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Thread: A brief explanation of the efficacy of Westside conjugate variety

  1. #26
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    Quote Originally Posted by chris mason View Post
    You point about what happens when people go to Westside is not accurate. You are right that lifters are very good before they get there, but that is often after years and years of training. Louie then takes them and adds hudreds of lbs to their totals in relatively short order. You can think what you want, but to add hundreds of lbs to elite totals time after time is something very unique and powerful.
    Doesn't matter where AJ Roberts or Dave Hoff train. They'll be great no matter what. I do agree that Westside adds great numbers, but to say it's the program is just very short-sighted. The atmosphere and expectations play a much bigger role than the program. If the program was that great, everyone who trains as hard as AJ or Hoff would be as strong as them without the group.

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    I'm sure almost all training systems work if you put effort and thinking in them. But it's not just the little pond I'm in. The last couple of years there hasn't been lifters in the IPF World Champs from Finland who'd use westside. Also, Bullfarm has been running for a little over 10 years and they have produced only 1 National team IPF lifter and they use westside.
    Last edited by Ripe1; 11-13-2012 at 11:31 PM.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Ripe1 View Post
    I'm sure almost all training systems work if you put effort and thinking in them. But it's not just the little pond I'm in. The last couple of years there hasn't been lifters in the IPF World Champs from Finland who'd use westside. Also, Bullfarm has been running for a little over 10 years and they have produced only 1 National team IPF lifter and they use westside.
    Bullfarm also is overwhemingly multiply, no? Typically when you lift at a big gym like that, you lift where your teammates lift.

    Just because there is little data to support the notion that Westside would not work for IPF lifters does not mean that is a valid point.

    For instance, many IPF national contingents have a national coach who designs the training template for their lifters. Many even train out of the same gym and have basic equipment so their training methods are simple and proven. They're hesitant to change the programming that works, yet WS principles will creep into their programs due to the nature of the gear being more extreme (ie. rotating board work).

    Also, the nature of IPF judging is a huge issue. Watch the recent IPF Senior Worlds. An overwhemingly majority of the lifters train using volume-loading schemes (70-85% intensities waved) and come third attempts, they either smoke the lift or they fail epicly. The reason is twofold:
    1) Minimal Max Effort training reduces the ability of the lifter to strain using maximal or supramaximal weights.
    2) The depth and competition is so deep that you need to go 8/9 to really have a shot at winning. Consistency, with the strictness of judging, means that max lifting is almost non-existent on the Worlds platform. In ME training, often your technique goes out the window to hit a PR and in the IPF World meets, they red-light lifts for any inconsistency. Technique is paramount so that's why a bulk of the work is done 70-85% with the competition lifts, which is a scheme you don't see very often in a pure WS program where you're rotating core lifts for ME and doing the competition lifts/variants in the 50-70% range.

    This, besides the point of tapering off drugs, is why most IPF lifters don't PR much on the World level (and also travel/being unfamiliar to another country, etc). This is exactly the reason I posted to Chris. You need to meet the demands of the competition with your training and so to really make conjugate optimal for a World level IPF lifter, the routine would look a bit different than a pure Westside program.
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    Quote Originally Posted by RhodeHouse View Post
    Doesn't matter where AJ Roberts or Dave Hoff train. They'll be great no matter what. I do agree that Westside adds great numbers, but to say it's the program is just very short-sighted. The atmosphere and expectations play a much bigger role than the program. If the program was that great, everyone who trains as hard as AJ or Hoff would be as strong as them without the group.
    Listen, I love AJ, but that just isn't true. I met AJ several years before he went to Westside. He was a powerlifter and a good one, but that was it. He was no world beater. He had been training for some time. He was competing at the WPO meet the last, or 2nd to last year when I first met him in person. Anyway, he was no noob when he got to Westside yet he upped his best multi-ply total by something like 400 lbs AFTER being there for just a couple of years. It was no accident. So no, I don't believe he would have reached the heights he did without Westside.

    As for Hoff, we can't really say because he started with Louie as a teen.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Ripe1 View Post
    I'm sure almost all training systems work if you put effort and thinking in them. But it's not just the little pond I'm in. The last couple of years there hasn't been lifters in the IPF World Champs from Finland who'd use westside. Also, Bullfarm has been running for a little over 10 years and they have produced only 1 National team IPF lifter and they use westside.
    As Blood mentioned I would be willing to be that has a lot to do with they compete in multi-ply meets. They have some retard strong guys who would very likely do quite well in the IPF if they chose to.

