Starting Conjugate: Dynamic Effort

Starting Conjugate: Dynamic Effort

As stated before, the Conjugate Method is the most complete and efficient method to train an athlete for any sport. It's simple; instead of committing large blocks of training time to develop specific strengths or abilities, the Conjugate Method allows an athlete to train multiple types of strength simultaneously. 

This ultimately leads to accelerated overall athletic development, with athletes not worrying about detraining or loss of skill from phase to phase. The Conjugate Method uses a basic template that utilizes max, dynamic, and repeated effort training to build absolute strength, speed-strength, and muscle mass. 

Previously, we have covered the basics of max-effort training to help better understand how we execute max-effort training at Westside Barbell. Below, we will begin to go over the dynamic effort method, providing you with a basic understanding of this training methodology. 

Why Use Dynamic Effort Training?

Dynamic effort training is performed by lifting sub-maximal weights at maximal speed. This training day is commonly referred to as "speed day." The dynamic effort method is employed to improve an athlete's rate of force development. 

Just as max effort training aims to increase the absolute strength of an individual, dynamic effort training is implemented to improve an athlete's ability to generate tremendous amounts of force in as little time as possible. This leads to improved bar speed for the lifter or enhanced sports performance for the athlete. 

Additionally, athletes can use the dynamic effort method to target specific weaknesses or improve conditioning levels. This can be accomplished by changing the rep schemes, rest periods between sets, barbell, or accommodating resistance setup.

Training Waves

Dynamic effort training utilizes training waves as opposed to long-term training phases. This allows the training effect to be altered to enhance strengths or address weaknesses in real-time. Instead of using training data and feedback eight to sixteen weeks old, we can use the data provided over the past three weeks to optimize the next training wave.

Wave training is used for both dynamic effort lower and upper. Lower body training waves call for training intensity to be between 75-85%. When performing DE lower training, athletes will perform 8-12 sets of 2 reps or 5 sets of 5 reps. 

Dynamic effort upper training uses training intensities between 50-60%. DE upper training is typically performed for 9 sets performing 3 reps per set. Both DE lower and upper will use specialty bars and bands or chains. I will go over the setup and execution of these training days more in the future. 

Basic Wave Setup and Execution

Here are examples of basic DE lower and upper training waves:


Week 1 - 12 x 2 or 5 x 5 @75% (50% bar weight 25% band weight)

Week 2 - 10 x 2 or 5 x 5 @80% (55% bar weight 25% band weight)

Week 3 - 8 x 2 or 5 x 5 @85% (60% bar weight 25% band weight)


Week 1 - 9 x 3 50% + minibands 

Week 2 - 9 x 3 55% + minibands

Week 3 - 9 x 3 60% + minibands

As you can see, the DE lower training is broken down with bar weight and band weight percentages. This means the amount of weight you will have loaded on the bar and the band weight that should be applied to the bar. Athletes will take these percentages from their most recent squat or bench one rep max. 

The bar weight will always be able to be near exact; the band weight should be as close to 25% as possible. It is recommended that you check your bands or chains with a luggage scale or other scale capable of determining accommodating resistance weights. 

DE upper training days will use minibands or monster minibands. If you cannot press the bar with adequate speed for either lower or upper training, lower the band tension and add some of that weight back in bar weight. There is no rule of thumb to this; you will adjust until bar speed is adequate. 

A good time to shoot for to start with is one rep per second. However, be sure to execute each rep with proper form. The goal is to build movement skills while increasing movement speed, so you want to avoid going faster than your physical structure can tolerate or control. 


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.

Burley Hawk

Burley Hawk

Burley Hawk is the Digital Content Manager at Westside Barbell and a Conjugate Method strength coach. Training and studying under Louie Simmons over the past decade, Burley has attained the experience, knowledge and understanding necessary to master the Conjugate Method.

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