And we’re back! It’s been another year, another Open, another Friday Night Lights! Now here we stand at the beginning (ish) of another “cycle” of programming here at Five Alarm, and this year we’re trying something a little different!
ENTER THE CONJUGATE METHOD
The Conjugate Method refers to a specific strength program methodology created by Louie Simmons of Westside Barbell fame. Why a “strength” program? Study after study continues to show that STRENGTH training has the highest carryover to positive changes in health, performance, AND body composition. I would wager that those three goals (individually or combined) encompass 100% of the reasons people are here in the first place (plus our amazing community!).
Now, to clarify, we are NOT trying to turn everyone into powerlifters. DON’T WORRY! We are still doing CrossFit! The beauty of the Conjugate Method is that it is a concurrent system; meaning that we’re working to improve multiple aspects of strength all at the same time. As you can imagine, that fits right in with a standard CrossFit model, which aims to be concurrent with all 10 general physical skills (Strength, Endurance, Stamina, Flexibility, Power, Speed, Coordination, Agility, Balance, and Accuracy).
So, how does it work? At its core, the Conjugate Method focuses on three different themes EACH WEEK: Maximal Efforts, Dynamic Efforts, and Repeated Efforts.
Maximal Effort (ME):
- ALMOST exactly what it sounds like… The exception being that the majority of the time we will prescribe “Heavies” instead of “Rep Maxes.” Meaning we want to see how heavy you can go for a lift with impeccable form. The focus should be on maintaining the skill and technique of a lift under a heavy load – not on the specific weight.
- These maximal effort lifts will also rotate through a large variety of exercises outside the traditional ones we see on a regular basis. Doing so allows us to identify and eradicate “weak points;” not only making our core lifts stronger, but also reducing injury risk and making us more durable.
- We’ll do a ME lower body lift weekly on Mondays, alternating between squat and hinge-based movement patterns. For the upper body, we’ll typically see more DE and RE work, with the occasional ME day.
Dynamic Effort (DE):
- Speed is the name of the game. Move moderate weight quickly – that should sound familiar! Traditional Conjugate for powerlifting has a fairly set framework for DE.
- For our purposes you could see this take shape as straight set, moderate weight EMOMs for core lifts, plyometric or explosive work (jumping and throwing), a standard MetCon, etc.
Repeated Effort (RE):
- There are a couple different aspects of Repeated Efforts. The first is exactly what it sounds like – using multiple reps to elicit a specific response. However, RE also entails using a variety of exercises to help address: single joint and unilateral work, bringing up of “weak spots” in main lifts, time under tension, and injury prevention and prehab to name a few.
- We’ll see the RE primarily utilized in our standard MetCons and Accessory Work.
A quick note on Bands… Bands are a staple in the traditional Conjugate Method, and they’re used for a variety of purposes. They can be used to add resistance to ME work, to promote speed/explosiveness in DE work, or to facilitate higher rep/burnout and durability based RE work. In some form or another, it’s likely you’ll see Bands utilized at least a couple times a week.
BUT WHAT ABOUT CROSSFIT?
I know the above may seem like a lot, but aside from a slight change in movements, etc., for the most part we’ll be status quo. CrossFit’s core methodologies aren’t going anywhere. Our focus has been and always will be General Physical Preparedness (GPP) through CrossFit (with a slight Strength Bias focus). The type of stuff that’s meant to make you better overall at LIFE – healthier and fitter, and have a blast doing it!
MOVEMENTS OF THE MONTH
Lastly, we’ll also be adding in a “Movement of the Month” (MOTM) with the standard programming. The goal here is to focus on the specific strength and skill work that is needed to improve upon specific movement progressions, regardless of current ability level. Coach Ryan has already written up a blog post about April’s MOTM – Toes to Bar, which you can check out H-E-R-E.
For the most part, we will follow a plan similar to this each month – taking around two days per week to focus on the strength and skill work needed for the specific movement – and toward the end of the month we’ll do a workout that allows you to test yourself for improvement. If the MOTM happens to be something you really want to improve upon, be sure to dial in your focus during those days! And if you happen to miss a day, be sure to try to make up the specific work when you get a chance!
ONWARD AND UPWARD
I hope this answers most of any questions you may have about what exactly the plan is moving forward, at least for the programming. But if you happen to have any further questions, don’t hesitate to reach out to me at firstname.lastname@example.org and ask away!
Stay tuned in and connected! We’ve got lots of other informational, fun, and challenging stuff coming up on the horizon! Be sure you’re following us on Instagram and Facebook, and if you’re a member that you’ve been added into our members only Five Alarm Athletes Facebook page! And keep an eye on our website’s “Articles & Announcements” page, as we’ve been blowing it up lately! Missed the last couple? Handy links…
- Why Muscle Ups Matter for Every Single Athlete – Coach Leah (51%)
- Into the Great Wide Open – Coach Catie
- Why I CrossFit – Coach Erica
- The Importance of the Burpee – Coach Ryan
See you all in the gym!
– Coach Josh (49%)