CrossFit Discussion Board  

Go Back   CrossFit Discussion Board > CrossFit Forum > Fitness
CrossFit Home Forum Site Rules CrossFit FAQ Search Today's Posts Mark Forums Read

Fitness Theory and Practice. CrossFit's rationale & foundations. Who is fit? What is fitness?

Reply
 
Thread Tools
Old 08-25-2011, 06:55 AM   #1
Robert Fabsik
Member Robert Fabsik is offline
 
Profile:
Join Date: Sep 2010
Location: Kildeer  IL
Posts: 2,233
Conjugate Method vs. Linear Progression

This post spawned in my brain from Chris Mason's thread about the recent records set by a bunch of Westside Lifters.

I'm looking for some rational debate/discussion comparing a traditional LP program to the Conjugate Program.

Questions I have:
Which is better suited for a beginner?
Which is better suited for CF?
Which is better suited for those prioritizing strength?
Advantages of one over the other?
Pitfalls of one over the other?

I have experience in both and have been using a Conjugate like program over almost most of the past year. So I'm biased and will hold my thoughts at the moment.

Just curious to see others thoughts and experiences.
  Reply With Quote
Old 08-25-2011, 10:13 AM   #2
James Orr
Member James Orr is offline
 
James Orr's Avatar
 
Profile:
Join Date: Feb 2010
Location: Fresno  CA
Posts: 583
Re: Conjugate Method vs. Linear Progression

When Chris Mason published his article in the journal this past winter/spring, I started really thinking about and prioritizing strength. I workout in the evening though, and as a grad student I didn't have enough open evenings to follow it and did a percentage-based Max Effort Black Box routine instead based off of the MEBB collection from Performance Menu. That put about 40 pounds on my squat.

In June I decided to follow 70's big for a while just to see what it's like, and did so through July and early August. It was a lot more taxing in terms of recovery, and when I decided to see what my 1RM was earlier this month, I couldn't match what I'd done in the spring. It was about 15 lbs. down.

Then Kane started posting. He had this new max-effort program he wanted to experiment with. And since the grass is always greener on the other side, I decided to go back to what I knew. So back to a max-effort method, this time my own version, doing a MEBB-esq 3 days per week with a total body lift, lower body lift, and upper body lift, following a Westside-esq rep scheme with 4-7 lifts above 90%. So far, in three weeks, I've put 17 lbs. on my clean.

I like max-effort lifting. I feel really good the next day. I'm not sore, and I don't feel like I can't make it through a metcon. My strength also seems to develop a lot faster. So max-effort lifting is what I prefer.
  Reply With Quote
Old 08-25-2011, 10:34 AM   #3
Eric A. Brown
Member Eric A. Brown is offline
 
Profile:
Join Date: Jul 2010
Location: New York  NY
Posts: 226
Re: Conjugate Method vs. Linear Progression

Do you have a coach to teach you a wide variety of exercises to rotate for Westside and/or a good working knowledge of exercise selection and programming?
  Reply With Quote
Old 08-25-2011, 10:38 AM   #4
Ross Dijulio
Member Ross Dijulio is offline
 
Profile:
Join Date: Jul 2010
Location: Mercer Island  WA
Posts: 49
Re: Conjugate Method vs. Linear Progression

I experimented with ME lifting during winter quarter while at school but I believe it was my inexperience and lack of knowledge that made it tough. I went back to linear progression and currently my squat is 330 3 RM with a 1 RM of 335 (that 1 RM was done a while ago). I plan on following Chris Mason's routine pretty much to the dot as Linear Progression is not only boring but it seems to plateau easily at higher weights and hard to overcome. LP is really easy to follow and it allows people new to certain lifts to practice them a lot and perfect technique. I am hoping with all the extra research and reading i have done this summer will have given me enough knowledge about programming to effectively implement the Conjugate Method into training
  Reply With Quote
Old 08-25-2011, 12:05 PM   #5
Christopher G. Woods
Member Christopher G. Woods is offline
 
Christopher G. Woods's Avatar
 
Profile:
Join Date: May 2007
Location: Ellicott City  MD
Posts: 2,119
Re: Conjugate Method vs. Linear Progression

Quote:
Originally Posted by Robert Fabsik View Post
This post spawned in my brain from Chris Mason's thread about the recent records set by a bunch of Westside Lifters.

I'm looking for some rational debate/discussion comparing a traditional LP program to the Conjugate Program.

Questions I have:
Which is better suited for a beginner?
Which is better suited for CF?
Which is better suited for those prioritizing strength?
Advantages of one over the other?
Pitfalls of one over the other?

