T Nation

Conjugate Problems. Lower Body Stalled

My brother and I work out in a garage. We have barbells, dumbbells and chains. No machines so We have limited equipment. We started running conjugate recently. It’s worked fine for my bench. It’s shooting up. But my lower lifts almost immediately stalled on it. I know the issue is in something im not doing. But I don’t know what. I’m considering just running 531 on lower days for squat and deadlift and counting on conjugate for upper. I’ve also considered focusing on deadlift Conjugate style and using squat as a supplemental type movement. Any thoughts or ideas?

Post your program. Running “conjugate” doesn’t mean much.

Don’t have a specific set program when I use conjugate. But the basic outline is:

  • ME lower- 1-3RM Squat or DL variation
    Supplemental lower-usually good mornings or a DL variation- up to heavyish set of 5
    Upper back movement- for pump
    An wheel - to pump
    -. ME Upper - 1RM Bench variation
    OHP up to heavy set of 5
    Triceps and or delt raises- - to pump
    Rear delts- 3-5x20
    -.DE Sqaut 8-12×2-3 @50-75%
    DE DL 8-10×1-3 @50-75%
    Upper back movement to pump
    -. DE bench- 8×3@50-75%
    OHP - 3-5×6-10
    Triceps and or delta for pump
    Rear delts- 3-5×20

What were you doing for lower body lifts before? When it was working.

That’s not much work at all for the legs.

You don’t have enough volume or the correct movements for lower body.

DE is possibly too heavy at 75% ( I’m assuming no accommodating resistance ).

Good mornings or DLs aren’t going to do anything for your raw squat which is likely quad dominant.

Yes you need lower back, glutes and hamstrings but no where near the same amount as you need quad work.

ME lower - 1 RM high bar squat
85% of that for 2 sets of 3
Heavy set of front squats for 8
Leg press 3x10
Hamstring 3x20 or so ( DB stiff legs, curls, etc )

DE Lower
Speed squats
ME or Speed pulls depending on week.
Good mornings/lower back 3x10
Single Leg RDL 3x15
Quad pump work or more posterior chain


Take note that’s just an example it’ll change depending on where you are in your program, etc.

To add to @corstijeir ‘s points, you can look up StormTheBeach’s posts here and on reddit about conjugate as well as Burley Hawk’s writings on it. Like everyone above as said, there’s hardly any volume on your lower days and it makes sense why your squat isn’t moving because you barely squat.

1 Like

All Hail the Hawk!

For real those guys are infinitely more knowledgeable than me.

Matt is a 600+ lb raw bencher and uses 185 lbs for speed bench plus band weight. He has tons of free info on YouTube regarding conjugate.

Thanks. I’ll adjust. I had been running 531 for 6 months or so. I switched bc my bench progress was slowing down. I’ve read a bunch of stb’s stuff. I do have chain. I have enough for my bench but I don’t have enough to add much to my lower body stuff. The DE is usually closer to 60%. I rarely get to 70-75%. But I’ll try to increase my quad work. It’s hard for me to do tons of quad volume bc I recently started doing tree work. So I basically pack 50 pound packs of herbicide up mountains all day. I’ll have to work it in over a few weeks.

Do you compete or are you just looking to get stronger?

If it’s just to get stronger, then who cares? Just lift.

If competing, non-prep period do competition lift variation for 5-8 reps and NOT max effort work. Add in a crap ton of bodybuilding stuff afterwards. Once a month do the competition lift.

Prep period do only the competition lifts and begin trimming back the bodybuilding work after.

WSBB is NOT going ME all the time. In fact, most of the time they were working the higher reps using the variations. It all comes down to what you need to do to improve at the time.

I do compete. I’m just getting started, getting ready for my second meet and first strongman comp.