I was looking through our archived articles and I can’t believe how many there are.  There is a lot of great information in these articles.  In fact, it’s overwhelming for me. I can’t even imagine what it’s like for those new to the site.  So what I’m going to do is make a list articles and other assorted products that will make things very, very easy for someone navigating this site and trying to learn.  This list of articles, books and DVD’s will help you get “with the program.”

I guess the irony is that this is going to be an article put in the archives and be part of the mother-load of information.  But if you do happen to read this article and don’t know where to look or where to start, this is perfect for you.

Best Article to Start With

Dave’s Periodization Bible Part I and Part II, by Dave Tate

This article was the first article that Dave wrote that really captures the conjugate system as it is used at Westside.  It is easy to read, simple in its approach and will allow you to understand the “how’s” and “why’s”.

Best Article to Design Your Template

The Eight Keys, Parts 1-4, by Dave Tate

This is another one by Dave that sums things up and goes into more detail.  This will help you outline your training.  You can also find a lot of training template ideas in our EFS Training Templates guide.  This was written because of the many variations that we have tried (or others have tried) to suit their recovery needs, their jobs and what worked for them.

Best Workout to Start Training

The Beginner Manual

I wrote this thing  and I about killed myself doing it.  It is a 12 week cycle, with all exercises and sets and reps.  All you have to do is know your max lifts for your squat, deadlift or bench…or at least ballpark them.  If you don’t know where to start, this will put you on the right track

Best Article for Max Effort

Max Effort Waves by Jim Wendler

This article was a huge hit because people had a lot of questions on how to work up to a max effort and the different ways that it can be done.  This makes things very, very easy.

Best Articles for Squatting

Squatting from Head to Toe – An Introduction to Box Squatting by Dave Tate

How to Squat 900lbs – 10 Surefire Ways to Help You Squat Big by Dave Tate

This article sums up how to box squat and it is made simple.  This will give you a lot of pointers on how to box squat as well as why you want to box squat.

Best DVD for Squatting

EFS Exercise Index for the Squat/DL

This DVD  will show you exactly how to squat, deadlift and do any other lower body exercise.  It is easy to follow and I guarantee that you will improve your form when watching this video.

Best Article for Bench Press

How to Bench Press 600lbs – A 12 Step Program by Dave Tate

This will get you on the right track for bench technique. This will give you some simple pointers to get you bench pressing correctly, today.

Best DVD for Bench Press

EFS Exercise Index for the Bench Press

Like the Squat/DL DVD   this also goes over the technique of the bench press as well as other upper body lifts.  I have gotten more calls/e-mails about this DVD than anything else I’ve done.  I spent a lot of time and effort on this thing and I recommend it for everyone.

Best DVD for Warm Up

Parisi Warm-up Method

I have championed this DVD  for a long time.  I think the one thing that people have really ignored is the warm-up and mobility work in their training program.  Most of the people that do this always wish they had done something similar to the Parisi Warm Up.  It is a great way to get your mind and body ready for training.

Best Article for Chains/Bands

Accommodating Resistance: How to use bands and chains to increase your max lifts by Dave Tate


This article is going to teach you why and how to use bands and chains in your training.  If you have any questions about using them, consult this article.  This is a very confusing subject for many, so this will give you a good overview.

Best Squat Workout with Bands

This was posted by Dave many years ago and I think it’s probably the best place to start in regards to squatting with bands.  This cycle is for the intermediate to advanced lifter.  This does not mean that you squat a certain amount of weight, but rather the time that you have spent under the bar.  If you have been training consistently for at least 5 years and you have learned how to box squat correctly, then this is for you.

  • Week 1:  8x2 @ 50% + average band
  • Week 2:  8x2 @ 53% + average band
  • Week 3:  8x2 @ 57% + average band
  • Week 4:  8x2 @ 60% + average band
  • Week 5:  8x2 @ 53% + strong band
  • Week 6:  8x2@ 57% + strong band
  • Week 7:  8x2 @ 60% + strong band
  • Week 8:  6x2 @ 53% + strong band/light band
  • Week 9:  6x2 @ 57% + strong band/light band
  • Week 10:  6x2 @ 60% + strong band/light band
  • Week 11:  6x2 @ 53% + strong band
  • Week 12:  6x2 @ 60% + average band
  • Week 13:  6x2 @ 53% + average band
  • Week 14:  6x2 @ 50% + average band
  • Week 15:  No training; this is meet week

Note: All percents are based on your best squat.  The percentages are bar weight only.  You do not add in the tension of the bands to the percentages!

Best Exercises for Max Effort Bench Press

This is open for interpretation, but in my experience these lifts are the most popular and most used.

  • 2 Board Press (with or without bands)
  • 3 Board Press (with or without bands)
  • Incline Bench
  • Floor Press
  • Floor Press w/ chains
  • Bench Press w/ chains (this can be done a couple of ways, but have found that using a set amount of chains and increasing the bar weight the best.  Usually 3-4 chains/side are used.)
  • Bench Press w/ bands (usually a mini-band or light band)
  • Reverse Band Bench Press

Best Max Effort Deadlift Exercises

  • Rack Pulls (these can be done from varying heights)
  • Deadlifts on elevated platform (usually 2-4”)
  • Reverse Band Deadlifts
  • Deadlifts against bands

Best Max Effort Squat Exercises

  • Safety Squat Bar
  • Cambered Bar Squat
  • Manta Ray Squat
  • Buffalo Bar Squat
  • Note:  All squats can be done on a low (1-2” below parallel), parallel or high (1-2” above parallel) box

Best Way to Understand this System

You need to start training with a group of established lifters or go to an EFS Seminar.  Check out our site for more information on seminars.  If these two options are NOT options, you at least need to get a group of lifters together and educate each other.  You can do this by simply asking around at local gyms or asking a question on the EFS Q/A.

You can also go to local powerlifting meets and ask around.  Don’t be embarrassed.  Powerlifters are always gracious and most will be willing to let you into their training sessions.  I really wish I could simply say, “Read the articles and buy the DVD’s” but it’s not that simple.  You need some hands on experience and you need to get with a group of lifters.

Best Book for all Coaches

Starting Strength by Mark Rippetoe and Lon Gilgore

I wrote a review for this book  awhile ago and still feel it’s the best book I have read in regards to training and coaching the squat, bench press, clean, deadlift and overhead press.  This book needs to be in everyone’s library.  In fact, get the damn thing out of your library and put it in your gym bag.

Hopefully this list will help you get started.  Some of you may be veterans, but have lost your way.  When you start losing focus, re-read some of the articles to get you back on track.