Conjugate training is a term coined and expanded upon by the late, great Louie Simmons, a well-known strength coach at Westside Barbell. Conjugate means to bring together, so conjugate training is literally joining together different training styles into one micro or meso training cycle. Conjugate training is bringing together training styles such as power, strength, agility, and hypertrophy into one training cycle.
Balancing Across Different Days
The key to conjugate training is to balance the volume across the different days. It’s common to have a setup as follows (but this is only an example):
- Day 1: Upper-body pull—hypertrophy
- Day 2: lower-body push—strength
- Day 3: Upper-body push—power
- Day 4: lower-body pull—speed
With these days an athlete or coach will need to make sure to balance out the loads and not have too much volume across the days. So if the hypertrophy day has a high level of volume, the power day needs to be lower to not apply too much load to the upper body, which can increase the risk of injury. The athlete or coach will also need to know the recommended rep ranges, set ranges, and percentages of max for each of the different training styles in order to find that necessary balance to push the body but not hurt it.
Pushing the Body to Adapt to Change
This approach is a great way to keep the body guessing what your next move is and pushing the body to adapt and change to reach your goals. So, if you find yourself plateauing and your maxes are not moving, maybe the conjugate method is for you.
This blog was written by Grant Lamkin, Health Fitness Specialist. To learn more about the NIFS bloggers, click here.