Don’t even tell me you wouldn’t wanna work with these guys!

The above trailer is from Joe’s documentary movie Strong available at www.strongmovie.com There will be a review of it as soon as I get my copy. I’m expecting very good things from it.

Westside for Deployed Skinny bastards

Warning: This program will make your clothes fit tighter, draw attention from really hot girls and become freaky strong. You’ve been warned!


Those of you not familiar with Joe Defranco, you’ve been missing out. The program that follows is from his WS4SB (WestSide for Skinny Bastards) series. Specifically I pulled the template from part III. It’s a journey of myself and some fellow squad members that delved into this program and made some dramatic gains. We utilised the Strength & Speed template.

Below I’ve highlighted what we did in the last two weeks of our WS4SB. This is not the extensive list from the original article as there is only so much the overseas gyms have available. There were a couple options in various sections in case the equipment was being being breathed on by the mouth breathers that aren’t breathing through their mouth because they’re working hard. Where there are two highlighted, it would alternate depending upon equipment. For the full list of templates and exercises, go to Joe’s site.


WestSide for 220th Skinny Bastards

Strength & Speed Template

A- Max Effort Upper Body

1. A. Incline Barbell Bench Press-Work up to 2 max sets of 3 Reps

B. Flat Dumbbell Bench Press- 2XAMRAP(As Many Reps As Possible)

Approximately 15-20 Reps, 3-4 Min Rest

2. A1-Dumbbell/Barbell Rows/Cable Rows

A2- Rear Delt Flyes/Scarecrows/Face Pulls/Seated DB “Power Cleans”/Band Pull-aparts

3-4 SetsX8-12 Reps Supersetted

3. Dumbbell/Barbell Shrugs 3-4SetsX8-15 Reps

4. Dumbell/Barbell/Hammer Curls 3-4SetsX8-15Reps

B- Speed Training

1. General Warm-up/Movement Skills (5-15 minutes) Increase core temperature by performing basic movement skills and calisthenics (Ex. Bodyweight Squats, Jumping Jacks, Skipping, Back Pedaling)

2. Ground Based Mobility (5-15 minutes) (Sample mobility drills: Roll-overs into V-sits, fire hydrant circles, mountain climbers, groaners, etc)

3. Frequency Drills (2-3 minutes) 1 or 2 drills to excite the CNS. 5-10 secondsX2-3sets (Ex. Low pogo jumps, wideouts, ankling, etc.)

4. Speed Training

A. 10-Yard Starts/Sprints-10 sprints with 1 minute rest

B. 20-Yard Shuttle/Sprints-6 sprints with 2 minutes rest

C. 3-Cone Drill/40-Yard Sprints-4 sprints with 4 minutes rest

C- Max-Effort Lower Body & Conditioning

1. Box Squat- Work up to 2 max sets of 3 Reps(The gym surprisingly had a box. I’m sure it was probably requested for step-ups, but it worked)

2. Hip Extension- 45 degree back raises/Pull-throughs 3X10

3. Sprinter Sit-ups- 3X20

4. Conditioning Finisher- Chose One(We alternated both)

Farmers Walk– 4-6X40-60 Yards 1-2 minutes rest(kettlebells carried in deep gravel)

Forward or Backward Sled Drags– 4-6X30-50 Yards 1-2 minute rest(kettlebells pulled by leather jump rope in deep gravel)

D- Repetition Upper Body

1. Dumbbell Flat/Incline/On Swiss Ball/Floor Press or Push-up/Chin-up Variations

3SetsXAMRAP or 4X12-15

2. A1-Lat Pulldown/Chin-ups/Straight Arm Pulldowns

A2- Rear Delt Flyes/Scarecrows/Face Pulls/Seated DB “Power Cleans”/Band


3-4X8-12 supersetted

3. Dumbbell Lateral Raises/Military Press/Side Press(slight learning curve if you’ve never performed these. Refer to Power to the People by Pavel)


