5 Things I Learned at Westside

Copy of JVR_9919

5 Things I Learned at Westside
By Blaine Sumner, 26 September  2017

[Note from Mike:  Blaine will be teaching a class for RTS Classroom starting October 5.  The class will cover how Blaine sets up training for himself and his athletes as well as keys for great execution — which is probably the most important part.  For a full lesson list and registration information, click here]

     I am Blaine Sumner, IPF World Champion, World Record holder in the Squat, Bench, and Total…….. and I…….. went to Westside.

Over the past few years, I have been pleased with my progress on some lifts, and not on others. I would try to change things from cycle to cycle, but always found myself working my way back into the same rut and same routine that I have for a few years. I would try to program in some different traits, and somehow always worked my way back to what I knew. These patterns are important and I go through them every few years. In 2012 I began working with Mike Tuchscherer on high frequency training and it opened my eyes to a new style of training and the knowledge I gained from communicating with Mike set me years ahead of where I would have been otherwise. So it was time for a new quantum leap in my training and I traveled to Columbus, Ohio to visit the godfather of powerlifting, Louie Simmons, in his mecca, Westside Barbell. Read more…

Personality Types and Training: Help us Figure it Out


Personality types and Training:  Help us Figure it Out
By Mike Tuchscherer, 12 September 2017

Attention Powerlifters: Help me start to answer how personality affects training. There is a survey linked below. It will take about 20min to complete. In it you’ll find out about your personality as well as help us gain some knowledge about the training you find most effective. Read more…

Travelling to Compete: How to Shift Your Circadian Clocks And Lift at Your Best When Travelling Across Time Zones


Travelling to Compete: How to Shift Your Circadian Clocks And Lift at Your Best When Travelling Across Time Zones
By: Thomas Kaminski


With the IPF World Classic Powerlifting Championships approaching, I thought it would be useful to write an article explaining how the human circadian systems work and how athletes can adjust their body clocks to the new time zone so that they can lift at their best. Ensuring that your body clock is adjusted for the time of the competition is essential for performing optimally. This is because athletic performance can vary greatly depending on your internal circadian time (Teo et al., 2011; Dijk, 1992). Contrary to the opinions of some, your muscles will not work optimally by simply setting an early alarm and just giving them some time to ‘wake up’ before the competition. The fact is, if they are at a point in their circadian cycle where they are not meant to be working, then they simply cannot work at their maximum capacity. To illustrate this point, when you have jet lag induced insomnia the reason you can’t sleep is because your circadian system is telling your brain that it is not time to sleep, and just as trying harder to sleep cannot fix this problem, trying to get your muscles working when they aren’t supposed to be isn’t going to work either! For this reason, it is extremely important to adjust your circadian clock so that your body is ready for the competition.

In this article, I give a brief overview of some of the relevant human circadian systems Read more…

Why Percentage Programs Should Still Track RPE


Why Percentage Programs Should Still Track RPE
By Mike Tuchscherer

Theme:  RPE should be considered a core metric in your training, even if you’re not basing your training off RPE.

I’ve been fortunate to travel the world giving seminars about Powerlifting and I’ve been doing so for kind of a long time – since 2008 or so.  When I first began, most powerlifters were not familiar with the concept of RPE, so I would teach it from scratch.  Since then, it’s become increasingly popular in the Powerlifting community and, to some extent, the wider strength-training world.  How I go about teaching RPE has changed since the beginning.  I think anytime you teach a subjective technique in the face of a changing surrounding context, that has to happen.

