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Old 08-12-2011, 07:50 PM   #641
Chris Mason
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Re: Conjugate CF article

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Originally Posted by Mauricio Leal View Post
After taking a look at the MEBB and seeing it's, coincidentally, pretty much the evolution of my own programming as well, I have a silly question: all things being equal, why would one need to do assistance exercises after one has used them to balance out their weaknesses? Shouldn't the lifts themselves develop the correct balance of musculature if things aren't out of whack already? I can still appreciate ME alone not providing enough volume, but I've seen/used things as simple as 5-3-2-1-1-1-1 + 5x3 @ 85% being a simple way to get extra volume in. I strongly believe physical training shouldn't be a mess of exercises, reps, and percentages, so if the simple thing works, particularly for CFers i.e. non-1000 lb squatters, why not?
Varying somewhat individually the compounds will not sufficiently stimulate specific muscles such that the lifter can maximize his or her performance on said exercise. The triceps are an excellent example with respect to pressing. Training above and beyond the stimulation provided by the compound pressing movements helps the lifter in those same exercises.

You can believe what you want Mauricio, but the proof is in the pudding .
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Old 08-12-2011, 11:01 PM   #642
Mauricio Leal
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Re: Conjugate CF article

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Originally Posted by Chris Mason View Post
Varying somewhat individually the compounds will not sufficiently stimulate specific muscles such that the lifter can maximize his or her performance on said exercise. The triceps are an excellent example with respect to pressing. Training above and beyond the stimulation provided by the compound pressing movements helps the lifter in those same exercises.

You can believe what you want Mauricio, but the proof is in the pudding .

I defer to your expertise of course, Chris. Which is why I ask. I am just curious because obviously there are lots of pretty strong and fit folks/CFers who have never heard of conjugate method. To be a little more precise, I guess the question is how much do you think a pretty typical games athlete doing Conjugate CF would outpace their clone just doing what I described (ME + sub ME sets + WODs) over a year? Or is that too many variables still?
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Old 08-12-2011, 11:39 PM   #643
Chris Mason
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Re: Conjugate CF article

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Originally Posted by Mauricio Leal View Post
I defer to your expertise of course, Chris. Which is why I ask. I am just curious because obviously there are lots of pretty strong and fit folks/CFers who have never heard of conjugate method. To be a little more precise, I guess the question is how much do you think a pretty typical games athlete doing Conjugate CF would outpace their clone just doing what I described (ME + sub ME sets + WODs) over a year? Or is that too many variables still?
Too many variables. You also have to remember that at its highest level CrossFit is not about who is strongest, it is about who is strong enough... and has good enough endurance and strength endurance and so on.
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Old 08-13-2011, 05:19 AM   #644
Adam Carlson
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Re: Conjugate CF article

Adding to what Chris has said so far, a compound movement is a series of muscles working together. Each compound movement is as strong as it's weakest part (literally), and so if my tris are weak, my press is going to be limited by what my tris can handle. If my back is weak, my squat and deadlift will be limited by that. Doing the assistance work helps catch those weak parts up to the rest.

But let's say that I 'even out' my weaknesses and they are caught up with the rest of the muscles; I don't think that switching to just compound movements will keep up and maintain those specific muscles that tend to be weaker. Muscle size, recruitment, technique, etc. all come in to play, and imbalances will probably build up again over time.

Chris, please correct me if I'm wrong.
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Old 08-13-2011, 06:39 AM   #645
Kent Newland
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Re: Conjugate CF article

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Originally Posted by Adam Carlson View Post
Adding to what Chris has said so far, a compound movement is a series of muscles working together. Each compound movement is as strong as it's weakest part (literally), and so if my tris are weak, my press is going to be limited by what my tris can handle. If my back is weak, my squat and deadlift will be limited by that. Doing the assistance work helps catch those weak parts up to the rest.

But let's say that I 'even out' my weaknesses and they are caught up with the rest of the muscles; I don't think that switching to just compound movements will keep up and maintain those specific muscles that tend to be weaker. Muscle size, recruitment, technique, etc. all come in to play, and imbalances will probably build up again over time.

Chris, please correct me if I'm wrong.