4. A1- Dumbbell Shrugs 3X8-10

A2- Hammer Curls 3X8-10/Dumbbell Tricep Extension 3X10-15/Pushdown 3X15-25

5. Weighted Abdominals- Chose one 4X10-15

DB side bends

Barbell Russian Twists

Hanging leg raises

Weighted Swiss ball Crunches

Spread Eagle sit-ups with DB over chest


1. General Warm-up/Movement Skills (5-15 minutes) Increase core temperature by performing basic movement skills and calisthenics (Ex. Bodyweight Squats, Jumping Jacks, Skipping, Back Pedaling)

2. Ground Based Mobility (5-15 minutes) (Sample mobility drills: Roll-overs into V-sits, fire hydrant circles, mountain climbers, groaners, etc)

3. Frequency Drills (2-3 minutes) 1 or 2 drills to excite the CNS. 5-10 secondsX2-3sets (Ex. Low pogo jumps, wideouts, ankling, etc.)

4. Conditioning

Option 1- Benchmark WOD roughly 15-20 minutes

Option 2- Sport-Play a pick-up game for fun

Option 3- General Conditioning


1. Mountain climbers into 10-Yard sprint-8 sets, 30 seconds rest, rest 1-minute before 2nd exercise

2. Wideouts into 15-Yard sprint-Wideouts for 5 seconds then sprint 15 yards on command. 6 sets with 45 seconds rest, rest 2 minutes before 3rd exercise

3. 60-Yard Shuttle- 4 shuttles with 45 seconds rest, rest 1 minute before 4th exercise

4. Illinois Drill- 3 sets with 1 minute rest





A. Max Effort day- Pretty self explainatory

B. Speed training- Sprint training not only make your assault techniques more effective, but it trains your nervous system to fire faster. Just like lifting fast and olympic lifts creates nervous system improvements. You should be working in either O-lifts, fast weighted lifts or some other type of speed training to enhance your muscle firing rates and coordination.

C. Max Lower Body and Conditioning- Again pretty self explainatory

D. Repetition upper body day- This is where the beef is built. The high volume stimulates muscle growth and helps flush the muscles to assist in recovery. If you are trying to maintain a lower weight, drop this day from your program.

E. Conditioning/Strongman/Sports(Optional)- Utilize this day for additional conditioning, lifting heavy stuff cause you feel like it(strongman type stuff) or play a pick up game of a sport. Depends on your goal, but the sport option has a definate mental and physical break and is much more fun.


After one month of training following the templates laid out in part III of WS4SB, all of our lifts went up by 30-50 pounds(I’ll find my notebook again one of these days in between moving). I personally had a bodyweight shift from 177 to 189, appeared to be less fat as well, but being in a combat zone I didn’t care to actually measure all that. I gained another 5 or so in the next month. I had to have my ma send me new boxers so the legs would fit!! I had to cut the sides on all the rest. Be warned, you’ll need to get some Hane’s comfort band boxers. They tend to fit better in the legs while maintaining the same waist. T-Shirts fit tighter, I actually filled the arms up for once haha. People started mentioning how beefy and ripped all of us looked. But enough about my panties.

If you’re looking for a program to get you beefy, but still athletic and more functional, I highly reccomend any of the Templates. Even if your a fat bastard, you’ll still get freaky strong, and with ensuring proper conditioning, the fat should come off fast as well.

If you’re in a tactical enviroment, I would give a strong look at the ‘In-Season’ template. Combined with the conditioning methods mentioned in the Deployment Fitness Guide, you’ll be set without burning your nervous system out. The gist of the In-Season template is to design a Max-Effort Upper Body session and a Max-Effort Lower Body session approximately four days from each other. Combine this with some conditioning as outlined in the Deployment Field Guide and you should be set pretty well.

As as side note, I was talking to my friend Nate Morrison the other day. He mentioned they experienced dramatic improvements in ruck times by utilizing sprinting. I would strongly encourage looking into sprint training like the above no matter what your job or sport. Many benefits will come, mainly from getting the nervous system fired up. Speed is king.

In the end, I may be a skinny bastard. But like many of Joe’s clients, those of us that went through the adventure are now bigger and stronger skinny bastards.

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  2. Author
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