T Nation

thughts on conjugated periodization

The usual Conjugated peridization for athletes goes:

GPP
(Hypertrophy)
strength
power
SPP
skill (if youre a powerlifter/recreational/bodybuilder then more of the formers come here)

what about:

flexibility/joint mobility
core strength and activation (motor patterns)
balance and proprioception

when periodizing a rehab program those 3 are the first 3 steps, and I was thinking from my experience that every macro(yearly) cycle should start with an emphasys on these 3

something like:

1)achieve/regain ROM needed for sport/health
2)achieve/regain correct motor pattern in that ROM
3)build core strength/Strength endurance to be a foundation for balance and strength training
4) use balance and full rom training to regain/improve proprioception in new (and old) ROM and as a base for speed/skill training

move on to absolute strength/power /hypertrophy training.

any comments on my thought process will be welcome

I’ve never been a believer in proprioceptive specific training as I believe there to be zero carry over to sports. If you want to develop an increased proprioceptive response for a given sport, practice the skills of that sport over and over. I will never believe that doing one legged db squats off a box or jumping around with your eyes closed (2 “proprioceptive training” methods I’ve witnessed among many) will ever increase your balance or contribute in any significant way to the skills of a given sport. As for flexibilty, I don’t see why it could’nt be incorporated into conjugated periodized program if one wished to do so.

the whole idea of conjugate is to emphasize a certain aspect, why not emphasize those? training year is never a flat line, you are always injured/overtrained/inactive and need to regain all those components, or you will create a deficit and a negative feedback

glute spanker you are getting into my pet-peves with this question…i agree with magnus…
flexibility/joint mobility ***-
overhyped I have worked with very talented football players who couldnt touch there toes yet they ran 4.5 40’s…a baseball player i am working with who is one of the fastest players in the country and will sign a huge contract this summer is the most inflexibile person i have ever meet.if you fell stretching works for you then do it but i am not going to waste my time on something i have never seen work for the big 3 sports, sure there are sports where flexibility must be emphasised…joint mobility i dont know what exactly you are saying here but usually my strongest atheltes )not my bulkiest) usually never get hurt.
core strength and activation (motor patterns) - dude if you follow a true westside program your core will be stronger than any pansy paul check,charles stanley, or ian king core work out you do…try putting 33 pounds worth of band tension on to of 400 pounds of weight and try walking it out of a power rack then squating with it for 2 reps then do a weird paul check ab routine and tell me wich one will bring you core strength…also i find it hilarious that paul check tells people how to use there abs when they squat and he cant squat shit…

balance and proprioception - completly overrated there is nothing in the weight room you can do to make your athlete more balanced we are STRENGTH coaches not ball room dancers, i find it hilarious some of the crap out there these coaches are doing with 1 leg on a blance ball crap when ther athletes dont have the hip mobility or mastring strength to do a parrellel squat with 200 pounds and cant do a single glute ham raise …big martin

one should stretch if they have tight muscles or are overly prone to developing hypertonicity. i agree with martin on most everything he said in this post, except the stretching part. it is important for just about everyone. the thing is, you don’t realize how much damage you can do to yourself with chronically tight muscles. inflammatory chemical mediators come in due to moderate edema causing actual damage to the somatic tissues themselves. in order to heal, the body forms scar tissue which we all know is not nearly as good as the original.

While I do think that stretching has a definite place in training, it’s not so you can be a pretzel, just so you have a normal ROM. This isn’t a yoga class.

Martin-loved the post. All the goofy “core” stuff and balance work really gets on my nerves. You want a strong core? Train like a strongman or powerlifter. I also train athletes, and they don’t do such nonsense.

Yeah, I tried to be diplomatic in my response, but Martin summed up my thoughts better than I did. Just one example of how core strength work is overated. My ex wife has never done an ab exercise in her life. She just trains with a lot of compound movements and has very impressive numbers in the big 3 lifts. She also does a lot of posterior chain work. Thing is, when she diets down she actually gets an 8 pack and has as an impressive set of abs as any female fitness or bodybuilding competitor. Point is your core gets lots of work just stabilizing itself for the big compound movements and when playing sports. Specific core strengthening work is largely a waste of time IMO, unless you’re rehabbing an injury.

Great post Big Martin…I can’t stand all that Juan Carlos Santana “functional” traing. "Stand on this wobble board with one foot while pulling on this green thera-band with one hand and this blue thera-band with your other hand in a counterclockwise motion cause this will make you a better athlete…bullshit.