I used to teach RPE something like this…  Read more…

Case Studies in Powerlifting — Tim Thomas


Case Studies in Powerlifting — Tim Thomas
by Brady Stewart

Tim Thomas
Age: 53
Occupation: Sales/Recruiter
Sport: Powerlifting – Bench Press Specialist
Hometown: Belleville, IL
Training Location: The Belleville Weightlifting Club (BWC) (Belleville, IL)
Competing in powerlifting since 1998 in the USAPL and non-sanctioned events, but is currently a Bench Press Specialist
Best Competition Total: 1590 (2004 Ozark Open)
Best Competition Bench Press: 450 (2009 Bluegrass Open)
Past Injuries: 2005 Torn Tendon in right shoulder and right hip injury
Goals: To bench over 500 pounds in 2010 and try to rank in top 20 nationally in 275 Open Bench
Read more…

Concurrent Training


Concurrent Training
By Greg Nuckols

Cardiovascular training has been much maligned in the powerlifting community. By that, I am referring to purely aerobic work. You’ll find people touting the benefits of sled work, sprints, or barbell complexes, but steady state aerobic work? Never! We’ve been told it’ll make us small and weak so many times we’ve taken the bait. The real story is a little more nuanced than that. Let’s dive in. Read more…

Training the High School Powerlifter


Training the High School Powerlifter
By Chad McMullin, MS, CSCS

Having been head coach of the Warren Central powerlifting team for almost ten years, I can tell you that without hesitation that training teenagers has be one of the most frustrating and at the same time rewarding jobs of my life. Many of the guys I have coached came into our weight room as freshmen having never even seen a weight, only to leave after their four years having won district, region, and some even state titles. The frustration comes from seeing some guys having great talent, but end up a memory simply because they could not handle the expectations of our program. In the following article, I will discuss the way we set up our training and my philosophy of training. Read more…

The Biorhythm Diet


The Biorhythm Diet
by Borge Fagerli

More muscle and less fat by doing the complete opposite
If you look at a typical Western meal pattern, it’s carb-loaded cereals and breads as the first meals of the day, while later meals for supper are calorie-dense fat-heavy meals. This is also prevalent in fitness and bodybuilding culture, we eat carbs early in the day to fuel up for our workouts, then drop carbs and add fats for our later meals. Recent research has shown that not only light and dark cycles regulate our circadian and biological clock – it is also controlled by nutrients. I’m going to show you how the typical Western eating pattern can actually be one of the factors which predispose us to obesity, and that you should, in fact, do the complete opposite!

My interest in the topic came about when I looked into research showing that eating carbs at night would inhibit fat loss on a deficit or increase fat gains on a surplus – it was not only a myth, it was flat out wrong! Read more…

Evening Carbs Will Not Make You Fat


Evening Carbs Will Not Make You Fat
by Borge Fagerli

The source of this misunderstanding that permeates both the nutrition literature and the fitness community probably originates from a study conducted in 1997 (1). Here, they compared two groups of women on a moderate diet with exercise, where one group had 70% of the carbs early in the day (AM) while the other group had 70% of the carbs later in the day (PM). After 6 weeks they decided to change groups. The result was that the AM group, dropped the most in WEIGHT – and here it seems that most people stopped to read – because if you read further you can see that of this weight loss over 30% involved muscle! In the PM group weight loss was almost as high BUT here the muscle loss was only 7%! I think most people realize that FAT loss was a lot higher when the high-carb meals were eaten in the evening, even though total loss of weight was higher in the morning group. Read more…

Auto-Regulating Volume


Auto-Regulation Volume
By Bob Wanamaker

Not only do we have to consider intensity in developing a program, but we have to consider volume as well. While the two are interrelated in getting from Point A to Point B, a good way to look at it is that intensity determines the training effect, and volume determines the magnitude of that training effect. So, as a coach, I prescribe less reps per set with more intensity to develop strength in an athlete, and more reps per set with less intensity to develop (say) hypertrophy.

This important to note: for intermediate and advanced athletes, the rep range is always prescribed by programming, when the coach develops the training cycle. Different rep ranges target different systems; doing an all out set of 3 reps is not the same as doing an all out set of 10 reps.
This approach differs greatly from a well-known 5×5 program, used by many beginners. In this program, which will remain unnamed, the lifter is supposed to do five sets of five reps with a target weight that increases each week. Typically, there will come a time when the lifter can do the first set or two quite easily, but has trouble after that. S/he might hit the third set, and gets four reps, the fourth set two or three reps, the fifth set two or three reps. Read more…