Football, a Conjugate Approach

Westside Barbell
Wed Jan 29, 2020

Football, a Conjugate Approach

Football, a Conjugate Approach

Part 1: Overview


Tags: football, strength and conditioning, athletics


    What would happen if a top level collegiate football team was trained utilizing a pure Westside Conjugate approach? To be certain, this goes against the grain of many institutions in how they orchestrate a strength and conditioning program. Though, on the flip side, is there only one way to skin the proverbial cat? In the world of strength and conditioning, there is not, which in and of itself makes for an unique profession.


    From Alabama, Clemson, LSU, OSU, Oklahoma, to Oregon, each strength staff holds a different approach to progress and place their athletes in the best position possible. When training a team (of any sport) it should be the strength staff’s number 1 priority to, at the ‘off seasons’ end, pass back improved athletes to the sport coaches. This gets lost in many weight rooms across the country, due to a ‘weight room warrior’ mentality. It is in this light the overwhelming majority of strength staffs view the Conjugate System, in that, it is solely dependent on improving the squat, bench, and deadlift. This couldn't be further from the truth.


    The Conjugate System is defined as ‘a constant rotation of exercises’, these exercises are targeted at the particular modality in question. With football, the overall target is the ability to accelerate, decelerate, and change direction, all while absorbing and exhibiting violent force. To improve these facets, the athlete(s) still requires this ‘constant rotation of exercises’ to become proficient across the above mentioned multiple domains. These nuances in the field of play take precedent over the main 3 lifts, and while it is important to see progress in them over time, it does no good to PR in the weight room only to:


-come up 1 yard short of the goal line 

-inability to push the ball 10yds further down the field

-maintain a pass block

-execute a bull rush

-break away from a defender

-stay hip-to-hip with a receiver

-hurdle a tackler

-deliver the tackle

-run through tackles


     Whether in agreement or not, all can agree it is more productive on the whole, to create a well rounded dominant athlete who can win their individual match up. Looking at the average time between the whistles, the primary issue is power output (play duration) from 4-6 seconds on average. This being said, absolute strength as well as a swift transition into strength endurance within the position(s) specific movement patterns are the primary drivers of performance. For many positions (outside deep safeties and traditional pocket passing quarterbacks) this 4-6 seconds demonstrates a rapid shift is strengths as simplified below.


Maximum Impact (absolute strength)
Force Absorption (amortization phase)
Position Endurance (maintain/gain leverage)


     Each one of these 3 phases needs addressed in a specific method. Over the coming weeks, we’ll begin to dive into the importance of each and how the Westside Conjugate System can be appropriately tailored to suit the upper tier collegiate football player.



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