Sample Conjugate Method


  1. Introduction
  2. Sample Day Scheme
  3. Sample Max Upper Day
  4. Sample Max Lower Day
  5. Sample Dynamic Upper Day
  6. Sample Dynamic Lower Day
  7. Appendix:
    1. What weak points do I have?


This is my personal conjugate program consisting of max effort days and dynamic effort days. The classic conjugate method also features a repetition day but this has been integrated in the other days because of personal time reasons.

The conjugate method is detailed in Westside Barbell Book of Methods by powerlifting legend Louie Simmons. Web searching "Conjugate Method Training" or similar search terms will yield more knowledge. The Conjugate Method is not a program like Starting Strength but more of a template. What we need most in life is where we least want to look. In other words you must focus the conjugate template on your own personal weak points.

In summary:

  • The program is a mixture of max effort (strength) work and dynamic (speed) work.
  • High rep hypertrophy work which focuses on your weakness is also mixed in but for people with more time can assign hypertrophic work to its own day.
  • Have rest days between tiring workouts
  • Cycle each main excercise every 2 to 3 weeks. A main excercise is a variation of your squat, bench and deadlift (maybe overhead press) conducted on the max effort or dynamic effort day.
  • Focus on your weakness. Hypertrophy work to these areas is important.

This program is for individuals who are late intermediates / early advance lifters. The effectiveness of the dynamic effort for raw (non equipped) powerlifters is disputed. Irregardless the increased hypertrophic volume of accessory muscles will benefit most lifters on their journey through advance & elite levels.

Sample Day Scheme

  • Max Effort Upper
  • Max Effort Lower
  • Rest
  • Dynamic Effort Upper
  • Dynamic Effort Lower
  • Rest / and or Repetition day
  • Rest

Max Effort Days

Max Effort days are your main compounds or its variation plus its accessory excercise. The main movement are focused on straining under maximal load. The rep range is typically low. No more than 3. E.g. One suggestion could be PR 1 rep max or PR match attempt with 2-3 back off reps at 90% or working your way up to a new 1 rep max PR.

Cycle the max effort excercise every couple of weeks. Continuous 90%+ work will make you regress.

The Book of Methods suggests the following:

  1. Don't prepare mentally or you will burn yourself out.
  2. Don't plan the max effort excercises too far in advance.
  3. The most important things are time under tension and strain (max effort), not the records.
  4. Limit the number of lifts over 90% to 2–3. Do one with 90%, one with 95–98%, and then try for a record. You can also jump from 92–95% straight to a new record.
  5. It isn’t necessary to do max effort work every week. Max effort standards:
    • Load: 90-100%+
    • Reps: 1-3
    • Rest 2-5 minutes

Dynamic Effort Days

Dynamic effort days are made to practice the main lifts with maximal power. Power means lifts:

  • of quick force production at high speed (minimum 1 m/s+)
  • of good form
This means that the variables must be altered to never let bar speed slow down. Speed and quick force production are the point. The bar speed must be fast and powerful. I personally use a minimum of 1 meter / second. I measure bar speed with a free barbell tracking app. If measuring is a problem a rule of thumb is if you don't make the weights rattle on the down and up then it isn't fast enough.

Here is a video as an example with Louie Simmons. The bench press is performed in quick sets of triples. Note the speed, rep range and rest time between sets.

The sample rep scheme is typically triples or doubles at high sets which change per week and then reset.

Bands are preferred in the dynamic effort Band tension (kg) should never exceed 25%-30% of total weight.

Remember: If the bar speed is slow then it isn't power work and you are wasting your time.

Repetition days (aka Bodybuilding/Accessory work)

Because of my timetable limitations the Repetition day has been integrated into the Max Effort and Dynamic days.

This volume is dedicated to hypertrophy of accessory muscles. I've always mainly done compound movements so have selected exercises which target my upper back, tris, posterior chain and abs. This is quite so an individual with a strong back may not need to do as much lat work for example.

For example these are my problems:

  • Poor left shoulder stability and health → Upper back work
  • Rounded shoulder posture → Upper back work
  • More stable bench press → Lat work
  • Stronge bench press → Tricep work
  • Lessen thoracic back rounding during deadlift → Upper back work & lat work

Individuals should focus the repetition/bodybuilding rep scheme on their weakpoints. Do you know what your weak points are? At what point in the lift do you get stuck?

Try to make rep or weight PR every session!

Max Effort Upper

  • Main movements
    • Bench Press / Paused Bench Press / Pin Press / Narrow Grip / Wide Grip
      • e.g. 100%+ Single, 90% 1x3 back off
    • Overhead Press
      • e.g. 100%+ Single, 90% 1x3 back off / 4x4 / 3x3
  • DB Press — 3x12-16
    • Week 1: Incline
    • Week 2: Flat
    • Week 3: Decline
  • Triceps
    Any number from list (3x8-20 per excercise, any amount till your triceps are fried)
    • Lying Tricep Extensions
    • DB Rollovers
    • Cable Push-down
    • BB/DB Floor Press
    • Thick Board Press
  • Upper back
    • Supported rear delt raises — 3x20
    • Chin ups — AMRAP sets to a total of 50 reps

Max Effort Lower

  • Main movements
    • Highbar Squat / Pin Squat / Pause Squat / Front Squat / Box Squat / Good Mornings
      • 100%+ Single, 90% 1x3 back off
    • Deadlift / Snatch Grip Deadlift / Sumo / Deficit Deadlift (varying heights)
      • 100%+ Single, 90% 1x3 back off
  • Glutes and Hamstrings
    • RDL — 3x10
  • Quads & abs
    • Front Squat — 3x10
    • Weighted Decline Sit ups 3x20
    • Weighted Planks — 4x2min+

Dynamic Effort Upper

  • Banded Speed Bench Press
    (Alternating grip between every few sets)
    • Week 1: 60% 12x3
    • Week 2: 65% 10x3
    • Week 3: 70% 8x3
    • Week 4: Reset
  • DB Press — 3x12-16
    • Week 1: Incline
    • Week 2: Flat
    • Week 3: Decline
  • Triceps
    Any number from list (3x8-20 per excercise, any amount till your triceps are fried)
    • Lying Tricep Extensions
    • DB Rollovers
    • Cable Push-down
    • BB/DB Floor Press
    • Thick Board Press
  • Upper back
    • Pendlay Row — 3x10
    • Pull ups — AMRAP sets to a total of 50 reps
    • Supported rear delt raises — 3x20
    • Facepulls — 3x20

Dynamic Effort Lower

  • Main movements
    • Banded Speed Highbar Squat
      • Week 1: 60% 12x2
      • Week 2: 65% 10x2
      • Week 3: 70% 8x2
      • Week 4: Reset
    • Banded Speed Deadlift
      • Week 1: 60% 6x2
      • Week 2: 65% 10x1
      • Week 3: 70% 8x1
      • Week 4: Reset
  • Glutes and Hamstrings
    • Barbell Hip Thrusts — 3x10
    • Hamstring Curls — 3x12-16
    • Weighted Back Extensions (Glute focus) — 3x12-16
    • **Ideally Glute Ham Raise or Reverse Hypers but my gym doesn't have them**


Weakpoints and target excercise

See Reddit's Compendium to Overcoming Weak Points by user Darryliu.

Back to top ⬏