Embrace what is useful reject what is not!

Recently i was asked in an email, “do you mind outlining your strength training methods?”

With my athletes I primarily use the Russian Conjugate System of Periodization (thanks to Joe Defranco and the Westside guys), simply put, entails training various motor qualities simultaneously (max strength, explosive, strength endurance). Contrasted to the Western model of Linear Periodization defines a procedure wherein different motor qualities are periodically trained in sequence, over time. The deficiency associated with the linear style of periodization is that as one progresses from one motor skill to the next, the skill which was developed in the previous period suffers a detraining effect.

The Max/Dynamic Effort methodology was defined by Vladimir Zatsiorsky, a world renowned strength scientist and author, who determined that there are three distinct methods for developing maximal tension within skeletal muscle fibers.

These are:

1. Lifting weights at high to maximal (max) percentages of one’s one rep max (i.e. Max Effort-strength speed).

2. Lifting sub-maximal weights explosively (i.e. Dynamic Effort-speed strength).

3. Lifting sub-maximal weights to concentric muscle failure (i.e. Repetition Method-strength endurance/lactic acid tolerance training-assistance/supplementary exercises).

I recommend picking up Science and Practice of Strength Training

Max effort lifts can be anything. Sometimes I use pull-ups and other pulling variations, Farmer’s walks, tire flips or even regular, old-fashioned squats.

You’ll see many of the movements are simple compound exercises, these give best bang for buck performance return. Why the Russian conjugate system because I have found it works best out of all the modalities I’ve tried. To keep progressing every 3-4 weeks all the exercises are changed for another from the list.

Roughly put this is my strength training method, that is to say its not “mine” but the result of testing read and observing alot of different training methods and settling on the one that gives the best results. Thats not to say anything is set in stone, but the underpinning science generally stays the same. To paraphrase Bruce Lee;

“Embrace what is useful reject what is not!!”

Reading list

The Development of the Russian Conjugate Sequence System

The effects of accommodating resistance training on the development of motor leaning patterns

The science behind bands and chains

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