You may have Conjugated Periodization all Wrong

You may have Conjugated Periodization all Wrong
Ok, there have been some discussion on the "Conjugated Method" and it's validity as of late. One thing I have noticed is that the word conjugated or conjugate has been on of the most overly used or misused terms as of late. Especially when I see people criticizing the methodology. I often wonder do they REALLY understand what this training system is all about.

On one hand you have much more awareness and implementation of non-linear based periodization. On the other, you have some very shallow and misguided interpretations of it. This could be due to the source of this information is often social media posts and hashtags. This is consistent with most training information now-a-days. It is much easier to find information but virtually impossible to find good information.

In the immortal words of Big Daddy Kane, most people who use the word conjugated are "half-steppin'." They are almost "reverse Bruce Leeing it". They are negeltign the most important aspects. One of the most pertinent examples is assuming Conjgated is simply rotating exercises or just using bands or chains. There is much more to it than simply using the ME, DE, and Re methods. This is an example of combining two different systems that don't necessarily need to go together. Louie Simmons was able to do this and apply it to lifters.

People that do not reference Louie when talking about conjugated periodization or Zatsiorsky's methods really bother me. People don't really understand what Louie has done for strength training in this country. And no one was able to present and communicate those concepts better than Dave. People forget that and its disrespectful and shows either how uneducated or inexperienced someone is.

Let's take a Quiz
This is for the young strength enthusiast who already has it figured out. But. answer this question:

What is the difference between Conjugated and Concurrent periodization?

Hint: They are not the same.
Hint: You may not be using the one you think you are using.

The most common categorization of non-linear periodization is concurrent. Addressing multiple fitness qualities equally is just that. Conjugated usually has a an emphasis on one while addressing others. Slight difference, but it leads me to believe that conjugated is a cooler word and no one really checks to see if you are actually using concurrent anyway.

I wrote a basic overview of these methods here:

And if you really want to grasp some deeper understanding, read Tom Myslynski's Masters Dissertation here:

So why the Dismissal
Ok, so the misrepresentation, misuse, and overall dismissal on the other side of the coin all comes back to comprehension of the subject. In my opinion, it is more a generational issue than anything.

The new breed of coaches, trainers, writers, etc. are the millennials, generation iY, the ADHD generation. This is a generation who may fall into the ego trap and is guilty of minimalism and hedonism more that their predecessors. This generation is also a very valuable contributors to our "strength society". They question everything, they are resourceful, and they pride themselves on giving back.

The problem is they have come into the less is better and "just get strong" mentality. Other strength sports have influences powerlifting for different reasons. The specificity of strongman event training, the technical skill acquisitions of Olympic lifting, and the extensive variation of closed skills in CrossFit have all more minimalistic training methodologies. Either because there are so many skills, very technical skills, or very specific across multiple variables; these strength sports may not need the variety and the concurrent periodization model.

Basically, 5/3/1 and similar programs work, thus conjugated periodization is not necessary is an common attitude. This is more due to a lack of experience with "why" conjugated periodization works and how it is implemented than actual anecdotal evidence.

The periodization bible
One of the most important reasons Dave Tate was able to speak in great detail of concurrent and conjugated periodization is because of his knowledge of linear periodization. Like Scott Stevenson has said, the best way to prove you are right is trying to prove you are wrong first. Looking at linear periodization from a very critical point of view using an extensive knowledge base proved why Louie and Dave had adapted the opposite. Basic principles of load, intensity, volume, etc. are often misspoke in recent articles. Without a great understanding of linear periodization, it is hard to say why you would not use it. Regardless, all periodization has linear and non-linear qualities.

One thing is certain, every single person I personally know that has lifted as Westside barbell has two things:
1.) An oustanding ability to coach advanced techniques.
2.) A comprehensive understanding of non-linear periodization program design for strength.

Guys like Louie, Dave, Bob Youngs, Jim Wendler, JL Holdsworth, Matt Wenning, AJ Roberts, Shane Sweatt all have an outstanding knowledge of conjugated/ concurrent periodization. They are passionate about it and teaching it becasue they actually understand it. In my opinion, that is why Jim is able to concretely writhe about 5/3/1 because he does have a full-circle knowledge base.