According to what I've learned through just reading on my own, you are correct. For example, the bench press involves the triceps, the pectorals, and the anterior deltoids. Once you have your triceps strengthened, then your pectorals or your deltoids may be the next weakest link in the chain. The width of the grip that you prefer determines how much the triceps are involved vs. pectorals and deltoids. If you like a wider grip, then you may discover that it's the strength of the pectorals that limit your bench press, which will require more isolation work in the form of flyes and dumbell presses.

One thing that was really pointed out to me while reading Louie Simmons' book is how important it is to look at the big picture while trying to improve strength, find out where the weakest link is, and to strengthen that weakest link.

For example, I noticed that for myself, my lower back appears to be the limiting factor in how much I can back squat, so I've been working at strengthening it with good mornings, and trying to increase the flexibility in my hamstrings.

As I learned in my last unit, look at the big picture first, and then start to narrow the focus.

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Old 08-13-2011, 12:30 PM   #646
Robert Fabsik
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Re: Conjugate CF article

Just to add to this thinking, I remember reading somewhere in Westside stuff that an exercise can only take you so far.

So a novice might move his squat from 100lbs to 225lbs without doing much assistance work but sooner or later a weakness is going to stop him/her. Some would argue to reset and keep squatting, but then the reset might take you from 225 to 250, reset again and go from 250 to 260, then 260 to 260...that's when you have to start thinking conjugate for sure. Although I think Chris would agrue you should start out Conjugate so you don't really have to go through many resets.

This also goes for assistance work, if focusing on reverse hypers gets your deadlift up from 350 to 375, and then your reverse hyper goes up but your deadlift sticks at 385, it might be time to look at another assistance exercise.

On a side note, I rarely see a Westside program emphasizing Pecs. It seems that the bench really benefits from tris, tris and more tris. I'm sure a bench shirt factors into this to some extent.
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Old 08-27-2011, 03:20 PM   #647
Cody Miller
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Re: Conjugate CF article

Referring to the accessory work, is 1 or 2 sets really enough? Most westside templates I come across often include 5 sets. I'm sure this was an attempt to prevent overtraining with the "hybrid" program including met-cons, but what if the athlete isn't brand new to incorporating such accessory work? I'd love to do a couple warmup sets and bang out only 1 or 2 sets with the utmost intensity but I just want to be clear.

Also, I'm assuming we should be striving for 3-5 lifts at or above 90% of our previous max? Would you recommend warming up, hitting 90%, 92%, and then hitting 102% roughly in order to have enough stimulus?

I appreciate any feedback Chris. Starting working with this monday. Thanks.
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Old 08-28-2011, 05:10 PM   #648
Troy Becker
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Re: Conjugate CF article

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Referring to the accessory work, is 1 or 2 sets really enough? Most westside templates I come across often include 5 sets. I'm sure this was an attempt to prevent overtraining with the "hybrid" program including met-cons, but what if the athlete isn't brand new to incorporating such accessory work? I'd love to do a couple warmup sets and bang out only 1 or 2 sets with the utmost intensity but I just want to be clear.

Also, I'm assuming we should be striving for 3-5 lifts at or above 90% of our previous max? Would you recommend warming up, hitting 90%, 92%, and then hitting 102% roughly in order to have enough stimulus?

I appreciate any feedback Chris. Starting working with this monday. Thanks.
Lately I have been doing much better by dialing back my accessory work. It's so easy to do that extra set on each exercise, then that extra exercise, then that extra set on that extra exercise... But less is sometimes more, otherwise you can, or at least I do a lot, burn yourself out for the next work out.
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Old 08-28-2011, 09:56 PM   #649
Chris Mason
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Re: Conjugate CF article

Most Westside guys are doing 5 sets of accessory work per exercise, at least from what I have seen. I also think that the amount of intense resistance training a Westsider can tolerate and benefit from vs. that of the average lifter is something to consider. So, 2 sets per exercise is more than enough in my book.
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Old 10-01-2013, 12:04 AM   #650
Dare Vodusek
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Re: Conjugate CF article

I just wonder, this thread is over a year old without replies...

Are CFs no longer interested in this method or why the lack of interest?
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