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Conjugate Method with 5/3/1 for Collegiate Athletes

Not sure if this method has been posted about in other threads, but curious to get feedback on an idea I’ve used in the past regarding the implementation of the conjugate method in the Collegiate Strength and Conditioning setting.

After running 1x20 (by Yessis) for the first phase of off-season training for my athletes, I am going to being implementing the conjugate method to focus on maximal strength development. In the past, I have programmed the Max Effort days using the 5/3/1 template and have found great success. At the beginning of the second phase, I typically choose Max Effort movements with larger range of motion, as I am focused more on overall strength development than with strength in specific positions (which will come later in the programming). A typical weekly split for my off-season looks as follows (credit to Nate Harvey and his book on the Conjugate method for the split)

Day 1:

Dynamic Effort Lower Body (used first to act as a primer for the rest of the week)

Linear Speed/Acceleration
Linear Double Leg and Single Leg Plyometrics
Dynamic Effort Movement (Box Squats against Bands 12x2,11x2,10x2 with a set taking place every 45 seconds)
Accessory Movements (Hip extended hamstring, hip flexed hamstring, upper back, a single leg movement, abs)

Day 2: Max Effort Upper Body

Saggittal Plane Med Ball Throw Variation
Max Effort Press Variation (Bench Press or Derivative 3x5, 3x3, 5/3/1)
Accessory (Single arm overhead press, vertical pull, row, bicep, tricep, abs)
MAS Conditioning

Day 3: Dynamic Effort Upper Body

Multidirectional Speed
Transverse Plane Med Ball Throw
Dynamic Effort Press (Bench against Bands 9x3, 8x3, 7x3 with a set taking place every 45 seconds)
Accessory (Single arm overhead press, vertical pull, row, shoulder, tricep, abs)

Day 4: Max Effort Lower Body

Multidirectional Double Leg and Single Leg Plyometrics
Max Effort Movement (Usually a Squat variation; 3x5, 3x3, 5/3/1)
Accessory (Hip extended hamstring, hip flexed hamstring, upper back, a single leg movement, abs)
MAS Conditioning
The accessory movement progression will be performed as follows:

Block 1: Myo-Reps (using 5 as the target number for the effective sets)
Block 2: AMRAP 30 seconds: 30 seconds rest x3
Block 3: AMRAP 30 seconds: 20 seconds rest x3

Keep in mind that I primarily work with Basketball and Soccer players, so muscle endurance is a high priority special strength to develop.

Any feedback you have on this template would be much appreciated. By the way, this is my first post


Your kids are 10000times more advanced than my kids - so I have zero ideas as I don’t work with that level of lifter who is also a high-level athlete in a field/court sport. As always, have indicators and trust/believe in your principles. This is way, way out of my wheelhouse.

Thanks Jim,

I appreciate the reminder to stick to ones own beliefs. I also appreciate you taking the time to read my post


are u doing 12x2,11x2,10x2, on the same type of pattern in a single workout(for ur example dynamic lower body squat) or is that how you are writing your progression each week but adding weight? I am assuming thats a progression weekly?

That’s how I am progressing my Dynamic Effort movement on a weekly basis. Starting at 30% + accommodating resistance and each week moving up by about 5% each week


Im not a coach but 30% seems a little low. At three weeks you would still only be at 45%. Any specific reason you are starting that low? Most articles I have seen on dynamic use 40-65%, though I believe I have seen some higher than 65%.

Also not sure if you would need to decrease your amount of sets of dynamic per week (as you have posted) if you are only working up to 45%.

This may depend some on if your athletes are naturally slow or more explosive though I would assume the vast amount are substantially explosive being in college athletics.

Again im not a coach or trainer, fairly knowledgable, but constantly learning, but that’s what pops out to me. Not sure how much linear speed work and plyometics you are doing before dynamic squats either. That volume could play a lot into how much dynamic work you may prescribe, and how that work may slow down your athletes during their dynamic squats.


Thanks for the feedback and insight aabigrick, I appreciate the time it took. Bumping up the percentages is something I’ll look into more. It makes sense if I think about it more because while the college athletes I work with are explosive, the absolute strength is definitely the limiting factor so training the body to be explosive with higher motor unit recruitment should have some good benefits

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