I think life would be much easier if everyone would just come to the agreement that not too many people truly understand Westside Barbell method of training. People make assumptions and think they understand what goes on in Louie's mind, but only a select few really comprehend it.

I certainly am no expert but the combination of me starting to train in a similar manner and doing everything I can to gain a better understanding since 1994 with picking Dave's brain and listening to the stories he tells from the gym, gets me a little closer than most. Whether you are an advocate or not, here are a few points I will say about WSBB.

  1. Louie has gone out of his way to help me every single time I have talked to him. The stories I have heard have just reinforced this.
  2. There are only a handful of coaches on this planet that can legitimately mention Siff, Verkoshansky, or Zatsiorsky without hearing about their knowledge from Louie first. Anything from Prilepin's chart to the dynamic effort method, to GPP, to Special Exercises was made known to coaches and lifters through Louie.
  3. Anyone I have ever met and watched coach that spent significant time at Westside proved to be some of the best technical coaches I have seen. Dave Tate, Jim Wendler, Matt Wenning, JL Holdsworth, I am sure the list goes on.

Adapting WSBB for Athletes

I will admit that Joe DeFranco had it right and his WS4SB program is still one of the most solid templates for athletes. There are a few things I may have done differently because of the level of athletes I was dealing with. You will definitely see similarities. For sake of argument, I'll just use a traditional WSBB template with a DI split.


  • Dynamic box squats = box jumps
  • Alternate pushes and pulls
  • Max effort upper body movement could be a pull (weighted chin-up for pull-dominant sports)
  • Additional work-load sets after max effort work
  • Balance single leg and double leg work
  • Three pulls for every two pushes

Here is a basic plan we did at Army for some sports, specifically baseball:


  • Box Squat with chains OR Seated Box Jump Complex: 8x2 at 60%
  • Glute Ham Raise


  • 1 Arm DB Snatch or DB High Pull: 6x3
  • 1 Arm DB Push Press: 5x3
  • Chin-Up: Work up to 5RM supersetted with plyo push-ups 8x3
  • Rear Delt work
  • Arm Work


  • Trap Bar Deadlift: Work up to 5RM
  • DB Split Squat supersetted with Straight Leg DB RDL
  • Glute Ham Raise
  • Abs


  • Medicine Ball Throws
  • 2-Board Bench Press: Work up to a 3RM
  • 1 Arm DB Rows
  • Incline DB or Stability Ball DB Press: 3x20
  • Pull-Downs

This isn't a bad program if you want to keep within the spirit of the DE, ME, RE system. I have modified the program in years following, but between the WS4SB, the WSBB, and the Tier System, I was able to have some adaptability based on the situation and the athletes.