CrossFit Westside?

By Tom Seryak

In CrossFit, Powerlifting

March 04, 2010

PDF Article

Tom Seryak is an affiliate owner who used Westside methods for a period before he started CrossFit. He has done both separately but has now combined them for over a year. He offers strategies for trainers looking for ways to integrate the two programs.

For CrossFitters who are intrigued by the methods used at Westside Barbell, the pertinent question to ask is, “How do I incorporate them into my CrossFit training?”

No one solution will fit everyone’s needs, but I have been experimenting with incorporating Westside principles into my CrossFit training for the past 18 months or so, and after many trials and errors, I have settled in to a protocol that works very well for me. I’ll share several approaches I’ve tried, as well as the benefits and programming obstacles of each approach. Keep in mind that none of these approaches is attempting to duplicate what is being done at Westside. Instead, each incorporates the strength-training methods and “laws of training” that have influenced Louie Simmons’ system.

Incorporating Westside training methods and principles into CrossFit is feasible, but certain obstacles may arise. What follows are four generic templates (two that do not include Olympic lifting, two that do) for using Westside methods in the CrossFit program. It would be foolish of me to provide any more detailed programming because doing so would make it impossible to address the laws of specificity (your personal training objectives) and individualization (your strengths and weaknesses).

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27 Comments on “CrossFit Westside?”


Rob McBee wrote …

Great article Tom!
I had a question about 'dynamic' days. Would it be comparable to use those days for Oly training? A 'speed' lift for the speed day, 'power' lifts on the ME days.

Thanks again and all the best at the sectionals!

Kind regards,



wrote …

I think this is awesome. I injured my wrists and have been "rehab"ing them for about 2 months now and some more to come. I have been using Westside style programming for my squats and deadlifts. Been making some serious progress in a very short period of time. Great ideas and good luck to you.


wrote …

That's nuts, I have been a fan of the Westside method for some time as well. I also come from a wrestling background (actually I still wrestle) and found that the strength training methods I use even today are more Westside than anything else. I love chains, bands, and the box for sure. Just freaky, I felt like I was reading an article about myself. Makes me feel more confident in what I've been doing. Great article Thanks


wrote …

Beastly gains, Tom, good luck at the sectionals this weekend. Thanks for putting this together. Always considered WODs to include 'speed' as an element - but can't say I've gained as much as I would like for deads/squat etc. Look forward to incorporating this able. Paul


Zach Even - Esh wrote …

GREAT Job, Tom!

So many people think if they train CF style or run a CF gym they can't go heavy or train as you just described!

It's awesome, start heavy or do dynamic work and then crank some cycles or exercises, met cons.....

Lots of peeps don't know, BUT, Louie was a competitive o lifter when he was a younger kid!

When he trained Kevin Randleman for UFC back in the early days he did heavy complexes of power cleans, hang cleans, clean & pressing!



wrote …

Awesome article. Zach is bang on. Start with a core lift and then finish with met cons. I enjoy lifting heavy and I've been using Louie's methods successfully for the past 8 months.


wrote …

This is great, and eerily similar to what I'm trying with myself.


wrote …

awesome article.
cant wait to start implementing it.
however 2.5 jobs+ 13 units in skool= not being able to get in a 3 on 1 off+ i know my body wouldnt be able to recover anywhere near enough...
its a problem but oh well...

thanks for writing this out man, its gonna be good strong times when skool gets out.


wrote …

excellent article, tom!

i've been looking for ways that affiliates could incorporate a structured strength-biased program into their "constantly varied" training (in other words, how to turn a personal project of CFSB/CFFB/westside, etc. into a gym-wide program), and this article shows how it can be done.

would love to learn how your members are doing with this programming, and how you and they deal with them not always being able to follow the structure of it exactly. i mean, if they can't make it on DE day, does it matter? if they don't deadlift one week, does it matter? etc.


wrote …

i have been using westside for the last 6months and my gains in the squat and dead lift are through the roof. my squat went up from 250Lb to 350lb and my dead from 295lb to 380lb



