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Conjugate, Rotating Lower Body ME/DE Lifts?

So i was reading a “Conjugate Raw” article on westside-barbell
and i have always wondered how this method works in terms rotating squat and deadlift. I watch a lot of podcasts and videos on conjugate but i have never really found an answer to this.
So, lets use max effort lower as an example. On this conjugaste method in the link, the max effort is always a deadlift or good morning. Do westside do max effort squats? im sure ive seen them doing them, more than the deadlift tbh? same thing with dynamic effort, is there any speed work for deadlift? I know this can be different as conjugate is pretty changeable (for lack of a better word), but just wondered what people do in general when running conjugate, or maybe what they do at westside? Thanks

This doesn’t directly answer your question, but have you read Dave Tate’s articles on here? I spent some time reading all of his this summer, and it answered basically any questions I had about Westside and the conjugate system.

No, although I didnt know he had any, I have watched pretty much all his table talks videos on youtube, however I will check the articles out, thanks a lot :slight_smile:

That article was by 1 specific lifter (Hurley Hawk) and his personal program. I guess he’s not into DE deadlifts or ME squats.

Its common to see 1 or 2 Max Effort squats in the rotation, with a Defecit Dead Lift, rack pull or Good Morning. Sometimes Louie says not to use the conventional deadlift for max effort, to save it for the contest.

Speed deadlift is usually done right after speed squats. For slightly fewer total reps.

Like you mentioned, the conjugate system is super changeable and customizable. You could listen to the Westside Barbell Podcast, Episode 10 to hear Louie ramble on about the specifics.


The main thing about a conjugate system is to address your weakness.

If you need to deadlift more then hit the exercises that make it grow. If you want to squat more ditto. The DE work is set to a level to maintain strength levels for that lift while accessories and ME work make the lift grow.

I feel free to alter the program to address my issues and what I want to see grow. I like the freedom it creates and lifting heavy af is fun.

The true beauty of the westside conjugate system is pushing the accessories volume to destroy weakness. GPP days are additional leg work and core. If you are sled rowing or sled pressing you get total body work.

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A lot of people have started to do ME deadlifts on DE lower days. Alternating with DE deadlifts.

Some guys also still like ME deadlifts after ME squats, and some people also like rotating in an ME deadlift for an ME squat every few weeks.

Personally I like the ME deadlifts on DE lower days where you alternate between DE deadlits and ME deadlifts.

For example last night as DE squat and ME deadlift for me. Next week is DE squat, DE deadlifts. I’m also not a big fan of accommodating resistance on DE deadlifts and stick to a higher % deadlift number.


If you look at weeks 1 and 3 on his DE lower body schedule, he’s actually doing what’s pretty close to a ME day for a triple (which has been used by other conjugate proponents, but I can’t remember if Louie advocates for doing a 3RM on anything other than good mornings). From the article:
“On repeated effort method day I work up to a top set…”
Sounds a lot more like ME work. If you compare to Brandon Lilly’s Cube format where he rotates ME, DE, and Rep Days, you’ll see lower %'s and more sets on Rep Days not just one top set. As everyone’s noted, the system is very suited to customization to address specific weaknesses and differences as well as sport specific needs.

To answer the direct question though, I’ve never heard Westside move away from ME squats as a whole. They’ve typically done more ME squat work than almost anything else, but you have to remember that multi-ply totals are built on squat and bench with the deadlift almost as an afterthought. When you move over to raw and the deadlift becomes a more dominant lift, it needs more attention.

If you haven’t, I’d suggest reading Louie’s Book of Methods. It’s old and doesn’t reflect what they do now, but it makes a big difference when listening to him and reading him if you’ve read it (at least it did with me). You also get the history (and if I remember right at some point the program was all ME days, but DE was introduced because people couldn’t recover from straight ME days so this is really just going back half a step).

Also… worth checking out link below for free stuff on conjugate:

Happy training.


Makes sense that the system adapts to work better and refines with practice.

Louie and conjugate took new or modern science from the Eastern Europe and Russian systems and adapted it to work for powerlifting.

His work is based in science principle. As he collects data from (geared, raw, boosted, natural) lifters he makes changes and tinkers with the system.

Just his approach of working a weakness into a strength is body building logic morphed into strength applications.

The beauty is the simplicity, the understanding and knowing what to do is complexity

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Thanks guys, all the comments helped a lot :slight_smile:

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do u have a link for that episode? i cant find it

If you search for westside barbell podcast, you should find a page with their most recent episodes. Episode 30 something. Down at the bottom will be a “load more” link. You have to “load more” and scroll down until you get to episode 10.

Those dudes are lifters, not website guys. Half of the links don’t work and everything is hard to get to.