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    To give a small example, I handled a lifter that placed 9th at USAPL Collegiate Nationals (one of the deepest and strictest meets) in the country going 7/9, 272.5kg/182.5/240. After visiting Westside and structuring a conjugate program for his needs, he placed 2nd at his class the following year going 307.5/215/252.5 with a 6/9 performance that was nowhere near his potential for that meet day (travel/gear issues/etc).

    Point - He got stronger at maximal lifting and in his gear yet was less technically proficient and missing attempts. He customized his routine to meet the demands of his application despite part time work/full course load/preparing for job search and a gym that's not exactly PLer friendly.

    I think it would be a fun experiment for Louie to take in a Class 1 USAPL lifter and see if given a few years and the same type of gear, he/she could win nationals and place top 3 at IPF Senior Worlds.
    Last edited by BloodandThunder; 11-14-2012 at 10:52 AM.
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  7. #32
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    Quote Originally Posted by RhodeHouse View Post
    Doesn't matter where AJ Roberts or Dave Hoff train. They'll be great no matter what. I do agree that Westside adds great numbers, but to say it's the program is just very short-sighted. The atmosphere and expectations play a much bigger role than the program. If the program was that great, everyone who trains as hard as AJ or Hoff would be as strong as them without the group.

    Like chris, I'm going to have to disagree there. You can't put it quite that simply. It'd be the same as me saying that if your logic were true, there'd be a lot more guys outside of Westside hitting 2800 and 2900. Aj would wholeheartedly agree that he'd not have hit the numbers he did without Louie or Westside.

    Shane Hammock has added several hundred lbs to his total and will add quite a few more. Jake Anderson is a good example as well.

    My best bench raw before going there was 385 and equipped was 470. Although I've been there quite some time, it's 575 raw now and 835 equipped. There is NO way I'd have been able to continually make those gains over that long period of time without Louie or the Westside program.


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    I personally had a lot more success with Sheiko than Westside. And Sheiko is like the exact opposite. Meh maybe it would've been different if I actually trained there.
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  9. #34
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    Quote Originally Posted by patricky View Post
    I personally had a lot more success with Sheiko than Westside. And Sheiko is like the exact opposite. Meh maybe it would've been different if I actually trained there.
    User error is also a very common problem as well. Not saying you actually did do it wrong, but it's a good possiblity. There are a lot of misconceptions about the program out there, half read articles and misunderstood conversations that create a lot of opinions about Westside that are not true.


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    Quote Originally Posted by Travis Bell View Post
    User error is also a very common problem as well. Not saying you actually did do it wrong, but it's a good possiblity. There are a lot of misconceptions about the program out there, half read articles and misunderstood conversations that create a lot of opinions about Westside that are not true.
    Are there any common misconceptions you'd want to debunk?

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    Great contributions, guys.
    I agree with B&T analysis of IPF style of lifting requiring a very high technical consistency not to get red lighted.

    But there are a lot of uber-strong mofos using WS/conjugate, and it would be great to see them go against the IPF top dogs.
    I also think that, with a bit of re-designing, a WS style template could be very successfully used in the IPF realm: you narrow down the variations, pound away at the core lifts and maybe don't go nuts all the time on ME days, and here you have your WS IPF program.

    Here in Italy, we have a couple of teams that produced some great lifters this way (Silvio Crisafi - 290 bench @ 110 in a full meet, and Antonietta Orsini, World Games 2nd place and IPF HoF, come to mind)

    An Hoff-Barkhatov challenge would be Epic.
    Last edited by Rock1984; 11-15-2012 at 03:23 AM.

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    Quote Originally Posted by RFabsik View Post
    Are there any common misconceptions you'd want to debunk?
    haha well we are kinda looking at one right here in this discussion. All of a sudden there is an opinion that Westside doesn't work for IPF'ers because it requires sloppy form. That is just not even remotely true. Ever seen Dave Hoff squat? He's a technical masterpiece.

    The biggest ones I tend to run into is people not knowing how to run a complete ME or DE workout. Normally just flat out not enough work. Especially in the bench and squat workouts. Guys make too big of jumps and hit their max too quickly and then don't follow it up with enough work on either down sets with heavy weight or appropriate accessory work.

    There are countless other things I run into but largely they begin from people who just don't want to work hard enough, yet want to claim they train Westside.


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    I have benched 600 raw in mutliple weight classes and over 800 raw in multiple weight classes using conjugate training.


