Knowledge. Growth. Retention.
Here is a breakdown of the Conjugate Sequence training system.
Welcome to Conjugate Fitness™ and welcome to RESULTS. You are now a part of a community of fitness professionals—across six continents and over 50 countries—dedicated to providing their athletes with a proven and safe strength program based on the conjugate method, as made famous of Louie Simmons of Westside Barbell®.
Following each Execution Plan within the Conjugate Fitness™ Lab provides you with a step-by-step approach to implementing the Conjugate Fitness ™ program in your gym.
Each Execution Plan gives you a precise understanding of a particular component of the Conjugate Fitness ™ program. For instance, there is specific Execution Plan to teach you the purpose of each specialty bar. Likewise, there is a specific execution plan to help you better understand the Dynamic Effort.
Breaking apart the Conjugate Fitness™ program into digestible “bite-size” pieces (each Execution Program), will help you understand the program as a whole and how each component plays a part in a larger comprehensive scheme. Below we teach how to use the Execution Plans.
Firstly, if you are a member of Conjugate Fitness Lab, please bring questions about this Execution Plan (or any other strength and conditioning question) to the monthly Office Hours call. This call takes place 2nd Wednesday of every month at 1 PM Central Time.
Or post questions in the Conjugate Fitness Lab Facebook Group.
Here’s how to get the most out of the content in this Execution Plan,
Read the entire EP once – Read through this entire EP, watch any videos and download the resources. Don’t execute on the steps until you have finished reading the entire EP. This will help you understand the progression of the steps and put them into context.
Complete the steps – This Execution Plan is a checklist. Each step builds upon the next. Complete each step in order.
Lastly, here’s how to use the Execution Plan interface.
View the example Execution Plan below…
Progress Bar – The Progress Bar shows you the percentage of the Execution Plan you have completed.
Check boxes – Click the checkbox to indicate completion of a Course Step or Course Section.
Course Sections – An Execution Plan is a series of steps that lead to the completion of milestones. In this EP there are four milestones entitled Start Here, Pre-Launch, Launch, and Post-Launch.
Course Steps – Each Course Section contains multiple steps.
Arrows – Use the Arrow Buttons to open and close the Course Steps in the Execution Plan.
Conjugate Fitness ™ is dedicated to teaching gym owners, personal trainers, and fitness professionals how to implement a proven and highly versatile strength training program in their gyms. Our strength program is based on a conjugate methodology—as made famous by Louie Simmons—and is modeled after some of the programming used by Westside Barbell®. Our highly personalized education services not only provide you with the fundamentals of basic form and technique (i.e., the how) but, more importantly, give you a deeper understanding of the conjugate method (i.e., the way).
Louie Simmons, the founder, and owner of Westside Barbell—the strongest gym in the world—is responsible for making the conjugate methodology famous.
“When lifters repeatedly use the same simple method of training to raise their strength level, they will eventually stall.”
– Louie Simmons
Simmons’ goal was to develop a training method that would prevent this stall. He took cues from the Russian Olympic teams that used countless variations and a pool of over 40 exercises to train. This ensured that routines were changed frequently and that all muscle groups were being used. Just as Simmons took cues from the Russian Olympic teams, Conjugate Fitness has taken cues from Simmons, developing a strength program suitable for all levels of athletes, ranging from the elite powerlifter to the weekend warrior.
We have created this execution plan to help you implement the Conjugate Fitness™ program and the conjugate method in your gym so that you can meet and exceed your clients’ fitness goals.
As a member of the Conjugate Fitness™ community, you will join in the incredible results already being experienced by our members everywhere.
Optimal Training with a Conjugate Method Sequence System
When it comes to strength training and physical fitness, studies have proven that a constant rotation of exercises can help athletes reach their highest potential at a much faster rate. But there seems to be a great deal of misinformation being spread around about what these terms actually mean. The conjugate method, made famous by Louie Simmons, outlines the optimal training method to achieve peak performance by focusing on training every strength phases every week.
