VH.fi Klassikko: Training Methods, part IV

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Kyseinen artikkeli on osa Louie Simmonsin kirjaa Westside Barbell Book of Methods. Yli 230 sivuinen kirja käsittelee kaikkea voimailuun liittyvää Louien ainutlaatuisella käytännön ja tieteen yhdistävällä tavalla.

TRAINING METHODS by Louie Simmons, osa IV

Methods Breakdown in Training

I. Max Effort Day

At Westside, we train with either very light weights or max weights. Very seldom do we use
medium weights in the 80% to low-90% range. We prefer to break new ground, continually trying
new records in special squats, pulls, good mornings, or benches. Remember, if you train at 90%
or higher for more than three weeks, you will fail because of central nervous system fatigue.
We max out each week. How? Simply by switching exercises each week. This is the conjugate
As Dr. Zatsiorsky states, “Why climb three-quarters up the mountain only to go back down
and start back over?” He is, of course, referring to the progressive overload system. This system
is a dead-end street. It was obsolete 40 years ago. At Westside, we get faster, stronger, and more
muscular all year long. Here’s how. Westside Barbell is closed to the public. Its members go
to meets regularly. Because all 30 members compete, we send about a third of our lifters to a
particular meet. This enables some of us to help our teammates. I believe our success comes from
maxing out on maximum effort day even if you aren’t going to a meet. This goes on all year long.
Our maximum effort system is much like the Bulgarian model. Regardless of our trainability,
we max out. It might not be an all-time record, but it’s all you’re capable of on that day. This
means that lifters who are not close to a meet will not get PRs. The lifters who are approaching
a meet should make PRs, although the Bulgarians use primarily six main exercises. We use
countless special exercises designed to build the weakness of each lifter in all three lifts. The
system we fi nd most effective is the conjugate system—a wide variety of special exercises are
constantly rotated to make training more effective and fun. This system allows for a longer lifting
career. If you have a longer career in any sport, you will benefi t from new technology such as
tracks, balls, ball fi elds, and, in our case, supportive gear.
The following illustrates how we use various methods in our training. Let’s start with the
maximum effort bench day, which occurs 72 hours after the speed bench day. This is because
72 hours should separate extreme workouts, and we max out each week. Let’s look at the fl oor
press. The fl oor press can be done with pure weight or with 3–5 sets of chains to accommodate
resistance. It can be done with at least three different band tensions. This also accommodates
resistance but alters the speed of the bar. The unexpected can happen at a meet. The weight
can seem harder or easier than expected. By alternating the amount of bands or chains, the bar
velocity can change, which happens during each attempt. You can use a regular bench and add
weight releasers. This is a pure reactive method. The weight is released on the fi rst rep of each
set at the bottom. This causes a contrast effect. The contrast method is one where the weight is
different at the bottom compared to the top of the lift. This method can be used with any style of
pressing including incline, decline, or seated.
In the bench, we will lower the bar as fast as possible and then catch it just before it hits the
chest and reverse from eccentric to concentric as fast as possible. This ballistic lifting is to be
done with speed-strength weights of 40–60% while doing your triples. A word of caution—do not
use maximal weights. Although ballistic training is not plyometric, it does ensure a rapid shock
loading effect, resulting in a strong myostactic stretch refl ex. In addition, it takes advantage of
the stored energy of the connective and elastic tissues of the muscle complex during eccentric
muscle contraction. Power rack training for developing a fast rate of force development can be
done with your speed-strength sets off pins or from chains by resting the bar at any point from the
chest to lockout and then exploding to lockout. Simply relax the muscles and then contract them
concentrically as fast as possible. Remember to relax after each lowering phase for 3–4 seconds
to reduce stored energy before doing additional reps. To avoid overtraining, take into account the
different rates of adaptation to all training systems. Box squatting and fl oor pressing combine
two proven methods of strength development: relaxed-overcome-by-dynamic work and staticovercome-
by-dynamic work. Both build explosive and absolute strength.
Box jumps and rebounding on special devices are examples of shock training. To be explosive,
this method is necessary. The most extreme work should be performed the day before max effort
day. This is to prevent delayed onset of muscular soreness (DOMS), which occurs 48 hours
after intense exercise. DOMS can be avoided by doing small restoration workouts 6–12 hours
after one of the four major workouts. Small, 20-minute workouts for strength gains in particular
muscle groups can also be done to develop general physical preparedness (GPP) or special
physical preparedness (SPP). A small workout can be done for fl exibility, agility, or balance.
All lifters should do at least 2–10 extra workouts per week. This is especially true for drug-free
lifters to provide some form of restoration. There are many methods of training that are used
on both max effort and speed day. It is also very important to change core and special exercises
frequently. It is vital to change bar speed by using bands, chains, weight releasers, heavy weight,
and light weight. Monitor your intensity zones properly. For example, a 400-lb squatter should do
proportionally the same amount of work as a 900-lb squatter. Remember that just when your body
has all the answers, you have to change the questions.

II. Dynamic Effort Day

While recovering from my second lower back injury (for which doctors recommended removing
two disks, taking off a bone spur, and fusing my vertebrae, with no guarantees), I decided that I
had to take a new approach to lifting or disappear like everyone else who lifted in the early 1970s.
I called Bud Chamiga in Michigan and asked for several of his books that were translated from
Russian. These books contained an abundance of science combined with special strength training.
These materials helped me realize that lifting was a combination of biometrics, physics, and
mathematics, unlike what I had previously thought. There was no mention of training with 5s or
3s. I had followed the progressive overload system since my fi rst Olympic lifting meet in 1960.
The only period in which I did not compete was from 1966–1969 when I was in the army. In
1983, I was going nowhere with my training. I was stronger but slower. That’s where Bud’s books
were invaluable. They described methods of training and organization that I had never heard of
before. Furthermore, no one in the United States used these methods until I started writing about
them in Powerlifting USA.
On speed day, use sub-maximal weights with maximal speed. This method is used to increase
the rate of force development and explosive strength, not to build absolute strength. For squatting,
do 10–12 sets of two reps. For benching, do 8–9 sets of three reps. For deadlifting, do 6–10 sets
of one rep after squatting.

Louie Simmons