For this episode of Table Talk, Dave returns to the topic of his time at Westside and answers a question about how they trained using the conjugate method:
"What determined the rotation of the supplemental and the accessory exercises?"
Dave's go-to answer for this question is that you should always change your supplemental or accessory exercise once you can no longer make progress on strength or reps. If you can't use more weight or get more reps than the previous session using that exercise, change it.
But first Dave takes a step back to remind that the supplemental and accessory exercises are two entirely different things. In a given training session, the supplemental movement will fall second after the main max effort or dynamic effort movement. The purpose of a supplemental movement is to build the core movement. The accessory exercises come later in the training, after the supplemental movements, and are meant to build the supplemental movements.
When Dave first started at Westside, he says, they weren't rotating exercises in an optimal manner. But if anything, they were falling on the side of being too conservative. This was actually the good side of error to fall on, because it meant that they weren't too beat up from the supplemental movements. Where Dave believes they missed opportunity to improve, however, was in failing to rotate movements frequently enough.
Dave then goes on to say that how you rotate exercises in a conjugate program should be determined by what physical capabilities you are trying to develop. Dynamic work will rotate at a different rate than the max effort work, which will rotate at a different rate than the repetition work.
So, the easiest answer to follow for when to rotate your supplemental exercises is to get away from an exercise as soon as you stop progressing on it. If you can't make progress on the third session using a particular exercise, don't keep it in for the fourth session. Making progress with this kind of program is all about using your own feedback and knowing which exercises to use and when to use them, rather than just following a template or a general recommendation.