Posted by on Mar 11, 2013

BeginnersStarting GuidesStrength Training
This starting guide was created by Jordan Syatt. Jordan is a strength training and nutritional consultant based out of Boston Massachusetts. He is Westside Barbell Certified, Precision Nutrition Certified, and is an IPAPowerlifting World Record Holder. Jordan works with a diverse population of clientele, focusing on fat loss, mass gain, and athletic performance. Jordan is the owner and operator of Syatt Fitness. You can find him on Twitter or Fitocracy.

Westside Barbell Overview

Required Skill Level: Intermediate

Training days per week: 4

Description: The Westside Barbell Conjugate Method is perhaps the single best system designed to help trainees achieve their ultimate strength potential. Developed by Louie Simmons, Westside’s Conjugate Method incorporates the Maximal Effort Method, Dynamic Effort Method, and Repetition Method within a systemized template to improve strength, power, and overall performance.

Louie’s system was originally developed for high-level Powerlifters. While the template presented below is based on the goal of improving Powerlifting performance, any/all trainees proficient in compound barbell lifts such as the Squat, Bench Press, and Deadlift can effectively use The Conjugate Method to achieve their ultimate strength goals.

While this system is superior to other strength-focused programs in numerous ways, two of the most important components are listed below:

1. Utilizing The Westside Barbell Conjugate Method prepares lifters to handle truly maximal loads. Each and every week lifters will work up to a 1-3 repetition maximum (1-3RM) in a variation of the Squat or Deadlift and Bench Press. For those who compete in Powerlifting, getting used to the feeling of lifting maximal loads is of the utmost importance from a physical, mental, emotional, and performance-based standpoint.

2. The Westside Barbell Conjugate Method is one of the only systems that prioritizes recovery on a weekly basis. Through using the Dynamic Effort and Repetition Methods lifters can improve speed, power, and hypertrophy while simultaneously recovering from the demands of the Maximal Effort training sessions performed earlier in the week.

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The Westside Barbell Program

Training Frequency: 

4 times per week

Type of Split:

Upper Body/Lower Body

Lower Body – Monday/Friday

Upper Body – Wednesday/Saturday

The Maximal Effort Method – Monday/Wednesday

Two days each week Westside focuses on The Maximal Effort Method. The goal of these days is to lift maximal (or near maximal) weights in order to gain strength and train the mind and body to handle heavier loads.

Max Effort Lower Body – Monday. On this day lifters will:

1. Work up to a 1-3RM in any variation of the Box Squat or Deadlift or Goodmorning. This is known as the main move and is the first lift of the day.

2. Perform accessory exercises for the glutes, hamstrings, erectors, traps, lats, and abs.

 Max Effort Upper Body – Wednesday. On this day lifters will:

1. Work up to a 1-3RM in a variation of the Bench Press. This is known as the main move and is the first lift of the day.

2. Perform accessory exercises for the triceps, shoulders, back, traps, lats, and abs.

As you can see by Sean's face, there's a reason they call it maximal effort.

As you can see by Sean’s face, there’s a reason they call it maximal effort.

The Dynamic Effort Method

The remaining two days of the week are focused on the Dynamic Effort Method. The goal of this day is to lift sub-maximal weights as fast as humanly possible to improve power, speed, and rate of force development. It is of the utmost importance to perform these movements as quickly and explosively as you can. If you fail to do this, you will see sub-optimal results.

Dynamic Effort Lower Body – Friday. On this day lifters will:

1. Perform 10-12 sets of 2 repetitions in a variation of the Box Squat at 40-60% 1RM

2. Perform 6-10 sets of 1-3 repetitions in a variation of the Deadlift at 60-85% 1RM

3. Perform accessory exercises for the glutes, hamstrings, erectors, traps, lats, and abs.

Dynamic Effort Upper Body – Saturday. On this day lifters will:

1. Perform 9 sets of 3 repetitions in a variation of the Bench Press at 50% 1RM

2. Perform accessory exercises for the triceps, shoulders, back, traps, lats, and abs.

The Schedule and Accessory Work

Max Effort Lower Body – Monday

1. Work up to a 1-3RM in any variation of the Box Squat or Deadlift or Goodmorning.

Note: Perform a different movement/variation every week. Changes in variation can be slight (i.e. change the width of your stance/grip, the height of a box, the bar being used, etc) but do not perform the exact same variation multiple weeks in a row. Wait a minimum of 8 weeks before repeating a given variation.

2. Following the main move, perform 3-5 exercises targeting the glutes, hamstrings, erectors, traps, lats, and abs. Common exercises include variations of Goodmornings, Glute Ham Raises, Hyperextensions, Reverse Hyperextensions, Cable Pull Throughs, and Farmers Walks. Focus on training your individual weaknesses.

Note: Perform the same accessory exercises for 1-3 weeks in a row while aiming to improve each subsequent week. After 1-3 weeks you must switch to new accessory movements/variations.


