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Training at 90 Percent by Louie Simmons - CrossFit Journal

Training at 90 Percent

By Louie Simmons

In Powerlifting, Videos

February 03, 2010

Video Article

CrossFit and Powerlifting may seem at odds at first glance, but the constantly varied training methods at Westside Barbell certainly have something in common with the CrossFit program.

Training above 90 percent of your 1RM is tremendously hard on the body, so Louie Simmons constantly changes the movement he’s maxing out on, which prevents overtraining but also keeps athletes in competition shape. While many competitors have to use a lengthy training period to prepare for a meet, Westside athletes can be ready to compete at the drop of a hat because they’re constantly maxing out in training.

With additional info from A.J. Roberts (who recently notched a 2500-lb. total), Simmons talks about why his lifters go heavy all the time, and how they’re able to do it.

For additional information about max-effort training, visit Westside Barbell.

5min 42sec

Additional video: Training, Recovery and Maximum Effort by Dave Tate, published Sept. 15, 2009.

Free Download


22 Comments on “Training at 90 Percent”


wrote …

The more I listen to Louie, the more I like him. I hope he makes an appearance at the Games.


wrote …

what were we supposed to take away from that?


wrote …

I haven't had a chance to watch the video yet, but from the title I would say that you should begin to have an understanding of conjugate variety and how it allows the lifter to train with maximal loads all year long thus allowing the athlete to be nearly peaked for a meet at all times.



wrote …

Chris! I love the fact that you read the title and give a complete explanation of the freaking video without even watching it! Another great video, these just can't seem to come out fast enough for me.


wrote …

I agree. I could listen to Louie all day. Great video. More please!


wrote …

If you're lost, you need to go educate yourself for FREE about the conjugate system on the westside bb website and any other source you can find. It's YOUR responsibility to get some background here, don't just sit around and be a critic. The first thing you should have done when crossfit brought louie on board is read up on his background and ideas, not sit back and snipe from the anonymity of the internet. Crossfit has brought to YOU the best powerlifting coach in the business, do yourself a favor and take advantage of the opportunity.


replied to comment from ben green



wrote …

Exciting stuff! Great speaker too - looking forward to learning more about his methods :-)


Dane Thomas wrote …

Louie is right about some people having a mental block when it comes to competition. Some live for it while others dread it. I believe that focusing hard on your own goals and getting lots of practice with pushing your max on your own terms can help reduce anxiety over time for those who dread "competition". Celebrate every PR, no matter where it stands on the results board, because the most meaningful competition is between your own ears.


wrote …

The videos of Louie are more entertaining than teaching concepts. He is a wealth of knowledge and techniques. But he gets sidetracked very easily and often into analogies I don't understand, anecdotal proof or jokes about kicking someone's ass. I didn't care for the videos of Louie at first, because I was trying to learn something from his videos. But that isn't what the videos of him are meant to do. They are more meant to inspire one to research further. I've searched on the internet (Dave Tate, Westside Barbell, Louie Simmons)and found a number of articles and some videos on YouTube that explain his concepts and practices much, much more clearly and in a logical order that I could understand. I'm incorporating them into my workouts, and I really like them. I've set myself up with some bands and chains and I'm enjoying the technical part of how to use them. These videos of Louie are more a taste of his personality. In order to learn from, and incorporate his methods (which are proven to work), into your own workouts, you have to go look much further. A good page I found was

I got enough information from Louie and Dave Tate from this page to incorporate his methods into my own system.


Ben - The moral was to train heavy or at near max intensity often, to compete often, and to learn his system of rotating exercises to help you compete often

Some people get confused though and think that the rotation of exercises is conjugate, that is part of it, conjugate is the work of focused physical traits through the week, rather thank blocks of phases which last weeks or months

What did you WANT to get from this video yourself, brother?


John, it makes more sense when you read his articles and books available on his web site

But, Louie also writes a lot in story format, making it easier to understand how the results work from the methods implemented, makes more sense to me like that but not everyone else



Zach Even - Esh wrote …

Also, many say to get better at the BIG 3 you just do the BIG 3. Lou says to work weak areas, as often times it's a weak link in the chain.

In the DL he said for many they had weak glutes, or weak arms halting bench progress, etc.

Coach Glassman always said, the stuff you suck at and the stuff you hate is very likely what you should be focusing on.

It all depends on goals though.

I think we're f**ing BIG time lucky, as Lou has never done this for any organization, ever!!!



replied to comment from Benjamin Murphy

Well Put!

If you find yourself lost and picking apart Louie you need to go allll the way back the first seminar videos with Dave Tate on the journal, and once you have gone through ALL of those, then go back through all the bonus videos that were on the daily WOD posts on mainsite, and then I would hope your comment will be silenced and realize you were out of line.

Good Day


wrote …

Friggin' Louie Simmons! I love these videos.


wrote …


Zach is right on. Buy "Westside Barbell Book of Methods", and these videos will make sense - just like the the first time when you read Coach Glassman's "What is Fitness" Journal. The light bulb will come on, and you will be eager to incorporate this training into your CrossFit, just liked you incorporated CrossFit into your previous training.I am going to the seminar on the 19 and 20 of February and I am pumped about it. I am reading the book for a second time already.


replied to comment from Benjamin Murphy

cool, thanks everyone. i just ordered the book maggie and that website is great john, thanks. wasnt trying to be critical, but i watched the video twice and it was hard to grasp what the message was. i think we need subtitles for louie.


replied to comment from Zach Even - Esh

"Big time lucky" is right!! Man, this is good stuff. I have cycled away from main site WODs, for now, and I have been playing with the system, and I am getting strong. I make sure to throw in a couple WOds or tabata something. My deadlift is back to PR levels and my push press is as well; even though I've cut off 2 in. from my waist in the last month. I expect to beat them next week. But the cool thing is my c2 row times are getting better too. Which tells me I am not loosing too much conditioning. I also drill different skills like handstands and such. I am just so thankful to CF and Louie for this info. Just awesome stuff.


wrote …

I started using the Westside system exactly 1 month ago. My first max effort bench day I did pin presses in the power rack with the bar starting about 3 inches off my chest. Today, only 4 weeks later I set a PR on that movement by 10 Kg!! That is 22 lbs. I haven't put 22lbs on any movement in one shot in years, probably since I was a beginner some 15 years ago. THIS STUFF WORKS!


Dominic Sirianni wrote …

I love this stuff. I'm very glad to get the info and I like the personalities.


Dane Thomas wrote …

Louie means it when he says that this isn't for beginners. A person may need Louie to get from Advanced to Elite as far as strength standards are concerned, but this is way too advanced to be applicable without Rip to get one from Untrained to at least Intermediate.


replied to comment from ben green

I missed a bunch of Louie's inside jokes too. I'm goning to research this guy and his methods more to follow along better.

(The American accent is a tough one in his video's)

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