Conjugate Method

Over the next couple of days, you may notice that we’re deviating a little from the M/W/F Max Effort Days (any day where you attempt to set a 1 rep max on any particular lift) + Met-con (nickname for metabolic conditioning, or what you know to be our WODs) structure.

I’m not delusional, I realize how I just made a post about our Max Effort programming and our class schedule about a week ago and I’m already back at it again, changing things up once we got in the groove 😉 The reason for the change is three fold.

First – if our programming is going to advance optimally for you, we need to program workouts around a 3-days on 1-day off (or very close to it) work to rest ratio.

For those of you who train all 5 days during the week and take the weekend off, the only thing that will change is that you’ll make-up WODs from the previous weekend when make-up days come up.

We’ve noticed that quite a few folks aren’t taking full advantage of the benefits of resting as much as they need to be either. I hope that by programming rest/make-up days into the week, people will be able to take advantage of a more calculated program without overtraining.

Trust me, I’d love for you to come in for a light row, practice with a PVC or double unders, or even to hang out on a rest/make-up day. But, keep in mind – optimal recovery must always precede training sessions.

Second – after multiple conversations with our trainers, and in conjunction with the reading I’ve done on my own, I believe that the Max Effort lifting days need to be separated out from the Met-con WODs.

Whether we feel totally fresh after performing the Max Effort lifts or not, Max Effort days are very demanding on us nueroendocrinely. So, if we’re going to get the most out of each workout, we need to time these lifts correctly and avoid overtraining.

Don’t interpret max efforts being demanding on us as a bad thing at all – in fact, in my opinion these lifting days will stimulate our performance development in the gym more than anything else we do. The only problem is that when max effort days are overloaded with the additional demands on our system that a Met-con requires, at some point our performance is eventually going to decline.

I also don’t want anyone thinking what they’ve been doing has been bad or counter-productive. If you feel that way, then I’ll show you proof on how every single person in the gym has seen performance improvement from the old Max Effort style programming we’ve used the past couple months! We’re just always looking for ways to continually improve the quality of service for everyone in the gym.

I know that the max effort lifts aren’t everyone’s favorites in the gym. And for those of you who truly want to get everything you can from both your performance in the gym, and your personal development outside of it, I hope you believe me that half the battle is continuing to keep pushing for new limits in your max effort training.

For those of you who don’t want anything to do with the max efforts, I don’t have any problem with you using lighter weight and working with faster repetitions (using the dynamic effort/speed training described below). I wouldn’t ever want to lose anyone over people not wanting to do the lifts – in my opinion, doing the same 5 CrossFit WODs every week would ‘probably’ keep you healthier than the typical gym workouts – but I don’t want to come across like I don’t think the max effort days aren’t critically important either.

Third – and perhaps most importantly – the new style of programming is going to allow us to work on Dynamic Efforts (or Speed training).

The Dynamic Effort method helps develop speed with strength in our lifts. Our goal is to apply as much speed-strength to start moving a barbell off the ground/rack as in the case of a deadlift or shoulder press, or reverse its direction as quickly as possible as in the case of the squat or bench press.

One problem with only lifting a maxed out (or close to maxed out) load, is that it’s impossible to develop speed at this point. We need to work on developing our speed-strength, where we’re reaching maximum attainable speed on the barbell, on Dynamic Effort days where we’re only lifting a fraction of our 1 rep max.

Part of the Dynamic Effort method includes the use of bands and chains to supplement some of the weight on a barbell – and some of you may have seen McGriff playing around with bands attached to the racks. The reason for doing this is to teach our bodies to react with speed at the bottom of the lift in order to quickly reverse the weight’s direction and meet the majority of its resistance at the top.

There are countless ways to incorporate the dynamic method into our program – and we’ll continually seek out new ways to perform dynamic and max effort lifts in a number of new combinations to avoid accommodation. In short, the Law of Accommodation states that we will decrease our training volume over the long run if we do not vary our methods and movements as often as necessary.


We will frequently combine Met-con WODs on these Dynamic Effort lifting days, as well as individual days dedicated to met-cons. My hope is that with the improved recovery and optimized training program, we’ll see broad improvements across the board.

When the Max Effort method and Dynamic Effort method combine, they form the Conjugate Method.

In all honesty, it’s my belief that the combination of the conjugate method and the CrossFit met-con will set a new precedent for CrossFit gyms around the country. From what I’ve seen from people who have tried it so far, it’s pretty impressive in short order!

More to come on this topic in the next couple days!