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I'm writing this to clarify some misinformation in some of the other reviews.
First, this book is NOT written for beginners. It's essentially aimed at competitive powerlifters who wear supportive gear (though it can work for everyone). It is not intended to sculpt a perfect body, so don't look for routines that include leg extensions or calve raises. The goals here are to lift monster numbers in the bench press, squat, and deadlift; nothing more, nothing less.
If you're looking for pictures of how to do a squat, skip this and try "Starting Strength", which is excellent. Simmons doesn't address this because at high levels in any sport, much of the optimum technique depends on body type and personal preference; in fact, he recommends strongly that any serious lifter work with a coach so that individual nuances can be assessed. If, on the other hand, you're looking for verbal descriptions as to how to refine an already strong squat, this could be helpful, provided that you know your basics.
Second, Westside is not a routine. I'm personally skeptical whenever someone says they practice a "modified Westside routine", though there are several floating around on the internet (often created by people who haven't trained with Louie and are not powerlifters). Instead, Westside is probably best described as a general template; one based on a rotation of special exercises with a great deal of attention paid to speed work. The key to making it work is figuring out what your own personal weaknesses are and which exercises address them. In other words, you have to *think* and *experiment* to make this program work for you.Read more ›
Tempting the wrath of all of the Louie worshipers out there, I gotta say I was a tad disappointed in this book. Don't get me wrong, it is an amazing book. My problem is this is basically a collection of all of his articles from Powerlifting USA. At the time I bought this book, you could download all of this material right from the Westside website. Given that, where is the compelling reason to buy this book? All-in-all, the material itself is good, so if you want a hard copy to carry around, read in the train or whatever then buy it.
On a related note, the fact that this is just a collection of articles, I found the book to lack any cohesion or flow at all. Louie's methodologies are basically the practical application of concepts presented by people like Vladimir Zatsiorsky in Science and Practice of Strength Training, Thomas Kurz in Science of Sports Training and Mel Siff in Supertraining. Louie has been able to synthesize the concepts from these varied sources into practical, winning strategies for increasing limit strength. He's clearly been able to soak in the material from these sources, understand them and apply them successfully. I just wish he could communicate them much better than he typically does. Most of his materials are filled with about 30% strong substance, about 30% anecdotal evidence, and 40% boasting about Westside. Westside's numbers speak for themselves. I would have liked it much more if Louie would have taken the time to rewrite this information to that it flowed as a cohesive unit. Barring that, I recommend potential readers pick up 'Science and Practice of Strength Training' instead and then download & read Louie's articles from the Westside-Barbell website.
You remember those college lectures that went so fast and had so much information that you had a hard time keeping up? Well, here it is in book form.
It's sad that I'm not smart enough to keep up with something in the printed word medium, but if you've ever seen Louie talk in one of his videos you'll see why it shouldn't be that embarrassing.
The dude is smart. He's an innovator, he's been tremendously successful as a lifter and with his gym, and his methods have not only revolutionized his sport, but pretty much every sport that has a strength component to it.
The book is pretty dense with information, but its not impossible to understand. The more I read and learn the more I realize that as far as strength and conditioning goes its best to be a kinesthetic learner. The concepts are not really that hard to read about and understand. However, implementing these things, especially to a different sport like Crossfit, can't be learned from a book.
There is a tremendous amount of knowledge here. The most important pieces being speed-strength vs strength-speed, the application of accomodating resistance, and having a periodized plan to avoid detraining. I've definately messed up the detraining piece in programming before, so I payed extra attention to those pieces.
Like most people who pick this book up, I was expecting a dissertation on bands and chains. Well, it was a lot more then that. It may be more than my brain can ever process.
Training for pure strength is inherantly different then training for GPP, but a simple read through of the book makes the conjugate system accessible and a novice, like myself, ready to experiment with some pretty advanced techniques. Not that I'll really learn how to do them till I do them, but I at least theoretically know why I see so many people doing dynamic effort days, using specialized bars, and other hallmarks of Louie's program.