Re-adjusting the Focus
When implemented properly, the Conjugate Fitness ™ program, which follows a conjugate method sequence system will improve the quality of all areas of your life. A well-balanced and effective fitness program like we set-up in our StrengthPAD PROGRAM FOR YOU, should not only build you physically but psychologically as well, making you mentally stronger and more focused. Athletic performance and the prevention of possible injury during training sessions should always be the primary goals of any fitness routine. A well-toned physique is simply a by-product of all of that hard work and effort. It should not be the main goal.
All too often, we see fitness trainers coaching their clients in exactly the same way, day after day, through a staggered routine of powerlifting, strength training, and cardiovascular exercise. Personal trainers might refer to this as a periodization, yet only a small portion of these well-meaning clients seems to ever achieve any substantial results. Trainers like to chalk it up to “genetics”, explaining that some people are just more naturally inclined to attain muscle mass and muscle tone than others. The Conjugate Fitness™ program disproves this theory and blows it out of the water.
The Conjugate Method Defined
Unlike other fitness programs that claim to employ periodization and muscle confusion, the conjugate method uses multiple training methods simultaneously that are specifically designed to improve very specific athletic qualities. The program is not designed to primarily “make us look better”. That just happens naturally as a nice, extra perk of the program. The athletic qualities that the conjugate method focuses on include, but are not limited to:
And these goals apply to all fitness enthusiasts. Whether you are a sprinter looking to gain a few seconds on your race time, a weightlifter trying to add muscle mass, or a basketball player attempting to learn the art of the “slam dunk”, the conjugate method gets results.
Five Strength Phases of Physical Training
According to the method developed by Vladimir Zatsiorsky, there are 5 basic areas of strength training. Each of these methods should be incorporated and balanced into a workout routine every week or you will lose the strength that you develop the previous week. With each succeeding week, the intensity, variations of each lift, and volume of training will be adjusted and will fluctuate slightly, according to the individual area being emphasized. By doing so, athletes can build on multiple fitness goals all at the same time. The FIVE strength phases of physical training are:
General Physical Preparedness – To get us in the condition to handle the training that our program or sport requires.
Maximum Effort Method focuses on lifting the greatest possible load with maximum resistance. For example, one day a week the athlete might focus on high-intensity training of completing squats, deadlifts, and bench presses of only 1 to 3 reps with maximum weight. A bit more weight is added each week.
Dynamic Effort Method focuses on “throwing” a moderate load of about 60% of the athlete’s maximum lifting weight with the greatest amount of speed. A new combination of exercises is utilized that require multiple sets of 1 to 3 reps.
Repetition Method focuses on performing multiple repetitions of lifting a non-maximum load until the muscles are in a fatigued state.
Sports Specificity Phase – training the movements that are specific to our sport.
By focusing on all three areas simultaneously, the athlete will notice the volume of repetitions increasing as the intensity or amount of weight being lifted decreases, and vice-versa. This means that by fluctuating the workout routine, athletes are creating a well-balanced fitness program that trains and improves multiple physical fitness goals at the same time, including strength, speed, agility, and explosiveness or power.
Changing the Cycle
As with any traditional workout routine, the types of individual exercises will need to change on a regular basis. This confuses the muscles and keeps them working to their highest capacities. With the conjugate method, each block of exercises may change every training session or variations of the classical lifts bench press, deadlift, and squat.
Remember, if you train the same way that everyone else does in the gym, the only way that you will see improved results is if you were blessed with great genetics. At Conjugate Fitness ™ our system works and works fast. You’ll be amazed at how quickly you begin to see results.
Would you like us to have your programming DONE-FOR-YOU check out how through our StrengthPAD Program we can help you get these results quicker.
De-Load Training Week
The Dynamic Effort method is going to involve you lifting a non-maximal load using the highest attainable speed possible. Two training sessions per week will be focused on this methodology. One session will be used for squat/deadlift while the other will be for bench press.
Squat: one day each week, you will work on squat training and this is a three-week wave. You will choose a box squat variation, perform 10 to 12 sets of 2 repetitions each, and then switch the variation three weeks later. This will be the main move and your first exercise of the day.
Deadlift: this can be run on the same three-week wave as the squat or you can choose to change it every week. You will choose a variation, perform 6 to 10 sets of 1 to 3 repetitions and this will come AFTER you perform the squats.