Conjugated Periodization for Sports
So the first time I decided that we needed to use this methodology was 1998. The DC and head S&C coach at Clarion where I was a student coach and later GA had a linear system where you would Squat every Monday and Thursday and bench Every Tuesday and Friday. The cycle was 7 days so you would max every 3.5 weeks. I finally talked him into stretching that cycle to 7 weeks and day 2 of that wee would be an alternative to that exercise with a different load parameter. Not there quite yet, but it was a start.

When I got my first head gig while coaches at Allegheny, The head coach made me use Husker Power which is 4 weeks of 3x8, 4 weeks of 3x5 and 4 weeks of 3x3. After talking with Coach Doyle at Iowa, I talked him into doing 3x8,3x5, 3x3, repeat. Still not there yet, but getting closer to non-linear. It wasn't until I got to Denison in 2002 that I started to implement some true WSBB and WS4SB template into our programming. I still to this day believe that the conjugated, concurrent method for speed and strength is superior even for beginners. I do however feel there are a couple of adjustments to be made in a collegiate setting.

1. Dynamic Work.
Problem is, you often wont have kids strong enough to benefit from true speed work. They really aren't strong enough of efficient enough to produce enough force to elicit a training effect with that weight.

So what do you do insteat of Speed Sqauts, Speed bench, and Speed Pulls?
- Olympic Lifts
- Throws
- Jumps
- Sprints
- Plyo-push-ups

One thing I talked to my guy, Tony Kunczewski who is the head football coach at Berry College is only having your older advance guys doing a DE day. Your younger players or player in need of Hypertrophy would do an RE day instead.

2. Reduce the number of Variations.
The more variety you have, the less proficient your athletes will get. Just by changing a grip and having two variations cuts your reps in half. I felt that 4 (and then later 3) variations were enough to address weak points and still allow some mastery.

3. Balance your pushes and pulls.
In fact for some sports, a Max Effort Upper body day could be a weighted pull-up. There are a lot of sports that are pull-dominant and the bench press doesn't have to be your UB go-to.

I hope this made sense. There are a ton of information that goes very deep into the methodology and when and why to implement it. One thing that young coaches and trainers have to understand is that in the late 90s and early 2000s, there was either a linear-based Olympic lifting program or a High-Intensity Machine based program and those coaches bickered worse than the CrossFit debates that go on now. When Louie and Dave introduced this methodology and guys like DeFranco and Wendler and Joe Kenn and James Smith started to talk about how to introduce this into your program to train athletes, the whole world opened up for a lot of us. We grew up on this and to dismiss it as a fad is very offensive. To bastardize and oversimplify it is irresponsible. This methodology is why a lot of us got into coaching. We feel very protective of it.

Walked into 11athletics and there foam rolling was my man Cory Whitmer. Didn't even recognize him at first. He was in town for a wedding and showed up with Jordan Houghton wearing his NWO Wolfpack t-shirt and his Like Moths to Flames shorts. Even brought me a monster.

I have not met too many young men with as much heart as this dude. He is the real-life Tyler Durden. So at 26 he has survived pancreatic cancer and now needs a hip replacement. But the thing about Cory is that he is a Lion. You see, this world is full of Lions and Lambs. You are one or the other. This distinction is not earned by how much weight you lift or how many cool memes you can put up on social media. To me, its about who you carry yourself and how you treat other people. This world is full of sheep who do exactly what their fake role models tell them do to. I am in no way an alpha lion and Cory probably isn't either. But, I can be proud to say that I am not a lamb. Waking up everyday, being the best husband and dad I know how to be what most people consider lion-like behavior. But as JL and Harry always say: A lion doesn't know he's a lion. He just is. So, I will just be. On my own terms and encourage people to do the same. Ok, corny cliches over.

78kg for 4 singles

BTN Push Press
255 miss
*Cant really do anything more than singles so not sure if this is worth doing.

Clean Pulls

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