Building High-Performance Muscle™
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Questions on W4SB Program
 

Chris87
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Join date: Nov 2010
Location: South Carolina, USA
Posts: 1983

You are really overthinking this. Pretty much everything you asked is answered if you just read the program.

For the ab circuit, pick a few exercises and superset them. If it was that important DeFranco would've put specific exercises and reps.

When it says 2-3 sets, do 2-3 sets. Again, not that important.

For the Max Effort lifts, DeFranco specifically wrote a guide on how to work up to a Max lift in the program.

For the Rep Effort lifts, pick a weight that allows you to get 15-20 reps on the first set.

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Bull_Scientist
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Join date: Apr 2012
Location:
Posts: 236

Sentoguy wrote:

Just do the program as written.


I have been doing the program while trying to learn as much as I can about the program methodology.




For the most part using a semi tucked elbow position will be "kinder" to the shoulder joints. Some people (myself included) also prefer to allow the Dumbbells/wrists to naturally externally rotate (rotate to a more neutral grip) at the bottom of the movement.

In regards to keeping the upper back tight, generally you just lay back then retract and depress the scapulae and start pressing. You aren't using maximally heavy weights with these so setting the scaps once you lay back shouldn't be too much of an issue.



Okay. thanks.



He doesn't specify, but I would probably pick a couple other exercises, maybe a rotational/anti rotational element (like floor wipers or Renegade Rows) and a lateral flexion element (like Side Bends or Saxon Side Bends) since he says "pick a variety of ab exercises and perform them in circuit fashion". If he had said "pick a few and superset them", then I'd say your current approach would be accurate.


Okay, I get it now.



Not necessarily, there is a range of sets prescribed
1) because different people/workouts will have different tolerances for volumes
2) so that you can progress the workouts by adding additional sets as well as additional reps and weight (gives you more types of progressive overload)


Alright then, that makes sense.



He means that you should keep adding weight on each set until you reach the most weight that you can lift with good form for 5 reps that day. There is no set number of sets that it will take to get to this point, but you don't want to make huge weight jumps from set to set once you get close. You definitely want to be well warmed up with this though and you should be a fair number of "ramping"/warm-up sets before attempting anything close to your predicted max weights. You are also going to want to rest 3-5 minutes between attempted max sets (assuming you were successful and felt that you could lift more, otherwise you are done with the exercise).


Ohh...I didnt realize that. I am glad you told me that because I made a mistake thinking that you're supposed to end up doing 3-5 working sets of 5 reps on the max effort bench lift like it says in the Starting Strength and the 5x5 Strength programs. This is interesting now that i've realized this, because it seems DeFranco wants beginners to only end up doing only one if not maybe two working sets on the max effort lifts for the entire week along with rotating them every 2 weeks compared to rippetoe and Starr having beginners do the same max effort lifts for three days a week for each week. I guess this is because DeFranco's template consists of a lot more hypertrophy based "assistance" exercises compared to Rippetoe's and Starr's programs.



It's supposed to be a "Repetition" focused day, so you want to be able to do at least moderate to high reps, I wouldn't use anything that you can't get at least 15 reps with or more than 50, but you should be near technical failure by the end.


I don't know this until now as well. On the repetition upper body days, i have been doing the first exercise with 4-6 reps per set because I thought that even though it is on a "repetition" focused day, you still want to have the first exercise be your most neuromuscularly demanding exercise which means that it consist of using a heavier load than the following exercises int that workout. Also, I thought it was better to lift heavy twice a week than lifting once a week in order to make significant and consistent progress.

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AnytimeJake
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Join date: Nov 2009
Location: Ontario, CAN
Posts: 1825

If your comming from a 5x5 program, this is alot to take in. I've been at this 20yrs, and tried the w4sb with some of my clients a while back, it was just to complicated. In the strength world Defranco knows his stuff, I just had a hard time getting beginers to understand all this. Once you've been around awhile, all the options are probably a welcome break, buit at first mabey a little over whelming

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Aragorn
Level 10

Join date: Feb 2003
Location:
Posts: 9205

Bull Scientist wrote:

Ohh...I didnt realize that. I am glad you told me that because I made a mistake thinking that you're supposed to end up doing 3-5 working sets of 5 reps on the max effort bench lift like it says in the Starting Strength and the 5x5 Strength programs. This is interesting now that i've realized this, because it seems DeFranco wants beginners to only end up doing only one if not maybe two working sets on the max effort lifts for the entire week along with rotating them every 2 weeks compared to rippetoe and Starr having beginners do the same max effort lifts for three days a week for each week. I guess this is because DeFranco's template consists of a lot more hypertrophy based "assistance" exercises compared to Rippetoe's and Starr's programs. 


