Time to Read: 6.5min
The Westside System divides work volume into 20 percent and 80 percent. The barbell volume mostly calculates the 20 percent with the barbell on Speed-Strength days. Then there is 75 percent, 80 percent, or 85 percent for the powerlifters’ training.
Eighty percent of our volume comes from small special exercises. To do this, you must have a gym like Westside that has several bar machines and devices. This work aims to expose a muscle group weakness. Once exposed, it can address the weakness and lower the odds of receiving an injury. Some gyms don’t even have a power rack or a calf-ham-glute bench. Gyms without these items would include most Olympic lifting gyms.
Lifters ask me to name the most important piece of equipment you can have. My answer? A power rack is the most critical item. First, for safety, it can act as your spotter in case you fail a lift. Lower the bar down onto the safety pins. Just don’t forget to use the safety pins, or they don’t save anyone.
A rack from Westside is the best rack and the least expensive. It is a rack made to use, not to look fancy or cost a lot. You can do all the barbell lifts in the rack.
I trained for six years with no training partners. At one point, at the highest total in 1973, I used the first Westside rack with hole spacings of one-inch with two-inch holes. Today, they are known as the Rogue R-3 Power Rack and is so popular it is often out of stock.
The second essential items are special bars. Let’s start with the Westside line of powerlifting bars. The Bulldog Squat Bar is a 65-pound bar made for those who can squat 1,200 pounds. It will hold weight and band tension up to 1,500 pounds with minimal bending and no shaking. Our Bulldog Bench Bar is a super-strong 50-pound bar that can handle 1,000 pounds plus with no bending at all.
And last but not least, is our Bulldog Deadlift Bar. It is a well-designed bar. Westside has 30 men with deadlifts over 800 pounds and four whose deadlifts are over 900 pounds. They are the real deal.
But Westside uses many other special bars for the squat and the deadlift and the bench press.
Westside regularly uses the Bow Bar for squatting. It has a one and one-half inch camber to take some pressure off the shoulders. The Bow Bar is also good for doing Goodmornings.
14” Camber Bar
The 14-inch Camber Bar is great for squats and Goodmornings. Holding your hands 14 inches lower causes the bar to be unstable with just barbell weights. When using bands, you must place bands around the plates so as not to lose band tension.
Safety Squat Bar
The Safety Squat Bar has been a mainstay at Westside since the late 1970s. Made by Jesse Holcomb from New Jersey, Rugby players first used it. Dr. Squat, Fred Hatfield, made the bar famous, and it was called the Hatfield Bar.
All the bars listed above are very similar in their training maxes. Using bars makes using the percent training easy as 80 percent is 80 percent of your max squat on all bars.
The Marrs Bar is excellent for bad necks and shoulders because of its comfort. It puts a great deal of the load on the mid-back and glutes and hamstrings.
Why does Westside use so many different bars? Depending on the bar, it can change the distance between your S-I joint and where the bar sits on your back. You cannot change the length of your spine, but by using and rotating a special bar, your body has to react to new physical stress. Remember, to adapt to training is to never adapt to training.
Westside uses many bars for the bench press. First, the Bulldog Bench Press Bar, which is 50 pounds and can handle 1,000-pound benches.
Cambered Bench Press Bar
The Bow Bar, which has a one and one-half-inch camber, is a good place to start. Next, consider a two-and-one-half inch cambered bar for extra stretch. Then, get a five-inch chambered bar for an extreme stretch on the upper body.
The Freak Bar
The Freak Bar has been at Westside for 15 years. The Freak Bar has handles, springs outside for external rotation, and springs in the middle for internal rotation. Use it simultaneously while pressing concentrically and eccentrically. It will correct a bilateral deficit. It will also put muscle on the upper body, starting with the hands and wrists, and then the arms, shoulders, upper back, and chest.
The Westside Football Bar is a very popular bar with its three angled handles. It is great for those who can’t use a regular bench bar, but instead, the angled handles take lots of pressure off the shoulders.
The Tee Bar has completely neutral handles to take pressure off the shoulders. Much like the Football Bar, the Tee Bar works the triceps heavily.