I have experience in both and have been using a Conjugate like program over almost most of the past year. So I'm biased and will hold my thoughts at the moment.

Just curious to see others thoughts and experiences.
I think linear progression is better for beginners. Someone who is new to the lifts has no business jumping directly into max effort work. The higher volume and lower weights will allow new lifters to build the proficiency needed to move on to max effort programs. This is why Starting Strength is considered a beginner-intermediate program, while Conjugate Method is considered intermediate-advanced.

I like Conjugate derivations for mixture with CrossFit, especially with more advanced athletes. The lower volume and ability to change up the movements with greater frequency allows for a higher volume and greater variety of conditioning work without overtraining.

I think beginners, especially those looking to increase mass, might see faster results with a linear progression, but I prefer Conjugate (and Wendler as well, for those looking for more volume) for intermediate-advanced athletes for strength gains.

Again, I think beginners who are looking to put on weight will get better hypertrophy from the volume of a linear progression. Conjugate's variety allows for more focus on weaknesses, and it's lower volume allows for faster recovery.

Conjugate works at weights that are too high for inexperienced lifters. The volume of linear progressions will lead to overtraining in advanced athletes.

Last edited by Christopher G. Woods : 08-25-2011 at 12:07 PM.
  Reply With Quote
Old 08-25-2011, 12:43 PM   #6
Matt Haxmeier
Member Matt Haxmeier is offline
 
Matt Haxmeier's Avatar
 
Profile:
Join Date: May 2009
Location: Arvada  CO
Posts: 1,619
Re: Conjugate Method vs. Linear Progression

I did starting strength for 2 months last year and got my squat from 295 to 330. Then I did 5/3/1 from October to April and got my squat from 330 to 385, but I began to stall from April through June. So in mid-june I started switching to conjugate ME lifts and haven't seen much increase at all since then. I probably added 10lbs to my deadlift, Squat hasn't changed, Bench press maybe 5lbs, Shoulder press hasn't changed.

I'm not going to blame my lack of progress on conjugate as I seemed to be stalling before that. But it also hasn't been some magic bullet for me (yet). Here is how I see it:

Starting Strength:
Great for beginners if not just for simplicity alone. Learn only 4/5 lifts. Eat. Rest. Add Weight. Repeat. New lifters need familiarity with the lifts which is what squatting every other day provides that something like conjugate does not.

5/3/1:
It's great to be on a program which trains both high rep endurance and max effort lifts. Lots of flexibility in choosing assistance. Templates laid out which are easy to follow. Built in deload to prevent/delay stalling. Laid back attitude makes it easy to integrate into CF. Push it hard when your feeling good vs just hit your numbers if you're not. But fairly demanding from a workload perspective. Lots of time in the gym. Good for intermediates because you can start adding in new and varied exercises to keep things interesting.

Conjugate:
Pros: I love maxing every week. I feel a lot fresher for WODS generally. I love working in some exercises I haven't done in years. I like experimenting with variable resistance, new bars, new hand positions, new stances, etc. It keeps it interesting and exciting.
Cons: It hasn't been magic for me. It takes a very long time to know if you're making much progress. If I only hit my goal lift once per month and I fail to PR then I won't hit it again for another month. If I fail to PR again then it's been two months of time "wasted". If I fail to PR I don't know if it was bad exercise choice, bad form, bad day, not enough rest/food, etc.
The amount of knowledge and equipment required to train effectively seems to be way more than either SS or 5/3/1.

I was told that my triceps were probably weak because I'm slow through the middle of my bench press. So I've been working lots of triceps. Last week I got a HSPU PR of 16 at bodyweight 205, which I was thrilled about. So working my triceps has been paying off for that at least....however it didn't add anything to my bench press

I don't doubt that conjugate can make you hella strong. But the devil is in the details as far as I'm concerned. Identifying your weaknesses and what exercises to choose seems crucial. The wods you may/may not get slammed by also can play a huge part.

I think it probably can work great for beginners, but a self coached beginner will probably have a rough go. And without others around to compare to, it's very difficult to measure progress and identify weaknesses at times. And choosing assistance exercises is seemingly more of an art than a science.

To me, conjugate needs a set of rules like SS and 5/3/1 have in order to appeal to a beginner. SS and 5/3/1 tell you exactly what numbers to lift and what to add to the bar and what to do if you miss and even what assistance to use. That simplicity is missing from conjugate.

For me a conjugate beginners program would need more guidance or written more explicitly like:
ME
Week 1: Bench Press <-- goal lift
Week 2: Shoulder Press
Week 3: Incline Press
Week 4: Push Press
Assistance1: Db Press
Assistance2: Pull ups
Abs: Leg raises.

