How can I get strong? Depending on who you ask, you’ll hear:

“Nah bro you don’t need to get strong, just get yuge that’s how you get the gurlz”,

“If you’re not on roidz don’t even think about getting strong. What’s my training plan? Uhh, 5×5 I don’t want to get TOO BIG”,

“Well this study showed that if you circle jerk with your training partner while using 90% of your RPE7 at the leg extension supersetting chest flies…”

You know how it goes. You’ll always get a different answer. Everyone’s an expert nowadays, yet so few produce results.

Well what is the right answer? Let’s find out.


Athletes lift heavy in order to get stronger. Some bodybuilders lift heavy, while others don’t. To further discuss the aforementioned, you have to define what you are.

Are you a pro Athlete? Are you an amateur athlete? Are you in the military? Are you Special Forces? Are you a pro bodybuilder, an amateur bodybuilder or a guy that wants to be the embodiment of a real life Adonis? Maybe you’re just in your 50s and want to be healthy.

Abusing your body in a quest to become strong and actually getting stronger are two different things. If you have no idea what the fuck you’re doing, then you’re going to spin your wheels, or worse, get injured. If you’re doing minimalistic bs training, you’re going to get overuse injuries, IF, you don’t get bored of doing the same thing over and over again, while having miniscule progress that won’t keep you interested in the long run.

Lifting, just like self-development, should be treated as a lifelong endeavor. One should strive to train optimally, preventing any injuries and keeping that thirst for gains and PRs unquenchable.


From a scientific perspective, “strength” is a measure of force production. If you can display “strength,” that means you can produce force. If you increase your “strength” by becoming stronger, then that means you can produce more force than last time.


Yes, you should. Lifting heavy is the best way to become stronger and we know that strength is a necessity in sports, as well as in real life. Its application ranges from being able to perform better at any given task, whether that’s on the field, the octagon, lifting and carrying an injured teammate on the battlefield or even being strong enough to lift something that’s endangering a loved one’s life.

Being a Man means being Strong. Heavy lifting makes you strong. So Lift Heavy & Get Strong.


In my experience, following a Conjugate Periodization is the BEST way to increase your strength, speed and power, along with your muscle size, simultaneously.

The Conjugate Periodization or Conjugate Method, was created by Louie Simmons of Westside Barbell. Louie, besides having trained some of the greatest powerlifters of all time, has helped NFL, College Football and Rugby teams, with the Green Day Packers and All Blacks being some of the most famous ones, along with MMA and Track and Field athletes.

It’s very easy to get the best out of this training system, since it’s easily adaptable to your specific sport.


Louie started originally as an olympic weightlifter, but after he placed second to last on his first competition, he realized that the sport wasn’t measured in terms of raw strength, and most competitors looked like “do you even lifters”, so one month before his induction to the army in 1966, he fell in love with the sport of powerlifting.

In his words “My first exposure to powerlifting was at a power meet in Dayton, Ohio, late in 1966. I had Olympic lifted since I was 12 and competed at 14, doing a 175 snatch and a 260 clean/jerk at a body weight of about 155. I really thought I was a strong guy until that first power meet. There were 11 men in the 165s, and I got tenth place, beating only a 55-year-old dude. This was an eye opener for me. I never Olympic lifted again. My Olympic lifting training partners should have worn signs saying “I lift weights” because if they were brought into court for it, the case would be thrown out for lack of evidence. However, the powerlifters I saw not only were strong but looked like they were strong”.

After Louie’s was admitted to the infantry and due to his father’s death, instead of going to Vietnam, he was sent to Berlin where he could train fairly regularly. His lifts however were going nowhere, until he laid his hands on a Muscle Power Builder, which later became Muscle and Fitness. In that magazine, there was a powerlifting article about the Westside Barbell Club of Culver City, California. It was about box squatting. He had never heard of this, but with nothing to lose, he gave it a try. To his amazement, the box squats worked to the point that he later made top ten squats in five weight classes.

Through those articles, Bill West, George Frenn, and the guys, got him started on the right foot. He was never able to visit Westside in Culver City due to work, which he regrets to this day.

After getting out of the army in 1969, he built a power rack, got some weights, and started training full-time using what he learned from the articles. They were his only training partners. For some of us, this was the case as well.

