1- Start Here
I’ve been in the strength & conditioning field since 2008 and I’m thrilled to be your guide throughout this Execution Plan.
Are you looking for main lift variations to spice up your workouts? You’ve come to the right place.
You’ve found the Main Lifts Execution Game Plan!
Main lift variations are essential components of any successful strength training program, but it can all seem pretty complicated at first
Get a better understanding of the main exercise variations and the difference between Max Effort and Dynamic Effort days by checking out our 90-Day Main Exercise Weight Lifting program.
I’ve planned and executed training plans for professional athletes to soccer moms.
I’ve built and managed training plans for dozens of large and small sports teams.
Use what you learn in this Execution Plan to plan to create high-quality strength programming for all of your athletes & clients.
Let’s get started!
Two Main Lifting Methods
By focusing on the two main lifting methods of your training program, the athlete will notice the volume of repetitions increasing the intensity or amount of weight being lifted decreases, and vice-versa. 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.
The training schedule can be broken down into two specific areas so that you understand the methodology of training. This includes the Dynamic Effort Method as well as the Maximal Effort Method.
It’s a lot of information, so we’ve created an easy-to-use infographic as a guide as well as the 90-Day Main Lift Weight Lifting Program below. With this information, you can significantly improve your strength and performance. The two lift methods create balance in your workout and allow you to improve upon multiple fitness training goals simultaneously, including strength, speed, agility, and explosiveness.
Changing the cycle regularly is key to the Conjugate Method.
2- Maximal Effort Method | Main Lifts
The Key to Max Effort Lifts
Maximal Effort Method | Main Lifts
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 training day will be used for squat and deadlift while the other will be for bench press.
LEARNING TO MAX OUT
Because there is a large variety of lifts/movements that are prescribed as the “main lift” on maximal effort days, you can hit a PR every week on Max Effort Day (by the time the same exercise comes back around the second time, you should have increased in strength). It’s important therefore to record your lifts, as sometimes these lifts might seem obscure. You are lifting maximally every week to teach the body to be good at doing this and also develop absolute strength.
Squat, Deadlift, & Good Morning
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 using. 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.
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.
Constant Rotation of Exercises
We have a plan. If you don’t have a plan, you plan to fail. We have a plan laid out.
So even though it’s always varied, there can still be a plan. We are continuously varied, but there’s still a plan. We adhere to the system, but the system is constantly varied.
Because we don’t squat the same way all the time, we don’t deadlift the same way all the time, we don’t develop repetitive motion injuries. We’re at slightly different angles, slightly different positions all the time. If one of my athletes gets out of position in a squat at a powerlifting meet they are less likely to get hurt, more likely to pull back and make the lift.
Changing the Cycle
As with any traditional workout routine, the types of individual exercises will need to change on a regular basis. This prevents your body from accommodating to the exercise or resistance 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.
We have to use these variations to achieve optimal strength training results and for better longevity. We have to be open-minded to become stronger and more successful. And the thing is, a lot of people talk about the technique, but part of the proper technique is strong enough to maintain position.
Maximal Effort Method | Bench Press Vs. Strict Press
How to Approach Max Outs
Max Effort Method | Guidelines
Frequency: 1 day for squat/deadlift AND 1 day for bench press.
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 over the conjugate method when it comes to variations (click here for main lift 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 personal record. You want to avoid becoming impatient or breaking your record by a substantial amount of weight because it is going to cause potential 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.
3 – Dynamic Effort Method | Main Lifts
What about the Dynamic Effort Method?
The Dynamic Effort Method is used on squat/deadlift day and in the bench press. This method requires that the lifter to lift sub-maximal weights as fast as he can. This method should be together with compensatory acceleration. You must apply as much force as possible to the barbell, pushing as hard and as fast as you can in the concentric phase of the lift. If you bench 700 lbs and are training with 350, then you should be applying 700 lbs of force to the barbell in each rep.
The weight used should be non-maximal in the 50–75% range. Many experts, like Siff, Verkershonsky, and Spassev agree that this is the best range for developing explosive strength. This method is for increasing the force output. Many times being fast and strong are more closely related than you think.
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.
To perform the Dynamic Effort Method, you must lift sub-maximal weights (in the 50-75 percent range) as fast as possible with compensatory acceleration. This method improves force output.
This methodology will be used during two training sessions per week one for:
Squat and Deadlift
Our system works, and it works fast! For a more detailed information look at the 90-Day Main Lift Workout, download the Workout Program >> PDF HERE.
Since power is measured in time, it’s not only how much force we can produce, but how fast can we get there?
The faster we can get up to 100% of our output, the more weight we’re going to move. But we’re also going to become more athletic as well.
As your training progresses, you’ll understand and put that together on how it’s going to work with your program or any other sport that you train. So, we ended up introducing the Dynamic Effort Method.
If you’ve never trained with the Dynamic Effort Method, the average person will make 154% improvement in the first year in their rate of force production, how fast they can produce force. That’s a massive improvement.
Dynamic Upper Body
Dynamic Effort Bench Press Break Down
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 nine sets of 3 repetitions and maintain the same weight on the bar throughout the three weeks. This is your main lift on this day and the first exercise that you will perform on that day.
Frequency: 1 day for squat/deadlift AND 1 day for bench press
Main Lift: Perform each repetition quickly and as explosively as possible. Take a maximum of 60 seconds between each set.
Perform the sets and 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
Use the same squat variation 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.
Don’t use the same variation very frequently. This is covered more by Maximal Effort Method (above), 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 to a box. You can use a wide stance with a low/parallel box to build up the hips or close-stance to build up the lower back. You can also use an above parallel box to assist with the general sticking point.
Dynamic Effort Deadlift
6-10 sets/1-3 reps/60-85 percent
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 spinal erectors and lower back.
Dynamic Effort Bench
9 sets/3 reps/50 percent
Bench Press: Choose any variation that you like, and a closer grip can help to build the triceps.
Dynamic Effort Method – Outline
4 – Main Lifts Training Plan
90-Day Main Lift Program
The 12-week routine will give you an idea of how to train your conjugate method main lifts from week to week.
Your individual exercises will frequently change to ensure your body does not accommodate to the exercise, and that your body is constantly working at a high capacity. The Conjugate Method requires change and variations on classic lifts.
You’ll need to max out every week on your Max Effort days, and each week you’ll break personal records because there is such a variety of lifts and movements prescribed as main lifts.
To better accomplish this, we recommend recording each lift to track improvements on some of the more obscure main lift variations.