Optimize Your Training

February 21, 2019
Exercise is the stimulus we all need for change.  The human body is so incredible.  Think about this for a moment.  One human has stimulated his body to such an extent that he ran a marathon under 4 hours.   We also have a human that has stimulated his body to the other extreme, and have had multiple men deadlift over 500kg, and squat 525kg raw.   The body will perfectly adapt to rock climbing, baseball, soccer, and quite frankly, sitting on your couch.  Your body responds to the stimulus provided, so provide it with the best stimulus possible.

I have tried just about everything in the fitness world.  I started with cookie cutter body building programs straight from the Arnold bodybuilding manual.  Later on, I tried CrossFit.  CrossFit introduced me to heavy barbell movements.  I landed in powerlifting because it kept my attention.  I always have a goal, if my numbers are not going up, I’m not doing something right.   It’s incredibly motivating to keep me from missing a meal or a workout.  Now within the powerlifting realm I’ve tried every program and methodology in between.   I’ve read countless books from the best in the business, I’ve studied the science behind strength training.  Here’s what I know, they all work.

Every single one of them work, I did a torturous squat program called Smolov that had insane volume numbers in the squat realm.  It increased my squat 100lbs in 3 months!  I’ve done undulating periodization, linear periodization, conjugate for raw, westside barbell conjugate, Bulgarian Squat Every, Sheiko programs.  Within each one of these I made adjustments based upon further study and reading.   Every single one of them I saw progress, no question.   So similar to diets, there is no magic pill, it comes down to goals, what do you want?  Additionally, and most importantly, what keeps you coming back?  Where I’ve landed is my own form of a conjugate type program with some endurance focused training.  While I appreciate CrossFit, I’ve seen countless people just do “WOD’s” every day, and have no visible results for years.  I believe the body needs to be deliberately stimulated to have true growth and adaptation.  I lift heavy, and I aerobically train with purpose.  V02 max training, joint accumulation training in endurance activities because I also love hiking around the mountains.  So, what do all these words mean?  I’ll give a brief overview, but know, that coming to us, you have all the direction in the world to achieve your fitness goals.

Periodization – Blocks of time dedicated to specific purposes.  i.e., hypertrophy, strength, peaking (really heavy stuff).
  • Undulating – Daily rotation of multiple factors, intensity adjustments, rep range adjustments.
  • Linear – This is cut and dry, if I start a linear period, I do sets of 6 for example, and I just adjust intensity up until I need to deload. i.e., week 1 3x6 comp squat @385, week 2 3x6@405, week 3 3x6@425 followed by a set of as many reps as possible to see where my overall strength is sitting.  Then I switch to another rep scheme, let’s say 5 the next block.
Conjugate – This really homes in on the muscle confusion space.  In reality in a conjugate program, you aren’t ever doing the exact same thing consecutively.  Conjugate, westside methodology is split into two categories, Maximal Effort, Dynamic Effort days, supplemented with repetition method.   In conjugate, you cover all the bases at one time.  You become strong in every movement, at every level and variant of that movement.  So, what would this look like?
  • Week 1 Max Effort Lower Box Squat with a safety bar.
  • Week 2 Conventional Deadlift from blocks,
  • Week 3 Squat Good Mornings
  • Week 4 Comp Squat with Chains.  

Each one of these can vary from 1 rep to 3 reps as a training max.  I’ll supplement the workout with tailored assistance movements to build up my weakness and let me be straight, EVERYONE’S weakness is hamstrings and low back, don’t argue with me and don’t lie to yourself, those are your weak points.  

Now when I look at any program in existence, strength, bodybuilding, Olympic lifting, even endurance training, they are a derivation of these two methodologies, in order to progress, you either need to linearly do it, or change up the adaptation stimulus enough to provide consistent change over multiple movements.   The body doesn’t progress if you do dumbbell bench press for 4 sets of 10 at 120lb dumbbells every single workout.  If you want it to grow, its needs more volume, so you start at 4 sets, next week do 5, the next week do 5 sets with heavier weight.   Your body will adapt so it can “handle” with ease the stimulus you put it under.  So, if you are one of those guys that wants to do the same sets, same weight, same exercise every week, guess what, you are always going to look the same.   As intricate as programming methodology seems like it can be, it’s really simple, find something you like, stick to it, make it heavier, do more over time, reap the benefits.  What I hope you are realizing, there is no magic pill, there is only work, you just need to actively participate to make it happen.


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