After Bill West died, he referred to his place as Westside Barbell but never publicly until 1986. Westside Barbell is a trademarked name and so is Louie Simmons.

If you read Louie’s books, he goes into an extensive memory trip, giving you each and every single detail of what shaped his reality to create the strongest gym in the world. In my opinion all his books are a MUST read to every strength coach and trainee, as they’re not only based in real science, but take you to you a sentimental trip to the philosophy that shaped some of the strongest men to ever live.

Speaking for myself, his work has changed my lifting and coaching career for the best, and added to that fire of continuously falling deeper in love with the art of strength and conditioning.

When Louie broke his back for the second time in 1983, he sought medical advice. The doctor wanted to remove two disks, fuse his back, and remove bone spurs. Louie said, “No way, Jose.” That’s when he created the Reverse Hyperextension Machine and healed his back, along with many others’.

At the time world records were broken on the big three, with Dan Wohleber pulling the first 900 deadlift, Dave Waddington squatting the first 1000 squat, and Mike McDonald getting a 512 bench press at 181 body weight. Remember, this was with no shirts!

While Louie was recovering from his back injuries, he found every book on training methodologies from the old Eastern Bloc. He was determined to outlast his rivals.

That’s when the Conjugate Method was born.


The conjugate system was first experimented with in 1972 by the renowned Y.V. Verhoshansky at the Dynamo Club. The experiment consisted of 20 to 45 special exercises. Large exercises, meaning with barbells, and small exercises, referring to back raises, calf raises, glute-ham raises, belt squats, etc, were included.

Seventy highly qualified weight lifters were involved in the experiment. After its conclusion only one lifter was satisfied and the rest of them wanted more exercises. After that time the conjugate system has played a great role in the development of high-skilled weight lifters and athletes around the world. When done properly, it causes training to be controlled: optimal, energy sources, maximal, trainability, periodization, and evaluation.


The Conjugate system uses a ratio of 20 percent classic lifts, and 80 percent special exercises.

To avoid accommodation, special exercises that are similar in structure to the classical lifts are used to increase strength and perfect form. With the addition of bands and chains, performing the lifts becomes increasingly more difficult.

In Westside, they realized that special exercises (mainly the close grip), would increase the bench press. But what would increase the close grip bench press? Multiple variations of extensions, with dumbbells and barbells, pushdowns, etc.

Similarly what helped raised their Squat was the Goodmorning exercise, and that can be raised with back raises, reverse hypers, glute/ham raises and inverse curls.


This is the most superior method for improving both intramuscular and intermuscular coordination. The athlete has now adapted to the stress on the central nervous system and muscles. This method of training brings out the greatest strength gains. The goal is maximum intensity and/or a new personal record, using different special exercises, that are substituted weekly to avoid accommodation. This is a lower volume day.

This means that on that day you choose one exercise that’s a variation of the Big Three, and you make a new 1RM PR. You essentially break a record, every week, whether that’s an all time record for that exercise, or for that day.

Two or three reps build strength endurance. While training a two or three rep record, you will always conserve yourself to complete the third rep. One rep max limits muscle mass to a minimum, so there is no unnecessary weight gain.

The barbell exercises should be close in nature to the classical lifts. For the Lower Body a variation of rack pulls, and all types of Goodmornings, or squatting with specialty bars and an assortment of box heights and foot placement can be used. As max strength goes up, so do all special strengths, including endurance of all types. Heavy sled Pushes or Drags, along with various Strongman exercises can be used as well.

For the Upper Body, variations of the Bench Press or the Overhead Press, like Pin Presses, Presses with Chains or Specialty Bars can be used.


To avoid CNS fatigue and keep stress as low as possible, you must wait for 72 hours before you do such an extreme workout. Does that mean that you can’t workout at all in between? Of course you can. You just use lower intensities (lower weight) and you can do smaller workouts to induce hypertrophy.

By using a different variation on the main strength exercise every week, you’ll be making a new PR weekly, and you’ll never be bored of doing the same thing week in and week out.


The two special strengths are trained with the Dynamic Method. When training for explosive strength that requires light weight at high velocity, it is impossible to attain F=m x m. This is why the dynamic method is not used for a maximal strength, but to improve and increase a fast rate of force development and explosive strength. This is a high-volume training day.

