Hidden Potential: Enhancing The Westside “System” of Training
Louie Simmons programmed the training of the lifts utilized in powerlifting meets using the methods of strength training for the members at his private facility in a way that achieved consistent ALL-TIME displays of absolute strength in the powerlifting meets his barbell club competed in (i.e., NEW all-time world records). When all-time world records were being systematically broken by the club, it became apparent that westside not only had a system training to acquire absolute strength, but their system was and still is the most effective training system to acquire absolute strength on the planet. So the next logical question to be answered is a two-part question:
1. Can the results of the westside system of training elicits be enhanced?
2. If yes, how do we go about enhancing the training effects elicited from the system?
Before answering the above question(s), we need to understand what a system is. In the title of this essay, system is in quotation marks because many throw out the term “system” without coherently defining what a system actually is. To get a coherent definition, we will turn to complexity scientist and author of Thinking in Systems: a Primer, Donella Meadows who defines a system as:
“An interconnected set of elements that is coherently organized in a way that achieves something… a system must consist of three kinds of things: elements, interconnections, and a function or purpose .”
Understanding westside as a system means we understand the elements of the system to be the Louie, the athletes, and the lifts. Its interconnections are the methods of strength training - specifically the methods being programmed conjugate in nature, the biological laws that govern the athlete, and the physical laws which govern the lift. The purpose, or in my opinion more appropriately termed intent of the system is to effectively acquire absolute strength for the sport of powerlifting.
Now that we understand westside as a system, we can answer the proposed question(s). To question 1a: Yes, with absolute certainty the results the westside system of training elicits can be enhanced. How so? Simply, by specifically enhancing the physical state of the athlete who is performing the training.
Athlete enhancement is simple but complex. It is simple to understand the athlete as a changeable element within the westside system (see image above). Also simple is acknowledging the fact that when we increase or improve the athlete, we no doubt enhance the training effects elicited from the westside system.
The complexity emerges in answering how do we enhance the athlete. To answer this question we must first understand the athlete themselves as a system, comprised of elements that are independent but interconnected which the athlete synthesizes together when performing the training work the westside system demands.
This is the first essay in the “Hidden Potential”  series, where the athlete will be examined as a dynamic system that can be enhanced. This examination of and at the athlete level will lead us to discover a whole new level, a level termed the internal level. The Soviets acknowledged this level existed in their lifters , but never got around to defining the trainable elements of the level. Thus, this internal level has remained deeply hidden, undertrained, and totally under-enhanced until this series.
- Meadows, Donella H., and Diana Wright. Thinking in Systems: a Primer. Earthscan, 2009.
- “Enhance Definition & Meaning.” Merriam-Webster, Merriam-Webster, www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/enhance.
- Zatsiorsky, Vladimir M., et al. Science and Practice of Strength Training. Human Kinetics, 2021.
- Laputin, N. P., and Valentin Grigorʹevich. Oleshko. Managing the Training of Weightlifters. Sportivny Press, 1982.