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    Quote Originally Posted by Travis Bell View Post
    haha well we are kinda looking at one right here in this discussion. All of a sudden there is an opinion that Westside doesn't work for IPF'ers because it requires sloppy form. That is just not even remotely true. Ever seen Dave Hoff squat? He's a technical masterpiece.
    I think I may have worded my response but it was not my intention that WS requires "sloppy form." Also, yes Hoff is a great technician but he also is one of the best lifters ever and trains under the man who developed this system. I don't really like the overzealousness of the IPF in judging, but Hoff would have to adapt to that judging (his overpulls and tendency to fall back on his pulls would be redlighted for example despite his awesome strength). I've been to countless meets from raw to single to multi and I see many lifters who train using WS principles who are very poor technicians and rely more on brute maximal strength. Are they doing WS the way it was intended, no most likely. My comment was strictly toward people who don't train at WS or under Louie's guidance. This is why many of them end up 5/9 or 6/9 at the end of the day.

    I'm specifically talking about one application, a world meet with the deepest competition and strictest judging. Single is a different game than multi since the potential carryover is far less (despite single improving drastically in recent years). Unless the lifter is a pure freak and has a significant advantage like the Russian 59 kg winner, IPF World Champs need to hit 7/9 or better almost every time. Their attempt selection and training revolves around this. They have developed systems of volume loading with the main lifts and little variation to ensure not one nitpick will be made available to the IPF judges to redlight. Again, you don't see much maximal lifting on this platform and very often, not many WRs are made either (lifters often total far more out of World platform competition). It's also why you don't see many of these lifters getting ridiculous carryover. Many of them in fact also lifted at the IPF Raw World Cup or whatever it's called this year. They're just very strong raw, don't change anything about their technique once in gear, and just train for the win. It's laughable how much better multi guys are at getting the most of their gear which is a credit to them and being the best at their game. For example, these are the good attempts for each of the IPF Worlds winners and how they performed near their 2nd place competition. If you look at the results, several classes had the top 5-6 lifters within 20 kg of each other and 1 attempt can be the difference between gold and 5th place.

    59 kg - 7/9 (won by 70 kg but WR total - 2nd went 6/9)
    66 kg - 8/9 (won 52 kg but WR total - 2nd went 5/9)
    74 kg - 9/9 (won by 16 kg - 2nd went 5/9)
    83 kg - 8/9 (won by 10 kg - 2nd went 7/9)
    93 kg - 6/9 (won by 15 kg - 2nd went 6/9)
    105 kg - 7/9 (won by BW - tied 2nd went 7/9
    120 kg - 7/9 (won by 2.5 kg - 2nd went 8/9)
    120+ - 7/9 (won by 2.5 kg - 2nd went 8/9)
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    Ok, how about this, let's see these IPF studs man-up and do a multi-ply meet with less stringent judging. Let's see how they do. Everything else is conjecture. On the flip side, a lot of Westside practitioners or Westside principle using lifters have competed raw and done well (even set records).

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    Quote Originally Posted by chris mason View Post
    Ok, how about this, let's see these IPF studs man-up and do a multi-ply meet with less stringent judging. Let's see how they do. Everything else is conjecture. On the flip side, a lot of Westside practitioners or Westside principle using lifters have competed raw and done well (even set records).
    Doesn't really happen just as many multi guys stick to multi. Time spent on raw/single will pull away from time spent on multi. IPF guys stick to a pretty strict schedule of meets (country championships/regional championships/worlds) so they'd have little time to prepare long term for a multi meet and from experience it shows that you need alot of time to transition into multi.

    One example would be Belyaev. Did a WPC meet multiply (hit the 13th highest total ever at the time) but failed to set the world on fire like many thought since he set both raw and single ply WRs. It would take a lot of time to learn the gear but again, unless he was using a conjugate system I don't think he would have reached his potential in that avenue. Wade Hooper also lifted in the WPO. Kutcher was a monster too although I'm not entirely clear on his training methods early in his IPF career. You take a guy like Malanchiev who has squatted 992 raw and his single ply best was not even a 100 lbs over that. So noone knows how much he would get or if he would ever outbest Thompson in multiply using his system of training.

    All three variations of the sport are different as drag racing, NASCAR racing, and formula one are all different. Some have an easier time transitioning from one to the other (and I believe conjugate is best for doing so). Again I realize not many here care about the IPF Worlds, but it'd be a cool experiment to see Louie put someone through to the top as his system has been proven across raw and multiply time and time again. Again it all goes with my point that you have to meet the demands of the application that you intend. Conjugate is very flexible with this as opposed to other systems.
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    B and T, Dave has done that twice in his entire life. He doesn't have a "tendency" really.

    I understand what you were trying to say, but I still disagree. I just don't think you can group everyone who trains Westside and doesn't train under our gym and say that they go 5/9. That's a SUPER general statement, but still doesn't prove anything about the Westside method.

