I trained at Westside from the summer of 1995 until the summer of 2000. Louie had a huge influence on me. He believed in training lifters to train themselves. Most of the time, the more experienced guys did the coaching and Louie added his wisdom behind the scenes. This period in my life brought the biggest gains in every lift. More importantly, it brought the greatest gains in knowledge. I was surrounded by guys like Dave Tate, Chuck Vogelpohl, Kenny Patterson, George Halbert, and Todd Brock. Since then, I’ve taken that knowledge to start Southside Barbell and help my own crew. I also help some of the guys here on elitefts™, such as Chad Walker, Adam Driggers, and Brian Carroll, acting as their “game day and technique” coach.


Bob —

It looks like you’re back to weight training again?! Awesome. I have a couple questions regarding the conjugate system. I’ve been reading Louie’s articles and your name is mentioned more than a few times, so you must be the man to ask.

After using 5/3/1 for almost two years, I’m planning to try the conjugate system. On max effort lower day, I’ll work up to a one-, three-, or five-rep max on the front squat, good morning, and other movements. Then I’ll do speed deadlifts for 6–8 singles and accessory work. I’ll do the same on max effort upper day. For speed days, I’ll do eight sets of three on bench day and twelve sets of two box squats. Because I consider myself a beginner, I’ll start using 60 percent on straight weight and less with bands or chains. Then I’ll do accessory work. After coming from 5/3/1, it seems strange to work up to a max every week. How often would you rotate max effort exercises? Sorry for the long question and thanks in advance! — AJ

AJ —

Yeah, I’m trying to get my workouts in again. It’s going pretty well so far. You must be reading some old articles.

On max effort day, I recommend doing a max of one or three reps on all squat and deadlift variations. For good mornings, I wouldn’t go below five reps. I just think the stress on the body from low rep good mornings isn’t worth the benefit.

I always preferred to keep my speed deadlifts on the same day as my squat. For speed bench press, do eight sets of three. For speed squats, do 8–12 sets of two between 60–70 percent. As you advance, the percents usually go down. In addition, I would rotate max effort exercises every 2–3 weeks. As you advance, you will rotate weekly.

To make this clear, here are some quick templates for your four days:

Max effort squat/deadlift

  1. Squat/deadlift variation, week 1 max set of 5, week 2 max set of 3, week 3 max single. If doing GMS, do 2-3 sets of 5-8 reps
  2. Deadlift variant, 3–4 sets of 3–5 reps (stiff legs, Dimel deadlift, snatch grip deadlift, high pulls)
  3. Glute ham raises or 45-degree back raises, 3–4 sets of 8–12 reps
  4. Lats, 3–4 sets of 6–12 reps (any lat exercise)
  5. Abs

Max effort bench press

  1. Max effort bench press movement (same rep set up for three weeks), board press, floor press, incline
  2. Some type of lockout work (3–4 sets of 3–5 reps), rack lockouts or high board presses
  3. Some type of triceps extension, 3–4 sets of 8–12 reps
  4. Lats (preferably a row), 3–4 sets of 8–12 reps
  5. Biceps, whatever you like for 2–3 sets of 8–12 reps

Dynamic effort squat/deadlift

  1. Box squat, 8–12 sets of 2 reps between 60–70%
  2. Speed deadlift, 8–12 singles with 60%
  3. Glute ham raises or 45-degree back raises, 3–4 sets of 8–12 reps
  4. Abs, 3–4 sets of 8–12 reps
  5. Sled dragging, Prowler

Dynamic effort bench press

  1. Bench press, 8 sets of 3 reps with 60%
  2. Some dumbbell pressing, 3–4 sets of 8–12 reps
  3. Front plate raises, 3–4 sets of 8–12 reps
  4. Lats (a row variant), 3–4 sets of 8–12 reps
  5. Biceps, 2­­­–3 sets of 8–12 reps