By utilizing 3 week waves you avoid accommodation and you consistently make progress. If more muscle mass is required, or if the athlete is a new lifter, opting for adding more volume via the repetition method is more suitable, until one has enough muscle mass to protect his joints and spine.


This system is measured by the amount of reps to failure of five, eight, ten, and so forth, commonly done with a barbell. This can be dangerous if the athlete has a muscle imbalance, for instance, in the lower back; however, the same risk of injury is also imminent for underdeveloped hamstrings. Westside recommends higher reps — up to 20 reps with 25 percent to 30 percent of a one rep maximum (1RM).

The purpose is to build hypertrophy in the posterior chain. Belt squats, deadlifts (sumo style), and isolation movements along with low weight higher rep power cleans, or snatches are much safer.

Q: I don’t see how max effort is applicable in real life

Answer: When you’re rushing the Quarterback are you going all out in your attempt to sack him or are you jogging your way on the field thinking you’ll get him next time? When you’re sprinting the 100m dash are you sprinting at 85% or are you going all out? When you have to lift and carry your teammate/loved one or lift

something heavy that fell on top of them to save his/her life are you half-assing it or going all out (aka max effort)?


This has nothing to do with “oh my workout was so intense because I did burpees then pullups so my heart rate is elevated and I’m feeling tired now”. It’s simply about the used percentage of your 1RM and how that correlates to different special strengths.

This is all based on the research on sets and reps conducted by A.S. Prilepin in 1974, and the 1975 data of A.D. Ermakov and N.S. Atanasov.

By using a 25 percent band tension, one can avoid bar deceleration and increase over-speed eccentrics.

The following comes directly from Louie’s book Special Strength Development for All Sports:

Let’s take a look at the ratio of speed strength squatting to working. An all-time max looks like this:

A 600-pound squatter’s training volume is 7,200 pounds as a mentioned by using a three-week wave.

The barbell weight is 50 percent, 55 percent, and 60 percent at .8m/s for 12×2 at Week 1, 10×2 at Week 2, and 8×2 at Week 3 (or 360 pounds x 10 sets x 2 reps = 7,200 pounds). To avoid bar deceleration and increase over-speed eccentrics, add 25 percent band tension at the top of the lift. With band shrinkage in the bottom, 10 percent is added to the bar. Here is the graph:


50% 25% = 75%

55% 25% = 80%

60% 25% = 85%

Now, we know the total volume of a 600-pound squat is 7,200 pounds. But how does it relate to max effort day 72 hours later, after a warm-up with small weights, say, 315 pounds? Let’s add up the total poundage to reach a 600-pound max:


365×2 730

405×2 810

455×2 910

500×1 500

560×1 560

605×1 (PR) 605



The barbell should be at 30 percent to 40 percent for explosive strength at fast velocity. Speed strength would be 75 percent to 85 percent at intermediate velocity. With strength speed (or slow strength), the barbell moves at a slow .4 to.5m/s velocity. There is also isometric training as well, which is, of course, trained at zero velocity.


Every Great Man has haters, and Louie has some as well. Many people claim that since it was created for equipped powerlifters, then it doesn’t work for raw lifting. Keep in mind that all the science behind it comes from Olympic Weighlifting and they don’t use any equipment at all. Also all the records before the creation of the bench shirt, or the squat suit, were accomplished by the following those principles.

So to say that it doesn’t work is very misleading. Are there any slight modifications that you can do to better suit raw powerlifting? Of course. But the same applies to every sport, hence the sport specificity.

Saying that Westside principles are unscientific and how your minimalist program is the best way to turn you into a high level athlete is not even a valid arguement. In my experience, those that hate on Westside are either other strength coaches that didn’t have any major success and jump on the hate-Louie bandwagon, different periodization zealots that have to justify their bias, and those that haven’t tried, or don’t understand how science works.

In my experience, following a conjugate based training plan is the best way for a natural trainee to continuously break records, increase muscle size, get stronger and avoid injuries. 

If you’re tired of getting no results in the weight room and you’re ready to level up your life you can work directly with me. For any questions shoot me a DM on Telegram or via the contact page.

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