    What you are pointing at has much more to do with attempt selection than strength itself. There are FAR too many variables that play into that to make an accurate and educated assessment of Westside compared to Russian training. It'd be a waste of time.


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    Quote Originally Posted by RhodeHouse View Post
    I disagree, to some extent. I understand what you say about the variety of lifts targeting relative weaknesses, but explain this to me. If I fall forward in the squat and choose the SSB Squat to address this weakness, then 1 session every 4-6 weeks WILL correct that weakness? This is absolutely not the case. There is no better way to target relative weakness than to hit it over and over and over again. You cannot argue that 1 session with the SSB will correct my weakness of falling forward in the squat.
    I think you may be missing the "Overall" theme he is presenting. He never said you have to wait 6 weeks between particular exercises. That's the beauty of conjugate, you constantly vary workouts to ensure you are strong over all but can increase the frequency of a particular exercise if you feel it's necessary to overcome a weakness. The whole point is to seek out weakness and overcome it.


    All arguments/conjecture aside, I totalled 1493 raw in Dec of 2009 and started running Westside in Feb of 2010. I totalled 1922 raw just over 2 years later (March 2012) adding well over 400 pounds to my total in said period! In "MY" personal experience Conjugate works!
    Last edited by Justin Randal; 11-15-2012 at 04:32 PM.
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    Quote Originally Posted by Justin Randal View Post
    I think you may be missing the "Overall" theme he is presenting. He never said you have to wait 6 weeks between particular exercises. That's the beauty of conjugate, you constantly vary workouts to ensure you are strong over all but can increase the frequency of a particular exercise if you feel it's necessary to overcome a weakness. The whole point is to seek out weakness and overcome it.



    All arguments/conjecture aside, I totalled 1493 raw in Dec of 2009 and started running Westside in Feb of 2010. I totalled 1922 raw just over 2 years later (March 2012) adding well over 400 pounds to my total in said period! In "MY" personal experience Conjugate works!
    How much weight did you gain during that time period and did you introduce vitamin S into the equation?


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    I put on about 15 pounds but traded a bit of weight as well. And no, I didn't change my supplementation habits.
    Last edited by Justin Randal; 11-16-2012 at 12:19 AM.
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    I might run another cycle of Westside. I got my front squat from 127kg to 162kg in 3 weeks.

    How much weight should I add each ME day?
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    Quote Originally Posted by Travis Bell View Post
    B and T, Dave has done that twice in his entire life. He doesn't have a "tendency" really.

    I understand what you were trying to say, but I still disagree. I just don't think you can group everyone who trains Westside and doesn't train under our gym and say that they go 5/9. That's a SUPER general statement, but still doesn't prove anything about the Westside method.

    What you are pointing at has much more to do with attempt selection than strength itself. There are FAR too many variables that play into that to make an accurate and educated assessment of Westside compared to Russian training. It'd be a waste of time.
    Understood and appreciate the criticism. Most of the lifters in general that I mention that use WS principles I've watched over the years typically fail weights that they are more than capable of handling (2nds/modest 3rds) and aren't just poor attempt selections. Whereas the application I've discussed you typically never see a grinding 3rd attempt (lifters either make their competition overreach to secure a lead thus ensuring their opponent has to take a weight they're not capable of doing). I guess the specific area I was leading the 5 or 6/9 point to is submaximal weight attempts. This is exactly one criticism I make of volume loading schemes is the lack of ME work and the roll of a handler in understanding what their lifter is capable of doing.

    That's just an observation and I agree there are many many variables at play. It's a great topic though.
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    I think multi ply lifting is less consistent overall. The more carry over from gear the more variables that can impact performance. There's not much margin to go from 300 lbs of squat gear carryover to 250 lbs. The same goes for bench press.
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    Quote Originally Posted by BloodandThunder View Post
    Understood and appreciate the criticism. Most of the lifters in general that I mention that use WS principles I've watched over the years typically fail weights that they are more than capable of handling (2nds/modest 3rds) and aren't just poor attempt selections. Whereas the application I've discussed you typically never see a grinding 3rd attempt (lifters either make their competition overreach to secure a lead thus ensuring their opponent has to take a weight they're not capable of doing). I guess the specific area I was leading the 5 or 6/9 point to is submaximal weight attempts. This is exactly one criticism I make of volume loading schemes is the lack of ME work and the roll of a handler in understanding what their lifter is capable of doing.

    That's just an observation and I agree there are many many variables at play. It's a great topic though.
    I think you are confusing a problem with multi-ply gear and the training system. I think you see more bombing in multi-ply because of the exact opposite argument you are presenting. Form and technique have to be especially perfect at the highest levels of multi-ply because getting just a little out of the groove can spell disaster.

