Basic Conjugate Training Advice V

Basic Conjugate Training Advice V

The Conjugate Method is the most complete and efficient training method a coach or athlete can use to improve absolute strength, explosive power, speed, work capacity, and general conditioning. However, individuals need to have a basic understanding of the methods. At Westside Barbell, we aim to ensure coaches and athletes have access to information that provides worthwhile tips and strategies to allow training to remain productive year-round.

When a Conjugate Method training plan is organized and implemented correctly, athletes can expect sports performance to improve rapidly. Considering that our training voids training phases, athletes can improve multiple athletic qualities concurrently without worrying about detraining or loss of skill. Particularly for conventional sports athletes, where off-season barbell training time can be limited, the Conjugate Method delivers results that other training methods cannot rival.

While some coaches cling to old methods and outdated approaches to sports preparation, the intelligent coach realizes the Conjugate Method is the way. Over the years, our gym has produced countless athletes with world-class strength, and we have worked and consulted with athletes at the highest level of conventional sports. The Conjugate Method has been successfully used to improve performance in football, basketball, baseball, track and field, rugby, lacrosse, and martial arts.

Below, we will review a few pieces of advice to help ensure your Conjugate Method training experience is as productive as possible.

Training Partners

Today, many athletes go with the lone wolf approach and train without a group. Unfortunately, this can be a mistake and potentially limit the progress an athlete can make. At Westside, we have always trained within a group setting, and the training results we have achieved are a testament to the benefit of reliable training partners. It doesn’t matter if you are starting barbell training or are a world-class athlete; a solid training group will always improve progress.

One of the most beneficial aspects of training with a group is the feedback training partners can provide. Suppose an athlete strictly goes off of feel or relies on video footage. In that case, there is always a chance something will be missed when assessing technical execution and potential muscular weaknesses. With intermediate-level or experienced training partners, another layer of feedback is brought to the table and can make all the difference regarding progress and training safety.

A good group of training partners can tell you the adjustment you need to make to successfully complete the next set or let you know it is time to shut it down for the day to avoid risking injury or excess fatigue. If the greatest strength coach of all time, Louie Simmons, relied on good training partners, there is no doubt you should as well.

If you want your training to be intense, productive, safe, and sometimes entertaining, assemble a training group.

Box Squat Execution

In the current strength and conditioning world, some individuals have crowned themselves as Conjugate Method experts, leading folks unfamiliar with our training methods to believe they know better than Westside. Unfortunately, this has led to poor advice when it comes to the execution of the common Westside Barbell special exercises. One exercise that seems to be frequently misunderstood is the box squat.

At Westside, we use the box squat to improve lower body rate of force development. By executing a box squat properly, we introduce two primary training effects: static-overcome-by-dynamic and relaxed-overcome-by-dynamic. The focus of the box squat is to manipulate the transition or reversal phase of the squat, which leads to the improvements in rate of force development we seek.

Whether you are a geared powerlifter, raw powerlifter, or a conventional sport athlete, the box squat should be executed the way Louie intended. The box squat is more similar to a weighted plyometric than a traditional squat and is performed in a specific way to bring about specific training adaptations. We will program competition-relevant squat workouts on max effort lower training days to improve competition squat strength and technique.

It is important to note that many influencers attempt to make a name for themselves by disagreeing with or unnecessarily editing the Westside Barbell approach to training. Sadly, these individuals muddy the waters of Conjugate Method training to grow their following and add clients to their coaching roster. Always be wary of the influencer who chooses to disagree with Lou; often, it is an attempt to create controversy and garner publicity for themselves.

We recommend spending more time looking at a book than looking into a camera - you’ll learn a lot and provide better information to the general public. If you want to learn more about the box squat, check out this link.

Solving Issues with Fatigue

In a perfect world, when training is managed correctly, there should be no issues with fatigue when running a Conjugate Method training plan. However, with how modern life can impact training and sleep schedules, there will inevitably be points in training where adjustments must be made to manage fatigue.

Fortunately, with the Conjugate Method, these adjustments are easy to make and will quickly solve issues with excess fatigue. Our first step when dealing with fatigue is slightly reducing our accessory exercise training intensity. This is simple; we train with a bit lighter weight than usual. If fatigue is just becoming an issue, this adjustment can help alleviate the problem.

If fatigue levels have elevated, we can take it further and reduce accessory exercise training volume. In this case, we will start by lowering each accessory exercise set prescription by 1-2 sets. If this fails to do the trick after a week, we will begin reducing the number of accessory exercises performed, typically eliminating 1-3 exercises for 1-2 weeks.

If excess fatigue continues to cause issues once these changes have been made, we will adjust our main exercise training intensity. Instead of training two max effort days per week, we will change these training days to a repeated effort focus. With most individuals, 1-2 weeks of repeated effort work in place of max effort will solve fatigue-related training issues.

Live to Train Another Day

Training with an intense and hardcore mentality can no doubt produce significant results and lead to great success in both strength and conventional sports. However, keeping things in perspective and making the right choices throughout the training process is essential. We always want to keep training under control and avoid making decisions that lead to excessive fatigue or injury.

Many athletes new to barbell training have seen different motivational videos that make it seem like you must always push training to the limit and lay it all on the line to become the best athlete. This is untrue; possessing this mentality will cause an athlete to spend more time at the doctor’s office instead of the gym.

At Westside, we believe in training with grit and a hardcore mentality. However, this does not mean we lose our minds and make rash decisions just to win a training day. We understand the bigger picture, and we strive to make the right decisions that allow continual progress without interruptions caused by poor decisions and out-of-control egos.

We aim to train with focus and intensity but also make smart choices to keep the ball rolling. This means we get the most out of the current training day while making intelligent choices and decisions, allowing the next training day and week to be productive. If you are competing for a world championship or world record lift, laying it all on the line can make sense. However, don’t be the fool who lays it all on the line for one training day.

Improving strength and sports performance is a matter of attrition. Always live to train another day.


Simmons, L. (2007). Westside Barbell Book of Methods. Westside Barbell.

Verkhoshansky, Y., & Siff, M. C. (2009). Supertraining. Verkhoshansky.

Zatsiorsky, V. M., & Kraemer, W. J. (2006). Science and Practice of Strength Training. Human Kinetics

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