Westside Barbell- The Strongest Gym In The World


Posted on October 13 2016

It was good to read Ed Bakers and John Coffee’s commentary on my “debacle”. I am referring to my new book Olympic Lifting Strength Manual. My interpretation of building special strengths comes from the former Soviet Union weightlifting coaches. In the book Managing The Training Of Weightlifters it states that as a weightlifter  becomes highly qualified they must use at least 50% of the load by special exercises such as squats, pulls, good mornings and a LARGE amount of back extensions and inverse curls.


Training loads must grow but if too many classical lifts area done form breaks down, which can not happen. Please pay close attention to A.S. Prilipins loading research in 1974. Use the optimal amount of lifts like what is presented in our book. Also according to A.D Ermakov and N.S Atanasovs data 50% of the volume in the classical lifts must be with 75-85% range.

Just like I talk about.

This data was based off 780 highly skilled weightlifters. This extensive research was good for the GREATEST weightlifters from the Soviet Union. It just so happened to work for my Powerlifting Team breaking over 100 All Time Worlds Records throughout the last 4 decades in different organizations. It also works for all major sports such as baseball world champions, NFL world champions, top rugby teams, so why would it not work for the sport it was meant for?

When forms breaks down in special exercises it has no negative effects on the classical lifts. This is why the chart must be used for all lifts. The Chinese train the squat work load the same as Westside Barbell. The average weight is 80% for about 25 lifts per workout. I think it is fair to say that there team is doing pretty well.

So is this a common system?

YES. This is how a weightlifter  must train. This is the Conjugate System by doing many special exercises as it helps perfect form by raising a weak body part. It is referred to in the book, The Fundamentals Of Special Strength Training by Y.V Verkhoshansky.

This reflects the Dynamo Club in 1972 where 70 high skilled athletes did an experiment where 20 to 45 special weight lifting exercises were done. After the training ONE lifter was satisfied and the rest wanted more exercises. This was also done by Y.V Verkhoshansky and Medvedev. Medvedev also lists 100 weight lifting exercises in Supertraining by Mel Siff.

So why did they not just list a few exercises?

Because only a few may be the wrong ones for a lifter. You see after experimenting with a large number of exercises a lifter will find a group of special exercises that work for him or her. If I am wrong SO ARE these men and coach Fang from China. My programming chapter is 50 pages long and calls for roughly 18 snatches of some type and 18 cleans of some type once a week for form work and to build speed strength. 72 hours later a max effort must happen. If you try a max in only the 2 classical lifts you will stop making progress very fast. This means you must execute special exercises to max out on for most of the training cycle.

For speed strength the weight used ranges from 75% to 85% as shown in Managing The Training Of The Weightlifter. For maximum effort, unlike the high volume on speed strength day, the volume is very low but intensity is high. Westside breaks some kind of record over 90% of the time. This CAN work for a weightlifter as well.

When a weightlifter comes to Westside Barbell many times in the 45 minutes training session I can have them break there clean record by using a contrast method. Only to have the lifter unable to recover from the clean due to a weak front squat.

Next Mr Coffee states how I say to raise your squat by not squatting.

I don’t know what Mr Coffee knows about squatting but Westside has the two top coefficient squats of all time (1180lbs at 264lbs bodyweight by Chuck Vogelpohl and 1210lbs at 271lbs bodyweight by Dave Hoff PLUS Laura Phelps who squatted 715lbs at a body weight of 165lbs)  they all box squat for all their training until meet time. Also our top 5 deadlift AVERAGE is 890lbs and top 10 AVERAGE is 866lbs and we never perform a meet style deadlift in training as we save that for the MEET. All this was and is achieved by using this system.

Oh by the way John’s guys don’t squat. Hamstrings, gluteus and hips in addition to a strong back does most of the work. This is why Fang states to lean forward somewhat while executing a front squat. He is of course right.

It was good to hear Bob Peoples name and his compassion to the great Isaac Berger. Both men specialized in one lift. Was Bob that bad at cleans or was Isaac that bad deadlifting. They were both smart to do the lift they were bad at to help there specialty.

When Ed and John are not busy writing half the time they should take the time to read a book or watch the Russian and Chinese performing snatch grip deadlifts on the internet. Then let’s look at accommodation. Westside does everything to avoid accommodation by changing many special bars, exercises, to rotating high volume with moderate intensity following a 72 hour recovery window after low volume and 100% intensity with up to six extra workouts a week for single muscle groups.

Westside recommends 100 to 200 leg curls a day. 80% of our training is on specialty exercises. Note only a model weightlifting can use just a few exercises and must have access to restoration methods i.e. The Bulgarian System. Here is the main problem with most weightlifting coaches. The last sentence about accommodation states you must be creative, you are NOT this. Not even in selecting young weightlifters at 10 years old which is suggested by weightlifting experts.

Here is where your talent pool comes from. Not every boy or girl wants to be on a team. Many are too short to play ball sports at high level. So why don’t you learn from other countries like Westside Barbell did 34 years ago. When you talk about a “LOW” talent pool you are putting down ALL weightlifters. The drug talk is not called for. There are too many Olympic sports in USA that excel so why not weightlifting?

Powerlifting have the very same men and women to choose from yet we dominate the world of Powerlifting. The USA holds 9 out of 10 records for women and 7 out of 12 for men. Westside has held 5 out of the 10 women total records and 2 out of the 12 for the men. Westside Barbell has the greatest male and female powerlifters of all time by coefficient.

To repeat the system Westside Barbell uses is from track and field and Olympic Weightlifting from mostly the former Soviet Union. It will work for the sport it was intended for, Olympic Weightlifting.

Please ALL LIFTERS read ALL the Russian training manuals used at Westside which are translated by Bud Charigr and learn the truth for yourself.

Find some good training partners and dump a coach that has his head in the sand,


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