Speed-Strength Periodization

Louie Simmons
Mon Dec 21, 2020

 Tags Squats, Dynamic Effort, Bench

For the development of speed-strength, one should use the Combinations of Methods training. Westside has had great success with adding bands to the barbell for speed-strength. Westside uses 33 percent band tension added to the barbell in three-week waves of 80 percent, 85-percent, and 90-percent workouts.

For example, a 300-pound bench would call for 100 pounds of band tension. That would look like this for an 80 percent workout: 100 pounds of band tension and 140 bar weight at lockout. On week three, it would be 100 pounds band tension and 170 pounds bar weight. This standard combination will work for all three powerlifts.

For the bench or deadlift, do 5x5 reps, or if you lack a large amount of GPP, 90 percent 8x3 reps, but the 5x5 reps work best. The proof is in four all-time world records, a woman’s 730-pound squat, and a 55-pound jump to 955-pound squat, which made the all-time number one in the 181-pound class by Wes McCormick.

At the end of the article, you will see a program to organize your three-week waves. If you wish, you can use several different bars for your speed-strength waves for the squat and bench. Also laid out below are programs from 300 pounds to 1050 pounds. Be sure to measure the band tension so that it is close to the recommended amount, or 33 percent of the total load.

The bands on the barbell will make a close to perfect weight in the top and the bottom, which is impossible with just barbell weight. It can become too heavy in the bottom, making a plodding start on the concentric phase causing the bar velocity to be too slow.

On the other hand, if you use just bands, it would be too light in the bottom due to band shrinkage. The bands increase the eccentric phase providing a more significant amount of reverse strength. The action causes a virtual force, which is a force that is unseen but present as the lifter contacts the box, producing Overspeed eccentrics.

It is better to increase velocity than mass to increase K-E, but the collision is inelastic as it has lost some K-E, but not all. Think of it as a pool ball striking another pool ball. It is a perfect collision. This simply means the faster down, the quicker up. You can prove this. An easy test is to drop a rubber ball at 9.8 m/s and see how high it will bounce up. Now, throw the same ball down with increased velocity and see how much higher it will bounce up.


In 2019 Westside increased the reps from two to five reps per set to increase the work per set significantly without losing any velocity. Mathematically two reps are only 40 percent of five reps. This has produced four world records in the last eight months. Westside believes it had been negatively affected by the Law of Accommodation by doing two times reps for many years. 

All the workouts for the three power lifts will call for using approximately 33 percent band tension and the barbell weight of the week’s loads of 80 percent, 85 percent and 90 percent in the three-week waves. Remember to go back to the 80 percent workout on the fourth week for a recovery. When Westside starts with the 80 percent week, reduce the band tension on the 80 percent from 250 to 140 pounds or 320 to 250 pounds, again for recovery, but back to the 33 percent band tension on weeks two and three.

Now let’s look at the lighter weights for the bench press starting at 300 pounds. This will require the lifter to use a mini-band plus a set of chains to achieve the approximate 33 percent band tension for Accommodating Resistance. 

As the bar weight goes up for larger loads, you will employ a monster mini-bands and possibly a set of chains.

The key is three-fold: mathematics, physics, and biomechanics. Push your GPP so you can also complete three benches and three deadlifts. After all, it is the total that we must improve.

Good luck! Louie


Saturday Speed-Strength Workout for Bench with 5x5 Reps

Bars to use:

  1. Power Bar
  2. Bow Bar
  3. Football Bar
  4. Cambered Bar

300 Max Bench Mini-Band and Chain for the 33 Percent

80% 100 Band & Chain + 140 Bar Weight

85% 100 Band & Chain + 155 Bar Weight

90% 100 Band & Chain + 170 Bar Weight


350 Max Bench Use Band Chain

80% 125 Light Band + 165 Bar Weight

85% 125 Light Band + 175 Bar Weight

90% 125 Light Band + 195 Bar Weight


400 Max Bench Use 125 Band Tension Plus Bar Weight

80% 125 Band Tension + 195 Bar Weight

85% 125 Band Tension + 215 Bar Weight

90% 125 Band Tension + 245 Bar Weight


450 Max Bench Use 150 Band and Chain Plus Bar Weight

80% 150 Band and Chain + 210 Bar Weight

85% 150 Band and Chain + 230 Bar Weight

90% 150 Band and Chain + 265 Bar Weight

500 Max Bench Use 150 Band and Chain Plus Bar Weight

80% 165 Band and Chain + 235 Bar Weight

85% 165 Band and Chain + 255 Bar Weight

90% 165 Band and Chain + 275 Bar Weight


600 Max Bench Use 200 Band Tension

80% 200 Band Tension + 280 Bar Weight

85% 200 Band Tension + 310 Bar Weight

90% 200 Band Tension + 340 Bar Weight


Friday Speed-Strength Workout Use 5x5 Reps

Bars to use

  1. Safety Squat
  2. Bulldog
  3. Bow Bar

750 Max Squat Use 250 Pounds of Band, which is 33 Percent Band Tension.

80% 250 Band Tension + 350 Bar Weight

85% 250 Band Tension + 390 Bar Weight

90% 250 Band Tension + 430 Bar Weight


800 Max Squat Use 320 Pounds of Band, which is 40 Percent Band Tension.

80% 320 Band Tension + 320 Bar Weight

85% 320 Band Tension + 360 Bar Weight

90% 320 Band Tension + 400 Bar Weight


850 Max Squat Use 320 Pounds of Band, which is 37 Percent Band Tension

80% 320 Band Tension + 370 Bar Weight

85% 320 Band Tension + 410 Bar Weight

90% 320 Band Tension + 450 Bar Weight


900 Max Squat Use 320 Pounds of Band, which is 35 Percent Band Tension

80% 320 Band Tension + 400 Bar Weight

85% 320 Band Tension + 445 Bar Weight

90% 320 Band Tension + 490 Bar Weight


950 Max Squat Use 320 Pounds of Band, which is 33 Percent Band Tension

80% 320 Band Tension + 450 Bar Weight

85% 320 Band Tension + 495 Bar Weight

90% 320 Band Tension + 540 Bar Weight


1000 Max Squat Use 320 Pounds of Band, which is 32 Percent of Band Tension

80% 320 Band Tension + 480 Bar Weight

85% 320 Band Tension + 530 Bar Weight

90% 320 Band Tension + 580 Bar Weight



1050 Max Squat Use 375 Pounds of Band, which is 35 Percent of Band Tension

80% 375 Band Tension + 465 Bar Weight

85% 375 Band Tension + 515 Bar Weight

90% 375 Band Tension + 565 Bar Weight


Be a Coach! Use the correct box height. Remind yourself and others to keep your chest up and your knees out. Coach each other with 5x5 deadlifts, Sumo, and conventional; switch each week. On boxes use percents.