Building Strength

Building your strength.

To be successful in anycompetition arena your members need to have some serious strength. The average male at the Games last year could clean & jerk 271 lbs, snatch 209 lbs. deadlift 473 lbs, and squat 383 lbs. The average woman could clean & jerk 158 lbs, snatch 119, deadlift 296 and squat 222!

Yikes! Those are some strong athletes – and thats just the average! Having high numbers means weights that show up in the workouts seem that much easier. It’s tough to do a workout with 135/95 lbs cleans if a members max is 140/100 lbs. Looking to get their numbers up there? There are a variety of methods that people have followed to successfully raise their numbers, and were going to outline them here!


Mark Rippetoe has created a strength building routine that can be found in his book “Starting Strength” ( His routine is based off of two workouts that are alternately rotate every Monday, Wednesday and Friday. The workouts are:

Workout 1: 3×5 Squat, 3×5 Bench Press, 1×5 Deadlift, 2×8 Dips (optional)
Workout 2: 3×5 Squat, 3×5 Military Press, 3×5 Pendlay Rows (or Power Cleans), 2×8 Chin ups (optional)

You use the same weight across all three sets, with the aim of increasing the weight by 2.5% each week


Wendler is also known as 5/3/1 and is done in cycles, with each cycle lasting about a month and made up of 4 waves, where there is increasing intensity with each wave:

Wave 1: Warmup, 75% for 5 reps, 80% for 5 reps, 85% for 5 reps
Wave 2: Warmup, 80% for 3 reps, 85% for 3 reps, 90% for 3 reps
Wave 3: Warmup, 75% for 5 reps, 85% for 3 reps, 95% for 1 reps
Wave 4: (Deload), 60% for 5 reps, 65% for 5 reps, 70% for 5 reps

Each wave is itself made up of four different lifts, the squat, bench press, deadlift and military press. You an rotate through the lifts doing about 3 workouts a week. There is a lot of tracking and math involved with doing Wendler properly, but there is a 531 calculator online and our journals have the option of adding Wendler pages!

Westside Barbell

Westside Barbell bases its programing on two types of efforts, dynamic effort, denoted as DE, and maximum effort, denoted as ME. The DE and ME days alternate for the upper and lower body. For example, if you are starting out your schedule could look like:

M: DE upper body
T: ME lower body
W: Skills and longer conditioning
R: ME upper body
F: DE lower body

DE days are fast, high rep workouts with small percentages of your 1RM while ME days are low reps heavy workouts (often 3 or more reps at 90% of your 1RM). You can look up templates for Westside barbell workouts online, as well as track your ME and DE days with custom journal pages!

There are other strength training regimens, but these are the three most popular, and all have provided incredible strength gains for athletes utilizing them!

[maxbutton id=”2″]

Leave a Comment