T Nation

Conjugate for Deadlift Only


I know this might be unpopular but i want to concentrate on the lift i like the most and compete in deadlift only meets. I Just like to pull from the floor and i dont care about being a full powerlifter.
I am attracted to the conjugate/westside method and id like to try it. Just want to know what you guys think.
It is a 9 weeks cycle. 2lower days and 1 upper day x week

(Keep One variant for 3 weeks)
Deadlift variant for a heavy single
-Rack pull

Posterior chain variant 3x5-10
-Good Morning

Squat variant 3x5-10
-Safety squat bar
-Front squat
-Deadlift stance High box squat

Hams 3x10
-Leg curl

Quads 3x10
-Leg extension

Ohp 3x8-10
Lat pulls 5x8-10
Cable Rows 5x8-10
Shrugs 3x10
Hammer curls 3x10

Conventional 10x2@ 55-60-65% with 1 minute rest
Assistance same as ME


By no means an expert on conjugate, but that looks spot on to me. Why not add sumo and snatch grip to your DL variation too? I’ve found they helped me at different times. Also don’t discount Kroc rows for grip and back strength.

@Destrength and @Fletch1986 know conjugate pretty well, they should be able to provide more specific feedback.


I can tell you that doing a close deadlift variation each time for ME would kill me.

If I were going to work exclusively for deadlift, I would keep in mind that my back is currently the weak link for my conventional deadlift.

I’d pick mid-shin deadlifts, zercher squats from pins with the shins perpendicular to the ground (or as close to as possible if doing a narrower stance), and goodmornings to a max triple off of pins.

I’m not saying these should be your picks, I’m just giving an example of how to think it out.

If you can actually recover from maxing out on a close deadlift variant each weak, then yeah, I can see that working.

Keep in mind that Westside style training is big on developing GPP and work capacity so be sure to do good work with the supps, assistance, and accessories too.

If you know you’re not going to set a PR, then doing a double, triple, or even just do a bunch of singles as 90ish% until you strain a lot. The main thing to strain under heavy weight.


Snatch grip sounds good, but is sumo going to help my conventional?


It shouldn’t hurt it. I trained sumo or semi sumo for five or six months and when I went back to conventional it went up within a month beyond where it had been.


Are your hips your weakness in your conventional? If so, I think sumo will give you a lot. There’s a lot more hip and legs in a sumo than a conventional and conventional uses more back and hamstring. Typically.


It seems pretty doable. What is weak in your deadlift? Also maybe more pressing/extending volume? Just 3 sets of overhead pressing seems a little low. It’s less than I get as an Olympic style Weightlifter, and there are literally people out there that say you don’t need an upper body to do Weightlifting.

Also in my opinion, three weeks of singles with one variation doesn’t seem like a good idea. If you want a three long ME cyclce, there are a few ways to do it.

week 1: get a feeler 3 heavy triple on that variation nothing insane, but nothing easy
week 2: shoot for a new PR for a heavy triple
week 3: heavy single, try to edge out a 5 pound PR and if that was doable then go for PRs from there
week 4: next variation

It gives you a nice built in semi-deload while letting you get familiar with your movement.

Next is:
week 1: 5 rep max
week 2: 3 rep max
week 3: 1 rep max

I used to like that when I was starting out because I needed the reps. It’s good if you need reps, and not more time under 90+%.

Also literally everything Fletch said. Jumping, sled dragging/pushing, muscle building, and prehab work are a big part of Westside.

There are a few others, but those are the two big ones.


Thanks man.
My weakest part in the deadlift is definitely the start. Thats why i am doing GMs and Hyperextensions twice a week. Trying to get my posterior chain stronger.
I could add another upper day and up my ohp sets from 3 to 5x twice a week.
Rep schemes during the three weeks cycle sound doable.
Or i could do a heavy single on week 1, then try to add reps on week 2 and 3 maybe?


There’s many different issues that can cause problems at the start. Do you know what you have issues at the start?

If not, I’d record my form and post it here or make a new form thread.


Does your back cave at the start and you can’t lift because of that, is it that the bar feels like it is stapled to the ground, or does it feel like you can’t push off the ground even though you have the strength?

The first is a back weakness, the second is a leg (specifically quad) weakness, and the third is an ab/grip issue.

The heavy single then adding on doesn’t sound doable unless you are a beginner. If you are intermediate or beyond it’s going to cause you to hurt yourself pushing for reps you shouldn’t push for.

The two upper days sounds good. Try varying the exercises for the upper day. Like do presses, then push presses/jerks on the other day as one example.

And yeah, pop up a video.


P-Chain is important. But so are quads. Even at westside, they do work that will hit the quads. I know belt squats are a favorite there. I’ve even read in the Book of Methods that he suggest using a shoe with a heel lift so the quads get a little attention. I promise, they’re not just ornaments for vain bodybuilders haha.


I have used the condigate method for RAW lifting over the span of a year. What I found is best to stick with three or four lifts, even if you are specialising. Use the main lift and pick your others around your weak points. Weak off the floor? Pick snatch deads and deficit pulls. Slow Down at the knees? Pause deads and block pulls from the knee. Don’t add lifts that are not addressing your current weak points for the sake of it, it’s time you could spend improving the areas you actually have issues with.