The legends of Westside barbell have been circulating for a long time. The sweet stories keep many dreamers awake at night listening to podcasts of men with goatees who allegedly hold the key to manliness as indicated by their tone full of pretentious superiority.
To be honest, I never really understood what the method was. I don’t think anyone ever did. Whenever someone says that he is doing Westside, the spectators start screaming: “But that is not the real Westside.” The program apparently has shape-shifting capabilities. You can never do it right unless of course you are invited to train with Louie Simmons – the creator.
Louie Simmons is supposed to be a mad genius, but he isn’t. Judging by his words in various online videos, he does not know what a parallel squat really is. All of the monolift squats that I’ve seen in those clips are high from the front. Even a noob with less than a year of training knows that if a squat is high from the front, it’s even higher from the side. The judges in those monolift feds choose to close their eyes.
So, if Louie Simmons is such a mastermind why can’t he instruct his athletes to squat to the required depth? The reason is simple. He does not want to. It’s all intentional and done to lift more weight.
Another sacrifice in the name of weight would be the incredibly pointless powerlifting equipment common for the glory days of Westside. All those ridiculous numbers that Simmons presents as records are done in armor suits preventing his mammoths from walking properly.
How much would those men squat if:
1. The monolift is removed. (The monolift is the piece of equipment that allows the lifter to assume an ultra-wide stance.)
2. Proper depth is reached.
3. The suits are removed.
4. The drugs are cut too.
The numbers will drop extremely low if the conditions above are met. So, low that most of you will be shocked and may even quit lifting.
Another important pillar boosting the perceived effectiveness of the Westside method is the selective breeding that it shines on. You cannot go to their gym and train there unless you are invited. You have to be special to share a room with Louie and his pupils. Guess who they choose?
Just like women on Tinder, they select only the high value males. Except that in this case the “love” is not based on facial aesthetics and bucks but on physical capabilities. Only men with elite genetics and a “killer” mindset are chosen. You have to be built to lift and ready to die on the platform for the old man.
What does this tell you?
It’s really simple.
A lot of the success in that mad barbell house is due to the lifters’ genes rather than the mythical power of the actual programming, which quite honestly is a Frankenstein mix of Eastern lifting tactics.
Naturals have no business messing with this nonsense. It sucks for unnaturals too. It’s unnecessarily overcomplicated, overfed with exercises and before all controlled by too much ego preventing the ideas from growing or evolving into something more consumable and streamlined.
Louie Simmons may pretend that he has the answer to every sports related problem but he doesn’t. Bands and chains will not fix Olympic weightlifting nor any other sport.
Rippetoe and Simmons share many similarities. Their fame and the perceived success of their students cloud their judgment of their own wisdom. They know far less than they think and should lose weight instead of trying to save the world with barbell voodoo.
Where are the spectators in all of this? Once again they are too afraid to criticize the muscle scholars. The kids are scared to admit the obvious and prefer to live in some made-up world. That’s hardly a surprise to me. Nothing has changed and nothing will.
I have a question for you – would you like to train at Westside? For real, bro. Do you?
I would only go there if they pay me.
- brb getting extra fat to enjoy five seconds of dopamine on the platform and hate yourself for the rest of the day. That fella AJ Roberts got it right. Losing those 400lbs was a great move.
- brb doing 50 000 exercises for the sake of it;
- brb non-stop competing with dudes over barbell lifts to gain an imaginary prize;
- brb pretending that Simmons is a deity;
- brb pretending that belly benches and high squats are legit;
- brb lifting in the company of mutated women;
The list goes on.
Westside Sucks For Natural Raw Lifting
The only powerlifting that makes any sense is the raw version. All else is simply a mental illness that has been allowed to go on for a little too long. Squatting in suits, putting on bench shirts and wrapping your knees with 50 meters of thick canvas is extremely stupid, especially when you account for the fact that powerlifting does not pay money directly.
You can make coins if you create a business around it and sell merchandise, slingshots, powders, powerlifting bras and other products, but you can’t live on the basis of your medals…if you even get any. For most people, there is no reward other than the released adrenaline and the ego orgasm that one experiences upon setting a PR. This is enough when you are young and stupid, but as you get older, the sacrifices will increase, the joints will start to complain and hopefully, your brain will activate itself.
Westside sucks for raw lifting because it lacks specificity and focuses on muscles that are dominant only in geared lifting (e.g., triceps for bench instead of pecs).
Maxing out on new exercises every week is pointless when your goal is to improve the big three. Raw lifters do not need the extra complexity and variety. If you want to increase your squat, you do squats. You don’t sit on a box with a barbell on your back and expect to excel in a totally different movement.
The greatest powerlifters in the world never bothered with this nonsense. John Kuc, for example, described Westside as nonsense when a fan showed him a magazine with Louie’s principals.
No one from the golden American era of powerlifting trained in the Westside fashion.
To my knowledge, no raw lifter with any success is following the pure Westside template.
One of the popular modern powerlifters, Dan Green, basically demolished Westside’s principles for raw and semi-raw lifting in an article entitled West of Westside.
So, what is Westside good for? Arguably, it’s useful for geared insanity, but even that is debatable.
A positive side of Westside barbell is its rehabilitation power. Louie and his pupils broke themselves many times and came up with great exercises to glue yourself back in one place. E.g., The reverse hyper. I have never done it, but the whole world says it’s a great exercise. It wouldn’t have seen the light of day if Louie didn’t brutalize his back as much.