The Conjugate Method by Westside Barbell


Westside Barbell is one of the most known gyms in the world, it was founded by the legend Louis Simmons, the father of the Westside-Barbell Conjugate Systems, a training system derived from the studies of the soviets sport scientists.

In this article I will give a brief outline of the methods used at Westside and how to integrate them with the Beast Sensor. For more info on Louie and Westside Barbell check his website here:

One of training methods used at Westside is the maximal effort method;
Max effort is defined as lifting a maximal load against maximal resistance; it should be used to increase maximal strength. At Westside two days a week are devoted to max effort, one for lower body and one for the upper body. On lower body days you select squats, deadlifts or good morning while on upper body days a variation of the bench press, and perform them up to 1 to 3 rep max with loads close to 100% of 1RM. Those exercises are known as the main move and must be performed as the first exercise of the day. Following the main move you need to perform exercises to strengthen your weaknesses, each athlete will have its own weaknesses and will need to work on them accordingly.
You can use Beast sensor to track your strength and adapt the loads to your daily conditions: on your max effort days select in the app max strength as training goal, and keep an eye on your power output being >90%. You will know that your power output is correct rep by rep and in the same time always keep an eye on your strength deficit: this tells you weather the choice of the load is correct for your goal, or if you need more weight. When training for max effort the app my not recognise all the repetitions because the velocity output is very low, try always to push as hard as you can and accelerate through the whole movement.

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With the dynamic effort method submaximal weights are lifted with maximal speed. This method indirectly builds strength by increasing a fast rate of force development and explosive strength.
At Westside dynamic effort is performed two sessions per week, as for max effort, one for squat and deadlifts and the other for the bench press.
Here’s where Beast comes in handy. All the exercises need to be preformed at the highest possible speed, never reach failure but stop if you can’t keep up with the targeted velocities by looking at the bars on the app. Perform 6-12 sets of 2-4 reps at 55-65% of 1RM, don’t rest more than 90 seconds.

The repetition method is also used together with dynamic and max effort to increase muscle size and endurance. Never use it with the classical lifts but use it rather with special exercises to work on your weaknesses (accessory exercises). Do a high number of reps with a low weight (30-70%), selecting hypertrophy or resistance as training goal will give you all the correct indications for this method, continue until you’re tired and you’re velocity drops under threshold, you will start seeing darker bars as you get tired and the movement loses efficiency.

Use the velocity and power output to adapt loads and number of reps and make sure you are in the correct range for the trait you want to develop.


by tommyrondi

Huge fan of the Beast Sensor, I have been involved with sports all my life, first as an athlete and later as a coach. I worked as alpine skiing coach for four years and played in the Italian national lacrosse team. "work hard, play hard"