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    Quote Originally Posted by RhodeHouse View Post
    I disagree, to some extent. I understand what you say about the variety of lifts targeting relative weaknesses, but explain this to me. If I fall forward in the squat and choose the SSB Squat to address this weakness, then 1 session every 4-6 weeks WILL correct that weakness? This is absolutely not the case. There is no better way to target relative weakness than to hit it over and over and over again. You cannot argue that 1 session with the SSB will correct my weakness of falling forward in the squat.

    As for overuse issues... A SSB Squat pattern in the lower body is not different than the squat pattern. The knees bend, the hips go back - it's exactly the same. Overuse injuries are going to occur no matter what method you use because of the nature of the limited movements in powerlifting.

    Although Westside produces some great lifters, they were already great before they got there. It's Louie Simmons' coaching, expectations and the atmosphere, more than anything, that produces the great numbers.

    Rhodes, to answer your first question..please correct me if you disagree with what I'm writing here. I don't think this question has has been answered yet, or if it was I missed it. One week WILL NOT fix a weakness, there is more to it than that. The key component with determining the Max Effort exercise rotation is the level of the lifter. From how I understand the training method, only the most advanced lifters are changing ME movements every week, and even then, they may or may not do that. If you read Lou's writings in PLUSA or the Book of Methods or the Squat/Deadlift manual they all three say to not keep a max effort exercise more than 21 days. That mythical 21 day point is the point of accomodation and is also associated with the natural circadian rhythms of humans (basically these revolve around a 21 day hormonal, physiological, and psychological cycle, although it isn't exactly 21 days, that is the average point).

    I think a lot of people watch Westside training videos or they catch snippits and they don't keep on a 3 week rotation, they like the variety and immediately go to the never ending exercise rotation and then ultimately don't fix the weak point. I think its much better for a beginning lifter to start out on a 3 week rotation, then stick to that until they find that on that 3rd week they can't break a PR for that exercise. I've seen guys in my gym set a PR on week 1, set a 20 lb PR on week 2, and then set another 20 lb PR on week 3. On the 4th week, they always fall apart. Why? In my mind because their body has accomodated and the have overextended their ability.

    When a lifter starts setting a PR on week 1, then another on week 2, then on week 3, they fall apart, they have progressed to the point where they need to be changing exercises every 2 weeks. There will be a point where they set a PR on week 1, but on week 2, can't even tie that PR. That is the point where they need to go into the rotation of changing an exercise every week. The key at that point is how they construct the rotation for their weak points---ME work and accessory work should both be focused on addressing weaknesses. It is a balance that will vary by individual lifters to a degree.

    I think I'm a lifter at that point in my training, in that I can break a record on week 1, but on week 2, I may struggle to tie it or I barely break it, so now I rotate ever week. I have had an elite total for a couple of years now, in both single ply and multiply, so that is a factor too. That every week rotation is one with cumulative weeks included--basically 12 week periods where I work that one specific weak point. Say I'm weak in my bench lockout from the 3 board level up.. week 1 is reverse bands, week 2 is floor presses of pins, week 3 is 2-3 board work in a shirt, week 4 is scheduled deload week (no ME Work, rehab work instead and regular DE work), then on week 5, I normally will start the exercise rotation over again for at least one full 4 week rotation and attempt to break all the records I set the first 4 weeks through. Depending on what kind of PR's I set, how I'm feeling, and where I am in meet prep, I then will do it again for a 3rd rotation before I change ME exercises. That varies a bit, but thats the idea I try to follow if I'm not getting ready for a meet. .

    That to me is how you use a Westside training template to fix weak points. You can't fix them by focusing on one single exercise done in one workout. You have to have a big picture idea of what your weakness is and how you are going to address that weak point, then address it.

    Personally have put over 400 lbs on my meet squat, almost 400 lbs on my meet bench, and we won't talk about deadlifts, but over 600 on my meet total in the last 6 years training that way.... as a mid 30's, fat, overworked, stressed out, Type I diabetic who had been stuck at the same numbers for years. So in my mind, there is a method to the madness, a method that definitely works, if you understand it and follow it. You just need to think in terms of big picture, not one single workout. This type of training is a method of training, not a routine.
    Last edited by JK1; 11-18-2012 at 02:24 AM.
    Finally ELITE @ SHW..

    Single ply: 931 squat, 760 bench, 530 deadlift and 2180 total
    Multi ply: 960 squat, 770 bench, 550 deadlift and 2250 total.

    The next stop: PRO total.

    HOO's Gym: building the strongest gym in the South, one plate at a time.

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