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Conjugate Method - 4 ME Days?


#1

I have been reading some articles by Louie Simmons and Dave Tate, Louie says that he came up with DE days for lifters who couldn't handle 4 ME days a week. Has anyone tried this setup?

My intention is no to debate DE work, that's another topic in itself. And I am aware that you can work up to a heavy set of 1-3 after DE work. I think that raw lifters are more likely to be able to handle more frequent max effort work than equipped lifters because more bands and chains (and gear) would be used by equipped lifters, which, in effect, is overload training for raw lifters.

Any thoughts?


#2

[quote]chris_ottawa wrote:
I have been reading some articles by Louie Simmons and Dave Tate, Louie says that he came up with DE days for lifters who couldn’t handle 4 ME days a week. Has anyone tried this setup?

My intention is no to debate DE work, that’s another topic in itself. And I am aware that you can work up to a heavy set of 1-3 after DE work. I think that raw lifters are more likely to be able to handle more frequent max effort work than equipped lifters because more bands and chains (and gear) would be used by equipped lifters, which, in effect, is overload training for raw lifters.

Any thoughts?[/quote]

I feel like an RE day is a far better replacement than an ME day for a DE day if you were wanting to change things up for a raw lifter.

You gotta keep in mind, even for equipped lifters, in the era that Dave Tate was writing in, they still rarely used gear for their ME work. You can even see it in the old Westside videos on youtube. They’re primarily performed raw, and in a lot of cases with straight weight even. It’s less an issue about gear, and more just about the body breaking down.


#3

I agree with T3hPwnisher. IMO, it would be difficult to perform 4 ME sessions/week if the variations were very similar to the comp lifts. I think it would be possible if the lifts had different emphasis in muscle groups. For example doing front squats, RDLs, decline bench and military press. Doing a posterior chain dominant lift, anterior chain dominant lift, chest/lower back dominant lift, shoulder/upper back dominant lift would allow muscle groups to get a break. Lifts that use similar distribution in loading like pause bench and touch and go bench would probably be difficult to sustain with 2 ME sessions per week for upper body.


#4

If you were doing 3-5s maybe, but would be very harsh.

x2 with Pwnisher on the body breaking down.

True ME work with singles and doubles would be a bad idea for pretty much everyone -newbs wouldn’t have the work capacity to handle that kind of stress and advanced guys capable of generating a ton of force would permanently be on the edge of injury and have their joints screaming at them.


#5

I haven’t, and I wouldn’t. It sounds like something that could damage you very badly very quickly unless you got everything just right (the lift selection, how long you ran it for, what you were taking - because there’s no way in hell I’d even consider trying it without pharmaceutical help).

The closest I’ve come was doing heavy clusters of five or so reps for each comp lift once a week for a three weeks. Even by the end of that it was getting hard.

The longer I train, the more I value work for triples and fives in the 80-85% range. I feel like those are my real money sets. Speed work between 60-70% helps, and going between 90-100% every two to three weeks helps, but I really think my mid-range work is what drives my strength gains.


#6

You can do it. It can be done for a limited time and it does work very very well. I’ve made more progress going ME regularly than any other training I’ve done…but the body can only take so much.


#7

[quote]osu122975 wrote:
You can do it. It can be done for a limited time and it does work very very well. I’ve made more progress going ME regularly than any other training I’ve done…but the body can only take so much. [/quote]

I always see you posting about heavy singles without much volume and I started to incorporate that into my training. It feels pretty good to train that way and take a break from all the high volume. I just had to get over the mindset that not doing much volume felt like not getting much good work in, lol. It feels good to recover and see the volume translate to greater maximal strength. Thanks for the advice.


#8

[quote]lift206 wrote:

[quote]osu122975 wrote:
You can do it. It can be done for a limited time and it does work very very well. I’ve made more progress going ME regularly than any other training I’ve done…but the body can only take so much. [/quote]

I always see you posting about heavy singles without much volume and I started to incorporate that into my training. It feels pretty good to train that way and take a break from all the high volume. I just had to get over the mindset that not doing much volume felt like not getting much good work in, lol. It feels good to recover and see the volume translate to greater maximal strength. Thanks for the advice.[/quote]
When I first signed up for this forum I was running a daily max Bulgarian-type program, I found it hard to keep up with and eventually the flu shut it down, but it shows that daily maxes are not impossible or unreasonable. The difference with Westside is that there would be a lot more assistance work, I only did some rows and chin ups, plus some curls to keep my elbows from hurting. With the added volume it is quite possible that recovery would become an issue very fast.

If you check out RTS, you will see that Mike Tuchscherer is programming a lot of singles these days, and far out from a meet too. They are not ME singles (@8 rpe) but still a similar idea. Looks like he is experimenting a bit, but heavy singles are definitely worth doing at one time or another.


