T Nation

High(er) Frequency Conjugate


#1

Hi all, a question for fellow lifters experienced in training using the conjugate method. A little background on my own recent training, I’ve been running 5/3/1 for most part of the past two years until switching to conjugate going on almost four months now with great results. My question is has anyone experimented with training total body conjugate? For example, doing upper body supplemental after max effort lower and vice versa and upper body RE after dynamic lower, etc?

I currently weight train three times a week, rolling over my fourth workout on the upcoming Sunday, so essentially I am training lower twice/upper once one week and vice versa the next. My plan is to allocate the volume which will have me training both lower and upper three times per week. DE/ME will still see 72 hours apart of course and the majority of my max effort sessions are for a 5rm, occasional 3rm or seldom 1rm attempts. I use Prilepin’s table to govern volume, as it’s pretty spot on with my recovery ability and do two yoga sessions per week in between lifting sessions.

The only thing changing would be switching out supplemental and assistance. Anyone happy to share experience will be greatly appreciated. I’ve also put this plan into action today and would be glad to share how it goes with anyone interested. Thanks in advance!


#2

First of all, just say Westside style training. To conjugate just means swapping exercises out for different ones periodically. Most everyone employs the conjugate method in their programs granted many don’t ever conjugate the main lift.

So if we’re going to use accurate terms, what you’re looking for is, “Conjugated, concurrent, block periodization”. That’s why I just like to use Westside style or Westside inspired training.

Yes, it can be done. I like it for times when when I can only be in the gym 2-3 times a week.

Here’s a very basic way of setting it up:

Monday:
Squat Supplementary (next week, sub DL Supp for this slot)
DE Bench
assistance exercises
upper back and abs

Wed:
DE Squat
ME Bench
Assistance Exercises
upper back and abs

Fri:
ME Lower
Bench Supp
Assistance
upper back and abs

And remember this:
Your supp feed your main lift, your assistance feeds your supp.

I personally don’t like to include a very big squat and deadlift type movement in the same session when doing whole body high(er) frequency. It’s too much for me to recover from since there’s so much overlap in the muscles used since I have a very hip dominant squat.

For DL practice at least once a week, you could do some light to moderate DE pulls. I’d place it in one of those assistance slots.


#3

Yea, I’m really not trying to go into semantics over the term conjugate. I’m pretty sure, when one mentions max effort, dynamic effort and repetition effort everyone knows exactly what they are talking about while avoiding the “It’s not Westside, unless you are at Westside” flamers. Anyway, i should have been a little more specific in my request and asked for individual insight on recovery and wether performing supplemental and assistance work in this manner might hamper ME/DE work. Nothing else is changing, just the allocation of supplemental and assistance volume over several days as opposed to one. Thanks for your input.


#4

Personally, ME and DE work did take a hit. But only for the first couple of weeks.

When I did it as outlined above, those were total non-issues after I go used to it. When I first started working my way into it, I didn’t do assistance exercises, just upper back and abs after the main work.

After some time, add an assistance exercise. A very small one. Then sub a bigger assistance movement. Then add another small one. Then sub a bigger assistance exercise for that second assistance slot.

Even when you get used to this, if you feel like crap and you know you’re under recovering because of stress, life, bs, etc, you can cut out assistance work entirely.

Just remember that the assistance is there to add to your main lifts, not take away from them.

I have the supplementary movements on their own days for recovery. With the higher frequency, it’s too much for me to recover from having both DE or ME Lower and a supplementary Lower. Same with bench.

Normally, I’d try to let other people chime in before I would make a response unless I’m just damned sure of myself but I don’t know of anyone else on these boards who have done what you intend to or what I have done, but there are a few who have done DUP (daily undulating periodization). That’s just having a hypertrophy, power, and strength day once a week for each lift at it’s core but using the main lift all the time for those traits. Some of the people who have tried it here loved it.

I don’t see why this would be any more difficult to recover from, even with ME lifts because of the conjugating.


#5

Sure it can be done. As long as you maintain the integrity of the ME and DE days and make sure your priority is to develop max strength or speed strength on that day. For instance, if you perform a supplemental lift for your bench after DE Lower work, you are doing it wrong if this in any way takes away from your next ME Upper workout.

So basically, as long as you are at full strength to give 100% for your main work, it is fine. As always just make sure the assistance work you choose is geared toward improving your competition lifts.


#6

You don’t need to do ME or DE to do conjugate. Conjugate is a rotation of exercises or variations of a main lift. Conjugate does not mean Westside.


#7

No one is saying that you do, nor that conjugate=Westside. The context in which I am speaking was laid out in prior posts. Please read. This was the exact derailing I was trying to avoid, but if you want to be technical, your definition of conjugate is wrong. “So, the original idea of this conjugate method is not simply the rotation of the same group of special exercises during the preparation period, but it is the conjugate use of special physical preparation exercises and technical exercises in the same training session”. Yuri Verhoshansky. I honestly don’t care what we call it, so long as it’s understood the context of my application of conjoining the max effort method, the dynamic effort method and the repetition effort method, which again was stated above.


