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Westside for Skinny Bastards, Part II

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by Joe DeFranco

This article originally appeared on www.T-nation.com

The original Westside for Skinny Bastards was the most popular article I’ve ever written. I still receive dozens of emails and phone calls every day regarding this program.

Why? Because not only is it an incredible program, but there's a ton of room in it for variety. The variety that’s built into this program brings up many debates and questions. The most common question I receive is how to incorporate running workouts into this template.

Well, ‘tis the season on the East Coast where the weather starts warming up and we go outside to prepare our football players for training camp. Many of our guys are on the "Westside for Skinny Bastards" template, and in this article I'll explain how we incorporate running into their workouts (in addition to giving an overview of the entire program).

Even if you're not a football player, I think you'll learn something here about program design and maybe even a new exercise or two.

Organizing Your Training Week

As I’ve said before, there are many ways to organize your training week and there are dozens of factors that determine the training split. For example, the athlete’s training age, work schedule, school schedule, practice schedule, etc. must all be taken into consideration.

Use this sample as a guide and then find out what works best with your schedule and your training goals:

Monday, A.M. — Energy System Training (change of direction focus)
Monday, P.M. — Max Effort Upper Body Lifting
Tuesday — Lower Body Lifting
Wednesday— Energy System Training (linear speed focus)
Thursday — Repetition Upper Body Lifting
Friday — Strongman Conditioning or Sport-specific Drills
Saturday — OFF or light aerobic recovery workout (walk, jog)
Sunday — OFF

I've provided a detailed training template below. You’ll notice that a lot of the lifting has remained the same from my original article. (This is because the program works!) But, I've made a few upgrades since the original program was posted. Remember that this sample program is geared toward football players who are preparing for training camp; therefore, conditioning workouts have increased and some adjustments must be made to their weight training, especially their leg workouts.

Also note that if you haven’t been doing any running, don’t just jump into these running workouts. Use your best judgment and ease yourself into the program. Remember that the running workouts are sample workouts. After two or three weeks, make sure you add some variety to your change of direction and linear speed drills. Don't do these same running workouts for the entire off season!

Before we get to the program, let's take a look at two quick success stories:

Success Stories

Jimmy St. Louis — Murray State Tight End

Jimmy St. Louis

Jimmy St. Louis 2

Last year the pro scouts clocked Jimmy between 4.8 and 5.01 seconds in the 40-yard dash. This year, during the second week of December, he hired me to prepare him for his NFL Pro Day. He weighed 246 pounds at a height of 6'6". After less than three months on the "Skinny Bastard" strength and speed program, he ran an official 4.57-second 40-yard dash, weighing 261 pounds at his NFL Pro Day on March 4th. Jimmy is now up to 270 pounds and he's currently with the Tennessee Titans.

Ryan Lindsey — Don Bosco, Prep High School wide receiver

Ryan Lindsey 1

Ryan Lindsey 2

Ryan started the "Skinny Bastard" program last year as a bony high school sophomore. He weighed 155 pounds and ran a 4.4-second 40-yard dash. This year, at the Elite College Football Combine, he ran an official 4.29-second 40-yard dash, weighing 176 pounds!

Ryan was the fastest player at the prestigious Combine which had over 70 Division I coaches in attendance, including Notre Dame’s Charlie Weis and Florida’s Urban Meyer. Ryan’s scholarship offers have started coming in after his blazing performance!

Okay, as usual, I’m sick of typing. Let’s workout!

The Program

Monday, A.M. — Energy system training (change of direction focus)

Dynamic Warm-up

General Warm-up Phase

  • Body squats x 10
  • Jumping jacks x 15
  • Seal jumping jacks x 15
  • Front skips — 20 yards down & back
  • Stationary side lunge x 8 each leg
  • Side shuffle, 20 yds. down & back
  • Stationary leg swings (front & back) x 10 each leg
  • Stationary leg swings (side to side) x 10 ea. leg
  • 60% Build-up sprint (arm & posture focus) — 30 yds. down and back
  • Lunge walk x 10 steps down and back
  • Backpedal x 20 yds. down and back
  • Squat jumps x 5
  • 75% Build-up sprint — (knee drive focus) — 40 yds. down and back

