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For Those Who Follow The Conjugate Method: How Do You Peak

Do you use a Westside type of training in the “off season” to get strong all over and then peak differently before a meet?
For instance, do you do a smolov type of program before your competition ?

Look for an article on the WSBB site titled “OFF-SEASON TRAINING”.

“I have been asked many times what we do in the off-season. However, we don’t have an off-season; this would waste part of the year’s training.”

Louie brags about how his lifters are always ready for a meet with no more than 3 weeks notice, you are basically peaked year-round with the conjugate method. Maybe someone else more familiar with this method can clarify whether there are any changes you are supposed to make before a meet. The exception would be the circa-max phase, but that is supposed to last 3 weeks and you are supposed to be squatting something like 800 or more before you do that.

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Um do you know what Smolov is?

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Yes, high volume, high frequency focused on one of the 3 powerlifts (smolov jr for bench).

Now, Do you have anything interesting to say?

I’ll try you fucking cheeky cunt

Are we talking about smolov jr, some smolov-like programs or actual Smolov?

Smolov is for Squats (kinda at the detriment of the other lifts), moderate-high frequency of mostly 3x per week tho there’s a phase of 4x per week (not to be confused with Bulgarian Method)

Smolov Jr is just the base mesocycle from the Smolov Squat Routine with a few slight adjustments to make it easier. There is nothing really that unique about Smolov Junior. Don’t bitch out go full Smolov is good fun.

So I’ma talk about actual Smolov from here on:

Smolov goes for 3 months give or take and has an intro phase, base, switching and intensification phase. So it pretty much encompasses everything between the “off season” to peaking and testing within the program so its not something you run before comp its just something you run.

If you compete full power Smolov is less handy before comp because the other two lifts are put on back burner so you can put your recovery into whichever lift you are focusing on. If you compete Squat only (lel)? or someshit then it may be appropriate. Also some general recommendations go like don’t deadlift (bad for full SBD as previously mentioned) and don’t be in a caloric deficit (which will fuck with your weight class/cut going into comp) to minimise injury risk.

Unless you have a very specific reason to NEED massive squat improvements in a short time and don’t give a flying fuck about your other lifts, you shouldn’t even consider using this program. Is good fun tho if you know how your body responds to volume well and aren’t injury prone (knees especially):

Here you go. % are of true 1RM at the start of the program. From powerliftingtowin’s Smolov Review:


I posted my thoughts/experiences of Smolov in this other thread


Search for Westside circa maximal articles.

Thanks for the nice explanation.
I was definitely talking about smolov jr as 3 weeks looked enough for a peaking phase (considering the meet is a bench press only).
But I didn’t know about the circa max phase of the conjugate so I’ll have a look on it.

I stop DE training 5 weeks out. On DE lower day I do three weeks of band suspended squat and block deadlift (off 35 lb bumpers) with the deadlift starting one week sooner so it ends one week earlier than the squat. The three weeks are 3 triples with 80-85%, 3 doubles with 90-95%, and 3 singles to max. All squat sets with knee wraps. The bands remove 80 lbs at the bottom of the squat so my percentages are calculated at the bottom so I get overload and some accomodating resistance at the top. The bench is still a work in progress. I have only been training westside for 5 months but in those 5 months it yielded 100 lbs on the squat, 60 lbs on the deadlift and 10 lbs on the bench.

My last heavy bench is 7 days out, last heavy squat 14 days out annd last heavy block dead is 21 days out. 14 days out I do a block dead with 70%. 7 days out Squat with 70%, Deadlift 225.

Here are a few suggestions I’ve seen posted around the interwebz that looked alright:

3 weeks out
Dynamic Upper - Paused Bench 10x3@65% (no bands, no chains, no floor press/No accessory work)
Dynamic Lower - Deadlifts 10x1@65%
Max Upper - Paused Bench 5x2@80%
Max Lower - Squat 5x1@80%

2 weeks out
Dynamic Upper - Paused Bench 8x2@70%
Dynamic Lower - Squat 8x1@65%
Max Upper - Paused Bench 5x1@90%
Max Lower - Deadlift 3x1@Opening Weight

1 weeks out
Dynamic Upper - Paused Bench 5x1@75%
Dynamic Lower - Deadlifts 5x1@70%
Max Upper - Paused Bench 3x1@Opening Weight
Max Lower - Squat 3x1@Opening Weight

0 weeks out
Tuesday -Paused Bench 1x1@Opening Weight
Wednesday - Squat 1x1@Opening Weight

  • As you get closer to a meet, drop the volume (number of set and reps) of your main lifts and accessories.
  • In the final 3-4 weeks before a meet, reduce unnecessary accessory work and only keep in the movements you know carry over to your main lifts.
  • Closer to the meet, your max effort movements should be very small variants of the competition lifts or the actual competition lifts themselves.
  • If you aren’t an elite or pro-level lifter, do not run a circa max phase.
  • Take your final heavy bench press 5-7 days out.
  • Take your final heavy squat 7-9 days out.
  • Take your final heavy deadlift 10-14 days out.

I just quit the DE and ME stuff and go straight linear peaking periodization. I keep all assistance work 5 weeks out, and gradually lessen assistance work as the weights get heavier. 1 week out from meet I cut all assistance work besides maybe just some light full body **** like KB swings, pushups, pullups, etc.

5 weeks out
Squat - 87.5%x5x1
Bench 87.5%x5x1
Dead - 90%x5x1

4 weeks out
Squat - 90%x5x1
Bench - 90%x5x1
Dead 92.5%x5x1

3 weeks out
Squat - 92.5%x5x1
Bench - 92.5%x5x1
Dead - 95%x3x1

2 weeks out
Squat - 95%x3x1
Bench - 95%x3x1
Dead - 80%x3x1

1 week out
Squat and Bench on Tuesday - 80%x3x1
Squat Bench and Dead on Saturday (7 days from meet day) - work up to openers

0 weeks out
Nothing until meet day.

Focus on perfect lifts every time.

I personally like the looks of the first option with some of the tips given in the second post. Keep in mind, I’m not a powerlifter…so ya.

@littlesleeper you will be interested in knowing my one buddy runs a conjugate style with his lifters off season and peaks with a more tradition peaking periodization.


That makes sense to me. I mean, conjugate is meant to really pound your weak points (via lift variations) while maintaining perfect form on your competition lifts (via DE days) so I don’t see why that would mean you need to do anything special for a peaking protocol.

Again, I’m no powerlifter, so I really know NOTHING about peaking. Just doing my best to apply common sense up in here.

Would one of those above approaches be considered “traditional peaking periodization”?

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You’re not supposed to pause DE bench, or CAT bench either. Part of the reason for speed work is to develop the stretch reflex, pausing takes away from it. Louie actually says not to pause your bench at all in training but he’s also talking about multi-ply lifting, although Josh Bryant has written plenty of stuff on speed work and the consensus is not to pause.

5 weeks

Weeks 5/4/3 - heavy singles, smooth and on the edge of grinding.
Week 2 - deload, 50% x 5
Week 1 - meet week, stay loose, maybe some light band accessory stuff

Execute competition lifts with all gear you plan to use for the meet.

Most of the time you should be in the accumulation phase which is 3’s and 5’s for ME work and increase the volume for DE work, preferably around twice the amount of work as what you might find on the internet (i.e. bench DE work at 8x3 would be 12-20 sets instead)