(credit to VikingMan)


I ripped most of this straight out of Joe Defranco’s Westside for Skinny Bastards. It has some modification in it for things I like, but it’s still pretty much his! For more information and some good resources, visit his site, at and also the link down at the bottom of the page.

I'm writing this because I like to see the format for the actual workouts in a different format than Defranco writes his stuff in, it's a little confusing IMO, and because we've needed a good WS4SB write up around here for a while.

Here we go.

Monday: Upper Body Max Effort
A. Bench Press Variant 3-5RM
B. Horizontal Row 4 X 5-10
C. Supplemental press 3-4 X 6-10
D. Upper back variant 2-3 X 12-15
E. Weighted Abdominal work 3-4 X 8-15

Wednesday: Lower Body Max Effort
A. Deadlift Variant 3-5RM
B. Squat Variant 3 X 8
C. Weighted Hypers 3 X 8
D. Ghetto GHRs 2 X 8

Friday: Upper Body Repetition Effort
A. Repetition Effort Bench Variant
B. Vertical Pull Variant 4 X 8-12
C. Medial Delt or Trap Variant 3 X 10-15
D. Triceps Supplemental Variant 3-4 X 5-10
E. Curl Variant 3 X 8-10
F. Abdominal circuit training

Monday: Lower Body Max Effort
A. Squat Variant 3-5RM
B. Pull Variant 3 X 8
C. Weighted Hypers 3 X 8
D. Ghetto GHRs 2 X 8

Lift Variations
Bench Press Variants: Thick or regular bar bench press, Floor press, Rack lockout, Board press, Incline bench press, Close grip bench press, Decline bench press
Supplemental Press Variants: Flat, Incline, or Decline Dumbbell or barbell bench press
Row Variants: Chest supported rows (like a T-Bar row), Pendlay Rows, Yates Rows, Seated cable row
Upper Back Variants: Seated rear delt machine,Seated dumbbell “power cleans”, Bent-over cable flyes (single arm), Standing face pulls, Rope pulls to throat, Bent-over dumbbell rear delt flyes, Cable “scarecrows”
Abdominal Variant: Barbell Russian twists, Low-cable pull-ins, Hanging leg raises, Barbell or dumbbell side bends, Weighted Swiss ball crunches, Low pulley Swiss ball crunches (shown below)
Repetition Effort Bench Variant: Flat barbell bench press max reps (w/ 95, 135, 185, or 225LBS); Max reps with a regular pushup, chain suspended pushup, or bar pushup; Bodyweight dips; DB Bench for higher reps
Triceps Supplemental Variant: Dumbbell triceps extension, Dumbbell floor presses, Rope pressdowns, Skull crushers
Vertical Pull Variant: Chin ups, pull ups, add weight to keep rep range, or use pulldown if you can’t get rep range with body weight
Medial Delt or Trap Variant: Dumbbell side press (single arm), Dumbbell shoulder press (seated or standing), Lateral raises (dumbbell or cable), Barbell or dumbbell shrugs, Bradford presses
Curl Variant: Thick bar curls, Preacher curls (EZ bar or straight bar), Regular barbell curls, Hammer curls, Alternate dumbbell curls (standing or seated incline)
Abdominal circuit training: Pick a bunch of different ab exercises

Deadlift Variant: Conventional deadlift, Platform Deadlift, Rack pull, Sumo deadlift
Squat Variant: Wide stance squats, Medium stance squats, Heels together squats, Front squats
Pull Variant: Good Mornings (of any variety), Stiff leg deadlifts, Romanian deadlifts[/QUOTE]

Cycle TemplateEdit

First Cycle:
Monday, Day 1: Max Effort Upper Body
Wednesday, Day 3: Max Effort Deadlifts
Friday, Day 5:Repetition Effort Upper Body
Monday, Day 8: Max Effort Squats

Second Cycle:
Wednesday, Day 10: Max Effort Upper Body
Friday, Day 12: Max Effort Deadlifts
Monday, Day 15: Repetition Effort Upper Body
Wednesday, Day 17: Max Effort Squats

Third Cycle:
Friday, Day 19: Max Effort Upper Body
Monday, Day 22: Max Effort Deadlifts
Wednesday, Day 24: Repetition Effort Upper Body
Friday, Day 26: Max Effort Squats

Fourth Cycle:
Monday, Day 29: Max Effort Upper Body
Wednesday, Day 31: Max Effort Deadlifts
Friday, Day 33: Repetition Effort Upper Body
Monday, Day 36: Max Effort Squats

Notes and CommentsEdit

Conjugate Periodization
At its core, the above is based on Conjugate Periodization. CP is based on a couple primary ideas. Doing max effort work and rotating lifts that have a specific impact on the lift being trained(there are more, but not really applicable to my primary audience). We’ll use Max Effort Upper Body day as an example. The lift being trained, even if you didn’t do it on any particular day, is the bench press. CP assumes you will use a movement to help improve your bench press for 1-3 weeks, then SWITCH LIFTS!!! If you are really weak though, stick to the lift until you fail. When you fail, switch the lift. So I’ll give some examples. Let’s say you start out with the flat bench press. You’d go for your 5RM. Next week, do it again setting another PR. Week after that, you fail. The following week, you WOULD NOT USE flat barbell bench. You would choose another lift from the Bench Press Variants group, and work up to a 5RM in that lift. Repeating the process ad nauseam. You don’t have to use all the lifts, but it’s probably best to use at least 3.

