Three-day rotating Westside split

12 Jan 2004


  • Provide some variation to the previous program to shock the body and refresh the mind.
  • Slightly lower the stress on the lower back to avoid repeat injury (sustained on 1 Dec 2003).
  • Increase work capacity by upping the intensity of supplementary and assistance exercises; go for 20 second rests between straight sets and back-to-back on supersets with 10 seconds between each supersets. Increase sets gradually from 2-3 to 4-6 over the course of several weeks. In the beginning, the time between exercises should be enough to not feel winded before the next exercise, but gradually cut down to 3 minutes or so. If pyramiding up for a new single or triple max allow as much rest as needed (we're not trying to cut down on the max weights here).
  • Continue getting stronger of course!


In contrast with the standard Westside template which calls for doing all four workouts per week, this routine rotates them over three workouts per week. This means two days extra rest between workouts and leads to every workout being done three times a cycle. This extra rest should compensate for the increased intensity, while hopefully giving the lower back the extra rest it needs.

This cycle was proposed by Jim Wendler in the QA section of

        Mon Tue Wed Thu Fri Sat Sun
Week I  ME SQ/DL         ME Bench         DE SQ/DL                
Week II  DE Bench         ME SQ/DL         ME Bench                
Week III  DE SQ/DL         DE Bench         ME SQ/DL                
Week IV  ME Bench         DE SQ/DL         DE Bench                

Training breakdown

ME SQ/DL   ME Bench   DE SQ/DL   DE Bench  
Main Squat/Deadlift exercise max Bench exercise max Speed box squat, every third workout normal squat (8x2) Bench speed work at three grips (9x3)
Supplementary Hamstrings Lats (pulldown) Abs Triceps
Assistance Lower back+Abs superset Bench/Triceps Calves Lats (row)
Assistance Biceps+triceps superset Grip work (grippers, holds, heavy shrugs) Front+Side+Rear delt superset


  • ME Squat/Deadlift: Avoid good mornings as a max exercise due to previous injury, but occasionally do them as a light assistance exercise (i.e. supersetted with abs) and *very* slowly build back up.
  • ME Bench: Focus on improving the start of the bench (such as floor press, decline press as max; ultra-wides, dumbell bench as supplementary) and throw in other work every third workout or so.
  • DE Squat/Deadlift: To practice technique and help build a good foundation for raw lifting, supplement speed box squats with speed squats every third workout (i.e. once per cycle).
  • DE Bench: Instead of cycling the width from wide to narrow, do three sets at one width before moving to the next (vary the grip order every workout). This should make it easier to keep the groove. Chalk the bar to check for consistency. If feeling good, go for heavy triceps work such as lockouts.