Is it a good idea to take elite training principles, I mean world-record-setting principles, and use them on the other guy?
Not the average guy, but the OTHER GUY…?
Well, have you heard of Westside Barbell?
Westside Barbell is a private “Invitation Only” elite training facility in Columbus, Ohio that was created by world-renowned power lifter Louie Simmons.
While Louie has trained many athletes, his wheelhouse is creating the strongest human beings on the planet in Powerlifting.
But like I said, he has trained ALL SORTS of athletes.
What do they all have in common? They are ELITE ATHLETES! You know, 405 lb squats are warm-ups…
So is it a bad idea to give elite training principles, used on elite athletes, to the other guy?
Is it a bad idea to give a 16 year-old a Ferrari?
It comes down to this….
- Want to crush your training? Worry more about the elite mindset, not the elite principles.
- Use a template, tweak it and make it work for you.
So let’s talk more about elite training, Westside Barbell, and the other guy.
Fitness (not just strength) and Conjugate Training
I consider myself a student of many different training methods.
I read a lot, experiment a lot, and will always keep an open mind to new training ideas, methods and programming.
So why am I talking about Louie Simmons and Westside Barbell???
The ideas which have really stuck with me over the years have been from Louie Simmons; they just make sense and every time I test them in new ways…they work!
Looking back at the programs I have created, they all have at least a tiny bit of Westside Barbell influence (amongst other training methods).
In fact, if you have tried any of my programs you have gotten a small taste of Conjugate training and Westside (only we don’t program for powerlifters).
End of Thee Fitness and Elite Training Ideas:
- The programming template for Garage Gym Athlete is loosely based on Special Strength Development for All Sports and his thoughts on training for athletes and CrossFitters combined with my own experience and experimentation as a coach and athlete.
- Our 12-week comprehensive coaching program, ACCELERATE: Strength & Conditioning, is something I call a conjugate system for “the other guy”.
- AND One Man One Barbell, while not Westside at all, was created from the methods I learned from two books: Westside Barbell Book of Methods and Science and Practice of Strength.
Let me remind you, I have no affiliation with Westside Barbell. I am just a huge fan of Louie Simmons and I’ll get to why in just a second.
Now, none of these programs are fully Westside, and that’s not what I am claiming them to be at all; but the influence is what matters.
I’ve been taking all that I have learned and putting it into programs for the other guy.
And guess what? All of those programs work extremely well and they all balance strength and fitness.
But you can’t jump into the deep end with the wrong mindset!
Westside is great not because of the training principles…
Westside is great because of the mindset.
Two Ways The Other Guy Can Take on an Elite Mindset
Can I let you in on a little secret?
There is no coach or programmer who has it all figured out!
Not a single one.
Louie Simmons has it figured out more than most and he has spent decades experimenting to find out what works best.
Seriously, no one has it figured out….
- Conventional wisdom would tell you squatting everyday won’t work. Then Cory Gregory does it every day for years and has insane results.
- Conventional wisdom will tell you extremely high volume and intensity won’t work. Then Rich Froning does it and wins the CrossFit Games 4 years in a row.
Any coach or programmer who acts like they have it all figured out is a novice, at best.
So there isn’t a program, theory or coach that will yield the best results.
IT IS A MINDSET which will yield the best results.
A mindset I think Louie has, and one I have been trying my hardest to adopted over the years.
Here it is…
1.) Knowledge is the Base of Your Pyramid
Louie Simmons regularly reminds people that a pyramid is only as tall as its base. A simple example to say your strength can only go as high as you are willing to buildout your base of general physical preparedness, accessory work and a solid background.
But it goes further than that.
You can’t be spoon-fed, you have to learn to truly grow.
Let me give you a personal example…
Last year I decided I wanted to expand my fitness credentials and started to look for a new certification I could pursue.
At first, I was looking to become a Certified Strength and Conditioning Specialist (CSCS) by the NSCA…
If you don’t know that is, it is (or was) seen as pretty “prestigious” in the strength and conditioning world.
Once I started studying I got to their picture of a proper squat…
So then I went back to…Why do I want to be a CSCS?
I don’t want to study for a test, regurgitate information I don’t agree with, and get a certification just because it looks cool…
I want to LEARN! I want to expand the base of my pyramid.
I don’t want to offend anyone here so don’t get me wrong – The CSCS will give you a great foundation of anatomy and some of the science in strength and conditioning, if you don’t already have it.
But it’s not a book you really refer to when designing programs.
So I dove back into the books I have studied over the years…
- Science and Practice of Strength Training by V.M. Zatsiorsky
- Starzynaki, T.; Sozanski, H. Explosive Power and Jumping Ability for all Sports. 1982.
- The Westside Barbell Book of Methods by Louie Simmons
- Bomph, Todor. Theory and Methodology of Training. 1999.
- Komi, P. V. Strength and Power in Sports.1996.
- Kurz, Tomas. Science of Sports Training. 2001.
- Siff, Mel. Supertraining 2004.
- The Max Effort Method by Jim Wendler
- Viru, Atko. Adaption in Sports Training. 1995.
- 531 by Jim Wendler
- Yessis, M.; Taubo, R. Secrets of Soviet Sports Fitness and Training. 1987.
- Zawieja, Martin. Periodization of Training for a Methodical Development of
- Performance in Olympic Lifting-Bundesleague. 1988.
The person who has indirectly influenced how I train and how I program for athletes is Louie Simmons from Westside.
Long story short… I decided to pursue getting certified by Westside Barbell, as opposed to becoming a CSCS.
What’s my point?
If you want to excel, increase the base of your pyramid and do that by increasing your knowledge!
Read just one of those books above.
2.) Math. Physics. RESULTS! (No Hype)
A good coach can test a hunch in a couple of months. Then confirm it over the course of a year or two.
Don’t get me wrong I love reading the science and experiments. But if some scientist “disproved” the effectiveness of the Westside Method in lab…I wouldn’t care.
Louie’s training methodology is backed up by his athlete’s results and he has produced some of the strongest men in the world.
Now, Louie may be one of the most intelligent coaches out there in physics, training methods and a whole lot more, but he doesn’t rely on hype.
The main point here, is after you have a good foundation of knowledge, you need to start getting good at the math.
Applying simple math to a barbell, or basic physics, like the understanding how a lever works will go a lot further than you think.
Then you can really do some serious self-experimentation.
What good is an experiment of only one??
An effective experiment of only one person is all YOU need.
If YOU want results and YOU experiment on YOURSELF successfully. Who cares about anything else?
Want to prove it to others? Get a group of 20 athletes and prove it there. I’d still take an effective coach who produced results for 20 athletes over a lab test, or theory.
[only] Results matter.
A Practical Programming Template for you…
Now, if you have made it this far in the article I am assuming some of this stuff appeals to you.
What I want to do now is give you a template to get started. Just click the image below and sign up for Garage Gym Athlete and you will get our free template. AND we will be doing a FREE video fully explaining the concepts in this article and in this template you can download.
photo credit: Power Snatch via photopin (license), nutts-2012-158 via photopin (license), Students focused on their studies, c. 1961 via photopin (license), Cairo – Camels and a Pyramid via photopin (license)