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Conjugate - Switch Even with Tremendous Progress?

Hey everyone. So I’ve been doing a westside template and it has worked wonders. I pull sumo and I generally front squat more than back squat as it has better carry over for me to DL and way less strain on the spine.

I generally alternate between squats and DLs every 3 months or so. I’ve been doing DLs for 3 months straight now but my progress has been incredible! Do you guys think I should keep going until it stalls out or go back to squats?

I typically switch my ME upper body movement more frequently, like every month or two.

Would appreciate everyone’s input. Thanks in advance guys!

Hold up… Deadlift has been your ME movement for 3 months??? I think you completely missed the point of conjugate if that’s the case. 3 weeks is the absolute max to keep an ME movement the same. Are you working to a one rep max every week? It depends on your goals are you trying to improve your total or your deadlift or what? If you’re trying to improve your deadlift alternate movements that carryover to that. For me that’s any close stance squat, deadlifts and higher rep good mornings. If it’s your total pick movements that carryover to both. I’m assuming you’re young and probably fairly new to lifting if you’re still getting progress from the same ME lifts after more than 2-3 weeks. If that’s the case in my opinion you’d be better off running 531 or the cube or something similar.



I’m generally running 5/3/1 type percentages with conjugate. I should have been more clear. I’ll work up to 5 rep max, then 3 rep max, then 1 rep max followed by a deload up to 70% of max.

I’ve been powerlifting for roughly 3 years, I stalled out doing 5/3/1 a long time ago but this pro-forma westside has been amazing for me.

What about a system where you alternate squat and deadlift workouts to continue your deadlift progress without stalling while bringing your squat along at the same time?

One of the conjugate ideas is to bring everything up together so you don’t “build in” lagging lifts or muscles with your programming.

Also use the changes to Prevent stalling.

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Thanks for your suggestion. To clarify, you mean work up to a 5RM in squat, then 3RM on DL next week etc.,? If so, that sounds like a good idea.

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If you like it, I like it!

Running it like that would work in pretty smooth with the way you’ve been doing things.

Gotcha. Dave Tate has an article on here detailing something similar for bench. But the point of changing exercises is so you don’t have to deload. Whatever works I guess. It looks good it’s just not conjugate.

You also have to understand that changing a ME movement can be a very small change. Changing reps (5 RM vs 3 RM though I don’t think Louie recommends above a 3RM), grip/stance width, amount of band/chain vs plate weight, bars, etc. If you haven’t read Louie’s Book of Methods, I’d recommend it. He does talk a bit about deloading, but it’s like every 6th week or so if I remember right.

All of that said- you’re going to stall eventually. Go ahead and embrace it. Then start tweaking things. Guys got enormously strong training in completely different ways. If you look at Ed Coan’s periodization scheme, it’s completely different than a conjugate layout, but he still managed to become the GOAT.

Honestly, if you’re seeing progress, keep going until you stall in the same general direction. In my humble (but accurate :wink:) opinion, you’re not going to learn what really works for you until you hit a plateau. When you plateau, then it’s time to pull some levers and change up a bit. Right now, if you’re truly making good progress, you’re most likely not going to speed up your progress by changing templates. As long as you’re training with sound principles and getting in enough rest, keep going. Now if you have a lift that’s starting to lag behind (as your squats may be if you haven’t back squatted as an ME movement in months) , that’s the time to start tweaking and playing.

How much do you squat and deadlift?

You answered your own question.

If it’s not broken don’t change it. If the progress that you want is coming in then keep doing what you’re doing.

( That said I don’t think you’re going about things the right way, but what the hell do I know )

Appreciate the book suggestion, I’ll definitely check it out. I do understand about changing the ME movement in slight ways, for upper body I am primarily going between a regular bench, close grip, and floor press when I alternate movements. Per my response above,I’m going to start alternating in a squat movement every other week on ME day - either front or back.

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Sumo DL 550, back squat 460 (that’s an ass to grass squat, so my “powerlifting squat” is higher but I generally train the ME movements like a squat with full ROM). My front squat is 355.

That doesn’t sound terrible. Unless you aren’t going to do a full meet it would still make sense to try and bring up your squat, it might help your deadlift too.

Chris - as you can tell by my numbers I’m certainly not that great but I would enjoy doing a competition when my numbers increase more. I’m definitely going to work on switching my squat and DL every other week to help bring up my squat numbers.

Why not compete sooner? There is nothing wrong with your numbers, if you wait until you are at a world class level then you might never compete.

I think my numbers can improve significantly over the next year where I’d be more competitive. I know I’m not now nor will I ever be world class, but I would like to at least have a shot of winning.

Out of curiosity, when you say that what you’ve been doing has worked wonders… what exactly do you mean? Specifically, how much have your competition lifts gone up, over what time frame, what is your bodyweight and has it changed over the time period, and what is your age?

The reason I ask is because training specifics are not always the culprit for progress, or the lack thereof. I’d want to consider other potential mediating factors before messing with training.

Nate - I began to incorporate dynamic effort band training about 4+ months ago. Since that time my deadlift max went from 490 to 550 and my bench press max (which is total crap I’m the first to admit) went from 260 to 290. As my prior posts show, I haven’t retested a squat max yet since incorporating DE. I’m 30 years old 5’7" 188 my body weight hasn’t changed in quite a long time.

That’s really impressive progress, especially considering your lower (for a powerlifter) and consistent body weight and age. I would be hesitant to consider changing anything if you’re still seeing progress. Once progress does stall, I would recommend the first step being to identify your weakest point in the lift and making smaller modifications to your current training to more specifically target that weakness.

Appreciate it, Nate. I was originally doing 5/3/1, got me a lot bigger and stronger, then that stalled and I was doing basically just ME/RE days but keeping the same sorts of 5/3/1 percentages. Difference was I was only squatting or deadlifting heavy once a week and moved OH press to an assistance lift (3x10) while seated. This stalled out eventually so that’s when I decided to use DE with bands and it’s been awesome so far. Thanks for your input.