#9

[quote]MarkKO wrote:
I haven’t, and I wouldn’t. It sounds like something that could damage you very badly very quickly unless you got everything just right (the lift selection, how long you ran it for, what you were taking - because there’s no way in hell I’d even consider trying it without pharmaceutical help).

The closest I’ve come was doing heavy clusters of five or so reps for each comp lift once a week for a three weeks. Even by the end of that it was getting hard.

The longer I train, the more I value work for triples and fives in the 80-85% range. I feel like those are my real money sets. Speed work between 60-70% helps, and going between 90-100% every two to three weeks helps, but I really think my mid-range work is what drives my strength gains. [/quote]
Aside from the Bulgarian method, I have done blocks of near-max singles on the comp lifts on top of my regular training. I think that Louie is right, after 3 weeks of training at 90%+ your strength will decrease. The solution to that is like he says, deload and/or change up the lifts.

For the record, I don’t have any “pharmaceutical help”. Most people can recover from more than they think, but recovering and actually making gains are two different things. If you train like a madman and get nowhere then what’s the point?


#10

[quote]chris_ottawa wrote:
If you check out RTS, you will see that Mike Tuchscherer is programming a lot of singles these days, and far out from a meet too. They are not ME singles (@8 rpe) but still a similar idea. Looks like he is experimenting a bit, but heavy singles are definitely worth doing at one time or another.[/quote]

Yeah, I would do heavy singles occasionally (in the past couple years) but it seems beneficial to do a three week block after high volume work. I did try westside a long time ago but I focused too much on high intensity. In the past couple years I’ve been focusing too much on high volume. I’m beginning to do a better job balancing between both.


#11

I know by typical definition, ME work is 90+, but honestly, if you take 60-80% of your max and do one big work set for as many reps as possible, are you not giving max effort? What about hitting 10-15 singles in that range pushing each rep as hard as possible focusing on good execution of each single? Learning to control the weight and the speed of it will make you stronger.


#12

[quote]osu122975 wrote:
I know by typical definition, ME work is 90+, but honestly, if you take 60-80% of your max and do one big work set for as many reps as possible, are you not giving max effort? What about hitting 10-15 singles in that range pushing each rep as hard as possible focusing on good execution of each single? Learning to control the weight and the speed of it will make you stronger. [/quote]

I focus less on percentages and more on “strain” when considering is something is or is not ME. I’ve hit new record 1rms in training that, though the heaviest weight I’ve ever lifted in my life up to that point, moved easily and came nowhere near max effort. I’ve had other lifts where, though the weight was “light”, I had to give everything I had to move the weight another inch.

I know a set was max effort if, during it, I lost my hearing, my vision went dark, I held my breath the entire time, I don’t remember DOING the set, and I broke a ton of blood vessels all over my face/traps/upperback/chest/shoulders.


#13

I would be interested to see how a 2x/week ME program would work with a DE / Sub-Max Effort lift-specific session the day after the ME. I think this would better utilize the lighter training techniques, as they would allow for recovery and improved motor efficiency etc. without eating into the training week by having their own rest days before and after and heavy accessory work added after the main DE sets.
For example:-

Mon: ME lower

Tue: DE / SE lower + ME upper

Wed: DE / SE upper + ME lower

Thu: DE / SE lower

Fri: ME upper

Sat: DE / SE upper

Sun: Rest or “Cardio” / “GPP” work

Obviously, accessory and assistance work would have to be chosen based on experimentation; lower back and abs could be done most days, but standard conjugate method volume would probably have to be cut back… Could be interesting though!


#14

[quote]T3hPwnisher wrote:

[quote]osu122975 wrote:
[/quote]

I know a set was max effort if, during it, I lost my hearing, my vision went dark, I held my breath the entire time, I don’t remember DOING the set, and I broke a ton of blood vessels all over my face/traps/upperback/chest/shoulders. [/quote]

Exactly. People underestimate what true ME work is


#15

[quote]RampantBadger wrote:

[quote]T3hPwnisher wrote:

[quote]osu122975 wrote:
[/quote]

I know a set was max effort if, during it, I lost my hearing, my vision went dark, I held my breath the entire time, I don’t remember DOING the set, and I broke a ton of blood vessels all over my face/traps/upperback/chest/shoulders. [/quote]

Exactly. People underestimate what true ME work is
[/quote]

It legitimately took me something like 10 years of training to wrap my mind around. In 2008, I was doing what I thought was “Westside” (which is to say I just took a “Westside Template” off the internet and followed it) and all I cared about on ME day was beating PRs. That’s not the worst thing in the world to do, but I couldn’t understand why I would want to “strain” if I wasn’t moving more weight than last time. In time, I stopped progressing, and it’s because I really wasn’t learning how to strain at all. I was just moving heavy singles every week.

These days, even though I don’t do Westside, I have 2 days in my training cycle that I’d consider ME days. They’re both lower body (squat variation and deadlift variation), and though I like to see more weight or reps compared to the last week, what really matters is that, when the set is done, I blew my brains out and have trouble talking. It’s really helped.