Bench press: one day each week, bench press training will take place. You will choose a variation and it will go on a three-week wave. You want to focus on 9 sets of 3 repetitions and maintain the same weight on the bar throughout the three weeks. This is your main move on this day and the first exercise that you will perform on that day.
Accessory work: this is a higher-volume and lower-intensity training day than what you’ll find on the Maximal Effort days. You must focus on your weaknesses and perform exercises that will continue to help you improve your various muscle groups. It is also important to note that you must continue to work for the same muscle groups on Dynamic Effort days and Maximal Effort days. More on suggested muscle groups will be covered under Maximal Effort training.
Frequency: 1 day for squat/deadlift AND 1 day for bench press
Main Move: Perform each repetition quickly and as explosively as possible. Take a maximum of 60 seconds between each set. Perform the sets/repetition at the suggested percentage of your 1RM (see below)
Dynamic Effort Squat
Geared Lifters 10-12 sets/2 reps/40-60 percent Raw Lifters 10-12 sets/2 reps/70-85 percent Dynamic Effort Deadlift
6-10 sets/1-3 reps/60-85 percent
Dynamic Effort Bench
9 sets/3 reps/50 percent
The same variation should be used for three weeks and the weight should be increased each week. After three weeks have been completed, a new variation should be chosen and you can cycle back down on the weight based on the starting percentage of your 1RM.
Variations: don’t use the same variation very frequently. This is going to be covered more within Maximal Effort, but you don’t want to kill yourself trying to come up with the perfect variation. I have made some suggestions below.
Squat: choose any variation that you like, just be sure to do it on a box. You can use a wide stance with a low/parallel box in order to build up the hips or close stands in order to build up the lower back. You can also use an above parallel box to assist with the normal sticking point.
Deadlift: choose any variation that you like and you may wish to use a sumo stance for hip building as well as a conventional stance to build up the rectors and lower back.
Bench: Choose any variation that you like, and a closer grip can help to build the triceps.
Accessory work: Be sure to focus on the muscle groups that work based on your individual weaknesses. If you are not good at something, choose those exercises so that you can strengthen those muscle groups.
Squat/Deadlift: choose exercises that include hamstrings, erectors, glutes, traps, lats, and abs.
Bench press: choose exercises that work muscle groups such as upper back, triceps, shoulders, lats, abs, and traps.
Do not perform accessory movements for more than three weeks. After choosing the same accessory movement for several weeks, move on to something else that works for the same muscle groups in a different way.
Dynamic Effort Lower Body Workout Equipment Set-Up
The Maximal Effort method is going to involve you lifting a maximal load using maximal resistance. The Conjugate Fitness™ program dedicates two training sessions each week for this methodology. One session will be used for squat and deadlift while the other will be for bench press.
Squat/deadlift: you will want to spend one day each week working on this particular exercise. I suggest that you choose either deadlift or squat in a variation that you are comfortable with. A 1 to 3 repetition maximum (RM) should be achieved. You can also use a good morning variation, but make sure that this is the first exercise of the day.
Bench press: you will also want to spend one day each week training on the bench press. I recommend you choose a bench press variation that you are comfortable with and again, you will want to work up to 1 to 3 RM.
Accessory work: the squat/deadlift or the bench press is going to be the “main move” and thus the first exercise that you complete for the day. After that, you will need to work on your weaknesses through a variety of special exercises. Remember that you and someone else are not going to have the same accessory work, which means that you have to find the exercises that work specifically for you. You cannot copy off of someone else. Otherwise, you are not going to gain the full benefits of the Conjugate Fitness ™ program. Basically, I recommend that you figure out what you are not good at and continue doing it repeatedly until you have perfected it. After that, find something else that you are not good at and continue to do that. As Louie once said, “You do it until it hurts too much.”
Main move: Work up to a 1-3 repetition max for EITHER a deadlift, good morning, or squat on lower body days and a bench press for upper body days.
Rest as long as you need in between attempts. I usually take 3 to 5 minutes, but it can vary from person to person. Remember that you want to be as calm as you can during a max lift. A training max is very different from a contest max. Do not stress yourself out until you are in a competition setting.