Ground-Based Mobility Phases

  • Back bridges x 10
  • Iron cross x 10 each leg
  • Rollovers into V sits x 10
  • Birddogs (on all 4’s) — 10 each arm/leg
  • Fire hydrant circles (on all 4’s) — 10 fwd, 10 bkw ea. leg

Prone scorpions

  • Prone scorpions x 10 ea. leg

Mountain climbers 1

Mountain climbers 2

  • Mountain climbers x 10 ea. leg

Groiners 1

Groiners 2

  • Groiners x 10

Frequency Phase

  • Low pogo jumps — 3 x 20 sec.
  • High pogo jumps — 3 x 10 sec.
  • Quick steps/Ankling — 2 sets of 10 yards

Wideouts 1

Wideouts 2

  • Wideouts — 2 sets of 5 sec. (in and out as fast as possible!)
  • Lateral quick steps — 2 sets of 10 yards
  • 85% Build-up sprint — 40 yds.

Change of Direction Drills

  • 20-yard pro-agility shuttle — 3 reps starting to the left, 3 reps starting to your right. Rest 30 seconds between reps.
  • 3-cone drill — 5 reps, rest 1 minute between reps.
  • Illinois drill — 3 reps (The goal is to complete all 3 reps in under 15 seconds. Rest 2 min. between sets.)

Monday, P.M. — Max-Effort Upper Body Lifting

A. Max-Effort Lift — Work up to a max set of 3-5 reps.

Choose one of the following exercises:

  • Thick bar or regular barbell bench press
  • Barbell floor press
  • Rack lockouts
  • Incline barbell bench
  • Close-grip bench press (index finger on smooth part of bar)
  • Weighted chin-ups
  • Board presses

Lift


B. Supplemental Lift — Perform 3-4 sets of 6-10 reps

Choose one of the following exercises:

  • Flat dumbbell bench press (palms in or palms facing out)
  • Incline dumbbell bench press
  • Dumbbell floor press (palms in)

C. Lat/upper back superset — Superset one exercise from the first group of exercises with one exercise from the second group of exercises. Perform 3-4 supersets of 8-12 reps of each exercise.

Group 1

  • Lat pulldowns (various bars & grips)
  • Seated cable rows (various bars & grips)
  • Chest supported rows
  • Bent-over dumbbell rows

Group 2

  • Standing rope pulls to neck
  • Kneeling scarecrows

Straight arm lat pulldowns

  • Straight arm lat pulldowns
  • Seated dumbbell power cleans
  • Rear delt flyes (dumbbells or machine)

D. Elbow flexor exercise — Perform 3 sets of 6-10 reps

Choose one of the following exercises:

  • Hammer curls
  • Zottmann curls
  • Barbell curls
  • Incline dumbbell curls

E. Abdominal circuit

Just pick a variety of ab exercises and perform them in circuit fashion with no rest between exercises.

Abdominal circuit


Tuesday — Lower Body Strength Training

I've provided two options for your first exercise on lower body day — a max-effort exercise or dynamic box squats. If you're already big and strong but you lack speed, start your lower body workout with the dynamic box squats.

If you're a weak, skinny bastard, choose one of the max-effort exercises as your first choice. If you're somewhere in between, perform max-effort work for two weeks and then perform dynamic box squats for two weeks. Keep alternating your two-week mini-cycles throughout your training cycle.

A. Max-Effort Lift — Work up to a max set of 3-5 reps

Choose one of the following exercises:

  • Trap bar deadlift variation
  • Straight bar deadlift variation
  • Free squat
  • Good morning variation
  • Rack pulls
  • Box squat variation

Dynamic Box Squats

OR


A. Dynamic Box Squats (with bands and/or chains if necessary) — 8 sets of 2 with 50-60% of your 1RM.

B. Unilateral Movement — Perform 3 sets of 8-12 reps

Choose one of the following exercises:

  • Step-up variation

Unilateral Movement

  • Lunge variation
  • Bulgarian split squat variation

Unilateral Movement 2


C. Hip Extension exercise — Perform 3-4 sets of 8-15 reps (I tend to focus more on hip extension exercises (as opposed to knee flexion exercises) for the hamstrings once we increase the volume of running.

Choose one of the following exercises:

  • Reverse hypers

Reverse hypers

  • Upright sled walks
  • Hyperextensions
  • Swiss ball hip extension + leg curl
  • Low-cable pull-throughs

Low-cable pull-throughs


D. Neck/Grip superset — Superset one exercise from the first group of exercises with one exercise from the second group of exercises. Perform 3-4 supersets.

