T Nation

Considering Conjugate Method

I’ve been lifting for a couple years now - my best lifts (all raw) are: squat - 395, bench - 265, and deadlift - 455. I’ve been using Jim’s 5/3/1 for at least a year and half and have been getting good results from my deadlift, but my bench/squat haven’t been as good as I’ve hoped (maxes have still gone up mind you - squat up 30 lbs, bench up 30 lbs, dead - up 115 lbs). Here’s my concerns about moving to the conjugate/west-side method (or if i even should):

  • There’s times I simply have to miss a workout (work stuff) and 5/3/1 is more forgiving to this, but it seems like the 4-day/wk westside template relies on those 4 days being exactly where they are - is this true?

  • as a raw lifter, I’m afraid that incorporating too many box squats is going to mess up my raw form…my raw squat isn’t as wide as my box squat and my knees go forward a bit (i lift in a heeled shoe)where as my box squat I try to have perpendicular shins. Is the change in form going to mess up my raw squat?

I’ve ordered a past issue of Power magazine that supposedly has a great article in it about raw lifters using westside, but I wanted to get my concerns out there and see what information you guys could toss my way.

The only methods I have every used as a power lifter are the methods made famous by Louie Simmons. Ill answer your questions, but please keep in mind that I’m nobody special, just another gym rat who likes to lift heavy stuff.

-No it doesn’t rely completely on those 4 days. I run the 4 day program and if I miss Upper ME Day, I will either due it the following day or work up to a couple of heavy doubles after my speed work on DE day.

No its not. Every 3rd week or so, don’t use the box for your ME squat movement if you are that concerned. Dont cheat on the box squat and you will only make your squat stronger.

I hope this helped a bit. Check out the Westside Method Thread. Storm The Beach has a shit ton of excellant information on that thread.

Great introductory template…

http://articles.elitefts.com/training-articles/programs/getting-ready-to-powerlift/

awesome - thanks guys - appreciate the information

been using it for 13 months now . I dont lift 4 days a week …doesnt seem to be an issue .

my biggest squat PRs have come in the last year , all the while wide-stance box-squatting . I believe that my current squat form , slightly wider than shoulder width , is the best it’s ever been ; and I’ve been told the same from multiple people . I do not believe that box squatting messes up form ; fucks with your head…absolutely .

You absolutely do NOT have to box squat to use conjugate periodization. I have no idea why there are so many people that think this. I’m not blaming you, mind you, but there seems to be this weird misunderstanding that if you don’t box squat youre not doing conjugate periodization.

This, of course, is silly. Periodization is a method of planning or adjusting progression throughout time–it has nothing to do with a single exercise, only to do with how you approach fixing weaknesses on lifts, plan weight and rep progression, and recovery.

You don’t have to box squat to use the conjugate system–there are plenty of very successful powerlifters who don’t box squat but do use Westside’s general planning scheme. I for one love their template and used it forever. I do still go back to it sometimes, and probly will in the future.

[quote]Aragorn wrote:
You absolutely do NOT have to box squat to use conjugate periodization. I have no idea why there are so many people that think this. I’m not blaming you, mind you, but there seems to be this weird misunderstanding that if you don’t box squat youre not doing conjugate periodization.

This, of course, is silly. Periodization is a method of planning or adjusting progression throughout time–it has nothing to do with a single exercise, only to do with how you approach fixing weaknesses on lifts, plan weight and rep progression, and recovery.

You don’t have to box squat to use the conjugate system–there are plenty of very successful powerlifters who don’t box squat but do use Westside’s general planning scheme. I for one love their template and used it forever. I do still go back to it sometimes, and probly will in the future.[/quote]

true that too .

to me though , proving progress to myself by getting stronger at many different movements is the key aspect of this program . box squats is probably my favorite right now ( probably because I sucked at them so bad ). when I used other types of programming , I usually thought most about the final outcome of a cycle…leaving a couple months between the opportunity to prove progress . the conj. method allows this opportunity of proof on a regular basis ( weekly ) . not sure if this makes any sense to anyone else , but it keeps me motivated . box squats , or any other variation , is just another opportunity to improve .

[quote]marlboroman wrote:

[quote]Aragorn wrote:
You absolutely do NOT have to box squat to use conjugate periodization. I have no idea why there are so many people that think this. I’m not blaming you, mind you, but there seems to be this weird misunderstanding that if you don’t box squat youre not doing conjugate periodization.

This, of course, is silly. Periodization is a method of planning or adjusting progression throughout time–it has nothing to do with a single exercise, only to do with how you approach fixing weaknesses on lifts, plan weight and rep progression, and recovery.

You don’t have to box squat to use the conjugate system–there are plenty of very successful powerlifters who don’t box squat but do use Westside’s general planning scheme. I for one love their template and used it forever. I do still go back to it sometimes, and probly will in the future.[/quote]

true that too .

to me though , proving progress to myself by getting stronger at many different movements is the key aspect of this program . box squats is probably my favorite right now ( probably because I sucked at them so bad ). when I used other types of programming , I usually thought most about the final outcome of a cycle…leaving a couple months between the opportunity to prove progress . the conj. method allows this opportunity of proof on a regular basis ( weekly ) . not sure if this makes any sense to anyone else , but it keeps me motivated . box squats , or any other variation , is just another opportunity to improve .

[/quote]

That makes complete sense. I felt like that too. If not week to week, then month to month

You’ll be pleasantly suprised with your numbers using the conjugate system.

For max effort work. I like to do a deadlift variation, on week 1. Week 2 a goodmorning variation. On week 3,
a squat varion without a box.

For dynamic work. I usually use a box but, use it a bit differently. For the first 3 week cycle. I’ll use a box and perform the box squats exactly as Louie suggest, relaxing or sitting on the box for a second or 2. On the last week (60%).I will work up to a few easy singles, no higher than 85-90%, with bands or chains, whatever I was using for the cycle. I use the box to let me know where pararell is. Once I hit the box. I explode up as fast as possible. I try to use my raw squat technique but, it’s not going to be perfect because of the bands and/or chains.

For the following cycle. If no one is around to call depth. I’ll just use the box, just to let me know where parallel is. Then explode up as soon as I feel the box. I wont relax on the box. On the 3rd week (60% wk) I will work up to a few heavy singles no higher than 85-90%.

You never mentioned your weight but, once you approach a legitimate 2x bdy squat and are going to compete. I would implement strength/speed and circamax cycles. For these I have found the touch and go method using the box squat method produces better strength gains.

For raw benching I have had a lot of success using db presses flat and incline for accesory work. Reps around 6-15 work well.

Try a flat soled shoe and see how they work. Chuck’s are cheap.

Ohhh just noticed I screwed up the dynamic cycles explanation.

Short and sweet version.

First 3 week cycle. Using a parallel box exactly as Louie does. Relax or ret on the box for a second or 2. 3rd week work up to an easy single.

2nd 3 week cycle use a parallel box and as soon as you feel it explode up. 3rd week work up too an easy single.