T Nation

Conjugate Method Question


Starting a new cycle (After a year of 5/3/1) and want to ask a question about dynamic effort days.

How helpful are bands and chains to a raw lifter. I was thinking that bands or chains would be the most effective method to hit triceps, but not sure of the carryover to raw on DE work.

Second question, I'm trying to keep my weights down on DE days, really want to work on the speed. (Using from 60 to 65%). Is this number to high? Would it be more beneficial to drop to the 50% range?


Dave Tate has a few articles on this site about accommodating resistance and setting up conjugate cycles(The Periodization Bible Part II). His article on accommodating resistance lays out exact percentages for beginners, intermediates, and advanced lifters for DE work with straight weight, bands, and chains.

Typically when Tate or Louie are talking about beginners, intermediates, or advanced lifters they are saying that in regards to Westside...not lifting in general. I believe Tate has classified beginners as someone who has used Westside a few times or not at all. A bunch of people think that DE days on Westside just means taking bands and adding them to X% bar weight...at that point they've gone full on retard.

It is widely suggested by most Westside experts that bands should not be used for beginners, and when they are used with intermediates or advanced lifters they need to be cycled very carefully. As you probably know, bands are extremely taxing on the CNS and the body in general.

A nice option for a beginner might be to use straight weight for one 3 week wave, chains for the next 3 week wave, and so on. The best thing you can do is go into the authors section on here and read Tate's article on accommodating resistance and periodization.

Also, you may be aware of this already, but traditionally DE work for bench is done with triples, squat DE work is done with doubles, and deadlift DE work is done with singles.


What are your lifts like? How long have you been training?

I'm a raw lifter -- my group used doubled minis for our DE bench days. We didn't really use it to overload the top, but instead to slow the bar down so the entire weight of the bar isn't slamming against our elbow joints. In retrospect, I wish I would have cycled the bands in and out. Even at that light weight I think we burnt ourselves out with them.

I'm just using straight weight now and I like it better.. plus using bands (especially the long ones) is kind of a hassle because you gotta get the tension the same on both sides. Eventually I'm sure we'll end up cycling them back in.

You're doing the right thing by focusing on speed on your DE days. You should use whatever weight that you can use and the bar is still moving fast. Like "flying through the ceiling if you let go" kind of fast. Because you're just starting out, if I were you I'd start doing your speed work at ~40% and wave up. Take DE Bench for example

40% 2 sets of 3
45% 2 sets of 3
50% 2 sets of 3
55% 2 sets of 3

At some point you'll notice that the bar isn't moving as fast as it needs to. Personally for me I can use around 60% of my 1rm bench and only like 40-45% of my 1rm squat and maintain bar speed.


My lifts are 330/550/585.

My plan was to work for a few months with straight weight (at least six, cycling the %'s on a 3 week wave following the "I Need Mass" template from EliteFTS)

I was thinking with the overloading triceps as the heavy triceps exercise that follows after DE Bench (because I've been lazy and haven't gotten around to getting any boards together outside of my 1 board)

I've been reading alot of articles from both Tate and Simmons, became very interested in this method, and feel that its going to help my numbers tremendously.


I'd say you have a good base to work with. I had similar numbers as you when I started and I put about 140 pounds on my total in less than 6 months (80+ on my deadlift alone). The scary thing is, I look back and see so many things I could have done better.


If you don't mind, what were some of the aspects you would improve if you could?

Also, what part of Ohio are you in? I goto college in Marietta


Here's a few off the top of my head:

  1. I didn't take my mobility seriously enough. I mentioned before that I have to use a real low % of my 1rm for my DE Squat work. I think a lot of it had to do with how inflexible I was (and still am). I was real slow coming off the box -- like painfully slow. I read in StormTheBeach's training log that stretching regularly and doing mobility work helped his speed out of the hole. I always kinda knew this was going to be a problem so this time around I'm going to quit making excuses and just get it done.

  2. I fell victim to "testing" my 1rm on ME days instead of working to get 3-4 reps in at over 90%. I wanted to set PRs every single day and lost sight of the bigger picture. Now for upper body days I'll work up to something heavy and start making 10 lb jumps instead of larger ones. Lower body usually 20-25 pound jumps.

  3. No lat work. I train with a former West Side guy and for some reason we never did ANY lat work. I missed my last bench at my first meet and I think a large reason why is I was lacking lat strength. In retrospect I think more lat work would have helped the top of my deadlift too.

  4. Doing stupid shit. In the past 6 months I've done heavy banded rack pulls 3 times and every time I've ended up hurting something in my back. You'd think I'd learn after the first or second time, but I didn't. Me coming back a third time was just plain stupid and I wouldn't recommend doing anything that gets you hurt

A couple of things that worked well for me was really high volume accessory work every now and then (20+ reps). On upper body days we'd always do 3-4 sets of upper back / rear delt work which I think helped my bench a ton. Also, we used all kinds of methods (straight sets, rest pause, timed sets, short rest periods, supersets) for our accessories which I think helped.

I'm in Columbus right outside of Dublin


High volume back work and high rep shoulder complexes are helping my shoulder health, the main thing holding my bench numbers back atm.


My girlfriends from Dublin, small world.

I'm trying to not lose perspective of the getting multiple reps above 90%, I know my mentality is going to be to go for a 1rm all the time.

Thanks for all the help!