Group 1

  • Neck harness — flexion/extension
  • Neck machine — flexion/extension
  • Dumbbell or barbell shrugs

Dumbbell or barbell shrugs

Group 2

  • Thick bar hold (timed set)
  • Wrist roller
  • Captains of Crush or Heavy Grips grippers
  • Plate or dumbbell pinch gripping (timed set)

Wednesday — Energy System Training (linear speed focus)

Dynamic Warm-up

General Warm-up Phase

  • Body squats x 10
  • Jumping jacks x 15
  • Seal jumping jacks x 15
  • Front skips — 20 yards down & back
  • Stationary side lunge x 8 each leg
  • Side shuffle 20 yds. down & back
  • Stationary leg swings (front & back) x 10 ea. leg
  • Stationary leg swings (side to side) x 10 ea. leg
  • 60 % Build-up sprint (arm & posture focus) — 30 yds. down and back
  • Lunge walk x 10 steps down and back
  • Backpedal x 20 yds. down and back
  • Squat jumps x 5
  • 75% Build-up sprint — (knee drive focus) — 40 yds. Down and back

Hurdle Mobility Phase — 4-5 hurdles

  • Walking over/under — front (2 sets)
  • Walking over/under — sideways (2 sets)
  • Leg swings over hurdles (2 sets)
  • Trail leg pick-ups over hurdles (2 sets)

Frequency Phase

  • Jump rope — 3 x 20 seconds
  • Left leg 2 x 15 sec.
  • Right leg 2 x 15 sec.
  • 85% Build-up sprint — 40 yds.


Linear Speed Workout

  • Hurdle Hops or High Box Jumps — Perform 3 sets of 3 jumps. Rest one minute between sets.
  • Loaded 20-yard sprints (use either a weighted vest or sled) — Perform 6 weighted 20-yard sprints. Rest 30 seconds between sprints.
  • Free sprints (no added weight) — Perform four 20-yard sprints, rest 30 seconds between sprints. After the last sprint, rest one minute then perform three 30-yard sprints. Rest the amount of time it takes you to walk back to the start line. After the last 30-yard sprint, rest one minute then perform two 40-yard sprints. Rest two minutes between the 40-yard sprints.

Thursday — Repetition Upper Body Strength Training

A. Repetition Lift — Work up to 3 sets of max reps, rest 90 seconds between sets.

Choose one of the following exercises:

  • Dumbbell benches on Swiss ball, flat bench or incline bench

Barbell bench press

  • Barbell bench press (max reps with 95lbs., 135lbs., 185lbs. or 225lbs.)
  • Bodyweight dips
  • Chin-ups
  • 2-3-4 board press (Choose a weight you can bench about 12-15 times. Perform two-board presses until your bar speed starts to slow down. Then, have your partner immediately switch to a three-board on your chest. Don’t rack the weight when he’s switching boards! Keep repping out, but don’t go to failure. Finally, have your partner switch to a four-board and finish off as many reps as you can. Only perform two sets of this exercise! Rest three minutes between sets.)
  • Regular push-ups, bar push-ups or suspended chain push-ups

Suspended chain push-ups

B. Lat/upper back superset — Superset one exercise from the first group of exercises with one exercise from the second group of exercises. Perform 3-4 supersets of 8-12 reps of each exercise.

Group 1

  • Lat pulldowns (various bars & grips)
  • Seated cable rows (various bars & grips)
  • Bent-over dumbbell rows
  • Chest supported rows

Chest supported rows

Group 2

  • Standing rope pulls to neck
  • Kneeling scarecrows
  • Straight arm lat pulldowns
  • Seated dumbbell power cleans


C. Medial Delt exercise — Perform 3 - 4 sets of 8-15 reps.

Choose one of the following exercises:

  • Dumbbell side press (single arm)
  • Dumbbell shoulder press (seated or standing)
  • Lateral raises (dumbbell or cable)
  • Bradford presses

Bradford presses 1

Bradford presses 2

Bradford presses 3

D. Upper Arm Superset — Superset one exercise from the first group of exercises with one exercise from the second group of exercises. Perform 2-3 supersets of 8-12 reps of each exercise.

