In Coaching, Powerlifting, Videos

January 31, 2011

Video Article

You’ve seen the drill: squat a set, wander around, chalk up, talk some smack, chalk up again … .

That’s not how they roll at Westside Barbell on dynamic-effort squat day, when lifters push weights as fast as possible. In this video shot at Louie Simmons’ facility, you’ll see powerlifters Laura Phelps, Tony Ramos and John Kerr work through a session of multiple doubles. Each lifter jumps under the bar and bands right after the other, and the pace is very quick.

“The pace is perfect for CrossFit,” Simmons says. “If you’re going to be strong, you need to be in condition, so why not be conditioned while you’re getting stronger?”

Good question, Louie.

6min 23sec

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

Download

Comment

37 Comments on “Dynamic-Effort Day at Westside Barbell Part 1”

1

wrote …

That was useful.
Thank-you.

2

wrote …

Explain the adding weight for the last sets? How many sets were total, how much weight (%) do they add, and how often do they do this?

3

wrote …

Amazing to see the worlds strongest doing there stuff.
Sub maximal weight for maximal speed.....awesome...

4

wrote …

Very nice! I got questions if anyone knows!

Were they going deep enough for a power lifting meet? How does their squat at a meet differ from their box squat?

5

wrote …

Lifters need to go parallel for meets. Kinda subjective as far as judging. Box squats will be lighter than regular with a 200 pound carry over to regular squats. The box height is constantly varied during training cycles. Hope that helps.

6

wrote …

It's difficult to argue with Westside's history and results. However, applying some accepted safety "rules" to what was going on there, there was some significant variation in what was happening at the lumbar spine at the mid point of the movement. It ranged from very tight, well-controlled maintenance of the lumbar curve to complete reversal of the curve at the low point of the squat. Someone tell me why that is okay. Certainly these very talented and conditioned lifters can "get away" with a lot but I would think that the same task can be accomplished without losing a safer lumbar configuration.

What's the point of preaching some of this ideal lumbar position stuff when the strongest lifters in the world are breaking rules everyday? Does it really matter?

7

replied to comment from brian harder

Louie explained it in the video the only way to develop maximum power from the movement is to start from a relaxed position of the hips.

8

wrote …

What an awesome video. That made me want to work havy backsquat tomorrow morning.

I was wondering about the reason behind the various depths myself.
I was also curious about the accuracy of Loui's statement that wide stance squats will increase your close stance squat and vice versa.

Great stuff!

9

Frank DiMeo wrote …

Great stuff from Louie, once again!

10

AJ Roberts wrote …

Troy - you simply go to the the weight that you will use the following week. So if you are on week 1 50% then you'd do say 9x2 with that and then 1x2 with 55% which is week 2's weight.

Philip - The only difference is that there is no box in a meet. The rule require you to break parallel, they don't require us to sit on our calfs so we do everything possible to maximize this. However, that being said we often train to much lower boxes to develop the hips so that when we raise the box back up we are stronger.

Kevin - I wouldn't say there is a 200lb carry over but box squats are certainly harder for the majority.

Brian - We preach relaxing the hips not the lumber but just like anything even some of the strongest lifters have to continually work technique.

Ben - it's 100% accurate. Wide stance builds close stance due to the increased muscle activation/developmennt. Try it, I think you'll be surprised at just how much it helps.

AJ Roberts
Westside Barbell

11

wrote …

AJ I appreciate you answering some of the questions about the video. I think what you guys are doing at Westside is awesome! I do have a question about the box height set up. Is it a prescribed height, I noticed that it changed a couple times by adding and omitting mats, I thought that was for the female who was shorter that the two males but after looking again it might be just a variation thing to cause muscle confusion? Will you please elaborate on the subject? Thanks. Keep up the great work.

12

wrote …

This was a very helpful video. Thanks for posting it. Also, it is nice to see intelligent questions being both asked and answered here.

