Blog Archives

Westside for Skinny Bastards, Part III

Joe DeFranco of DeFranco’s Training is a leader in the no bullshit type strength and conditioning that has gained popularity over the past several years. Work hard, get results, end of story. Joe’s third and final installment of Westside for Skinny Bastards is awesome and you should check it out. The program is a super detailed, easy to follow plan all laid out for you, just follow along and get bigger and stronger.

From Joe DeFranco: WS4SB

After a year of answering questions about my original article and making modifications to it in the gym with my athletes, I decided to write Part 2. In that second installment, I discussed how to incorporate running workouts into the original training template. Another two years have passed now, and the avalanche of questions involving WS4SB continues to kill my inbox! This is what prompted me to sit down and provide more answers to the most common questions people have been asking. In this, my third and final chapter, I will clarify the following:

  • A new 4-day-a-week strength training template for the off-season
  • Explanation of warm-up sets
  • New ways to incorporate speed training and conditioning into the program
  • Sample in-season training templates
  • Bonus “Washed-up Meathead” template
  • The importance of including “indicator” exercises in your program

The Plan:


My original Skinny Bastard template consisted of three strength training days with an optional fourth day. Although a 3-day template is sufficient for building size and strength, I quickly realized that most people want to train more. WS4SB3 will now provide you with a 4-day strength training template. It’s been over three years since I wrote the original article, so it’s about time you skinny bastards graduated to a 4-day split that more closely resembles a “traditional” Westside split! First, I’ll reveal the new and improved template. After that, I’ll go over the specific details you’ll need to know.

MONDAYMax-Effort Upper Body
TUESDAYDynamic-Effort Lower Body
THURSDAYRepetition Upper Body
FRIDAYMax-Effort Lower Body

You can also split up the training like this…

MONDAYMax-Effort Lower Body
WEDNESDAYMax-Effort Upper Body
FRIDAYDynamic-Effort Lower Body
SUNDAYRepetition Upper Body

Now that the new template is in place, I’ll reveal the changes I’ve made since my original article…


Who’s Who with Torey Throop

On Tuesday, February 25th, two days before the 2014 CrossFit Games Open stars, I had a chance to sit down with up-and-coming CrossFit athlete Torey Throop.  I’ve had the pleasure of training next to him for the last year.  No one’s got more heart than this guy.  Keep you eye on him in 2014.  Here’s what I found:

SM: Who are you, where are you from, and where do you train?

TT: Torey Throop, from Alma, Michigan, Vestaburg originally, train at CrossFit Deviate.

SM: Where is CrossFit Deviate?

TT: Rochester, MI

SM: How long have you been CrossFitting?

TT: Uh…About 19 months?

SM: That’s pretty short?

TT: Just under two years, yep.

SM: Did you participate in any sports or weightlifting before CrossFit?

TT: Played College Basketball and Golf.  Played football, baseball, and basketball in high school

SM: Does your snatch improve your golf swing?

TT: Shoulder mobility


TT: Definitely.  And explosive hips!

SM: Makes sense.  Any sponsors?

TT: Uh…Just my buddy Brad helping me out with some Fox gear, so that’s pretty rad.  But I’m open to options at this point

SM: Why is Miranda Oldroyd so much buffer than you are?


TT: Because she’s been doing CrossFit longer…That’s why.  She’s a beast

SM:  She’s a stud.


SM: Favorite benchmark workout?

TT: Hmmm…I would have to say…(pondering)…UGH…

SM: So many to choose from.

TT: There is…Uh…Helen’s not bad.

SM: Oooohhh

TT: I like it.  It’s a good CrossFit workout.  It’s just classic CrossFit.

SM: What’s Helen again?  That’s uh…Running, kettle bell swings, and pullups?

TT: Running, kettle bells and pullups, yep.

SM: What about for 2013…Any achievements, or particularly special PR’s?

TT: This last year?

SM: Yep

TT: Um…pretty psyched to get my Fran time under 2:18.  That was cool.

SM: Brutal

TT: Clean and Jerked 315, uh…Snatched 250…So mainly my strength numbers went way up.  Squatted over 400, deadlift is getting close to 500.

SM: Those are all Big Boy numbers

TT: Trying to get up there.  Chasing guys that are getting better, so it’s hard

SM: So it’s safe to say you’re pretty strong going into the 2014 season.

TT: Yep.

SM: Why is Rich Froning so tan?

TT: Man…they don’t get much snow in Tennessee

SM: He must have a tanning bed at Mayhem.

TT: He does.  He cheats.  He gets waxed too I think


SM: Who does your programming?  Do you have a coach?

TT: UM…I started by myself in the garage.  I’d always just do benchmark workouts like every day, and hero workouts.  But now everything is more…not structured, but…I still make it up every day as I go.  I gotta give a lot of credit for strength to Rehif and…You know…I wouldn’t be where I am without him.  A lot of my knowledge comes from him.

SM: Who’s Rehif?

TT: Rehif Murray, one of the part owners of CrossFit Deviate.  He does the programming for the gym.  It’s good stuff.

SM: I can vouch for that.

