Over the past 20 weeks or so I have been dabbling with the mysterious “Westside Barbell”. I will be writing a full article on my experience with this method of training in the future, but for now, just know that two training days are dedicated to the upper body and two days to the lower body. There are two “maximal effort” lifting days (heaviest single to triple that you have that day working at 90%1RM or above) and two “dynamic effort” lifting days (moderate weight lifted for speed). After the main lifts, “the repetition method” (bodybuilding-esque) is used to improve individual weaknesses. For example, on the bench press, I am weakest getting the bar off my chest. My chest and shoulders are likely the weak-link in the chain, so I have focused on various dumbbell variations to bring them up to par (incline db press, seated military press, etc.)
Besides having a genuine interest in the science behind the Westside methods, I began experimenting with it due to a nagging injury that has been the byproduct of a “pelvic tilt”. Moderately heavy squats for multiple reps weren’t helping my situation so I hypothesized that the reduced volume (sets x reps) could help. Although I am lifting maximal weights with the westside template, I feel that focusing on only 1-3 reps at a time reduces the likelihood of losing technique late in a set, which could cause more aggravation to the injury. Most importantly, less time under tension equals less time in discomfort. Although, bothersome at times, the nagging pain certainly improved and I look forward to getting my lifts back up.
I share this all to provide some background before explaining yesterday’s “epic training day”.
On the way to DFM’s infamous “Functional Center” (a.k.a. “The F.C., a.k.a. “the warehouse”), I grabbed a small Americano at a local coffee house. I had to train a few clients prior, so needless to say, I was a little ran down.
Once I arrived, I turned on the lights, and set the iPod up. I was about to warm-up when a storm blew over and shut down all of the power. I thought “Jiminy Crickets! Just my luck!”… Ok, my original choice of words were a bit different, but you get the idea.
I decided that I’d start warming up in the dark with my headphones in and surely the power would come back on by time I was ready to box squat. (I throw these in every once in a while for 2 week cycles.)
I blasted some LCD Soundsystem as I rowed 3 minutes, mobilized, and performed my usual lower body dynamic warm-up. I’ll share the warm-up sometime.
Once I was ready to begin working up to a heavy single of low box squats, the power was still out… I decided that training in the dark must be SUPER functional… I mean, we all need to be prepared for the unknown. One day, I JUST MIGHT have to squat a tree trunk or something late at night in the middle of the woods…
Doubtful, but skipping my workout WAS NOT an option. I was already warm and prepared, so I wasn’t going to drive 15 minutes to another location. My mind was set.
I ended up opening the “garage door” to let in the minimal sunlight that was fighting off the rain. It allowed me to at least see the bar I was about to put on my back.
In sets of three, I went through my warm-up sets at a brisk pace (135,165,195,225,265,295Ib.). I estimated that I’d hit around 330 for a single. I was wrong.
I felt a bit more like my old-self again. I mobilized my hips differently than the past and I was feeling pretty darn good. Usually, the injury is always in the back of my head as I work the weight heavier and heavier. Friday, I didn’t even think about it. I guess you could say I was “in the zone”. I usually dissect every minute movement in my head, but today my focus was solely on lifting the heaviest weight I possibly could. I’m not sure if it was the caffeine or the mesmerizing beats soaring through my head, but mentally, I was at a level that I hadn’t been since competing at junior hockey.
The heavier the weight got, the more comfortable I got…295-light weight, 315-baby weight… I ended up SMOKING my estimated max for the day of 330Ib. My final attempt for the day was 365Ib., and although I had to fight for it, I surprised myself a little bit when I locked it out.
I finished up deadlifting 405Ib. for a relatively easy triple along with some front-racked reverse lunges and abs.
It’s workouts like these that really drive your confidence and motivation through the roof. Waiting until monday might kill me. I plan on competing in some powerlifting competitions with some fellow trainees in the future to push myself more than ever. Maybe you should too?
Currently unhappy with the way things are going? Change. Push out of your cozy, shielded comfort zone. Take a bullet or two.
Insanity: doing the same thing over and over again and expecting different results. – Albert Einstein
Did anyone else have an “epic training day” this week? If so, we’d love to hear about it.
If not, what’s holding you back?
Espresso and dance-punk seemed to work for me…