13

wrote …

this is why I love powerlifters :)

14

wrote …

Extremely helpful video.

Thanks guys for posting it.

15

wrote …

Wow--Just googled Laura Phelps--goodness gracious.

Impressive.

I love these kind of posts.

16

wrote …

Frickin pumped me up!!!! Man if I only lived in Ohio!

17

AJ Roberts wrote …

Cameron - we typically stick to 1 box height for the majority or our training. Basically for us our height is determined by whatever puts you right at parallel which of course varies from person to person.

If depth at a meet required us to be lower then we would lower our box accordingly. The key however is you must be able to squat to the box without falling. You should be able to stop at any point in the movement.

The other purpose for the lower box is to engage the lower back and hips more if this is a weak area.

As for Laura she is a phenomenal athlete. Just check out this handstand walk around her gym she just posted http://youtu.be/fdIL0nsSM2o

AJ Roberts
Westside Barbell

18

wrote …

AJ thanks for the answers and help. I was just quoting Louie on the 200 lb carry over. Does this typically vary with lifters?

19

wrote …

I feel like their huge squat PRs aren't really comparable to mine because they use equipment and try to move the bar the least possible distance. I'd be interested to hear some of their numbers for a no-belt, close stance squat that goes well below parallel.

20

wrote …

As soon as I heard Louie make that claim about wide squats, I had to pursue it. I proposed the question on an OLifting forum, where I would assume, athletes are mainly into close stance squats. They had powerlifting guys who also olift chime in. My intention is NOT to start some forum battle, pissing contest over differences in squatting. I wanted to get a different perspective and share:

http://www.pendlayforum.com/showthread.php?p=7732#post7732

WFS

It's mostly personal accounts, with actual numbers.

21

replied to comment from Xi Xia

I went and read the thread and I think most of the posters misunderstood the quote. It seems to me that they interpreted it to mean was "if you wide stance squat you'll be able to close stance squat the same amount of weight" which of course is not what he said, he only said that it BUILDS a close stance squat. Check out his 2006 article "Things you should know"

http://westside-barbell.com/westside-articles/PDF.Files/06PDF/Things%20You%20Should%20Know0606.pdf

He states in there that a test was done at Ball State University which showed that the quad recruitment was the same and the wide stance elicited more glute and hamstring recruitment.

I'm not an expert and I have never been to the Westside gym but if you read the book of methods and Louie's articles it will become apparent that he is not one to advocate doing only one thing all the time. This one squatting video does not show the entirety of what goes on in their training. Check out the Log section of the site where AJ posts up videos of some of their workouts and you'll see lots of different squats on different box heights with different stances going on.

22

wrote …

AJ,
Are there any cues to think about when box squatting. I tried it once and I did not feel it in my hamstrings at all. Also are there any videos that westside has online that teach you the correct way to box squat?

Thanks,
Brian

23

AJ Roberts wrote …

Kevin - carry over will always vary based on individual weaknesses.

Latham - although not belt-less I've done 750 close stance ass to grass.

Jeff - your correct in your statement that wide stance builds close stance strength not that it equals it. Louie's been doing this for 30 years and along with that experience he has the science and results to back it up.

Brain - Louie has made several DVD's that are avalible through Westside.

But the cues you''ll hear us say constantly are

- Chest up
- Sit Back
- Knees out

If you are struggle two things you can do stand as close as you can facing a wall. Get in the wide stance and lift you big toe up. You should feel your weight shift to the outside. Now squat down. The wall will force your to keep your chest up, sit back and force knees out.

24

wrote …

AJ,

Thanks that makes more sense. I just watched one of the videos and heard Louie mention something about releasing your hip flexors at the bottom of the squat. I don't know if I am doing this or not. I feel like when I try to do this and relax at the bottom, I kind of lose my tightness. Could this also be a reason why I am not feeling it in the hamstrings like Louie said?

