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Programming With Matt Chan: Implementing Westside Barbell Into CrossFit by Matt Chan - CrossFit Journal

In CrossFit, Powerlifting, Videos

November 12, 2010

Video Article

“I saw the benefits of it and decided that I would like to implement a strength focus,” Matt Chan says of Westside Barbell programming.

Chan, who was a top competitor in both the 2010 CrossFit Games and the CrossFit-USAW Open, says he started implementing what he learned at a CrossFit Powerlifting Certification last February. Although he doesn’t have all the specialized equipment, Chan uses what he has and then gets creative to replicate pressing with boards, squatting to a box and squatting with accommodating resistance.

And the program works. In a four-month period, Chan says he went from a 405-lb. back squat to a 435-lb. back squat, which was more progress than he had made in the last two years. Chan says he will continue to use a strength focus for three months, then re-evaluate. His programming will blend a modified version of Westside programming with CrossFit met-cons and Olympic lifts.

“It’s still CrossFit. It’s still constantly varied,” Chan says.

8min 28sec

Additional reading: Unleash Your Power by Mike Warkentin, published Jan. 20, 2010.

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22 Comments on “Programming With Matt Chan: Implementing Westside Barbell Into CrossFit”


wrote …

Matt freaks me out.
You can be strong AND fit at the same time? Wha?



wrote …

I don't think his approach is optimal, but I am happy to see him doing what he is doing.


wrote …

Not optimal for everyone for sure, but people respond differently so it could work really well for him. I like it that he's experimenting.

I hope they follow this up with a results video when he's done, this westside stuff is becoming like the new strength bias.

Matt freaks me out too. Loved seeing him in those tahoe videos, too bad he couldn't stay for the whole thing.


Daniel Schmieding wrote …

Matt - Great lifts!
Chris - What would you change?


wrote …


Can you elaborate how you programmed your metcons? My understanding of the WB method was that the supplementary exercises are basically performed for hypertrophy (sub maximal loads, performed with sub maximal repetition). What types of exercises were generally used? Curious how much rest was RXd post ME or DE workouts, and prior to the metcon. Also, if you performed a DE or ME lift, would you generally program the metcon to be a bit shorter than on a day that did not have a DE or ME component?



wrote …

Matt Chan is like the Darth Vader of Crossfit. You look at him and think, what amazing foe, there's no way for Luke Spealwaker to take him out!

Way to kill em at the USAW event Matt, I was totally bummed you had to leave the Rogue-AF comp early.


wrote …

How does the programming differ from Max Effort Black Box, Grant Gimes Hybrid, Crossfit Football, Crossfit Strength Bias or Starting Strength?


replied to comment from Daniel Schmieding

My thoughts will be included in an article I wrote on the topic which should be published here sometime soon.


wrote …

@ #5 Daniel

Here's an example of a Dynamic Effort Bench Day:
9x3reps @ 40% + mini bands, 1:00 rest btw each
3x15reps of 4 board narrow grip bench, fast and heavy
3 rds for max reps:
1:00 of weighted ring dips
1:00 of weighted strict pull-ups
1:00 GHD sit-ups

One thing that I think could be misinterpreted in this video is that I am looking to get stronger for the 2011 Games. While that may be partially true, this is only a small phase of the year for me. If one would consider this a "strength focus", then I guess it's important to understand that I also intend to have a "gymnastics focus", a "monostructural focus" and a high volume "metcon focus" at different points throughout the year.

Also, this is all in addition to programming. Please understand that this is simply my approach to the 2011 year. It may not be right, it probably could be improved on, but it's what I'm doing. I've made several changes already to our program and I will continue to do so as the season unfolds.


wrote …

Thanks for the video. Great stuff. I am starting the same type of program right now. I think you are right on the money Matt. Experiments with programming are great. We can all agree we want to be stronger.


wrote …

Congrats for your back squat PR !! Good luck for the 2011 games


Frank DiMeo wrote …

Thanks Matt!
Very infvormative!


wrote …

I think what Matt is doing is great. The only way to see if a program works is to get in the gym and do it. Following strict guidlines is fine some of the time, but each person should find out what truely works for them through trial and error. I followed dot com to the letter for about a year. Overall, I got very fit, but my strength went down drastically. About a year ago, I started doing 5/3/1. My strength skyrocketed, and it carried over in my metcons. I had to drop the bench portion and move to Westside for that lift. So now I do 5/3/1 for squat, DL and press, and Westside for bench. The metcons are 3 days a week tailored around the accessory lifts like Matt talked about. I've never been stronger, and more fit. Not for everyone, but it works for me. Keep it up Matt! Crush em' in 2011!


wrote …

On the Max Effort days, do you do one press and one squat/deadlift max effort movement in one session or in Week 1 do a press, Week 2 a squat/deadlift, Week 3 a press etc.? And do you go for 1 rep maxes or triples, 5's?



wrote …

Chris Mason,

Several of us at CrossFit Charlottesville are eagerly anticipating your upcoming article. You have plenty of guinea pigs if needed!


wrote …

Thanks Matt. Very interesting. One thing this brings up for me is the ability to integrate this type of cert into Affiliate programming. This is the number one thing on my mind when I go to additional certs because if I can't figure out how to bring it into my gym and into my classes of 16 people then the folks it benefits are myself and my personal training clients, not my group crossfit clients. I'd love to see an article on how the Louie cert has influenced programming at someone's affiliate.
Jennifer Higgins


Zach Even - Esh wrote …

Matt, I LIKE the video BIG time brutha. GREAT stuff.

@Chris Mason - yep, looking forward to your programming. Not sure if you felt Matt's methods were not best suited for strength, BUT, looks to me like a solid blend of crossfit (particularly the met cons) along with max effort and dynamic effort work.

For my athletes, we actually do as Matt does, using the supplemental lifts in a met con fashion.

So, after their heavy lower body lift (deadlift or squat variation), you might see something like this:

4 rounds of:

A) lunge jumps x 6 / 6
B) glute ham raise x 12
C) KB Swings x 12
D) Prowler / Sled x 150' or sprint x 100 meters

For athletes, we are not only trying to improve absolute strength, but their special strengths as well: strength endurance, speed strength

Also, the athletes of today need tremendous mental toughness. These met cons help BIG time.

I like how Matt is working on what he knows he needs, rather than following a workout or method as is. That's the art of coaching yourself and / or others.

Thanks, Matt.

Keep kickin' ass!

@Chris Mason, looking forward!



wrote …

One thing is for sure, Matt Chan is a well-rounded, fit animal. Keep up the good work, brother.


wrote …


That's pretty cool- I also decided a while back to do metcons that would focus on the same kind of assistance stuff in the past, and it's the only thing that seems to work for me, having now experimented with so many strength approaches.

Also interesting that you only do one ME instead of two every week, probably not a bad idea at all for those of us who do more than just lift...


wrote …

Looking forward to more westside/crossfit info. Any combination of those systems is going to be really, really good. Just a matter of working the kinks out.


wrote …

I would definitely like to hear about his ME days. Is he really only maxing out squat/deadlift twice a month?


Janelle Deeds wrote …

Thank you! I am just a newbie with this and am thrilled with the information. Blending nicely! ~j

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