Yes, but also because those top weight sets are supposed to be all out maxes. You are supposed to try to best your top weight week to week (keeping form obviously,), so failure is possible. The idea behind Starr etc is thst you are not really to hit failure PER SE...it is possible you miss reps yes, but you are accumulating volume week to week primarily, whereas Defranco has you maxing out.

Generally your 5x5 weights are not true rep maxes, because it is unlikely you would be able to sustain performance at a true max 5 sets. Also do not make the mistake thinking this is only for beginners--that is almost exsctly what the original Westside scheme calls for from beasts squatting 700+ lbs--just usually in their case it is a true one rep max or maybe a 3.

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Apoklyps
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Join date: Aug 2012
Location:
Posts: 894

Aragorn wrote:
Yeah, school is a bullshit excuse. You got people on here, including myself, who went through grueling programs in school and still got their balls on and did work. Then you have people like Spock here who is a hardass chick, awesome person, single mom--I mean SUPERmom, works full time on top of being a single mom, and she still trains her butt off. Then you have people in medical school which is a full time job at 40 hours of classroom time a week + study time on top of that that train at least once a day, like RyanCXG. Then you have motherfuckers who work 70+ hours a week but still find time to train, like a couple clients of mine (one runs an ER hospital dept, you want to talk about stress?) + a bunch of people, plus me from time to time. THEN you have guys who work gruelling labor jobs doing concrete, roofing, or highway construction full time out in the sun that get off work and go to the gym.

There is almost no damn excuse. Ever. Everyone knows there will be times when shit goes down that result in a missed session or something. Family emergency, funeral, wedding, etc. Those are events. Not months of your life, even if you are dealing with massive fallout and stress you can still work hard. Excuses are excuses.


Damn straight. That was an excellent post and very true. I'd even go so far as to say that MOST of the better lifters I know IRL are successful, driven people with very busy lives on the side. My school's powerlifting club is mostly made up of med and law students, or people that are working to become med or law students. Not quite your usual meathead stereotype lol.

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Bull_Scientist
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Join date: Apr 2012
Location:
Posts: 236

Wait, why do at least 15 to 20 reps on the first exercise of a repetition? I mean, 15 to 20 reps tends to focus more on increasing muscular endurance range more so than increasing muscle mass.

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Diddy Ryder
Level 2

Join date: Nov 2010
Location: Scotland
Posts: 471


When I tried WS4SB I used the original template that's a bit more "bare bones" than the revised programmes. If you choose one of the options below you don't need to worry about what weight to use, as this is taken care of for you, and you can just aim to improve your no. of reps.

A. REPETITION LIFT - Work up to 3 sets of max reps, rest 60 seconds between sets.

Choose one of the following exercises:

Barbell bench press (max reps on 95lbs., 135lbs., 185lbs. or 225lbs.)
Regular push-ups
Bodyweight dips



Are you enjoying the programme so far?

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nighthawkz
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Join date: Aug 2012
Location:
Posts: 918

Bull_Scientist wrote:
Wait, why do at least 15 to 20 reps on the first exercise of a repetition? I mean, 15 to 20 reps tends to focus more on increasing muscular endurance range more so than increasing muscle mass.


I think you should accept that, all in all, you know very little about all of this right now and shouldn't jump to conclusions. 15-20 is still a muscle building range (I once heard Kai Greene does everything for 20 reps) so just stick to what, uh, this REALLY SUCCESSFUL coach recommends.

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T3hPwnisher
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Join date: Feb 2007
Location: California, USA
Posts: 2003

Bull_Scientist wrote:
Wait, why do at least 15 to 20 reps on the first exercise of a repetition? I mean, 15 to 20 reps tends to focus more on increasing muscular endurance range more so than increasing muscle mass.


This is factually untrue. You need to drop all this "rep range" stuff that you think you learned.

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Chris87
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Join date: Nov 2010
Location: South Carolina, USA
Posts: 1983

Bull_Scientist wrote:
Wait, why do at least 15 to 20 reps on the first exercise of a repetition? I mean, 15 to 20 reps tends to focus more on increasing muscular endurance range more so than increasing muscle mass.


Having muscular endurance is a good thing

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Bull_Scientist
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Join date: Apr 2012
Location:
Posts: 236

nighthawkz wrote:
Bull_Scientist wrote:
Wait, why do at least 15 to 20 reps on the first exercise of a repetition? I mean, 15 to 20 reps tends to focus more on increasing muscular endurance range more so than increasing muscle mass.


