Benching With Louie: Part 3

By Louie Simmons

In Powerlifting, Videos

June 29, 2010

Video Article

Louie Simmons can make you strong, but how he does it can be a bit of a mystery. Louie, however, doesn’t keep any secrets and shares his techniques with the CrossFit community at Powerlifting Certs.

One of the most integral parts to understanding the Westside Barbell method is to know that velocity is critical. While Simmons and crew work towards new PRs by lifting max weights on some days, they also use weights just over 50 percent of their 1RM to emphasize speed on other days.

Bands and chains are used to provide additional resistance and change the dynamics of the lift, and Simmons will use all sorts of variations to add pounds to a standard competition bench press: wide grips, narrow grips, JM presses, cambered bars, football bars, a floor press or two … .

In this three-part interview, Simmons shares a number of his strength-building nuggets as they relate to speed on the bench press. Grab a pen and paper to take some notes and maybe knock a few seconds off your next Linda.

Part 1: Lower weight, faster reps. How to set up speed work on sub-maximal days with bands and chains. 8min 30sec

Part 2: More on chains and bands and using “accommodating resistance” for speed work. 7min 41sec

Part 3: Ballistic benching, intensity and volume. 8min 45sec

Additional reading: The Holy Trinity of Strength Training by Bill Starr, published May 27, 2009.

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12 Comments on “Benching With Louie: Part 3”


wrote …

Would Louie's methods be applicable with the overhead press as well? All the upper body information is focused on benching, which is obviously beneficial to powerlifters, but a lot of the o-lifting articles recommend against benching because of its effects on your shoulder flexibility. Is benching tool for crossfitters to improve their absolute upper body strength?


wrote …

Well, let me get this out of the way......

I heard that Louie uses steriods. These are illegal. Why is Crossfit associating with someone that endorses steroid use? Blah, Blah, Blah.....

Ok, now that that is done, another great video from Louie! Of all the stuff on the journal, I'm finding these videos, along with Bill Starr's articles, by far the most useful. There is so much information packed into a small video, I feel I have to go back and watch it several times just to get all the little morsels I may have missed the first time. I love his quote "make things hard on yourself" - good stuff. The whole thing about the bands making the shoulder more stable, also great. Keep these videos coming!


replied to comment from Erik Rasmussen

I am by no means an expert on the subject but, I've found by incorporating some West-side Barbell training methods into my own training has improved my overhead press by 5Lbs./11kilos. It may not seem like much but I've been stuck in a rut for nearly a year. I've also improved my bench by 25Lbs./55kilos where I've been stuck for more than a year. The trick is not overtraining. I found some of Louieā€™s articles from his website helpful as well


wrote …

I asked the overhead question to Louie a few months ago and he said that the same basic technology works for overhead pressing. In fact, his system is largely derived from eastern European oly lifting protocols.


wrote …

Having attended Louies cert at Crossfit Relentless In West Hartford CT, I can tell you that the techniques are broadly applicable to virtually any lift. Some of the things that we learned do not fall into the realm of "functional movements" per se, but they are still useful. Some of us have been using Louies methadology in our strength training for several months now. While I am certainly no elite athlete, I have seen the benefits in the form of PRs on several different lifts on which I had plateaued. Secondarily, some old joint injuries don't seem to plague me like they used too. Its certainly too early for me to say with any certainty that this is strictly due to what I and my coaches have learned. But its hard to deny the evidence


wrote …

The short answer is yes, everything Louie talk about with respect to the bench could be applied to the press.

I work for Louie at the certs, and from my perspective the vast majority of CrossFitters have relatively weak triceps.

Something else to consider for CFers is that they can apply Louie's bench techniques to high incline benching which is a movement that will highly correlate to one's pressing power.


replied to comment from Brian Sunderland

brian, you mean 5 kilos = 11 pounds and 25 kilos = 55 pounds, not the other way around.



replied to comment from Sam Ser

Very long day Thank you!


wrote …

Today I totally just used the tip about trying to break the bar to lock it out with your forearms and set a PR on the floor press! That PR actually surpassed my regular bench PR so it looks like breaking my bench record is now inevitable. I heart Westside Barbell.


Zach Even - Esh wrote …

awesome info from Louie, keep em' coming.

I'm psyched to see more on the lower body work: deads and squats

I remember all the phone chats I've had w/Lou from years ago and they still register w/me today with heavy influence

great stuff!



wrote …

This is a really awesome series, I can't believe the quality of info that comes with the Crossfit Journal subscription. My favorites are the Louie Simmons and Bill Starr Oly articles and programs. Please keep these coming!

I also did the break the bar to lockout and changed the way I grip and bench feels great! I can already feel the PRs coming.


wrote …


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