Week 5: Bench Press
After Bench Press Week 5 if you PR then continue. If you don't then choose from the following:
a.) i missed at chest. --add pause bench with bands as assistance 1
b.) i missed at above the chest but not halfway --add pin press as assist 1
c.) i missed above half but not at lockout -- add Tate presses as assist 1

...etc. I realize that might not be possible. I'm just exploring the idea.


I am enjoying Conjugate though. But I still don't feel as if I have it "figured out". Chris has been very helpful but it takes time to implement his suggestions and figure out of they'll fix the problem. If they do then cool But if they don't then I'm down another month

Last edited by Matt Haxmeier : 08-25-2011 at 12:56 PM.
  Reply With Quote
Old 08-25-2011, 01:32 PM   #7
Tim Nakashima
Member Tim Nakashima is offline
 
Profile:
Join Date: Jul 2009
Location: Bakersfield  CA
Posts: 712
Re: Conjugate Method vs. Linear Progression

Matt, were you doing any dynamic days or strictly the ME days + assistance?
  Reply With Quote
Old 08-25-2011, 01:44 PM   #8
Preston Sprimont
Member Preston Sprimont is offline
 
Profile:
Join Date: Jan 2011
Location: Foothill Ranch  CA
Posts: 483
Re: Conjugate Method vs. Linear Progression

Quote:
Originally Posted by Ross Dijulio View Post
LP is really easy to follow and it allows people new to certain lifts to practice them a lot and perfect technique.
This is a really important point, especially for beginners. People who are new to strength training need to practice the core lifts. A lot.
While conjugate methods will make pretty much anyone stronger, I think the beginner needs the 3x5 squats three times a week, 5x3 power cleans once/twice a week, etc, just to begin to get their technique down. Plus, a conjugate program for most beginners can be daunting and confusing because of the number of variations of exercises and the ME/DE days and the assistance exercises, etc. LP is simple and clear: do A/B/A one week, B/A/B the next, and keep adding weight (of course this is hyperbole, but you get the point).

For the intermediate/advanced lifter who has a couple years of dedicated lifting under his belt, it's a whole different story.

Last edited by Preston Sprimont : 08-25-2011 at 01:48 PM. Reason: Foolishness.
  Reply With Quote
Old 08-25-2011, 02:15 PM   #9
Matt Haxmeier
Member Matt Haxmeier is offline
 
Matt Haxmeier's Avatar
 
Profile:
Join Date: May 2009
Location: Arvada  CO
Posts: 1,619
Re: Conjugate Method vs. Linear Progression

Quote:
Originally Posted by Tim Nakashima View Post
Matt, were you doing any dynamic days or strictly the ME days + assistance?
Just the ME days + assistance. And 3 wods/week. And I am actually getting full rest days, which I didn't get often on 5/3/1 since I was doing 3 wods per week + 4 5/3/1 days. Whereas conjugate is just 3 wods/week + 2 ME days.

Last edited by Matt Haxmeier : 08-25-2011 at 02:18 PM.
  Reply With Quote
Old 08-25-2011, 02:55 PM   #10
Chris Mason
Banned Chris Mason is offline
 
Profile:
Join Date: Nov 2007
Location: Charlottesville  VA
Posts: 4,708
Re: Conjugate Method vs. Linear Progression

For the moment I just want to say one thing about this learning the movement correctly stuff.

Discounting O-lifts which have a high skill component, I can teach someone how to do any strength movement properly in 1-2 sets. Period, end of story. I've done it a million times. Anyone who claims there is a huge learning curve to strength movements like squats, benching, pressing etc. simply doesn't know how to do the lifts or teach them.
  Reply With Quote
Reply


Thread Tools

Posting Rules
You may not post new threads
You may not post replies
You may not post attachments
You may not edit your posts

vB code is On
Smilies are On
[IMG] code is Off
HTML code is Off
Forum Jump

Similar Threads
Thread Thread Starter Forum Replies Last Post
Intermediate Linear Progression + Conditioning Trey Williams Fitness 20 07-05-2011 12:58 PM
Linear Progression + Tumbling Mac Oneill Fitness 4 03-02-2011 09:03 PM
Conjugate Method and WODs Troy Becker Fitness 94 12-07-2010 02:03 PM
linear progression hugh driscoll Fitness 27 04-12-2010 04:32 PM
Linear Progression Jakub Kruhlik Starting 4 07-30-2008 11:04 AM


All times are GMT -7. The time now is 03:04 PM.


Powered by vBulletin® Version 3.6.8
Copyright ©2000 - 2020, Jelsoft Enterprises Ltd.
CrossFit is a registered trademark of CrossFit Inc.