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Conjugate Method for Raw Powerlifting?



i wanna try a conjugate program. never did one.
i did 5x5, 531 and TSA.

is there a good template out there or a how-to to develop your own?

thanks and greetz


Depending on your experience, conjugate training is a good thing for a raw lifter provided the main movement doesn’t steer very far from the competition movement. I’m assuming you compete when I say that.

As a raw lifter, I’d skip the DE day in favor of a variation of the main lift day of volume. ME day would be a single, double or triple that moved smooth with no grinding vs. the typical WSBB grinders or complete miss. For the big 3, ME movements would be raw and slingshot competition bench press and closer than normal grip raw and slingshot bench press. For squat I’d have a normal squat stance and pause squat. For DL, I’d do off the floor and block pulls and switch back and forth between conv and sumo. All reps on ME days should be heavy but smooth. Some may not agree, but grinding out weights is not good practice. On ME days, DO NOT MISS REPS.

The variation day do some lighter volume stuff. For bench I’d do floor press, board presses, pin lockouts, etc. Squats would be box squats wide stance, good mornings and front squats. Pulls would be rack pulls, trap bar DL, stiff legged and deficit pulls. And really whatever other variation you can come up with to closely emulate the main lifts.

Don’t forget the bodybuilding stuff to help the main lift muscles.


Brian Alsruhe uploaded a free program to his youtube channel! Check it out its a very solid conjugate template to follow.


I’d give Defranco’s Westside for Skinny Bastards a run first.

It’s much easier to program and would transition into Westside type training very well in a few months if you decide that’s the direction you want to go.

It’s very hard to program this template properly, but with Defranco’s version that becomes much easier while still allowing for a lot of variety.

If you’re not doing any sports, I’d do two leg days. The one outlined in the program and a volume day that includes some plyos at the start of the session.


been messin’around with conjugate training last three months after a year of beyond 531 type of training.

There is not conjugate template because YOU decide what you wanna do

To be simple : max effot days, you lift the heaviest shit possible
dynamic days : you lift light weight as fast as possible

assistance work is pretty simple around it, chose exercise to work on your weaknesses
upper days : triceps, back, shoulders
lower days : hamstrings, lower back, quads

Check out elitefts.com there are a lot of articles about this type of training
Watch conjugate 101 on youtube by massthetics



I would recommend this too. All the raw lifting variations I’ve seen seemed to have too much of the stuff people always say doesn’t work as well for raw lifters, like box squats and board presses. Also westside contradicts principles in successful basic powerlifting programs where you do a LOT of the competition lifts like sheiko, westside too opposite of that. Brians had the following which I liked

  • DE had both DL/squat as you would do in competition, no weird variations. Maybe bands, it should be the full movement. This has you doing the big 4 lifts once per week so you don’t forget the movement patterns

  • ME can be minimal variation, pause squat for example. Personally I might even throw the actual competition lift in there once in a while. Squat and DL variation done once every 2 weeks, like the lilliebridge method.

  • ME day backoff sets, more rep work after you hit a max, similar to 5/3/1.

  • More focus on conditioning, won’t get fat on his version.


Keep in mind that even in books Louie Simmons or Dave Tate have written, they will sometimes totally replace ME day with just RE without even using the barbell.

Sometimes this is done as a break, other times to hammer a muscular weakness or conditioning weakness.

One of the great things about the _properly done_box squat is a greater ability to recover and safety. The combination of the mechanical disadvantage of having your knees behind the bar and the dissipation of energy through the box when you release your hip flexors means you can’t use as much weight.

Also, breaking up the eccentric/concentric cycle reduces some of the force your joints would absorb.

Even if doing box squats means you don’t rebound quite as well in the hole, you’ll still progress your free squat by improving the properly done box squat. And plyos are actually a decent way to get around that issue.

I don’t see very many well executed Westside BB box squats even on the internet much less in a real gym so if you go that route, pay very careful attention to all the cues and make sure you know what release the hip flexors means.

If you don’t release your hip flexors, you’re not box squatting, your doing a squat to a box.


What are your sticking points? Why do you think you have them? There aren’t any real templates that will work for everyone, but generally this is why I liked to do:

Monday Deadlift focus day
DE pull 60-65-70% straight weight cycles and heavier straight weight cycles also work well triples for 60-65-70, doubles for 70-75-80, go based off of prillipen
some sort of squat variation for volume that naturally assists the deadlift (front squat, or a box squat normally does the trick)
erector, hamstring, glute, upper back, ab work depending on need and weakness

Wednesday Dynamic effort bench
60-65-70% cycles work well, so does band and chain work
hit a heavy pressing exercise that works on your sticking point (sets of 3-5, or a top set of 6-10 depending on where you’re at in your cycle)
hypertrophy work focusing on where you are weak/small (normally plenty of back, and arms for me)

Friday Max effort squat/deadlift day, squat focused
ME work
volume work (sticking point dependent)
hypertrophy work for lower body, normally hammies/glutes, but can also be quads, single leg work is actually really good for this

Sunday Max effort bench variation
volume pressing with dumbbells/heavy extenses (JM presses, and roll back tricep extensions with and without accommodating resistance works well for this)
hypertrophy work

That is a rough outline for what I did, and my best TnG bench was 380, and a 360 paused bench. Squat and deadlift weren’t that impressive for some reason (mostly injuries from bad early programming, too much LP work) with a 455 beltess squat and 525 deadlift. I was an 18-19 93KG lifter when I was still competing in Powerlifting. (giving context for my advice)

Programming depends on how far out from a competition you are, and what you lack in. Chances are you are small and need more time under the bar. Do something athletic a couple times a week, sprints, jumps, pick up sports, nothing that is hard enough to irritate your joints/tendons (I specifically scheduled my training so that I could do those workouts before bench days so I didn’t fry your my body before squat/deadlift days). Prowler/sled work is really nice for GPP work that has a really good transfer to powerlifting.