Exercise Selection & Duration
Max Effort movements are going to rotate fairly often, unless you're still getting progress out of the movement, in which case, don't fix it if it aint broke. So they will likley rotate once every few weeks. For the rest of the movements, error on the side of keeping a movement for a while, maybe 6 weeks, before thinking about changing them out. And if it's working really well, and you're still setting PRs on it, then don't switch lifts.

The priority, for all movements, at all times, is to set a PR as often as possible. This necessitates keeping track of your best lifts. If you set a bench press PR of 200 X 3, then rotate away from the bench press for a month or two, when you come back, you’ll want to blow 200 X 3 out of the water, or you will have made ZERO progress. So keep a spreadsheet of your best lifts for reference. You don’t have to PR each movement in every workout, but each workout should have 1-2 PRs at least, somewhere.

This program is suitable for beginners. Though it’s worth noting, that if you ARE a beginner, STAY AWAY FROM 3RMes!!!! Use a 5, and maybe even a 6RM! The lower you go in reps, the higher the weight. The higher the weight, the more quickly form problems will get you hurt. If you haven’t done so already, buy the book Starting Strength to learn how to perform the key lifts properly!!!!! This can’t be emphasized enough. Bad form will get you hurt. Being hurt means you’re making zero progress. That said, bring it when you run this program. Set some PRs!

This program is best done with a partner, as max effort work is involved. When dealing with max poundages, you’ll be near failure. Though you should not be working intentionally to failure on this program. So in that kind of environment, you will need a spotter for the benching and the squatting.

Lower Body Days
Westside for Skinny Bastards is intended for athletes. As such, it only incorporates 1 lower body day a week, as the athlete in question will need extra lower body recovery for his/her sport specific practice on the field or court. If you are not an athlete, then you’ll need more lower body work. Thus my alteration of the WS4SB template with the inclusion of TWO lower body days. The addition of the second lower body day makes this a 4 day program, and for most guys, I like running this over 9 days, instead of 7. So the 4th workout gets floated into the second week, and the cycle repeated. If you are an athlete, simply treat the second lower body day as lower body day B (in an A B setup), and alternate weekly which one you do.

For the weeks where lower body workouts occur twice in 5 days (I.e. Deads on Monday, Upper on Wednesday, and Squats on Friday), you’d have the option of taking it easy on the Friday workout. I like to push it anyway, but you might find that a bit much.

Set Rep Scheme
The set/rep schemes are not set in stone. If you find yourself pretty run down running this program, reduce some volume. If you think it’s not enough, add some volume. The key determining factor is, are you progressing on the Max Effort movements?

One thing I will do from time to time is I'll alter the template from straight sets, or sets across, to pryamid sets. So, where the template has you doing 4 X 10 for a rowing movement, the typical way to do that is to do 4 X 10 X the same weight for each set. Sometimes, I'll ramp those, peaking at a new PRs set.

Rest & Recovery
This program will push you to your limits. As such, any flaws in your diet or sleep habits and patterns will become a glaring flaw. If I’m not eating enough protein for muscle gains, and enough carbs and fats for energy, my performance on something like this goes through the floor. Also, if I’m getting less than 6 hours a night (preferably 7-8), my performance also goes through the floor.

As with any program, food is the key to muscular gains. You will gain ZERO muscle, and little strength if you aren't feeding your body to grow. Depending on your body type, carbs will be the big variable. You'll need at least 1.5G of protein. For carbs, if you are predisposed to putting on fat, then controlling carb intake while maximizing EFA intake will be the key to limiting fat gains. If you're a skinny teenager, then just eat everything in sight.

How do I work up to a 3-5RM?
We’ll use the bench press as an example, but the numbers would work for any lift. You start with warm-ups then progress to the work set.

We’ll assume a guy with @ 300LB bench press. He’d do something like the following working up to a 3RM.

10 X Bar
8 X 135
5 X 185
3 X 225
1 X 255

Max Effort Attempt
3 X 280 (if this was easy, attempt the next line)
3 X 290 (if you feel this was too easy, attempt adding another 5 or so pounds, and so on)


Westside for Skinny Bastards from

Westside for Skinny Bastards, Part I

Westside for Skinny Bastards, Part II

Westside for Skinny Bastards, Part III (new)

To run a Westside program effectively, it helps to have a good understanding of the underlying concepts. So the following links should provide some additional background and context that will make this whole thing make more sense.

Westside Barbell Basic Template

Periodization Bible (Old Testament)

Periodization Bible (New Testament)

The Eight Keys PI

The Eight Keys PII

The Eight Keys PIII

The Eight Keys PIV

Kethnaab's Westside primer/FAQ

Kethnaab's Westside for BodyBuilders

Elite Fitness WSB Articles

Advanced System for Beginners by Louie Simmons

In the Beginning by Bob Youngs

Also, check out Iron Addicts site, he's got LOTS more Westside info, as well as some additional actual programs.

Iron Addicts

Back to the Starting Strength Wiki

Back to The Starting Strength FAQ

Back to "After Starting Strength"

Back to "More Programs"