Group 1

  • Preacher curls (EZ-bar or straight bar)
  • Regular barbell curls
  • Hammer curls
  • Alternate dumbbell curls (standing or seated incline)
  • Thick bar curls

Thick bar curls

Group 2

  • Triceps pushdowns (band or cable)
  • Dumbbell triceps extensions
  • Barbell triceps extensions
  • Incline, elbows-out triceps extensions

E. Weighted ab superset — Once again, superset one exercise from the first group of exercises with one exercise from the second group. Perform 2-3 supersets of 10-15 reps of each exercise.

Group 1

  • Hanging leg raises
  • Low-cable pull-ins
  • Weighted Swiss ball crunches

Weighted Swiss ball crunches

Group 2

  • Dumbbell or cable side bends
  • Reverse cable side bends
  • Lateral bridge (timed set)

Friday — Strongman Conditioning

Note: If you can't perform strongman training on this day, you can substitute it with another running day. This running day can consist of a dynamic warm-up followed by sport-specific drills. Kettlebell training is also another great alternative on this day.

A. Overhead Keg or Medicine ball toss - 5 tosses, rest 30 seconds between tosses

Keg or Medicine ball toss

B. Tire Flip — 3 sets of 5 flips, rest 3 minutes between sets. Or 3 sets of 30 seconds, rest 3-4 minutes between sets. (In the timed set variation, the athlete performs as many tire flips as possible in the given timeframe.)

Tire Flip

C. "Zigzag" Farmers Walk — Perform 3 sets of 50 yards around cones. Rest 3-4 minutes between sets.

"Zigzag" Farmers Walk

D. Backward Sled Drag — 2 sets of 40-50 yards. Rest one minute between sets. This is a great "finisher!"

Backward Sled Drag

E. Tug-of-War — The tug-of-war separates the men from the boys. By the end of this workout, most guys are exhausted. Perform a two-out-of-three or three-out-of-five series to finish your workout. We rest one minute between each "war."

Tug-of-War


Conclusion

Skinny bastards can get big and strong too, even if they need to run to prepare for their sports! Use this program as a guide and get to work!

 

About the Author

Joe DeFranco’s training techniques have become a hot topic worldwide. This did not happen by accident. The training programs Joe develops and the athletes he produces speak for themselves. You can learn more about Joe, his athletes, and his techniques at www.DeFrancosTraining.com.

© 1998 — 2005 Testosterone, LLC. All Rights Reserved.

 

11 Comments

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  1. i feel like there should be another upper body day or workouts integrated into one of the speed days. thats just me personally
  2. How about food supplements? Og eating guides ??
  3. If you feel like you can do more, then increase the weight. You should always try to beat your previous best on max effort day. dumbbell program
  4. No. Simon you have to be a monkey and follow everything word for word on the program. If you put use a heavy overhead press instead of a bench press variation that is considered sacrilege and your going to hell... Just kidding but honestly think for yourself. Its ok to change things in a program to better suit your needs its not like your balls are going to drop off all of a sudden because on "Max Effort Upper Body Day" you didn't bench. BTW this will help you. It took me 5 minutes to find this... http://www.defrancostraining.com/ask_joe/archives/ask_joe_07-06-05.htm If your really serious about strongman training then 5 more minutes would leave you with this http://www.defrancostraining.com/ask_joe/archives/ask_joe_03-09-12.htm Grow some balls and decide on what works best for you!
  5. On the max effort upper body day you only put a list of bench movements.. I compete in strongman comps in the uk and i need a lot of shoulder strength.. can i change it to shoulder press or rotate the exercises.. love the program but its missing heavy shoulder work.. can you help please
  6. is this also good for soccer specific pre-season training? please respond
  7. @john none more. you've worked your way up to your max, and that's the goal of that workout. now you just try to break that record next time. However, if you reach your max and feel you can do more, try to add a little extra weight
  8. on the leg day if i want to do upright sled walks should i do backwards or forwards and how far do i do them?
  9. 1 set. If you feel like you can do more, then increase the weight. You should always try to beat your previous best on max effort day.
  10. 1 set.
  11. hey on max effort upper body on monday for the first lift... say i chose bench press for max effort lift and i work up to my max 95x5 135x3 160x3 225x3 and my max is 240x3 how many sets should i do of my max just one or more? plz respond

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