Basic Conjugate Training Advice VII

Basic Conjugate Training Advice VII

The Conjugate Method is the most beneficial training method an athlete can use to improve strength, explosive power, speed, and conditioning. Similar to the multifaceted demands of sport, the Conjugate Method exposes an athlete to various training stimuli to build a complete athlete. Our training not only enhances an athlete's special strengths but also enhances their sports skills. 

Unlike linear-based training plans, the Conjugate Method requires an athlete to meet multiple demands simultaneously. Athletes will train all special strengths related to their sport each week, ensuring a complete athlete is built. If an athlete wants to reach the top tier of their sport, the training plan must not be one-dimensional. 

We often mention that athletes only have so much time to dedicate to strength training, so their chosen training method must be as comprehensive as possible. The Conjugate Method allows an athlete to make meaningful improvements in sport-relevant strengths while avoiding the devil that is detraining. This sets the Conjugate Method apart from other strength and conditioning training methods. 

However, an athlete must have the proper perspective to ensure the success of their Conjugate Method training. Below, we will share some training advice to help improve the overall quality of your training. 

Get Your Mind Right

If you have spent time observing powerlifting on social media or attended a powerlifting meet, you have likely run into a lifter who is yelling and screaming like a goof. While some may believe this is just the mark of an intense and prepared athlete, it is typically the sign of an inexperienced or insecure athlete. Not only does this behavior make an individual look foolish, it is a tremendous waste of energy.

The correct approach is relaxed, calm, and confident. If you know you have done the necessary work in the gym and at practice, you should not need to become overly emotional to execute when competing. Your emotions should be in check, and your focus should be solely on the task. 

Think of athletes such as Michael Jordan or Fedor Emelianenko, each considered the greatest in their respective sports. Did you ever see them screaming their heads off before walking onto the court or into the ring? Of course not. When you know what you can do and know you are prepared to do it, you achieve a calm state of mind

Lou used to say that many have tried to fight the barbell, but the barbell remains undefeated. No matter how angry you get or how much you yell and scream, the outcome has already been determined based on your level of preparedness. You will achieve your goal if you do the necessary work in the gym. You cannot use emotional energy to compensate for a lack of readiness. 

While some may think these emotional outbursts are just intense individuals being intense individuals, the truth is these types of lifters are either insecure or seeking attention. The dog that is ready to bite doesn't need to worry about barking. The actions will speak louder than the yelling and screaming. 

Whether you compete in strength or conventional sports, approach competition with a confident, cold, and calculated mindset. 

Don't Be Afraid to Rest

At Westside, we typically try to avoid taking time off. Ideally, if training is correctly planned, athletes should be able to make gains and recover simultaneously. However, we understand that outside of our training facility, there are folks who may experience excess fatigue due to life and career demands or mismanaged training. 

While many believe that gym injuries are almost always related to technique errors, the truth is that a majority of weight training-related injuries happen due to excess fatigue. Sure, excess fatigue can cause breakdowns in execution that lead to injury, but the underlying issue that must be solved is fatigue. When fatigue becomes a problem, no amount of training or mental perseverance will solve the issue. 

The first step in solving issues related to fatigue is to follow the fatigue management instructions featured in this article. If these strategies fail to work, then it becomes necessary that an athlete take a break from the gym. This break could be a few days or a week of rest. Either way, an extended period of rest and recovery will be necessary for training to get back on track and for further gains in strength and performance to be possible. 

When taking this time off, we want to ensure we do everything possible to get back to a trainable state. This means eating the right amount of calories from quality food sources, staying hydrated, and getting at least eight hours of sleep each night. We would even want to add an hour-long nap each day. If you take time off from training, you must bring the same level of strict execution to these rest days as you would if they were training days. 

Too often, athletes become locked into the mindset that they must hit the gym every week on schedule, or they will fall short of their training and competitive goals. While this mindset is beneficial, you cannot let it close your eyes to the truth. If you need rest, you need rest; there is no way around it. Once the rest period ends, your gym performance will improve, and the gains in strength, explosive power, and conditioning will begin rolling again. 

Train the Quadriceps

A common myth perpetuated by individuals who lack understanding of the Conjugate Method, or the history of Westside Barbell, is that we avoid training the quadriceps. Not only is this untrue, but it is a completely foolish thing to say. Not only do we train the quadriceps, but Louie even created a machine called the Hip/Quad developer to help strengthen the hip flexors and quadriceps. 

A quote that is mistaken by many is when Lou stated that most are not quad-dominant; they're hamstring-weak. He is pointing out that most athletes have properly developed quadriceps, with the hamstrings being the lagging muscle group responsible for lower body strength-related issues. Do we focus on hamstring development? Yes. Do we also ensure our athletes have appropriately developed quadriceps muscles? Of course. 

You would have to be a fool to believe we would willingly neglect the quads or lack the understanding of strength training to realize the importance of proper quadriceps development. Unfortunately, some folks are always looking for a way to criticize Westside while promoting their training style. Lou is one of the most legendary strength and conditioning coaches ever to walk the face of the Earth, and we can assure you that he understood the importance of developing the quadriceps. 

Success Requires Proper Perspective

The Basic Conjugate Training Advice series intends to arm the individual coach or athlete with essential information to help provide improved training outcomes. Over the years, the Conjugate Method has been wrongfully criticized because folks attempt to use it without having a full understanding of the basics. This leads to poor training outcomes, and instead of blaming their lack of understanding, they blame the methods instead. 

At Westside, we have successfully utilized the Conjugate Method for decades, successfully applying it to strength and conventional sports. Of course, to fully understand the Conjugate Method, an individual must read and educate themselves. Fortunately, we have a wide variety of books available for purchase and a free online blog to ensure followers of Westside Barbell can attain the proper Conjugate Method training perspective. 

Westside Barbell is the home of the Conjugate Method, and we plan on educating the public to ensure coaches and athletes can utilize the greatest strength and conditioning method ever formulated for many years to come. We encourage anyone wanting to further their understanding of the methods to reach out and schedule a visit. We always enjoy meeting and talking with coaches and athletes utilizing the training method that Louie Simmons researched, proved, and popularized.  



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

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