Old School Versus New School
Power and Bulk takes a look at whether old school powerlifting training still has a place alongside today's newer school thinking. One poster makes an interesting observation that new school training is more appropriate to today's more advanced gear whereas old school training still works well for unequipped lifters.
Guys like Ricky Dale Crain, Kirk Karwoski and Ed Coan are from the old school. Is there anything we can learn from them program wise? I mean Coan's program is very old school-periodised-no real special exercises. Do the major lifts once a week, leg curls, calf raises as accessory movements. So what gives? I mean the Westside method is so different it's unreal however these guys apply stuff that Simmons says is outdated.
If your body fits the program, go for it.
Hey, news flash, simmons isn't God.
What you learn from those guys is that it's not what you do, it's how you do it.
If you take the modern gear away are the results better now?
I think it was Shaf that said that these guys were built so well for the power lifts that they could do the full movement and still progress, most of us need to work on our weaknesses more.
I might be off base but from the training trends I see, it looks as though the Westside type training methods are very good at building your ability to strengthen weak points of equipped lifts. In other words the less equipment a lifter uses, the more he tends to use a traditional, "train the lift by doing the lift" type of routine, and the more equipment is used, the more it becomes advantageous to use assistance based/conjugate type approaches. This is just from looking at the training of different lifters; it seems like guys who lift in unequipped tend to use the actual lifts much more with a few assistance exercises thrown in depending on the lifter.
The thing that is interesting to me personally is WHY is it like this? Why do equipped lifters benefit from conjugate method yet unequipped lifters seem overall to prefer using the basic lifts to get stronger? I wonder if maybe the reason is because the equipped lifts themselves (squat in full gear, bench with shirt on) are not the best strength building exercises, whereas the raw lifts done without gear are in fact good strength building exercises, but not the same type of strength that is effective for the equipped lifts (the equipped bench requiring such a focus on lockout strength, the equipped squat requiring a lot of hamstring/butt strength and so forth), necessitating a focus on assistance lifts building those particular portions.
I think it's mainly mechanics and how they change with gear.
when you have a shirt boosting the bar off your chest, you don't need full range strength, you need midrange and lockout. so you do exercises that target those areas. and board press/floor press is arguably more useful for that. not that it cna't help a raw lifter with his lockout.
you might also note tat for all the claims of the WSBB/conjugate faithful about how great the method is, raw results are stagnant. all of that amazing strength technology doesn't seem to be adding up to much in terms of actual strength levels.
a cynic might aruge that improvements in competition results are more from learning the gear/better gear than any real increases in strength levels
Oh yeah, the metal militia guys seem to be doing pretty well geared using competition movements (in gear) most of the time. Many ways to skin a cat basically.
mentioned this already on this board, fairly recently). Some people like/thrive on the variation, some don't. Some like things to be more set in stone, some don't.
To some degree, Steve has it right. These guys were born to lift, and the naturally stronger you are the better just the basic shit pulls you through.
Coan could out-total most guys here RAWDAWG, 165 pounds, and at 16 years old. Did something like 500-350-550. Within two years he was already among the strongest in his weightclass in the world.
Lionstrike is another example. He built an 800 pound deadlift by maxing out in the deadlift once a week. Why make things more complicated than they need be?
People who are less gifted may spin their wheels on the real basic stuff after a while.
We do the main lifts in and out of gear and we are getting good results with this. We also do lots of accessory movements. Big Iron does the 3 main lifts heavy. They are one of if not the top gym in the country. Its all very basic.
We all know what Coan has done, he did basic stuff and it worked awesome for him. He would prolly do well with any type of program, wicked strong person.
Everyone needs to find what works for them and run with it. It is gonna be different for everyone.
I don't think the ME movements used by Westside are really that different than the traditional squat, bench, and deadlift. AFAIK, The main movements used by Westside are:
Squat - box squat, free squat
Good Morning - normal, chain suspended
Bench Press - board press, pin press
Deadlift - sumo & conventional deadlifts
They add in a lot of variety by modifying the strength curves on these movements using bands & chains, which makes it so the strength curve more closely resembles that of a geared lift. They also use some special bars--safety squat bar, buffalo bar, cambered bar, etc. The purpose of the special bars ranges from safety (buffalo bar is easier on the shoulders than a straight bar when squatting) to technique improvement (safety squat bar helps you to stay more upright when squatting). Take the main movements I listed above, then take all the permutations you can get by mixing in bands, chains, and special bars, and you have a boatload of different ME exercises. But in some sense, they don't deviate from "the basics" all that much. Whether you use straight weight, bands & chains, or special bars & equipment, a squat is still a squat. The strength curve will be different, but the mechanics and technique shouldn't differ too much.
So yeah, Westside figured out lots of good ways to emulate geared lifts by adding in contrast and modifying the strength curves of the basic movements. They also have loads of accessory and supplemental movements that target specific muscle and technical weaknesses. The old school guys didn't need the fancy contrast used by Westside because the gear back in the day was far less extreme.