Max Effort Upper Body – Wednesday 

1. Work up to a 1-3RM in any variation of the Bench Press.

Note: Perform a different movement/variation every week. Changes in variation can be slight (i.e. change the width of your stance/grip, the height of a box, the bar being used, etc) but do not perform the exact same variation multiple weeks in a row. Wait a minimum of 8 weeks before repeating a given variation.

2. Following the main move, perform 3-5 exercises targeting the triceps, shoulders, back, traps, lats, and abs. Common exercises include variations of Dips, Push-ups, Overhead Presses, Chin-ups, Rows, Face Pulls, and Lat Pull Downs. Focus on training your individual weaknesses.

Note: Perform the same accessory exercises for 1-3 weeks in a row while aiming to improve each subsequent week. After 1-3 weeks you must switch to new accessory movements/variations.


Dynamic Effort Lower Body – Friday

1. Perform 10-12 sets of 2 repetitions in a variation of the Box Squat at 40-60%1RM

Note: Perform the same variation for 3 weeks in a row while progressively increasing the weight by 5% each week. After 3 weeks you must choose an entirely new variation and cycle back down to the original starting percentage of your 1RM.

2. Perform 6-10 sets of 1-3 repetitions in a variation of the Deadlift at 60-85%1RM

Note: Perform the same variation for a maximum of 3 weeks in a row. After 3 weeks you must choose an entirely new variation.

3. Following the main movements, perform 4-5 exercises targeting the glutes, hamstrings, erectors, traps, lats, and abs. Common exercises are similar to those performed on Max Effort Lower Body day.

Note: Perform the same accessory exercises for 1-3 weeks in a row while aiming to improve each subsequent week. After 1-3 weeks you must switch to new accessory movements/variations.

Dynamic Effort Bench – Saturday

1. Perform 9 sets of 3 repetitions in a variation of the Bench Press at 50%1RM

Note: Perform the same variation for 3 weeks in a row. After 3 weeks you must choose an entirely new variation.

2. Following the main movement, perform 4-5 exercises targeting the triceps, shoulders, back, traps, lats, and abs. Common exercises are similar to those performed on Max Effort Upper Body day.

Note: Perform the same accessory exercises for 1-3 weeks in a row while aiming to improve each subsequent week. After 1-3 weeks you must switch to new accessory movements/variations.

A Word on Variation

The concept of variation is the most overcomplicated component of The Westside Barbell Conjugate Method. People are often bewildered as to what Louie means through advocating the use of a variety of lifts and variations to avoid adapting to any one specific movement.

Fortunately, however, it’s an extraordinarily simple concept and one that’s quite easy to explain.

Take, for example, the Box Squat. With this lift alone there are likely hundreds of possible variations. Below I’ll list a few of the first ones that come to mind:


Box Squat Variations

1)    Close Stance Box Squat

2)    Wide Stance Box Squat

3)    High Box Squat

4)    Parallel Box Squat

5)    Low Box Squat

6)    Front Box Squat

7)    High Front Box Squat

8)    Parallel Front Box Squat

9)    Low Front Box Squat

And that’s all with the same bar! That doesn’t even take into account the SS Bar, Giant Cambered Bar, or the use of bands/chains. Once you add each of those components you’ll have so many variations it will be impossible to ever run out.

To make the concept of variation a little bit easier to understand, below I will provide a brief list of variations for the Deadlift and Bench Press.

Sumo Deadlift

The sumo deadlift is one variation of deadlifts that you can perform.


Deadlift Variations
 

1)    Plates Raised Conventional Deadlift

2)    Plates Raised Sumo Deadlift

3)    Sumo Rack Pull

4)    Conventional Rack Pull

5)    Conventional Deficit Pull

6)    Sumo Deficit Pull

7)    Double Overhand Deadlift

8)    Fat Gripz Deadlift

9)    Double Overhand Fat Gripz Deadlift

10) Snatch Grip Deadlift


Bench Press Variation
 

1)    Close Grip Bench Press

2)    Normal Grip Bench Press

3)    Wide Grip Bench Press

4)    Floor Press

5)    Fat Gripz Floor Press

6)    Fat Gripz Close Grip Bench Press

7)    Pin Bench Press

8)    Incline Bench Press

As you can see, variations don’t have to be drastically different from one another; rather a slight change in movement/grip/stance/etc is sufficient.

Wrapping Up

The Westside Barbell Conjugate Method is perhaps the most effective training system ever developed. Used correctly, it will yield astounding results and can help you achieve your ultimate strength potential. If strength is your goal, and you’re willing to train harder than you could ever imagine, the Westside Barbell Conjugate Method is meant for you.


Thanks to Jordan for this writeup! If you want to interact with Jordan and follow his workouts, join Fitocracy and follow him. For more help on your strength and fat loss goals, you can train with one of the expert teams at Fitocracy Group Fitness.

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