#16

Yeah straining is a key point.
I like the Dave Tate definition of ME…

""After 405 pounds, I sat down and Rob said, “Man, that looked like shit.” I didn’t argue because I knew it was true. I just wanted to leave.
“So what’s next Dave? 455?” asked Rob.
I gave him the best “go fuck yourself” look I could muster.
“Dude, 455 is my PR,” I said. “You expect me to hit my PR on a day where I feel like shit?”
“So, you’re not even going to try?” asked Rob. "What are you, a pussy?"
I could feel him getting into my head, but I was having nothing to do with it.
“Maybe I’ll try 425,” I said cautiously.

Rob gave me a real condescending look and said, "Dave, you’ve got 400 pounds on a bar and you’re going to put a couple of fucking dimes on there?"
He got me.
“You’re right,” I said. I called for 455.

After four unsuccessful tries getting it started, it finally moved, and after what seemed like an hour later, I finally locked it out. When it was over I was seeing stars and my ribs were killing me.
I stumbled down beside Rob and he said, "Dude, that was really stupid."
I could barely speak, but mumbled my agreement.
“I think you got another 20 more pounds in you,” said Rob.
Motherfucker.

I was beyond done for the day, but by saying that, he started a little war inside my head. On my right shoulder was the angel, saying I was already a mess and 20 more pounds would probably kill me ? but on my left was the devil, saying I should just go for it. In my case, the devil usually won out.

The next thing I knew they had 475 pounds loaded for me on the bar. I figured since it’s already loaded, I really didn’t have much choice in the matter.

After what must have been an hour of me straining to even get the weight moving, I somehow managed to get it up to lockout before collapsing into the chains.
I was a mess. My back was screaming, and there was blood coming out of my nose. The whole gym looked out of focus as I stumbled down next to Rob on the bench.
“Dude,” Rob said, “that was really, really, fucking stupid. I think you got 20 more.”

That’s max effort work. You have a close to PR set, a PR set, a stupid set, and a really fucking stupid set.""


#17

Remember tho, Dave’s body is pretty messed up following that line of thinking. If our daily jobs are more than moving weights, we might wanna consider a slightly safer alternative using the ME method.

But he did play by his rules and did things his way and is successful in the business - but I know he’s paying for it now.

It just comes down to the sacrifice we wanna make: priorities will always rule.


#18

I do too. I think percentages help some identify w/ what is considered heavy. It certainly did me in the beginning. Of course, the further we get down the line we just move weight and regardless of percentage, its either heavy or its not as heavy. Like you said, “X” weight might feel light one day and strain your tail off the next. Percentages don’t mean much. We move weight; not percentages.


#19

[quote]T3hPwnisher wrote:
It legitimately took me something like 10 years of training to wrap my mind around. In 2008, I was doing what I thought was “Westside” (which is to say I just took a “Westside Template” off the internet and followed it) and all I cared about on ME day was beating PRs. That’s not the worst thing in the world to do, but I couldn’t understand why I would want to “strain” if I wasn’t moving more weight than last time. In time, I stopped progressing, and it’s because I really wasn’t learning how to strain at all. I was just moving heavy singles every week.

These days, even though I don’t do Westside, I have 2 days in my training cycle that I’d consider ME days. They’re both lower body (squat variation and deadlift variation), and though I like to see more weight or reps compared to the last week, what really matters is that, when the set is done, I blew my brains out and have trouble talking. It’s really helped.
[/quote]

IMO, improving technique and learning to strain comes hand-in-hand. The weight no longer matters when you learn what your body and muscles should be doing - this is how people auto-regulate as well. If I read the above comment when I was younger, I would think that lifting heavy and grinding is the same thing as straining (within this context) but that isn’t always the case. Now I consider straining as grinding through a weight (regardless of intensity) with solid technique because the ability to remain stable allows a person to really put up a fight. I am not saying that solid technique looks perfect either. Not making an argument against your comment but just trying to clarify that technique matters when straining effectively.

On that note, it doesn’t mean that people shouldn’t grind through weights with bad technique (unless it’s very bad). Making mistakes is how people learn and improve. There’s no excuse for not working hard if someone wants to improve.


#20

[quote]osu122975 wrote:
Remember tho, Dave’s body is pretty messed up following that line of thinking. If our daily jobs are more than moving weights, we might wanna consider a slightly safer alternative using the ME method.

But he did play by his rules and did things his way and is successful in the business - but I know he’s paying for it now.

It just comes down to the sacrifice we wanna make: priorities will always rule. [/quote]

Reading through the Iron Evolution series, it seemed like most of Dave’s injuries actually occurred in the period in between bodybuilding and joining Westside He actually claimed the Westside method was what allowed him to continue training for as long as he did.

It seemed like a lot of his injuries were more about training around/through injuries for the sake of competing, and they happened in competition rather than in training.

That said, I do agree with you: trying to be the best is going to require a lot of sacrifice, to include health.