T Nation

Little Conjugate, Little Strongman

just finished up Brian Alsruhes Mass Builder template with some new PRs and noticeably bigger traps and upper back . . took a week off and am gonna take my new found strength and try to expand on it with his Conjugate template

Stats are 31 y/o, 5’9” 210lbs
1 rm
DL: 475
Front squat: 315
Bench: 325
Press: 225

Week 1 Day 1 ME Front squats
Giant set:
Hang cleans 135x3, 185x3, 205x2x4
Front squats 135x3, 185x3, 225x3, 250x3, 275x3, 295x3
1:00 min plank x6

Front squats 5x3 @235

3x10 (ea. side) single-leg RDL w/24kg KB

50ft arm-over-arm sled pulls: 2x115lbs, 2x165lbs, 2x215lbs

crazy good quad pump; bought a new pwo from MuscleFeast, seemed to give good focus and energy

ME split jerks on Monday . . .

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Will be following along on the conjugate train!!

Sounds good.

I’m gonna try and figure how to upload videos this time around.

How’d you like the Mass Builder template? The recovery requirements look pretty high on paper.

I liked it, solid strength and size (mainly upper back/traps) gains but yeah, definitely requires on-point recovery. I ate a ton while doing this program. I rarely did the conditioning portion of the program but the giant sets are conditioning in and of themselves. I started to burn out around week 10, beginning of week 11 so with Brian’s blessing I stopped there and deloaded.

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Week 1 Day 2 ME Log press

decided to go with log press as opposed to split jerks as my wrists were still feeling beat-up from the heavy front squats on Saturday

Giant sets:
Neutral-grip pull-ups:
x3 + 25lbs
x3 + 45lbs
x3 + 70lbs
x3 + 80lbs
x3 + 90lbs x2

Log press:
x3 @105lbs
x3 @135lbs
x3 @155lbs
x3 @175lbs
x3 @195lbs
x1 @205lbs (on the 2nd rep the rubberband I had on the weight sleeve snapped and I dropped the bar and something cracked me on the skull; after I was done seeing stars I decided to call the ME work and move onto volume sets . . the weight sleeves on my log are too small for my clips but yeah, in hindsight rubber bands weren’t the best answer)

Overhead Side Bends
x4 each side w/empty bar after each set

5x3 NG pull-ups + 35lbs
5x3 Log press @160lbs

Giant set:
12x BTN press w/125lbs
35ft One-arm plank side row w/sled + 70lbs (ea. side)
20x banded face pulls

Don’t know if I would’ve got all 3 reps @205 which is a little disappointing but then again I have very little experience with that log (12” version) so I’ll just build from here.

Probably gonna go to bed with quite the headache tonight . . can only blame myself though

Lower DE on Wednesday


Week 1 Day 3 Lower DE

SSB Box squat (low box):
10x3 EMOM @145 + doubled over mini purple bands

10x3 EMOM @205 + average blue band & 22lb chain

Farmers carry:
6x60ft runs w/200lb each hand

probably going to add more chains to the DL next session as they moved super fast

grip felt really strong on farmers carries, happy about that

Upper DE tomorrow

Week 1 Day 4 Upper DE

Close-grip Bench Press:
10x3 EMOM @135 + average blue band (80lbs @top?)

Strict press:
10x3 EMOM @85 + 44lbs of chains @top

4x 75ft Overhead yoke walk @205lbs

Assistance Giant set:
3 rounds -
10x one-arm rows (ea. side) @75lbs
10x 30 degree incline lateral raises @20lb
12x rear delt flyes @20lb

Everything moved good. Yoke walk was slow but stable and I can definitely add more weight next time around; gonna have them as a staple every Upper DE day to improve overhead stability.

ME paused deadlifts on Saturday

Week 2 Day 1 ME paused deadlifts

Giant set:
KB swings x10x6
Paused DLs (mid-shin) 3x135, 3x225, 3x315, 3x365, 3x405, 3x435
Dragon flags x5x6

Paused DLs 5x3 @355 (a little nauseous after last set)

SSB Good mornings x8 @135
Close-stance SSB box squat (low box) x8 @155
3 total sets

Week 2 Day 2 ME Upper

Giant set:
Barbell row: 3x135, 3x185, 3x205, 3x225, 3x255, 3x275
Floor press: 3x135, 3x185, 3x225, 3x250, 3x275, 3x300 (butt came up slightly on 3rd rep)
Side plank crunch: 6x6 each side

Barbell row: 3x5 @225
Floor press: 3x5 @240
Side plank crunch: 3x6 each side

Arnold press x8 @55lb
One-arm row x8 each side @75lb
Feet-elevated push-ups x20
3 total sets

can tell my upper back really benefitted from the last Brian Alsruhe program I ran as these rows felt really strong

DE Lower on Wednesday

was supposed to have Lower DE day yesterday but I’m dealing with a slight cold so I pushed it off until today . . skipped assistance work today as I’m still not 100%

Week 2 Day 3 Lower DE

Deadlifts: 10x3 EMOM @225 + average blue band & purple mini band

SSB Box squat (14” box): 10x3 EMOM @155 + average blue bands (2) & mini purple bands (2)

still not 100% today but a slight improvement from yesterday regarding how I feel

Week 2 Day 4 Upper DE

10x3 EMOM Close-grip bench press @155 + average blue band
supersetted w/5 band pull-aparts each round

