WSBB Blog: The Way I
Let the average-minded strength coach tell it, all it takes is moderate to high volume progressive overload training to make gains in strength. They choose to see weakness as a simple problem; these coaches program the same exercise variations regularly using the same rep ranges, hoping to add a few pounds to the bar each year.
However, we know that muscular weakness and the need for strength development are complex problems requiring an intelligent strategy to be solved. Instead of looking at the lifts as simple bio-mechanical movements, we must break the lifts down and discover the weak points in the lifts. Typically, the muscular weaknesses that have the most significant impact on the ability to exert high strength levels are those closest to the major joints of the particular movement trained.
This perspective provides us with a wide variety of approaches to solve the problem of weakness. By identifying which muscle groups are weak, we can begin building primary and accessory exercise plans to address these weaknesses directly. Instead of doing the same old squatting, benching, and deadlifting week to week, we use specialty bars, accommodating resistance, and exercise variations to directly attack specific weaknesses.
By designing programs around each athlete's weaknesses, we can increase the level of sport specificity the programming provides. Utilizing the same intensity levels, volume, and movements every week will offer fewer and fewer returns in strength for training time invested. This is why we are constantly changing bars, accommodating resistance, volume levels, and intensity levels. We are adhering to the most critical training law: the Law of Accommodation.
A Method Misunderstood
For years, many strength coaches have denied the truth, choosing to stick to dogmatic training ideas and ignoring modern strength science developments. The two most important things when it comes to strength training program design are optimization and efficiency. This means that the program is tailored for the immediate needs of the athlete, and all programmed movements are useful and highly effective.
A common misunderstanding of our methods is the assumption that exercise variations must deviate significantly from the standard barbell lifts. This is not true at all. Generally, when someone encounters videos of athletes training at Westside Barbell, they see a high-level athlete following a specifically written training plan based on their weaknesses and ability level.
As an athlete progresses, more specific variations are necessary. However, the average lifter can begin using our methods employing the typical squat, bench, and deadlift variations. You don't even need specialty bars or bands to get started. The idea is to get the most out of the simple exercises before making them into complex exercise variations. Coaches and athletes should always follow this rule; getting the most out of each exercise leads to greater programming efficiency.
Eventually, all lifters will realize that their gains in strength are slowing down, and they will begin looking for ways to fix this issue. If you pay attention, you will see many popular lifters who once espoused the value of sticking only to the competition specific squat, bench, and deadlifts begin using specialty bars, accommodating resistance, and exercise variations to get back on the path to world class strength.
As lifters, we all have the freedom to choose our strength training methodology. Failure to choose correctly can result in time wasted, or worse, injury. Selecting the correct method will rapidly increase strength, keep you healthy, and save you from wasting time following inferior methods. It can be said you find The Way or The Way finds you.
The Conjugate Method is The Way. Will you choose the right path from the beginning, or will you follow the masses to eventual failure forcing you to find the right path? The choice is yours and will lead you to PR heaven or strength training hell.