Old Man Conjugate


I haven’t written about my training for a while for a few reasons:


  • It’s not interesting
  • It’s not exciting
  • I figured no one wants to read about it

But I may have been wrong. I’ve had a few requests on more information for the older lifter with a lot of miles on their bodies. Now is as good a time as any to write about it.
Let me backtrack as I like to do. For a long time I was pissed that I was not able to train the way that I wanted to, and there were a lot of movements that I could not do.
The big ones are Squat and Deadlift.
The hip is just not having any of it no matter how I modified things. And believe me, I tried every trick in my book to find a way. The problem was that my hip got worse the day after and stayed worse for a week or two.
I’d rest it and do my recovery work and once it felt ok, I’d get back at some type of Squat of Deadlift.
I did:

old man conjugate Buy yours here!


And a lot of other variations that have little to no carryover for a healthy lifter, but could be of use to a banged up one. The problem was that nothing worked and everything made it feel worse. And to compound it, I was losing muscle mass at an alarming rate due to virtually no stimulus of the lower body. I have skinny legs now.
The horror!
Then, one day I thought like an actual coach and did some reflecting about how to get where I wanted to go and what to do to stay healthy while improving my current level of strength and fitness.
I reflected back on a recent goal that was hampered by a bicep tear and decided to go back after it. But on a slower pace to avoid more tears and injuries. I also committed to go back to training the way I love.

I came up with Old Man Conjugate: More of what you can do, less of what you can’t.

It’s a brilliant system. Revolutionary even.
It begins with not feeling sorry for yourself because of what ever, and also a complete lack of focus on what you can’t do.
It also adds in a high dose of a lot of what you can do. Doesn’t matter what it is. Just do something.
It also doesn’t have to conform to a typical template or training split.
As an example, the typical Westside Conjugate training split that I followed for years is 4 days.

  • Max Lower
  • Max Upper
  • Dynamic Lower
  • Dynamic Upper

Many that are uninitiated into what Conjugate means think you cannot deviate from this but they could not be more wrong. The beauty of training in a Conjugate system means that you find what works FOR YOU and do that. Now, this is not for a beginner to figure out, they should probably train with a crew or a good coach before they do their own program design. Since I‘ve been doing it a while I figured why not design my own program and use what will work FOR ME.
And I had a goal.
Bench more in the 220’s or 242 Masters than I did in the 308 Opens.
This may sound stupid, but my bench was never awesome for many reasons. I firmly believe I can reach this goal as long as I can stay healthy (not tear anything) and we see someone run a meet.
My program, Old Man Conjugate: More of what you can do, less of what you can’t consists of three days of consistent training and 2 optional days. They are optional because believe it or not, sometimes owning a business does not give you a lot of free time to train even if all you have to do is walk out of your office to do it.
My training split is as follows:


  • Day 1: Max Upper
  • Day 2: Lower Body
  • Day 3: Dynamic Upper
  • Optional Days:

Optional days have lot of fluff and buff accessory work for blood flow and recovery such as:
Band pullparts for ultra high reps (50-100 per set)
Band pushdowns ultra high reps
Shoulder Rok work
Grip-lots of grip
Sled Dragging: Ankle drags, rows, presses, forwards and backwards
I also use the Bandbell Bars a lot.
I use the plate loadable one for most of my barbell work.

I feel it is easier on joints than a regular bar, and I use the Bandbell E-Maxx Bar for a lot of assistance work.
The E-Maxx bar is a joint saver. The oscillation of it forces you to stay tight and focused and it also gets a ton of blood flow to my old joints.



Here’s a sample of a typical week of training with the Old Man Conjugate method and it uses stuff I can do:
RPR Wake Up Drills
Max Effort Bench: Bandbell Bar with 2 Chain
Assistance: Medium Grip Pin Press 2” Off Chest-3x3 As heavy as possible (AHAP)
DB Bench 4x25 + 5 pullups between sets
Spud Inc Long Ab Strap Rows 4-5 x 12-25 + 2 pullups between sets
Tate Presses 5-6 x 8-20
Leveraging work with Grip Hammer




RPR Wake Up Drills
Main Lift-not max effort: Single Leg Press (Right leg only, left one doesn’t work)
7-8 x 8-20
Step Ups-8” Box 3-4 x 8
45 Degree Back Raise x AMAP + Standing Leg Curl x 12-15 x 5-6
Reverse Hyper 4-5 x 20
Rolling Thunder 5-8 heavy singles
RPR Wake Up Drills
Dynamic Bench Press: 8x3 with 30 seconds rest. 50% of 1 rep max + 2 chains per side
Assistance: JM Press work to a heavy set of 5
Assistance 2: Bandell E-Maxx Bar Overhead Press 4x12-15 + 3 pullups between sets
DB Rows 4-5 x 8-10
Spud Inc Long Ab Strap Overhead Tricep Extensions 4-5 x 8-15 + + 3 pullups between sets
DB Curls 4-5 x 15-20
Ab Wheel 4-5 x 8-12 with 2 second pause at floor
Optional Days:
Shoulder Rok 10 minutes
Circuit all x 25-30
Band Pushdowns & Band Face Pulls
Stir the Pot
Pinch Grip work
On Accessory work I pyramid up in weight each set and the reps drop.

This is just a sample of one week. I rotate exercise every week depending on how I feel regarding injury and recovery and to prevent adaptation.
The point of this whole treatise is that you need to find out what you CAN do to get YOU towards your goals. It might not be the same as someone else. Especially if you are older, and a little or a lot banged up.
Many people do fine following a pre-written program. We see excellent results all the time in our Group programs like the TPS Method.


However, many people need to do something different, and they also need to forget about what they are not able to today or this week. The point is to get work done so you get stronger and stay healthy.
Don’t fall into the trap I set for myself and wallow in what you can’t do!
I hope this helps some of you stay in the gym.
If all you can do is pushdowns and curls, it’s better than nothing at all.



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The Hook Grip A Simple How to Guide CJ Murphy

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Vincere vel mori

C.J. Murphy

July 2, 2020


Total Performance Sports

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