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Westside/Conjugate Template for Olympic Lifting

CT or anyone who can help !!!

Ive been using the westside conjugate method and have made great jumps in my strength with the compound lifts bench squat etc now im looking to do the same with my olympic lift PBS how could i apply the methods to olympic lifting which i heard was what the westside system originally came from if i was to concentrate on olympic lifts how could i organize the max effort and dynamic days into this programming

Monday - max effort push - back squat/front squat/split jerk/push jerk etc

Wednesday - max effort pull - clean/snatch/high pulls etc

Friday - dynamic effort push so i was thinking same movement using the dynamic loading parameters

Sunday - dynamic effort pull so same again any kind of pull using the dynamic loading parameters

and of course organizing the assistance work as i see fit would you class this as applicable guys to use ?

The Westside system is based on olympic lifting training of the former USSR team. But NOT the schedule, only the mentality. And only one part of the mentality which is to use a lot of assistance exercises to strengthen each part of the lifts.

For example Russian lifters will do a lot of snatches/clean from blocks, from hang, from a podium, with various pauses during the movement. They do a lot of snatch/clean deadlifts, high pulls, low pulls and a lot more presses (push press, power jerk, military press, behind the neck jerk, Sots press, press from snatch, etc).

HOWEVER they do not use the dynamic/max effort/repetition approach. Well, any olympic lifter uses the dynamic method (because every olympic lift is dynamic/explosive) and the max effort method (not true max in a lot of cases, but heavy squats, heavy pulls). Some use the repetition method (Russians, Chinese) but they don’t really call it anything, they just do fairly high reps on some exercises (4-6).

The fact is that even if Louie was inspired by the Russian lifters, his method cannot be applied as is to olympic lifters.

  1. Olympic lifters do not need a dynamic effort day. They already spend 50-60% of their volume on explosive work (when doing the olympic lifts).

  2. In the Westside system each lift is done twice a week, and only once you do the actual lift. This is good for strength, but not to become efficient in the olympic lifts. You need a lot more frequency than this. Most good olympic lifters will snatch and clean & jerk at least 4 times a week (not always heavy, but they do practice the movements).

  3. From experience if you focus on maxing out on assistance exercises you will run into trouble if training for the olympic lifts… first because you will become slower in your olympic lifts (especially if you max out often on pulls and squats) and second, if you max out on variations of the competitive lifts you will create a big stress on the CNS (much larger than maxing out on a strength movement).

  4. The transfer from maxing out on partial olympic lifting movements (e.g. lifts from blocks or hang) isn’t great if you are not super efficient at the full lifts. I remember when I was younger I loved snatching from blocks. I did A LOT of snatching from blocks. At one point I could do 120kg (265lbs) for 5 reps in the POWER snatch from blocks… but my best full snatch was only 125kg. If you want to be good at the olympic lifts, the actual snatch and clan & jerk, you have to practice the snatch and clean & jerk. And you must practice them often. Technique, timing and speed are at least as important as strength, if not more.

  5. I don’t understand the logic… if Westside is said to be based on the training of Russian weightlifters… why don’t you just look at the training of Russian weightlifters instead of trying to revert back westside???

I will say this though: there is plenty from Westside that you can apply to olympic lifting.

  • Accomodating resistance. Squatting with bands and chains really improved my olympic lifts. But using them on anything other than squats (for an olympic lifter) is dumb

  • Weakness correction. Westside is all about strengthening weak links. I really believe in that. However in olympic lifting you don’t have to use the max effort method to work on weaknesses

  • Lots of posterior chain work. I did my best olympic lifting when adding a lot of reverse hyper and glute ham raise in my training

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Thanks for the reply CT

all the information i needed was in your reply thanks !

I know this is a late reply, but Louie has been posting a lot about this in the past year, accompanied with the release of his new book, “Olympic Strength Training Manual”.

  1. Heavy barbells tend to slow down. Lifting lighter weights doesn’t illicit enough force production. To apply basic physics, force=mass*acceleration. According to scientists, accommodating resistance is the best way to increase acceleration into a bar. If we are doing explosive movements, we need to be explosive. Another factor is adding box jumps. Louie recommends 80 jumps a week for advanced athletes. That’s two days of 40 jumps done 1-3 reps of 40-14 sets, in as many different ways as you can think of (Barbells, kettlebells, from the knees, broad jumps, etc.)