#8

Awesome to hear that someone else has tried this and did pretty well with it. I’ve finally accepted that more isn’t always better and less is often times more in terms of assistance work. I’m taking a similar approach to assistance as you laid out and your method of progressing assistance gives me something I haven’t thought about. Once, I started putting a premium on recovery everything started changing for the better. My joints feel great, my lifts that had stalled for over six months started going up and even though I might have killed a session the previous day, I don’t feel like a feeble, old man. I’ll lay out how I have it structured. Feel free to critique if you think it might help.
Day 1
Max Effort lower-GM/Squat/DL Variation
Upper Supplemental-Overhead Variation
Horizontal pull
Abs every session

Day 2
Max Effort lower-Bench Press Variation
Lower Supplemental-A supporting movement of the previous max effort sessions variant based on my weaknesses.
Vertical pull

Day 3
Dynamic Effort Lower-Speed squat and speed pulls
Upper body assistance-Incline dB presses, dead stop extensions, a bicep curl of some sort, forearms, a Facepull or band pull apart etc.

Day 4
Dynamic Effort upper-Speed bench
Lower body assistance-Usually a hyperextension, kB swing, pull through, etc.
Facepull or band pull apart. Just the opposite of what I chose the previous session.
With assistance I usually just pick one movement for awhile and try to progress it through time or reps or both, based on weaknesses and try to improve my gpp. During the week, regardless of what I’m training I usually throw in one set of bicep, triceps, forearm, trap work in there after my main work and supplemental. Accommodating resistance cycles make up about a third of my overall DE work and I work up to a heavy rep max for either the squat, dl or bench once every three weeks after speed work. Supplemental is usually progressed for a 6rm once I can own a weight for 3 sets of 6. The same for assistance, but for a higher rep max and fewer sets. Main movements are usually for a 5rm. I’ll start at 95% of a movements previous PR and take two more sets, trying to beat that PR. If I get 15 reps within 5% of the top set I move on to supplemental.

Yoga twice a week in between the first two sessions. Nothing strenuous, mostly floor work for recovery, mobility and general well being. Usually, some rotator cuff work on these days as well.


#9

Haha this is funny, I’ve recently decided to use a higher frequency “Westside-style” routine myself, mostly because it’s an interesting change to try it for a while.
I’m starting now with separate ME squat and deadlift days in the same week (and some squats most other days because that’s what I always do and it works!). I think the only real risk with this type of training is overdoing the accessories and hampering progress on the main lifts, ME / DE on one lift is very easy to recover from unless you’re lifting absolutely crazy poundages. So there’s at least one person who doesn’t think you’d be insane to try it :grin:


#10

Lol, yea higher frequency is something I haven’t ventured much in with lower body. I’ve done heavy bent over row variations four times a week for several months at a time with no issues, but I only wish I could squat and deadlift heavy in the same week. Up until i jumped on the westside-esque train my pull had stalled big time and even regressed a little. I started rotating max effort GM’s, squats and deads every week and it finally took off again.


#11

Looks good and reasoned out to me.

Excuse me if I’m speaking to the choir here, but just some friendly suggestions if you’re not doing so already.

Sometimes, even the most well reasoned plans don’t work out. So make sure you keep a good log. Not just numbers, but some qualitative info like how hard a set was. I mean, if you get 455 on your squat for a grinding difficult max, then you get it 8 weeks later and its real smooth, that’s progress.

Also, recording stuff like if you’re feeling the right muscles working on your assistance work. Let’s say your weakness is chest. DB bench press is a classic recommendation for that. But if you just mindlessly do them for chest when you’re only feeling them in your delts and tris, you’re not building your weakness.

And my biggest recommendation is to understand that building work capacity is a core tenet of Westside style training.

Once you’re sessions are getting over 1 hour to 1.25 hours because your able to do more work and recover from it, take some of the smaller work to mini-sessions between the main ones. Make sure that whatever you do on your mini sessions doesn’t hurt the main work.

You could start out with just some body weight stuff and some band extensions and face pulls with bands. You’re doing the yoga so while not specific to powerlifting, that is something. I would count it at least.


#12

ok, you’re right no one was saying that.

why get so offended? there’s no derailment of your post. keep on keepin’ on.


#13

Yea, I might have misinterpreted your tone and been a bit of dick. My apologies osu.


#14

I keep a log, but past pr’s and exercise selection, sets x reps x weight I don’t log much else. When I first started keeping a log I did keep a more detailed log, but I’ve slacked and should honestly be more thorough. I have read up on mini-workouts and pre-workout gpp and have been trying to implement little things here and there. I had to first get a handle on the amount of assistance volume I was doing as I was out of control with it. That realization has been a complete turn around. I’ve always taken my warm ups slow and quarter, plate worked my way up to try accrue a little more volume and I just feel better prepared for the heavier sets that way. I also incorporated band pull apart and face pulls in between every set between benching and it has paid dividends without taking anything away from my work sets. I eventually would like to progress my yoga from just your basic floor poses to more intense poses. My muscle endurance in static poses suck in that aspect. It’s a fine line to walk, when it comes to adding things like that for me. I appreciate your time and input and apologize for coming off as an asshole in earlier posts. This is an awesome forum for gaining knowledge and insight.