Just one opinion, but I would not substitute speed days for the powerlifts with Olympic won't have the intended transfer into max effort slow lifts. I haven't found one universally accepted definition for speed strength versus strength speed, but I differentiate the two and consider Olympic lifting as a test of strength speed as opposed to speed strength which is developed by using sub-maximal loads for the bench, squat and deadlift. I suppose it's possible to apply the same training concept towards the Olympic lifts (max effort and speed days at a percentage of 1rm); however, technique and skill level is so high for the O lifts that I'm not sure if it would work the same. Personally, the limiting factor in my O lifts is not power or speed but technique. For example, my current snatch is 170. I think I have the hip power to snatch over 200 with refined technique. I'm not sure that doing speed work on the snatch at say 115lbs is going to help me improve that lift. hope that makes sense,


Tom Seryak wrote …

Thank you everyone for the positive feedback. I will be putting together another article on implementing these methods as an affiliate sometime in the next 3-6 months. I'm pumped for the sectional this weekend. It's time to find out if training speed bench transfers over to weighted burpees!


wrote …

Well Done Tom!! I have been doing the same hybrid (westside and CF) for close to two years now and the results are outstanding. I began incorporating this with the athletes that we train last year, after experimenting and tweeking the systems here and there, and the power & conditioning that these young men and women have developed is phenomenal. It is good to see other Crossfitters embracing Westisde & Dave Tate. Further Forging Elite Fitness. Good Luck this weekend.


wrote …

Tom (or anyone else) any thoughts on doubling up with WoDs and Westside techniques? I had great success doing a CFSB workout in the morning, then the WoD in the afternoon. I was a day behind WoDs so I would look back a few days, then ahead the next to choose which SB movement to use. My immediate concern would be over training (I took a month to build into the SB/WoD routine).

I had previously considered using chains/bands/sleds with the SB method mentioned above, but am now considering incorporating the programming structure also.

Great article, well written and informative!!


wrote …

Thanks for this information. I am a high school teacher that has restructured my strength class with a crossfit mentality. I too use a major exercise for the day and then doa met con. I needed some additional structural ideas and this is it. I have been approached to write an article about our situation and after reading this I will begin. It is great to hear what individuals and affiliates are doing, but what about the physical education field in a high school setting. I have read one such situation. This is a great forum to share. Crossfit has shown that it listens and appreciates physical training. Today it is onto Team 100.


wrote …

hey do you think we could have a thread made on the message board like was made for Strength Bias?


wrote …

Thanks, really helpful article.


Frank DiMeo wrote …

Nice work, Tom!
We are whole-heartedly incorporating Westside training at CrossFit Gulf Coast now.
We started about 2 months ago.
It is making quite a difference already!
Thanks again for the excellent article!


wrote …

Regarding option 2...

Why not do Max Effort Lower Body and Dynamic Effort Upper Body so that the two do not get in each others' way?


wrote …

We do a "Strength based" CF program at my gym. We follow a linear progression for squat, press and dl. It's been working really well, but I started doing Westside method for bench press at home just to compare the two styles. I have to say that Westside is SICK for getting strong fast! I started with a 1rm of 250# on 2/7/10. On 3/4/10, my 1rm hit 285#! 35 pound jump in just under 4 weeks. I love it. The speed days are awesome. After my six week bench cycle, I'm going to incorporate chain work on max effort days. Awesome!


wrote …

when it says lower body dynamic effort or max effort, does that mean both deadlift and squat work on the same day?
or just one picking one?


Evan Davidson wrote …


Thank you for writing this article. It corroborates much of what we have been finding while experimenting with CrossFit + Westside methodology here at CrossFit Diesel.


replied to comment from James Rios

From the Westside Book of Methods the squat and the deadlift are the same day, usually squat preceding the dead same for the DE days. The part I am unclear on is do you work up to a 1RM for both or not, its not real clear on that.


wrote …

I have been looking froward to an article like this for a long time. I use the Westside Method of training and I CrossFit. Everyone said you can't do both, and I even stopped crossfitting for a while. but this gives me hope that yes you can do both. Thanks Tom! keep at it!


wrote …

could someone please post a few examples of how to program complementary metcons for the dynamic upper/lower body days, or explain the template they use for doing so?


wrote …

This PDF has been fantastic for me. I was not understanding the vids by Simmons, he talks to damn fast and I end up watching the vid over 6 times before I can understand him lol. I love how you broke down and explained the methods here for us. Thanks Tom and can't wait to see your next article on your gains!


wrote …

Amazing article! I recently stumbled across the Westside model in a never ending quest to increase 1RM. I have been racking my brain trying to figure out how to incorporate this model into the Crossfit programming. You have supplied valueable information and have saved me headaches trying to figure out the best approach. Great job! I can't wait to read the next article!

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