Thanks,
Brian

25

wrote …

Thanks for your help AJ. It's nice to see the Journal used as a Q&A forum rather than a complaint department. Keep up the great training!

HQ I love the strength stuff in the Journal, keep it coming!!! But then again, I love everything in the Journal...

26

AJ Roberts wrote …

Brian - if you have a video somewhere let me know and i'll check it out and give you some feedback.

27

replied to comment from Jimmy Smith

A pic of her and Louis is my computer screem background!

28

wrote …

AJ,

I was considering getting some bands to use at my school gym, since we do not have any bands or chains (it's huge globo gym). I have a 250lb highbar olympic backsquat and I haven't maxed out my deadlift in a while but I would say it's probably in the high 200's, low 300's. What type of bands would you suggest I get, since I am just starting out.

Thanks,
Brian

29

wrote …

AJ,

I really hope you are reading this thread. But I have watched Louie's video's on the journal at least 5x each taking notes and even purchased 2 videos off his website. But I have 2 important questions I hope someone can answer.

1. I maxed out on Bench press @ 270lbs on December 12, 2010 when I decided to try the Conjugate system. Then on January 19, 2011 I maxed @ 322. So basically on my 6th week I went up big time for whatever reason. Do I base my 50% dynamic method on 270 or now 322 even though I didn't finish my 3 week pend wave?

2. On your dynamic days for say lower body how many different exercises do you do? Like with bands and/or chains do you do say back squat and front squat in a 60 min period? Or do you guys just do back squat for the one day and save front for another day or another sitting like say later on in the evening?

Right now on dynamic days I am doing 2 of either upper or lower like upper I usually always do a bench type and a press type. Since I max out twice a week and always go up I am basing my % for dynamic work off that new 1 RM. Is this ok?

Thank you

30

wrote …

AJ - thanks for the edification, much appreciated!

31

wrote …

AJ, thanks for providing so much great insight. I use a standard squat cage and feel like me legs and knees are always pretty close, unable to get good external rotation - does having the wider cage help or am I doing something wrong (I'm 6' 4"). If I could have you review a some video like you offered Brian I would be much obliged. Big fan of what you guys do - since doing dynamic effort days my dead lift has gone from 380 to 420 in a few months - keep up the great work out there. Thanks.

32

AJ Roberts wrote …

Brian - I'd get mini's, monster mini's and light bands.

Alleem -

1) There is no waves on bench. You use 50% of your raw max. So if it goes up so does your dynamic weight.

2) Dyanmic day is always box squats. We may switch up the bar with various specialty bars but it's always a back squat to a box. Once we are done we move on to assitance exercises. Other squat variations would be done on max effort days.

Jon - why not put the pins on the outside of the rack? Feel free to send video.

AJ Roberts
Westside Barbell

P.S. Love hearing about all the success you are all having!

33

AJ Roberts wrote …

Brian - I'd get mini's, monster mini's and light bands.

Alleem -

1) There is no waves on bench. You use 50% of your raw max. So if it goes up so does your dynamic weight.

2) Dyanmic day is always box squats. We may switch up the bar with various specialty bars but it's always a back squat to a box. Once we are done we move on to assitance exercises. Other squat variations would be done on max effort days.

Jon - why not put the pins on the outside of the rack? Feel free to send video.

AJ Roberts
Westside Barbell

P.S. Love hearing about all the success you are all having!

34

wrote …

AJ, thanks. What is the best way for me to get you a video? I'm not following your suggestion about putting the pins on the outside of the rack, could you please explain. Thanks for your time.

35

replied to comment from AJ Roberts

AJ,

Thank you so much for the response. Man what a diffrence this info will make =D! I have been overtraining then for sure, but not by too much.

Thanks AJ

36

wrote …

its great to see people debating/asking questions/disagreeing in a respectful manner...just more useful information to digest.

37

wrote …

where is dynamic day part 2?

Leave a comment

Comments (You may use HTML tags for style)