WSBB Blog: In Season Conjugate Training for Football
The Conjugate Method allows for the training program to be tuned specifically for the demands and schedule of the sport. By making adjustments to the volume, intensity, exercise selection, and workout timing a coach is able to dial in a strength training-focused lifting program that will increase player ability both on the field and in the weight room. Here are the adjustments we would make to a Conjugate weight training program to create synergy between strength gains and recovery times during the football season.
Max Effort Lower
The reason why deadlift exercises are less frequent is due to the fact that deadlifts above 90% tend to be associated with increased levels of fatigue and the need for recovery. As usual, max effort work should be performed working up to a top set single or triple, intensity at or above 90%. The accessory volume will be low to moderate, with intensity being moderate to high. Accessory exercise selection should be as individualized as possible, addressing the specific weaknesses of each athlete. Each accessory exercise should be performed for three to five sets, five to eight reps for the heavier work, ten to fifteen reps for the less intense accessory work.
Max Effort / Dynamic Effort Upper
Dynamic effort upper training days will be identical to the way we approach them when training powerlifters. This means three week waves, 12 x 3@ 40% + minibands, 10 x 3 @ 45% +minibands, and 8 x 3 @ 50% + minibands. Close grip and competition grip are preferred for dynamic effort bench, alternating between the two-wave to wave, week to week, or set to set. The accessory volume will be higher volume lower intensity for max effort bench, and lower volume higher intensity on dynamic effort bench. Strengthening the arms, chest, shoulders, and mid/upper back should be the focus of accessory exercises.
Dynamic Effort Lower
Similar to the way dynamic effort upper training for football players is approached similar to powerlifting training, dynamic effort lower training for football players will be similar to powerlifting training as well. This means three week waves including 10 x 2 @ 50% + 25%band, 8 x 2 @ 55% + 25% band, and 6 x 2 @ 60% +25%band. You will alternate bars every three weeks, and bands will always be the choice as far as accommodating resistance goes. Accessory exercise volume will be lowered on this day to ensure the maximum amount of recovery between the final training day and game day. We recommend a few sets each of high rep kettlebell swings, abs, and GHR after DE lower, then getting on with the recovery process.
If the game is on a Friday, a good schedule to keep would be a Sunday / Tuesday / Wednesday morning training week.
If the game is on a Saturday with Monday / Wednesday/ Thursday morning, and if the game is on Sunday train Tuesday/ Thursday / Friday morning. Be sure to understand the weaknesses, training needs, and recovery limitation of your players. If you begin to notice the training program is working for some, but not all of your athletes, don’t hesitate to make programming adjustments on the individual level. Any coach can make a program work for some players, a great coach finds the approach that ensures success for all players.