well doing them HST style try it and see

    umm..anything else yeah i always train to near failure and if i hit failure occassionally on the heavies thats ok w/ me get to know your body if you know you can put in another set and not overtrain go for it ive been adding some pec decks to help my lagging chest its a careful balance tho

    one thing im not sure about is where its best to put negs in the routine so far i havent done them im thinking about doing some supermaximal negs after my maxes this cycle ill see how it goes anyway, any questions and u can ask me otherwise just let me know how it goes btw to anyone who may be reading this if u think theres a better way to train go ahead and post i actually enjoy training this way and thats a large part of why i do it im not claiming its the absolute best most perfect size/strength program ever but its been pretty good to me.
  11. thedrivethruguy

    thedrivethruguy New Member

    Eventually, after training bench (or any exercise for that matter) at a certain weight, should/will it get easier and easier the more times you do it? For example I do bench 3 times a week, 2 sets (like HST) I just continue at my 5RM. Will my 5RM become easier eventually?
  12. Yes, you should make progress. However, I think it's better to vary the weight either progressively like I do, or abruptly like WSB does. I think doing 3 or less reps occasionally is important, as maximal strength development is the goal. Right now I'm taking a little time off. I start again next Saturday.

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