WSBB Blog: Max Effort Lower Main Exercise Selection for Beginners

Burley Hawk
Mon Feb 14, 2022

WSBB Blog: Max Effort Lower Main Exercise Selection for Beginners

The Conjugate Method is the most efficient way for any athlete to train when programmed correctly. By constantly avoiding accommodation, increasing volume, and training at varying intensities, we can manipulate each training session to get the most performance returns on time invested. However, a program’s overall effectiveness will significantly depend on one thing: Exercise selection.

Proper exercise selection is what separates a decent program from a great program. As we know, there are countless ways to put together exercise variations to influence the training effect. The question is, what exercises should a beginner select when beginning a Conjugate Method training program? Well, the answer is simple, stick to the basics.

Max effort lower is the training day where we focus on lifting a squat, deadlift, or goodmorning at maximum intensity. Each month, we perform four ME lower lifts and four ME upper lifts. Exercises for each workout are selected based on a lifter’s experience level, weaknesses, and energy levels.

As a beginner, you will have little to no experience training at maximum intensity using specialty bars and exercise variations. This means you will be experiencing mental and physical confusion and fatigue at a higher level than someone with experience, making proper exercise selection vital to your initial success. Below, we will cover four basic max effort lower main exercises to get you started on the right path.

Week One: SSB Squat

One of the best exercise variations to start any beginner out with, the SSB squat allows the lifter to train with a specialty bar without having to experience too much variation from the basic squat. Additionally, the SSB is easy to manage for the shoulders and will place beginner lifters in a more comfortable position to exert max effort strength levels with their lower body. You’ll also have less shoulder soreness to deal with when it’s time for max effort upper later in the week.

Week Two: Deadlift

The following week will feature a basic exercise, the deadlift. Nothing fancy, no added bands or chains, just a max effort deadlift. As far as stance goes, lifters should train the stance they are most comfortable in to start. As beginners progress, they may find that utilizing a sumo stance will benefit them more than conventional when lifting maximum weight. However, it is suggested that beginner lifters initially pull both conventional and sumo styles. Once physical weakness or biomechanical advantage has been realized, you can begin to favor one style over the other.

Week Three: Cambered Bar Goodmornings

Goodmornings are an exercise that can be considered controversial. To the inexperienced coach, goodmornings seem like a risky exercise. This couldn’t be further from the truth. Can you get hurt doing goodmornings? Yes, same as you can squatting, benching, or deadlifting. Poor exercise execution will always lead to poor training outcomes, so you have nothing to worry about as long as you are executing your goodmornings properly.

This makes the cambered bar a valuable teaching tool when utilizing goodmornings. The cambered bar places a more specific emphasis on the posterior chain, and it also helps teach proper lower body max effort execution. Significant demand is placed on the trunk and hips with a cambered bar, making appropriate bracing necessary. This will help beginners learn how to properly brace and maintain a neutral spine position when squatting or deadlifting.

Week Four: Squat

As a beginner, it is important to keep basic main exercises in the monthly max-effort rotation. Whether you are a lifter looking to get stronger, or a competitive lifter, it is crucial to practice and master the basic barbell movements. Using the Conjugate Method provides a lifter with many choices for exercise selection and training effect manipulation; the key is knowing when and how to use these options.

Final Word of Advice

The four exercises mentioned above will provide a basic barbell education to the untrained lifter. By utilizing specialty bars and exercise variations in combination with basic exercises, a beginner lifter is equipped with the right amount of stimulus to master the basics and become proficient at managing unfamiliar training demands.

Many believe the secret to a great Conjugate Method program is specialty bars, bands, chains, and crazy exercises. The truth is, a great Conjugate Method program gets the most out of the least amount of variation, only adding in variation when it is called for to allow an athlete to progress physically. The goal is to build the strongest athletes possible, not create exercises that look like they belong on Ninja Warrior.

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