Seven-foot EZ Curl Bar
This EZ Curl Bar is seven-foot-long and can handle hefty weights for close-grip bench pressing and triceps extensions, and heavy curls.
Regular EZ Curl Bar
Westside has regular EZ Curl Bars.
The Calf-Ham-Glute Bench is an old standard for hamstrings. The Inverse Curl Hamstring Machine can make it possible to do a Russian Leg Curl unassisted. It reduces your bodyweight one step at a time until you can use your entire body weight. The Standing Leg Curl, as it says, works your hamstrings one leg at a time. We seldom use a regular standard Leg Curl Machine.
(Note: The hamstring that ties into the glute does seven times the work compared to its attachment to the back of the knee.)
Low Back Machines
A 45-Percent Back Raise Bench is a must for spinal erectors development.
The Reverse HyperTM Machine will build the hamstrings, erectors, glutes, and at the same time, traction the spine while increasing lower back range of motion and pushing your squat and deadlift to new heights. As a bonus, it will keep the spine healthy for a lifetime with four different models.
Athletes use the Westside Plyo Swing, a leg press with a combination of weights and bands, to accommodate resistance on the concentric phase by adding velocity to the eccentric phase. It builds faster rebounding when doing power-metric jumps.
The Hip Quad Machine will build flexibility and mobility in the hip and lower back to improve posture. If your spine is not healthy, you are not healthy.
The ATP Belt Squat Machine is by far the best belt-squat on the market. Westside has had the first belt squat since 1975. But this ATP (Athletic Training Platform) is used not only for belt squats but also jumps (both vertical and horizontal). You can even deadlift with a barbell while having the belt squat belt around your waist for a combo squat and deadlift. For punching power or throwing balls, it will significantly increase power and speed. Push, press, or push-jerk with the belt around your waist will substantially improve your poundages. The ATP is the most versatile belt squat on the planet.
“Often imitated, always irritated” is one of my main trademarks because some people don’t have an original idea in their heads, so they steal from me.
Our latest machine, the MR 19, will build the hamstrings and hips. You hook your feet with legs straight at the start, then leg curl to simulate the action of running. The steeper the angle, the more direct work is placed on the hips and hamstrings. It can use weight and bands, and as a bonus, it will stretch the psoas muscles that, when tight, can cause low back pain.
Westside uses two special harnesses. The Zercher Harness is a special harness to hold the barbell while doing a Zercher lift off the floor or doing Zercher squats. It takes the pressure off the elbows. It also has a rack for front squatting, and it is excellent for building an athlete’s squat and deadlift muscles.
A second harness is the Vogel Pole. It came from Chuck Vogelpohl, who designed a harness that fits over the shoulders and has a pole in front so you can add weight. It forces you to super arch the lower back. We do squats with a bar on the back or front squat wearing the Vogel Pole Harness. What a builder.
Static Dynamic Developer
The latest invention at Westside is the patented Static Dynamic Developer machine. It will hold a bar static in any position for the lifter to exert some amount of force up to maximal for a set time limit, mostly two to four seconds to develop force than with the touch of a bottom when the bar is released and lifted to completion,
You can use the Static Dynamic Developer for any lift or exercise and any position. It is one of two of the greatest methods for strength training. Relaxed overcome by a dynamic action is the other—throwing a jab correctly or doing a box squat or floor press correctly. The Static Dynamic Developer will revolutionize the strength world. It has two models available now. A standard power race and a device for throwing, kicking sprint, starts, and many other sports tasks.
The static mode will build Isometric Strength, and while being held in isometric, you can pull yourself into perfect technique to start. Next, release the button and explode with the weight. If you don’t have one, you are at a disadvantage with your competitors.
Westside uses a four-inch block of foam to stand on while squatting or deadlifting. It forces the legs, hips, low back, and hamstrings to work overtime. Run a three-week wave for the squats and deadlifts, then start a second three-week wave by adding a four-inch foam block on the box for squatting. You must lower the box two inches or three inches to make up for adding the foam block.
As you can see, Westside uses a lot of special equipment to help elevate totals. Just remember, a Power Rack first, so you don’t kill yourself before adding to your gym.
Good luck, Louie