2011 Articles

General Physical Preparedness
Oct 13

General Physical Preparedness

Posted by Tom Barry on

I am often asked, how do we recover from two max effort workouts a week on top of two high-volume speed days? The two max effort workouts are done at least 80% of the year. The remainder of the year, they are replaced by high-volume hypertrophy days aimed at increasing strength in lagging muscle groups. A speed bench workout can account for 12,000 pounds, not counting special exercises. A squat speed day can be 10,000-12,000 pounds plus special exercises. One reason we use a three-week pendulum wave is for speed benching. We use a rotational system of change. Exercises that...

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TOP FIVE SQUATS: PART I
Oct 13

TOP FIVE SQUATS: PART I

Posted by Tom Barry on

We have 17 men who squat over 1000 pounds. The top five average 1143 pounds. Our top five totals equal 2690 pounds. How can one gym develop such a strong group? The answer is hard work, coupled with science, experience, and dedication. But what is the system that produced this top five average in the squat? It’s a two-day system. One day is max effort day, which is done on Monday. Three days later, on Friday, we devote to special strength, explosive speed, or strength speed. Let’s look at speed day on Friday. Here, we do multiple sets depending on...

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TOP FIVE: PART II. THE BENCH
Oct 13

TOP FIVE: PART II. THE BENCH

Posted by Tom Barry on

I wrote an article in 1993 entitled “Three of a Kind”. Westside was the only gym to have three 600-pound benchers: Kenny Patterson, George Halbert, and Jerry Obradovich. Things have changed since then. Today Westside has developed 32 men who have benched over 700 pounds, and a 525-pound bench by a 165-pound female, Laura Phelps. We also have five who bench over 800 pounds, with Dave Hoff at 900 pounds at 257 body weight with a 2770 total. The top five average 852 pounds. All of these lifts were performed by members who have gym bags, not visitors with suitcases....

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TOP FIVE: PART III. THE DEADLIFT
Oct 13

TOP FIVE: PART III. THE DEADLIFT

Posted by Tom Barry on

Before bench shirts, there was a saying, “the meet does not start until the bar touches the floor”. At Westside, we have always had very good deadlifters: 18 at 800 pounds or more; the top five average 845 pounds. How does Westside train the deadlift and the squat without them interfering with each other? How can the deadlift be kept explosive? These are two questions that are asked over and over. Here are the answers to both. The speed pulls are done on Friday after squatting. Squats are done for speed strength development 90% of the time. Multiple sets are...

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STRONG LEGS
Oct 13

STRONG LEGS

Posted by Tom Barry on

Westside lifters started doing belt squats in 1975. I personally realized in the early 1970s that my quads were somewhat smaller than before I started doing box squats. Of course I Olympic lifted first and used a close stance with a raised heel. But box squatting with a wide stance while pushing the knees out to the sides placed most of the work on the hips and glutes. It was at this point that I started to belt squat, including standing on a ramp and not locking out the legs to keep tension on the quads. Westside lifters would belt...

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WAVE PERIODIZATION
Oct 13

WAVE PERIODIZATION

Posted by Tom Barry on

You must have a plan to succeed” In Powerlifting USA, there was a discussion of what is the best training system. Everyone had an opinion, and of course so do I. I believe it’s the Westside system. Westside had 13 men who have totaled over 2500 pounds, 4 over 2700 pounds, and 2 over 2800 pounds. This is just a taste of what Westside training has done. The common denominator of the success of Westside lifters is pendulum wave periodization. For explosive or speed strength training, a three-week wave is performed. I am amazed at how many people think Westside...

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