10x3 EMOM Strict press @95 + (2) 22lb chains

Assistance Giant set:
50 ft overhead yoke walk @226lbs
10 NG pull-ups + 45lbs
50 ft zercher yoke carry @226lbs
3 total rounds

the overhead walk was challenging and required focus but the zercher carry didn’t take much effort at all; I’m good for a lot more weight on that the next time around

ME SSB squats on Sunday

got a massage yesterday and the lady said I was like a rock, especially my hamstrings and calves . . probably should schedule these more often

Week 3 Day 1 ME Lower

Giant set:
Snatch-grip high-pull: 3x95, 3x135, 3x185, 3x205x4
SSB squat: 3xbar, 3x155, 3x205, 3x255, 3x305, 3x335, 2x355 (got a little spotter help on the 2nd rep)
:30 sec one-arm plank, alternating sides each round

SGHP: 3x205x3
SSB Squat: 5x265x3
:30 one-arm plank x3

8x 2” deficit RDL @225
8x bent-over row @225
3 tota sets

1st time ever squatting ‘heavy’ with the SSB; learned you really have to shove your upper back into the bar coming out of the hole . . I want 400+ on the back half of this program when you work up to a 1RM

Week 3 Day 2 ME Upper

Giant set:
Wide-grip pull-ups: 3x + 25lbs, 3x 35lbs, 3x 45lbs, 3x 55lbs, 3x 70lbs x2
Seated BB press: 3x95lbs, 3x135lbs, 3x160lbs, 3x185lbs, 3x200lbs, 3x215lbs
Landmine twist: x10x6

Wide-grip pull-ups: 3x5 + 35lbs
Seated BB press: 3x5 @170lbs
Landmine twist: x10x3

Assistance Giant set:
BTN press: x10 @135lbs
One-arm row: x12 @80lb DB (ea. side)
Face pull: x20 @50lbs
3 total sets

75ft one-arm farmers carry @195lbs
3 sets each side

have off work today so I went to the gym as opposed to training at home; had a friend spot me on the last set of presses but I didn’t need him as they moved good . . I thought about going for 225 for 3 but Brian recommends not going to failure so I decided to call it at 215

45g of whey and 20g of HBCD post-workout and then a tall glass of chocolate milk about 1/2 hour after that . . responding well to conjugate thus far

Week 3 Day 3/4

morphed DE days into 1 day in order to get my schedule straight again and be able to lift on 2 of my days off throughout the week

10x3 SSB Box squat (14” box) EMOM @170 + average blue bands(2) & mini purple bands (2)

10x3 Axle strict press (my axle bar finally came) EMOM @105 + chains

4x8 NG pull-ups + 50lbs; 60 sec rest between sets

ME Lower on Saturday

Week 4 Day 1 ME Lower

Giant set:
KB swings x8x6
DL from bumper plates (just shy of 13”): 135x3, 225x3, 315x3, 385x3, 435x3, 465x2 so slow off the floor here!
Dragon flags x5x6

KB swings x8x3
DL from bumper plates @365: x5x3 sets
Dragon flags x5x3

Assistance Giant set:
SSB Good mornings x8 @155lbs
Close-stance SSB box squat x8 @205
Reverse hyper x10 @90 (real slow eccentric)
3 total sets

I was so slow off the floor on that top set of deads; anyone have any helpful assistance or cues to increase speed off the floor? That’s really gonna hold me back until I can improve it

Week 4 Day 2 ME Upper

Giant set:
BB bent-over row: 135x3, 185x3, 210x3, 235x3, 255x3, 275x3x2
2 sec pause bench press: 135x3, 185x3, 210x3, 235x3, 260x3, 280x3, 295x3
GHR sit-ups: 10x7 sets w/25lb plate

BB bent-over row: 3x5 @225
2 sec pause bench: 3x5 @235
GHR sit-ups: 3x10 w/25lb plate

8x DB incline bench @95lb db
10x one-arm DB row @85lb db (ea. side)
3 rounds

75ft One-arm farmers carry w/210lbs
3 rounds each side

Week 4 Day 3 DE Lower

SSB box squat 10x3 EMOM @165lbs + bands

Deadlift 10x3 EMOM @245 + bands


RFESS x10 each leg @115lbs
Reverse hyper x10 @160lbs
3 rounds

Is a huge lower back pump normal after reverse hypers?

Week 4 Day 4 DE Upper

CGBP 10x3 EMOM @165lbs + bands

Axle Strict press 10x3 EMOM @115lbs + chains

x10 NG pull-ups + 45lbs
x12 Seated BTN press @125lbs
x12 Overhead Tricep DB extensions w/60lb dB
3 rounds

Week 5 Day 1 ME Lower

had a big breakfast of 4 beer battered wild-caught cod fillets, half a carton of egg whites with cheese (ran out of regular eggs), bowl of oat cereal, and a pint of blueberries then about 2 hours later I met my friend at the gym . . he squats over 500 so he was able to give me some pointers since I haven’t had a straight bar on my back for awhile

Giant set:
5x box jumps (36”)
Low-bar squat: 135x3, 225x3, 275x3, 315x3, 355x3, 385x3, 400x3
8x BB rollouts

3x box jumps
3x5 low-bar squats @325lbs
8x BB rollouts

10x Glute-ham raises + 25lb plate
10x ea. side step-ups on a 20” box w/75lbs
3 rounds

75ft single-arm farmers carry w/225lbs
3 rounds each side

main take-aways from squatting were that I don’t set my hips back far enough and I need to keep a more upright torso . . might use an ‘off-day’ here to really hammer my form with light weight on low-bar squats