TT:  And uh…Galloway and Coach Mike (CrossFit Deviate Olympic Lifting Coaches).  My oly was pitiful when I started CrossFit.  I’d have to give them the credit for my Oly form.

SM: It helps to have good coaches.

TT: Oh yea…I mean…I can’t imagine seeing better coaches anywhere, but I know there are a lot of good ones out there.

SM: Hip Hop, or Rock/Punk in the gym?

TT: Rock/Punk definitely.

SM: Running or rowing?

TT: Hmmm…Rowing.

SM: Ooooh…spicey

TT: Yea…yup.  They’re both bad.  They both suck.

SM: Last, but not least…how many burpees did you get in 12.1?

TT: Dude…I don’t remember fully…I think it was 133.  I never did the actual workout.  I did it on my own.  I did it last year before the open…a week before…I think I got 133.

SM:  Where would that score have ranked?

TT: Uh…It was somewhere in the top 20 I think.

SM:  Damn.  That’s crazy.  Well thanks buddy and good luck this year.

TT: It was a pleasure.

You can follow Torey Throop here:

526939_727530027273519_1036120086_n 581769_604858742884628_1534710074_n 1208793_727528820606973_491230320_n 1375975_727529677273554_1957144662_n 1477809_10151670652146525_642475276_n 1545169_527887523976718_1146496135_n


Mobility for the Big 3 (Squat, Bench, Deadlift)

Mobility isn’t considered “cool” by exercise standards. In fact, it’s often considered rather dull, repetitive and boring. Some would even say it’s a complete waste of time distracting you from the key business of lifting heavier weights. However, this attitude is short sighted, better mobility in key areas can allow you to achieve better anatomical positions during the squat, bench and deadlift. Better body position gives greater mechanical advantage, meaning more weight on the bar. And strong is most definitely cool, and gains are serious business.


The squat involves almost every single muscle in the body, and movement over a substantial range of motion too. That’s why it’s such an excellent muscle and strength builder. However, in order to execute a sound squat you need good mobility in numerous joints that are often lacking such mobility; most notably the ankles, hips, t-spine, and shoulders.

Wall ankle mobs are a great way to increase ankle mobility.

Foam rolling the quads and IT band: Lie face down on the ground with the foam roller positioned under one of your quads. Complete 5 to 6 passes along the quad, from the very top of the thigh to just above the kneecap, before switching legs. Now turn so the side of your quad is on the foam roller and do 5 to 6 from just above the kneecap to just below the pelvis to hit the IT band.

photo 5 (1)

T-spine extension on a foam roller: Begin at just above the belly button, with the foam roller in position do five crunch movements. You should feel the balls pushing the vertebrae slightly forward, in effect creating range of motion at that segment. A series of these crunches can be done all the way up to the shoulder blades.

Band shoulder dislocates target both t-spine mobility and shoulder flexibility required for the rack position. I prefer the band for this as the band can slacken in areas you are more mobile and stretch at points where you need a little extra help.


Band pull-aparts and scapular push-ups teach you proper scapular activation and positioning for pressing motions.

Static hip flexor stretches and hip adductor mobs (shown below) will help develop hip mobility. Why on earth is hip mobility needed for bench press? Hip mobility allows you to get a better arch when in set-up position on the bench and improve leg drive.

T-spine mobility, and specifically extension will allow you to create a greater arch, thus reducing range of motion required and allowing you to bench more weight. T-spine extension on a foam roller (as above) or wall slides are great ways to get this done.

photo 2 (1)photo 3 (1)

Stand about a foot to a foot and a half away from wall. Make sure there is no space between the back and the wall, and the pelvis is neutral. Push arms into the wall with elbows bent below shoulders. Slowly slide hands up above head. Keep shoulders against the wall, abs engaged, and ribs pressed in towards the belly button. Try to reach hands all the way above head without allowing your back or any part of your arms to lift from the wall.


The Deadlift is all about the hips and the hip musculature. As such, your going to want to improve your hip flexibility. Good hip mobility will allow you to maintain a neutral spine, this is vital for anyone wishing to deadlift heavy weight or stay injury free. Given the way most of us spend our days (sitting hunched over in front of a desk, driving, sitting down watching television), our hips are constantly in flexion. This isn’t any good for anyone, and should be put straight in order to perform heavy deadlifts (or squats) safely.

Fire hydrants (popularized by Joe DeFranco) and 3-way hamstring mobilization are probably my favorite ways to open up the hips and mobilize the hamstrings and hip adductors

Note: If you still can’t maintain neutral spine during your deadlift t-spine mobility may also be a limiting factor.

The glutes obviously play a huge role in the deadlift. However, this musculature is often glossed over during soft tissue and mobility work, as such the glutes can often exhibit poor muscle fascia quality. Rolling a lacrosse ball across the glutes will significantly improve tissue quality in this vital area.

For best results integrate these movements into a well designed warm-up prior to strength training.


About the Author:

Nick Buchan is an AGMS Graduate, PGA level 2 golf coach and UKSCA associate member.

He is also the Owner of Stronger Golf, a company dedicated to strength, conditioning and mobility for golfers.