Variations: many people get confused by the conjugate method when it comes to variations. The variation should not be repeated for at least 4 to 6 weeks – and I have been known not to repeat a variation for close to a year. These can vary slightly, based upon the width of your grip, your stance, or even reducing or increasing the range of motion. Once you do repeat a variation, you always want to try to beat your own personal record. You want to avoid becoming impatient or breaking your record by a substantial amount of weight because it is going to potentially cause injury. A 5-pound improvement on your personal record is still an improvement.
As long as you are working with maximal weight, you are doing what needs to get done. You don’t need to spend a lot of time with the perfect variation. However, you do want to keep track of what variations you are doing so that you don’t repeat them by accident.
Accessory work: everyone has to do their own accessory work, so it is impossible for me to give you exact directions. You may need to lose weight in order to maintain steam while other people may need to gain mass. You may need work on your lower back while someone else needs work on their glutes and hamstrings. There is no perfect formula for everyone. I can, however, provide you with some basic guidelines.
Squat/deadlift: After the main move, incorporate some exercises for glutes, low back, hamstrings, traps, lats, and abs.
Bench press: After the main move, incorporate exercises for triceps, traps, shoulders, upper back, lats, and abs
Switch to another move after one to three weeks. For example, if you are doing weighted dips to help you after the bench press, move on to something else to work for that same muscle group.
Go hard and heavy throughout all of your accessory work. Find exercises that you are not good at and continue to work on them until you are stronger. The goal throughout all of the accessory work is to build on your weaknesses.
So now you have learned about the Dynamic Effort and Maximal Effort days and what you need to be doing. You will be in the gym for a total of four days a week and this is broken out by spending two days on Dynamic Effort and two days on Maximal Effort.
Later, we will provide you with a sample schedule that you can follow so it will be easier to see what you need to do throughout the week and how to work in the variations and the accessory work.
Resistance is a key factor when you look at the conjugate method and the success of the Conjugate Fitness™ program. You have to learn how to accommodate resistance. There are various tools that can help you with this resistance accommodation. Weight releasers, chains, bands, and different specialty bars can all be used. When you learn about all of these different tools, it will allow you to create more variations within your training system. Additionally, you can target specific weak points at the same time.
Each time you incorporate a different tool, such as a band, a weight releaser, or a specialty bar, you are establishing a new variation.
You may find that you do not have access to all of these different tools. This is likely because you are not training at a powerlifting gym. While I am not telling you to leave the gym that you are at and go to a powerlifting gym, I am telling you that you need to learn about how to use some of these tools and potentially access them in various ways. Conjugate Fitness™ programming helps you makes this transition, teaching you step-by-step how to implement a conjugate method based strength program in your gym. Considering that you have to change your variation every three weeks at a maximum, you need to come up with quite a few – and changing your stance alone is not going to provide you with enough. I cannot stress how important it is to use resistance throughout your training.
Keep in mind that there are various resistance bands that are cheap and also highly effective. The Westside Barbell gym, for instance, has a store online where you can purchase various bands based on the amount of strength that you need to resist.
Investing in resistance bands at the very least will allow you to gain the full benefits of the Conjugate Fitness™ program.
I am going to provide you with a 4-week sample routine so that you can understand the main move variations as well as the differences between Max Effort and Dynamic Effort days. I recognize that the system is extremely complicated and there is a lot of information covered within this book. However, I am also completely convinced that following the Conjugate Fitness ™ program will provide you with all of the improved strength and performance that you have been looking for.
This is the system that I have used myself and have seen how it has helped my clients and me. Regardless of its complications, it gets the job done – and hopefully this 4-week routine will show you a little bit more about how you can train from week to week.
This sample shows when you need to change the variations, the percentages of your 1-RM and much more. Notice that the variations can change from week to week, though you are still doing a squat, deadlift, and bench press. You can choose any four days of the week that you like, though I do recommend allowing for at least a day of rest between the four days so that you can allow your muscles to recover.
60 Meter Empty Prowler Sprint (Alternate Rounds: High Handles, then Low Handles on the front of the prowler)
Download the Conjugate Fitness 4-Week Sample Program