Article written by Jay Stadtfeld for LiftBigEatBig.com
There is no easy way to put this, but you’re likely not as advanced of a trainee as you might like to think. That’s fine! Neither am I. So, why are you using chains and bands, rep schemes never progressing past singles to triples, and complicating what should be a fairly simple endeavor: getting strong.
Most programming that I’ve done doesn’t involve the use of bands around a barbell. It usually involves the use of reps, and volume assistance work. Bands and chains are fine to use for assistance work, such as banded good mornings, ab work, triceps, and all that extraneous work. However, when you start adding bands and chains to a beginner or intermediates program, that’s when it’s likely going to get incredibly complicated when it doesn’t need to be.
Beginners and Intermediates will see gains from volume and reps. Period. The more time they spend under an increasing load, the more neurological adaptation and muscle gain they will have. There’s no need to complicate their training with bands and chains and make them figure out what weight they need to do to accommodate 64.7 pounds of band tension.
I’ve tried Westside once before, and I have to admit that I hated it. I didn’t want to feel like I had to figure out band tensions or chain weight while trying to figure out box height. I’m not saying it doesn’t have its place, but it certainly isn’t a necessity to getting strong.
Frankly, it’s frustrating seeing how many people try to complicate this crap. Even at the gym, kids saying they can’t gain weight, can’t get strong, blah blah freakin’ blah. So, I’ve taken the liberty and have written out the Hierarchy. This is not law, but merely suggestions to help your training and life. Take it for what you will.
My Hierarchy of Training is as follows:
· Reps will get you strong.
o Reps lead to muscle, muscle leads to strength.
– When I mean reps, I mean taking weights anywhere from the 75 to 90% range. Leave the heavier weights for singles as you get closer to a meet. This should set you up well, as you can get a good estimate for what you’re good for as you hit 90% weights. Hit 405 for 5? Good work. You should expect to be good for 470. The singles will allow you to get accustomed to heavier weight.
o Example: I pressed 170 for 7 recently (nothing impressive, and no, I’m not looking for a pat on the ass telling me congrats), but I then put up 200 for a relatively easy single even more recently, completing a long term goal.
· Training shouldn’t be complicated.
o Most of us train for fun, and thus it isn’t a full time career. Even Phil Pfister is a fireman. Marshall was a mortician. Derek Poundstone is a police officer. See a trend? So, why make it more complicated than your career? Make it fun for you instead of having to plot out the hypotenuse of the square root of 12,614,850.
· If recovery is poor, eat more food.
o If you can’t gain weight, refer to the above.
o If you can’t lose weight, eat less food.
· Get explosive.
o Olympic lifts, plyometrics, sprints, whatever the case. Learn it, get fast. It’ll benefit you as an athlete in every endeavor.
· Get the most out of assistance work.
o Pick a few exercises that will benefit your main work. They should shore up muscles used during that particular session, and make them worth your while. GHR’s, Good Morning’s, RDL’s, Close Grip Bench, Pullups, etc.
Maybe my Hierarchy doesn’t jive with yours. That’s cool, too! Even though I’d be surprised if the above doesn’t work for you, the idea is to find something, anything that works for you. If you like bands and chains, fine. I just, personally don’t like to program them for myself or clients.
Develop your own hierarchy, learn what works for you, and get out there and do it. Period.