  2. You would actually never do a full clean and jerk or snatch. Louie recommends doing as many different exercises you can think up. Hang cleans, hang power cleans, pause hang cleans, etc. These different exercises are going to teach the movements in a way that the full clean can’t. Most coaches teach cleans or snatches by breaking up the movement into smaller parts, or pulling from blocks. The reason is because these variations teach individual parts of a complex movement. The added benefit is that it strengthens different positions.

  3. There’s a bit of a confusion here. There’s no issue maxing out on a hang power snatch from blocks in 3 attempts, followed by a max out on a clean grip pull into pins. If there is, you need to develop a bigger capacity for work. You are going to be maxing out on 2 movements in 6 lifts come competition day, that’s what you need to train for. The volume on max effort days is relatively low since you only do single repetitions. If this made you slower, the Westside athletes would all be slow. We know that isn’t the case.

  4. Louie always says that technique must come first. He compares the U.S. to Russia, asking why we don’t train younger children in the Olympic lifts. This is where technique is taught. Klokov has said that the last time he practiced technique was when he was 10. To address pulling from the blocks, it’s essential. You need to develop the capacity to overcome static energy with dynamic power. All competition barbells are going to be at a dead-stop on the ground when you pick them up, so why would you not train from a dead stop in other positions? Furthermore, technique is not more important than strength. If it is, go pick up a barbell with the world record clean weight on it and show me technique. I would bet my meager life savings that you wont even deadlift that bar. No offense, but you can sort of understand my point.

  5. He gets all of his references from Russian training logs and books written by the Russians. He always has. His recommendation of doing at least 50% special exercises comes straight from Russian training logs.

Understand that you switch max lifts every week for 3 weeks, on the fourth week you would either do repetition work (following Prilipen’s Chart) or isometric work. I would not do squat variations on Wednesday.

Monday: Max Squat
Wednesday: Max Clean and Jerk Variation, Max Snatch Variation

Build to your 1rm as quickly as you can. On Wednesdays, do no more than 3 attempts at heavy weights per exercise (mimic competition day). You need to be very creative with this. There are hundreds of variations you could be doing.

Friday and Saturday are speed work. I’m waiting for the book to get a better idea of this, but I believe Friday would be speed squat day and Saturday would be your Olympic lifting dynamic day. What might make more sense is doing squats, clean and jerks, and snatches all on Friday then doing spacial exercises on Saturday. Let’s say its separate days. Friday is Speed Squats, week one would be 12x2@75%, week 2 12x2@80%, week 3 10x2@85%. This is done with bands (25% of the weight on the bar should be band tension). After 3 weeks, switch the movement. Saturday you should be doing 15-18 clean and jerks and 15-18 snatches. This will be in sets of 1-3 reps. Pick one variation of clean and jerk and one variation of snatches. You will do 3 weeks of this movement without bands. On the 4th week, pick new movements and use bands. You will be doing this for 3 weeks. You will start out with 75% on the bar on the first week, then 80%, then 85%. When you are using bands, you still have the same percentages. You would use 25% band tension and 50% loaded on the bar to get 75% of your 1rm on the bar at the top of your lift. On a snatch this is at lock out. I recommend using less band tension and even starting at 70, 75, and 80% if you are unfamiliar with bands. Get creative on your set up and always weigh the band tension according to your ending position. You just get on a scale with the bands and subtract the bar and your body weight.

As I said earlier, it seems like Louie is suggesting doing all of the dynamic work on one day. “One can implement the overhead squat with the same percentages provided above. Immediately after the squats you must perform 15-18 cleans of some type in power, hang or classical style. Then after a short warmup do 15-18 snatches of some type in power, hang or classical. Accordingly by Prilepin’s charts 15 lifts at 70% range is slightly below the optimal and 15 lifts at 80%is exactly the optimal amount of lifts. This is for a qualified weightlifter.” With the way he words things, it’s hard to tell if he’s talking about squats in general or just overhead squats. With how speed pressing days are programmed in the regular westside method, I would think that it would be a separate day and both Saturday and Friday’s Dynamic days would be followed by accessory work.

What I’m going to be implementing is Dynamic Squats followed by Dynamic Pulls on Friday. This is what they do in the Westside method. Then, on Saturday I’m going to do Dynamic Presses/Snatch lockouts. Another way to think of it is Dynamic Lower and Dynamic Upper, and I’ll leave that open to interpretation. The most fun thing about the Conjugate method is the experimental aspect of it all.

This should give you a solid base, just remember to always stick with the special exercises. Lots of prehab work with 100-200 reps of banded work every day, lots of reverse hypers, lots of dumbbell work, lots of silly looking movements. Find your weak spots and annihilate them with special exercises.