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Intro To Conjugate

October 26, 2016

 

I’m trying to think of when I was first introduced to the conjugate method. I can’t quite seem to remember the exact moment. I’m guessing it was somewhere in college learning the different types of periodization and programming types.

 

Louie Simmons developed the conjugate method at his gym, Westside Barbell. Which, to this day, is arguably the strongest gym in the world. Simmons didn’t just come up with it one day. It took time to develop. He read numerous texts. A huge part of the literature he read into was from the Russian Soviets when they were crushing it for the Olympics back in the day. He then started putting pieces together and experimenting on himself, allot. The man is beaten down. But in return has developed something that has allowed strong people to get even stronger.

 

Look at every big movement as a chain. The squat is a chain. The deadlift is a chain. The bench is a chain. Within the chain there are links. Many, many links. For example the bench press links comprise of chest, shoulders, lats, setup, breathing, mental, grip, so on and so forth. Some links are stronger then other links. The idea is to find the weakest link and make it stronger. Then find the next weakest link and make it stronger. Soon your chain will be as big as the anchor for an aircraft carrier. 

 

The breakdown of the conjugate:

 

Max Effort Lower: Take a lower body movement, and or some sort of variation of a squat or deadlift, and find the weight that you can push yourself to do one good looking rep with. Within that movement your weakest link will show itself. Hammer out 2-5 accessories to strengthen that link with sets of 10-50 reps.

 

Max Effort Upper: Take an upper body movement, and or some sort of variation of a bench or press, and find the weight that you can push yourself to do one good looking rep with. Within that movement your weakest link will show itself. Hammer out 2-5 accessories to strengthen that link with sets of 10-50 reps.

 

Dynamic Effort Lower: Take a lower body movement, and or some sort of variation of a squat or deadlift, and put 50-70% of your max on the bar. Load the bar with an additional 20-30% of accommodating resistance. This can be done with chains or bands. The weight at the top of the movement will be the 50-60% plus the 20-30% of accommodating resistance. The weight at the bottom will just be the 50-60% of your max. Then do 8-12 sets of 2-3 reps with 60 seconds of rest between sets, the goal being to move the bar as fast as possible with perfect form. Hammer out 2-5 accessories to strengthen the weakest link with sets of 2-8 reps.

 

Dynamic Effort Upper: Take an upper body movement, and or some sort of variation of a bench or press, and put 50-70% of your max on the bar. Load the bar with an additional 20-30% of accommodating resistance. This can be done with chains or bands. The weight at the top of the movement will be the 50-60% plus the 20-30% of accommodating resistance. The weight at the bottom will just be the 50-60% of your max. Then do 8-12 sets of 2-3 reps with 60 seconds of rest between sets, the goal being to move the bar as fast as possible with perfect form. Hammer out 2-5 accessories to strengthen the weakest link with sets of 2-8 reps.

 

Wrap Up: The fun thing about conjugate is that is allows for a great amount of variation. This makes training very stimulating because of the consistent changes that must be made to continue to progress. The hard part is knowing what the weakest link is in the movement and what accessories to use to best strengthen them. Find a coach who is familiar with the conjugate method, preferably one that uses it personally, and let them help find the link and strengthen it with you. If you don’t have access to a coach like that you should be filming your max effort lifts to see the movement and where it breaks down. Start educating yourself on the variations of the main lifts and learning about all the links and how to get them stronger.

 

For some great reading material check out:

 

Elitefts.com

 

Westsidebarbell.com

 

Tnation.com

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