I think you should accept that, all in all, you know very little about all of this right now and shouldn't jump to conclusions. 15-20 is still a muscle building range (I once heard Kai Greene does everything for 20 reps) so just stick to what, uh, this REALLY SUCCESSFUL coach recommends.


Yeah, but that's Kai Greene. He a pro bodybuilder who is able to lift weights that are at least 3 times heavier than the amount of weight that I can lift on any exercise with 20+ reps. Therefore unlike me, Kai is able to generate tremendous intramuscular tension in combination with great time under tension on whatever exercise he works on, thereby resulting in the huge protein breakdown and stimulation on all his muscles which end up creating significant muscle mass gains.

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nighthawkz
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Join date: Aug 2012
Location:
Posts: 918

It was an example. Just realise that if Defranco says it works, it probably does.

Unsuccessful people and chronically skinny-fat "hardgainers" have one thing in common- they stress out and worry about EVERYTHING.

I've worked with thousands of these guys over the past 18 years and I can honestly say that the biggest thing holding them back is their never ending worrying and constant over-analyzing.

- Shit, I tried higher protein for two days and it didn't work. Maybe I should do high carbs.?

- I increased my volume but now I?m sore. I?m overtrained. Back to Heavy Duty.?

- My biceps don?t cross my elbow joint like Larry Scott's did; is it even worth me training??

- I hit failure on my squats today, should I go back tonight and redo the whole workout??

- The hill I ran sprints on was only about a 30 degree incline, but I could have sworn I read that 45 degrees was better. Was that a waste of my time??

- I lost five pounds of fat but now I look tiny. What should I do?! HELP ME!!!!!?

Obviously, guys like this will never get anywhere. Their lives will be miserable and their gains in the gym will be piss poor.

That's because they second-guess every single aspect of their diet and training.

When you do that you're destined to fail. You have to have confidence and believe in what you are doing or you're doomed from the get go."

(J. Ferruggia)

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Aragorn
Level 10

Join date: Feb 2003
Location:
Posts: 9205

Chris87 wrote:
Bull_Scientist wrote:
Wait, why do at least 15 to 20 reps on the first exercise of a repetition? I mean, 15 to 20 reps tends to focus more on increasing muscular endurance range more so than increasing muscle mass.


Having muscular endurance is a good thing



at least for most sports where, you know, you have to be going for 60 minutes or so.

Bull if you wanted a pure powerlifting or pure bodybuilding routine you asked for the wrong thing--your original question was a basic beginning program that would get you better at sport (Hapkido IIRC) for a guy who really didn't lift. That's the reason why we all recommended WS4SB to you in the first place.

It focuses on strength and size, along with OTHER QUALITIES people need in sports...which is a reason not everything is geared for "maximum mass" or pure 1 rep strength like you keep asking. You'll get plenty strong if you do it right, but it has a more well-rounded approach for athletics than a BB program.

High reps are in there to build endurance and work capacity, and also contribute to mass. They do both. They're not the very best for mass IMO, but they're necessary and you best believe any time I train someone for a sport we have some sort of work capacity training in there whether it's higher rep ranges like this or clusters or bodyweight stuff or sled pulling.

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Aragorn
Level 10

Join date: Feb 2003
Location:
Posts: 9205

THANK YOU!!!

It's like a premonition or something.

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Biskui
Level

Join date: Jan 2013
Location: France
Posts: 44

OP... I don't know if you realize how crazy and obsessed with bulls*** you sound here

I am a beginner too, so you will probably say I m full of shit and worthless, but still, this constant questioning is the worst mindstate you can have, and I am very sure of that, and not anymore in school, like most people here, who are more experienced at life than you. Yes, they are.

You can't over-optimize things. You have to trust yourself and others and get to the gym and work for some time, 12 weeks being the common thing, and see the results, and then adapt & adjust, see the results, etc...

Man, I started to work out trying to get the best of 2 shitty dumbbells because that was all I had. I had no access to broscience, but after some months I made gains that makes me discover that yes, I had muscle that I did not know about there and there.

And you know what ? Seeing all that internet science & research (which is very interesting, by the way), is probably the worst thing that happened to me. I started, like you, to question everything and hit the weights less and less, being less confident, less strong, etc... I woke up every morning questioning myself "what if this is not the best routine ?"

Just go to the gym, sleep, have fun in your life, and eat your beef. At the end it all comes down to this.

Consider yourself extremely lucky being able to use a routine used in one of the most famous gym in the world, for free. Sometimes a reality check will save your ass. I sometimes stop all my thinking and say "man, I am training the way Eric Cressey advises to. This guy trains elite athletes."

