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What workout is best for your goal?
Major Modifications

Now, before all of the hardcore Westside "disciples" start grumbling, remember that this program is not intended for advanced powerlifters. It's intended for athletes and regular people looking to pack on some muscle mass without being "all-show, no-go."

Below I've provided descriptions of how the key components of this program have been manipulated from the traditional Westside template.

Max Effort Upper Body Day - The max effort method is the best method for developing maximal strength. In my opinion, max effort work should be the "nuts and bolts" of any strength-training program. If you're weak, you're dead!

Remember that most athletic qualities (sprinting speed, jumping power, etc.) rely heavily on your foundation of maximal strength. This is because maximal strength builds the foundation for all other strength qualities such as speed-strength and strength-endurance.

Your first exercise on this day will be your max-effort exercise. Traditionally, most advanced lifters will work up to a one-rep max on this exercise. This is very neurologically demanding on your system and it takes great coordination. Because most beginner and intermediate lifters are less neurologically efficient, we'll shoot for a 3-5 rep max on our max-effort lift in this modified program. This still enables the lifter to train with maximal loads, but it's much safer than going for a one-rep max. The extra reps also increase the time under tension, which can lead to greater hypertrophy (size) gains.

I recommend rotating your max-effort exercise every two to three weeks to prevent your nervous system from getting burned out. Whether you shoot for a 3-rep max or a 5-rep max, the goal is to break your previous record every week!

Lower Body Day - Unlike a traditional Westside template, you'll notice there's only one major lower body day in this modified program. There's a reason for this: most beginner/intermediate athletes couldn't recover from two lower body days a week in conjunction with their running and conditioning work. Their legs would never fully recover and it would take away from their speed and conditioning workouts. One day has worked out much better for many of my athletes.

(If you're not an athlete or you only play one sport and it's your off-season, check out the "Extra Workouts, GPP, Conditioning Days" description below for adding another day to your lower body training.)

The first exercise on your lower body day will be a max effort lift. You'll work up to a max set of five reps in this lift. This lift will be rotated every two to three weeks as well.

On this modified program you'll always follow your max effort exercise with a unilateral exercise. This is one of the major differences between this program and a traditional Westside template.

I incorporate unilateral movements for many reasons. First of all, most athletes develop muscular imbalances between limbs. Unilateral exercises are a great way to overcome these imbalances. They also improve flexibility, balance and overall conditioning.

The unilateral exercises I prescribe are mostly quad-dominant exercises. Yes, I said the four-letter word, quad. The quads have gotten a bad rap lately, while the "posterior chain" has taken center stage. We must remember that the quads are extremely important for athletes and you can't neglect them. The quads are very active when an athlete accelerates into a sprint due to their forward body lean. The quad muscle on the inside of your knee (vastus medialis) also plays a major role in stabilizing the knee.

Finally, one of the most overlooked aspects in all of training is grip and hand strength. Improving your grip and hand strength will help with numerous athletic activities. We usually do our grip training after leg workouts. You'll see some of my favorite grip exercises in the training template.

Repetition Upper Body Day - I've substituted dynamic-effort days with repetition days for the upper body. This may be the biggest change from the traditional Westside template. I've also found it to be one of the keys to success for muscular growth in my younger athletes. Simply put, dynamic days just aren't that productive for weak, skinny bastards!

Remember that this modified program was put together for athletes who lack muscle mass. Well, the repetition method is an incredible way to elicit muscular hypertrophy. Compared to a smaller muscle, a bigger muscle has a better chance of becoming a stronger muscle. Packing on some muscle mass by means of the repetition method lays a great foundation for the more advanced dynamic days to come.

I even substitute dynamic days with repetition days for my NFL football players during the initial stages of the off-season. This is because repetition work is easier on the joints following a grueling season and it's a great way to pack on any muscle that was lost during the season.

Extra Workouts, GPP, Conditioning Days - Remember that my entire clientele consists of athletes. That's the reason why there's "only" three lifting days on my template. I don't use this program for bodybuilders or physique-geeks. I must leave room for conditioning workouts, GPP (general physical preparedness) and skill training.

If you're a non-athlete just looking to pack on some size and strength, you can incorporate "extra workouts" on non-workout days. Since Wednesday is your only leg day, I recommend a lower body sled-dragging workout on Saturday. This is just one example.

There's a lot of room for variety in this training template. That's what I love about it. Get creative and find out what works for you!

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