The Cube Method: Yeah or Nay?

Hey Jennifer,

Welcome. You seem to be really ‘book smart’ as well as being a ‘lifter.’ What is your impression of The Cube training?

-Tony

Hey Tony,

I have never tried the Cube Style of training; thus, I cannot tell you how well it works. However, I can give you some information on it. The Cube Program is basically a rotation of three-week waves in a three-week block of the bench, squat, and pull, with the fourth day being devoted to bodybuilding exercises for your weak points.

So….

Week One: Max effort/heavy squat, dynamic/explosive bench, rep effort pull, bodybuilding assistance

Week Two: Dynamic/explosive squat, rep effort bench, max effort/heavy pull, bodybuilding assistance

Week Three: Rep work squat, max effort/heavy bench, dynamic/explosive pull, bodybuilding assistance

My friend, Corey Hayes (who helps with my programming as well), is a huge part of this program’s development. I trust that if he believes in it, then it must work. Hell, if he were to suggest that I try it out, I’d trust him enough to give it a shot! In addition, I have had many friends on this program who have been hitting many PRs. However, to play devil’s advocate, I have to say that my friends’ results are all coming over the course of the last few months, and I cannot speak on the long-term effectiveness of the program. With that being said, to my knowledge, the guys at Brandon’s gym have been using this program for quit a while, and it seems as if they keep getting stronger meet after meet… but i digress…

So, back to my thoughts:

  • I think the Cube Method will work because I hear from many people (oftentimes in a conjugate system ) that they feel like they can’t recover (I don’t always agree with this, but it’s their opinion), and I think the built-in percents and the removal of two max effort days a week keeps people fresh, progressing, and not missing weights. That last part—the not missing weights—is the most important part. I seriously think that the people who don’t have success in a Westside template/conjugate are the ones who don’t understand that it’s not okay to miss max effort days and the implications it has on your CNS and your mental state. I also think the Cube Method works because there are numbers/percents to hit that are written in on max effort days; thus, Prilepin’s table will always be respected. (Many times, newbies who are using a Westside template forget this chart and hit something like 10 singles above 90% and wonder why their CNS is shot and they fell like s*it).

Prilepin’s Chart

Percent Reps/sets Optimal Total range
55–65 3–6 24 18–30
70–80 3–6 18 12–24
80–90 2–4 15 10–20
90+ 1–2 4 10
  • I think it works because there is sufficient volume programmed in on the assistance work. I think that when it comes to getting strong, you HAVE TO DO YOUR VOLUME FOR YOUR ASSISTANCE. You cant just go in, hit some heavy singles, and go home. Well… maybe you can at first, but not in the long run.
  • I think the use of straight weight as an emphasis, and less use of bands and chains, is helpful with a raw lifter. Unless someone is extremely knowledgeable in the Westside system, I have seen way too many times people using crazy amounts of accommodating resistance. This only allows them to get strong at the top of the movement, weak at the bottom, and crushed at a meet. Accommodating resistance is great, but you’ve gotta know Louie’s stuff to understand how it works to make you stronger on meet day. So, yeah, I think by limiting the accommodating resistance, the raw lifters really see their lifts take off.
  • The secondary barbell assistance work for reps is something I think is great. This allows lifters to work through their sticking points (since load is sub-max and they wont fail) and learn to strain through it.

I hope that helps! But if not, just send me another message and I can give your more feedback. The best way to get an impression, though, is to pull a meathead experiment and take the Cube for a test run.

- Jennifer Petrosino

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Related Articles:

Lift It. Hold It. Lower It.

A Timeless Training Expression

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NOTE:

We will begin doing ebook reviews in the near future. This will be one of the books that is on our list to review.

 

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About the Author

Jennifer Petrosino is a raw powerlifter in the 97- and 105-pound weight classes. She holds the all-time American record squat in the 105-pound weight class and the top-five all-time squat in the 97-pound class. She is a former division I strength coach and is currently pursuing her master's degree in kinesiology at Ohio State while working as a graduate teacher assistant. She can be contacted at jennympetro@aol.com.