[Random Thoughts] Reconciling Sheiko and Westside
Sheiko uses high-frequency and high-volume of most specific lifts, sometimes even training twice a day (see very interesting approach HERE). Sheiko also seems overly prescriptive in terms or reps and percentages used. Great overview can be found at Powerlifting To Win website (which is great website with great and extensive reviews of some strength systems and programs)
Westside uses high-intensity special lifts that are rotated every week or two and done twice per week in upper/lower fashion. When it comes to prescription Westside is a bit more looser than Sheiko, where goal reps are prescribed (except for dynamic effort days). Please read Izzy’s great overview at Powerlifting To Win website.
As I have alluded multiple times, I think the systems differ in the way they model reality and in this particular case the way they solve the “root problem”. Sheiko looks at the powerlifts more as a skill entity that needs frequent training and refinement. Westside on opposite side looks on powerlifts as and expression of “strength” that can (and should) be developed using similar (or special) lifts that hits the “weak links” (or limiters). The question is who is right?
No one, of course. Both of them can work, depending on the specific person I guess, or the stage in one career. They might actually work better of worse for a given lift (e.g. upper body might react favorably to high-frequency approach and more stable exercise choices, compared to lower body that might demand higher intensity approach and often exercise rotations). Hence, both are wrong, but useful. Unfortunately there is no free lunch. One must understand the rationale, even the beliefs behind certain system and use it depending on his own circumstances.
I believe that Mike Tuchscherer went the furthest with his approach (RTS) and implemented both high-load and high-frequency approaches that are auto-regulated and individualized (see Izzy’s review HERE)
On top of this discussion comes the discussion of “periodization” and progressions. A bunch of studies shows that “periodized” programs beat “non-periodized program” (but also some show no difference – LINK). By “periodized” most refer to rotation in reps per set. Unfortunately, that is only one way to “periodize” the training. “Progression” is also a word that is often used, and mostly refers to the same exact thing – pre-planned alternations in set and rep schemes (or more simply: making things harder). I think there is no free lunch here either.
The question is why should training be “periodized” or “progressed” in pre-planned manner? Should we (or can we) plan for adaptation and progression, or allow adaptation and progression to happen?