And it feels good.

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Bull_Scientist
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Join date: Apr 2012
Location:
Posts: 236

I apologize for relentlessly questioning one thing after another pertaining to program designs, stuff related to physiology, etc. So,
I am going to ask just a few more questions with regards to the W4SB program and promise to never again ask anymore questions about the program that I am on now until at least 6 months from now. So, my last questions are:

1. I know that on the max effort lower body day, Defranco listed for the hip extension exercise to do either Upright sled walks
Hyperextensions, Swiss ball hip extension + leg curl, or Low-cable pull-throughs. However, I don't have any machines, benches or even a Swiss ball available to me, but are obviously required for those respective exercises that he listed on there. So, I have doing barbell deadlifts instead. Is this an okay substitute for those hip extension choices listed on there?

2. Since I don't have any machines besides a pullup bar and a Phoenix bench -connected to posts that hold a barbell- that means that I won't be able to rotate my max effort lifts to exercises had entail the use of a machine. Is this going to be a problem for me?

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nighthawkz
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Join date: Aug 2012
Location:
Posts: 918

1. Try sliding leg curls, Romanian deadlifts, hip thrusts or Russian leg curls (by improvising a foothold - be creative).
2. Since all listed ME options are barbell lifts and not machine-based, this should not be an issue.

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Aragorn
Level 10

Join date: Feb 2003
Location:
Posts: 9205

nighthawk has good advice herr, and we all actuslly do have your best interests in mind.

my favorites of the bunch he listed are hip thrusts (I like to hold 1-2seconds at the top). love romanian deads and theyre kickass exercise--so yes thsts a good substitution on your part, very good. occasionally though they do lead to a little bit of burnout. I do not think you have to worry about that personally, but if you were worried I would sub. in hip thrusts--almost EVERYBODY needs more glute activation, myself included, and it helps the bottom of your squat and deadlift. it is also easy to recover from and easy on joints. dig thru the heels and hold at the top. if you have a sled or can make it, the drags are phenomenal and good conditioning.

check back in in 12 weeks--I am expecting big progress.

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Aragorn
Level 10

Join date: Feb 2003
Location:
Posts: 9205

Also biskui, great post! that mindset is going to take you far--and I would say you could pick infinitely worse than Eric Cressey, because he was a huge influence on me and in fact on a generation of professionals. you can't go wrong with him if you are also focusing on progressive overload at same time. good luck

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Bull_Scientist
Level

Join date: Apr 2012
Location:
Posts: 236

Hey guys, so I have been doing the WS4SB program for over 6 months now, having made significant gains over that period of time. Here is a list of my current lifts, including on both my estimated PRs on the main lifts and assistance exercises:

PRs
1. Flat Barbell Bench Press (olympic barbell): 207 lbs.
2. Flat Barbell Bench Press (standard barbell): 195 lbs.
3. ATG Front Squat (olympic barbell): 205 lbs.
4. ATG Front Squat (standard barbell): 195 lbs.
5. Conventional powerlifting style deadlift (standard barbell): 330 lbs.

Assistance exercises
1. incline db press
two 45 lbs. dbs x 10/10/8

2. barbell pendlay rows
130 lbs. x 5/5/5, for first upper body day of the week, and 122.5 lbs. x 7/7/7, for second upper body day of the week

3. standing reverse db flyes
two 25 lbs. dbs x 11/11/11

4. standing barbell OH press
70 lbs. x 10/10/8

5. barbell curls
65 lbs. x 9/9/8

6. lying tricep extension
70 lbs. x 11/11/11

7. standing alt. db curls
two 30 lbs. dbs x 10/10/9

8. standing 2-arm db french press
two 20 lbs. dbs x 11/10/10

9. standing db hammer curls
two 20 lbs. dbs x 11/11/11

10. barbell stiff-legged (with knees slightly bent) deadlift
185 lbs. x 15/15/11

11. db long-stride lunges
two 55 lbs. dbs x 10/10/10

12. planks
3 sets of approx. 2 min. 30 sec. each

11. lateral bridge
3 sets on each side of approx. 2 min.

12. standing db shrugs
two 55 lbs. dbs x 10/10/10

13. standing pinch plate (timed set)
3 sets of holding three 10 lbs. plates in each hand for approx. 45 sec.

14. swiss ball crunch
25 lbs. right behind the head x 10/10/10


Additionally, I have gained about 8lbs. of mostly muscle (I am still very defined). So what do you guys think?

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1 Man Island
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Join date: Jul 2012
Location:
Posts: 852

Glad to hear everything's finally falling into place. You do a lot of different lifts, but I guess that's WS.

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