Everyone has said everything I would.

On a side not … who the fuck is Juan Carlos Santana ? I saw that piece of shit in Peform Better magazine the other day and the shit he says in there is fucking weak, and his training philosophies would make me into a bigger pussy and I already am if I followed that money hungry bitch.

Whats pretty sad is that these people are confident too, and typically people who are confident about what they do, they draw a lot of people in, and a lot of those people are strength coaches. I’m waiting for a strength coach to tell me Linear Periodization + balancing on wallball-baball boards and pads + putting my foot in my ass is going to make your athletes better. You’ll see athletes doing supersets of quarter squats and fist fuckers.

End of rant.

youre missing my point or to locked up in your shit. nobody talked about pretzel but normal ROM, most lifters I know dont have normal rom, by normal I mean unable to do a full squat or dead conventioanly without rounding their back, but they keep working the musles which makes it harder to stretch them (eccentric related muscular damage impairs flexibility), and if you cant do a one legged squat youre a pussy and I dont care if you squat 700. I also think that for every level that your strength, speed, skill go up, youre basis should go up as well a notch

stop slapping each other on the back, anybody with a more convincing argument against/for my thoughts?

Normal ROM should be developed in GPP. Remember you get in shape to train. You don’t train to get in shape. There is nothing wrong with a little stretching after a workout especially if you are going to play a sport or workout again. Once you have appropriate Flexibility (after GPP) than use a basic program for maintenance (another Idea from the conjugate method so you don’t suffer from detraining). Remember flexibility is specific. a gymnast needs more than a powerlifter. Too much flexibility for a powerlifrer will cause the joints to lose stability. If this happens under a 700lb squat you’ll die.

SQ6

I’m with Glute here.

I think some of you guys are missing his point. There’s a lack of a couple of different things in the conjugate method as outline in any resource a lot of us have seen so far.

Flexibility is important, as Sully says, to achieve normal range of motion. The question is how many of the athletes we all get our hands on actually have normal range of motion.

Also, the ‘proprioceptive’ exercises that have been brought up seem to be less proprioceptive and more of the ‘functional core’ B.S. that most will agree is way over-hyped.

But what about proper inner unti firing? What about force couples between muscles like the TVA and the spinal erectors or the glutes (depending on alignment). You would drill these principles first and then get into the load and enhancement of performance. That’s just an example of a couple of the things I hope to accomplish before I progress with someone.

Lastly, I think it’s a little irresponsible to be training a professional or future professional athlete who has yet to sign a contract and can’t touch there toes without addressing there range of motion and flexibility issues. Martin, this is by no means an attck, but why would you not address the athlete’s injury potential?

I would never wish this on your client, but tight hamstrings and glutes would lead to spinal flexion when performing hip flexion, like in a batter’s stance. Add the rotational nature of the swing and you have the potential for disc degenration.

Who cares if he can run faster than anyone else when he’s laid up with a bad back or a soft tissue injury?

I’m curious to hear how you look at those issues with perspective to your methods. I’d appreciate the contrary point of view to my own. Sully, I’d appreciate your feedback too.

Oh, and Martin, no need for the ‘I’ll eat your face and kill your family’ shit. That’s not going to get anything accomplished.

Rob: Am I correct in reading that you believe an athletes lack of flexibility is directly corrolated to an increased chance of injury. Sorry, I don’t believe that. I’ve seen to many athletes who could’nt touch their toes and had very poor flexibility who never suffered a significant soft tissue injury. I believe flexibility is largely genetic and has little influence on the potential for injury. Now, for someone who is has lost flexibilty after an injury and is rehabbing, I would agree with what you said.

Rob- i am sorry but i truly dont think you will ever get it…i may comment on this tommrow when i am not so tired, but just to piss you off
DEATH TO NSCA…big martin

here’s the thing. individuals respond differently to training determining whether they need to stretch or not. sure some people can get away with not stretching and be ok. but for most folks, chronic tightness in muscles, causes serious problems.

this has nothing to do with factions of nsca or strict westsiders or whomever. what it comes down to is stretching only takes a few minutes…some need more than others. if you feel you don’t need it, don’t stretch. if you have chronic tightness and refuse to stretch, i’ll see you in my clinic in a few years.

Boonedoc: Agreed. Good points.

Magnus: You are correct, to a degree about my views. I do believe that lack of flexibilty will be an accurate way to assess injury potential. But more important would be things like pelvic alignement, spinal stability/alignement and other joint stability and alignement.

