For the past 6 months I have followed a Conjugate System. My primary goal with training on this program is strength. Louie Simmons of Westside Barbell made the conjugate system famous. It is by far my favorite type of strength program to follow. A typical conjugate system you train four days a week. Two days are lower body and two days are upper body. One day you have a Maximal Effort movement for the lower or upper body. Maximal Effort means you work up to a 1-5 rep max on a particular movement. Some of the movements are very unique to Westside Barbell like the use of box squats, chains, bands, and the different use of bars. You follow that Maximal Effort movement up with accessory work. For the lower body the accessory movements work on any weaknesses like the hamstrings, glutes, or upper back. For the upper body you focus on weaknesses like triceps, lats, or upper back. On a Dynamic Effort day you would do a squat and deadlift on lower body days working within 50-60% (of your 1 rep max) for anywhere from 6-12 singles on a deadlift and 8-12 doubles for a squat. Again this is followed up with similar accessory work. On an upper body day you do 9-12 triples on a bench press. On dynamic effort day you use accommodating resistance with the usage of chains or bands. The key to the Conjugate System is to work and train your weaknesses. For me individually I think my biggest weakness is overall technique. For powerlifting your hamstrings, glutes, back and triceps cannot be too strong. You are always going to train those muscles groups. However technique will always be a limiting factor to allow the proper muscles to fire. For me in the big three lifts there are areas I need to work on to perfect my technique.
- Spend time at the bottom by using paused squat
- Track Knees out
- Motor control on each rep to open the knees in the hole
- Upper back tightness
- Keep a neutral spine, squeeze tight and keep adding volume to back work, brace the abs
- Speed on the Eccentric (Lowering)
- Really use speed on dynamic effort days, be confident
- Shoulders blades back in down
- Concentrate on using the lats in keeping the shoulders on the bench
- Speed of the chest
- All about technique and tricep strength
- Speed off the floor
- Explosive jumps and speed work
- Back strength
- Do lots of back work and volume throughout the week, use the conventional deadlift to build the sumo
- Strain hard on heavy deadlifts
With the four days of the Conjugate System I try to add in a fifth day of anything I didn’t get to during the week. I call this day a feeder workout. Usually the fifth day is more back work, some lower body with lunges or Kettlebell swings, arms and a little conditioning with sled pushes.
For nutrition I follow a popular system called Flexible Dieting or If It Fits Your Macros (IIFYM). Honestly this is really called eating. Flexible Dieting is a system of eating like periodization is system of programing. Basically you have a caloric intake for the day and ranges to hit for you macronutrients of fat, carbs, and protein. As long as you hit those numbers you can get your food from any food sources. For example you can get your carbs from sweet potatoes, rice or pop tarts. This is not saying I eat pop tarts. For the most part I can eat the same thing every day especially on the weekdays. Your nutrition must match your training. Since I’m training for strength I also need to eat for strength. I would like to add size and weight which is going to take time. The following are my macronutrient numbers
- Calories- 2850-2950
- Fat- 85-95
- Carbs- 280-290
- Protein- 220-225
try to hit these numbers as closely as possible. Certainly I’m not perfect and do not do hit the numbers every day. On days I do not train, I keep my carbs much lower. I try to keep them under 100. The reason being is the carbs are the body’s main fuel source and if you do not train, or train hard you do not need to eat carbs. The body will store them, and throughout time that will result in body fat.