I have a few clients who are crazy-tight and have excellent pelvic alignement. Problem I find is that because of general kinetics, their flexibility issues don’t affect their pelvis but do affect their shoulders and thoracic and cervical spine. If you decrease lower body tension, they start to exhibit better upper body alignement.

Martin: I do get it, I just tend to disagree. You’d be surprised how much of the conjugate method/principle I actually use. I don’t advocate linear periodization and I’m not NSCA certified, nor do I plan to be.

I can understand if you’re too tired to post your views, but I don’t sympathize much if you’re just too pig-headed to do so. What’s the point of having you here if you don’t want to participate in discussion?

If you can’t justify your methods, maybe you should be reconsidering why you’re using them.

If you cant do a one legged squat you are a pussy? If we are comparing athletes of similar abilities then give me the guy who can squat 700 anyday over the one legged squat guy.

Being able to stretch and touch your toes or whatever and being flexible enough to squat and deadlift correctly are two different things. I dont do a whole lot of stretching and i have no problems getting in position to deadlift or squat. Most people dont know how to arch. That is the problem. Its not a flexibility thing, its a muscle recruitment thing. Work with 12-13 year old kids and you will see what i mean. They literally cannot get into an athletic position(back arched or neutral, shoulders back, butt back, etc.)Poliquin has mentioned that they correlation between dynamic flexibility and static flexibility is very low.

Keep doing your one legged squats. Ill keep doing my box squats. You tell me when you want to meet and we will race, jump, play basketball, whatever. And i will beat you at all of them with a whole lot more weight on my bones than you.

I think that is very important that first phases. You want it ore no, Stretched muscles are be able to do more work beacause in the same contraction they carry the weight in a longer space, that is in the gym ore in the course, but I do accept that we cant expect to get a dacer range of movement from every one, but it can be worked as hard as streght ore endurance and it works.
Propioceptive is basic in any sport where you pretend to be stable, and is never going to work with regular workouts, you can only work it in 30-35 percent of max working load in high reps… sorry but sims to be the only whey to use most of little stability muscles.
and for you guys who train overstanding athletes, think a little bit on their future, further than where they will be able to compete, when they have a normal life and have to use their overworked and old bodys and connective issues.
my personal view

Godberg makes some good points.

Like I said earlier the level of flexibility you need is event/activity specific.

Essentially you need enough to perform activities of daily living, Most westsiders can do this, and perform well at your sport. That’s all. Now look at your job, life, and sports. Is flexibility limiting your performance? If flexibility is a limiting factor then you train it. If you are limber enough to perform your daily activities and your sport without injury then you can just maintain it.

We’ll take an example from the forum.

Goldberg powerlifts. So as long as he can properly bench, squat and deadlift then he needs no more and flexibility can be reduced to maintenance loads/minimized.
If he decided to take up gymnastics then flexibility may be limiting and he would have to stretch more.

Very simple.

squattin, Good points. But you tend to over-simplify a bit. Still, the fact remains and I agree that if you have good range and can maintain it through activity, then you’re probably okay with occasional stretching.

Goldie, I’d take the 700 squatter too, provided they aren’t a bag of mess. But if you can squat 700, but can’t do a one legged squat, there’s something wrong. It’s not who will be better at the sport, it’s who will play longer and avoid injury.

A lot of the Powerlifters bring up the point that they could participate in any sport and physically out perform someone who doesn’t powerlift. I’ll take that at face value, but consider how they’d last over an entire season?

It just seems to come down to preparedness vs. performance enhancement. An individual trainer’s definition of preparedness is always going to be different and experience has shown that mine is more thorough and complex than others.

I also agree that it’s a muscle recruitment issue in the early stages of childhood and adolescence when it comes to body positioning. But take one of those kids and check their hip flexibilty and it’s probably not great after 10 or 20 years of that chronic position. They’ll be outrageously tight and you won’t be able to cue an arched position in the back without improving their flexibity.

Those are my opinions based on experience. My feelings won’t be hurt if you don’t agree. There does seem to be a line drawn in the sand though. On one side are the experienced trainers and various therapists and on the other side are the powerlifters. I’m not going to tell you who’s right, I’m just going to be happy about the company on my side of the line.

I just hope that none of you have to deal with an injury in your professional futures, especially one that results from your training of that injured client. Maybe it will be an eye opener. But I’d never wish it on you.