I’ve heard that you are an advocate of training your athletes using the WESTSIDE BARBELL Conjugate Method of bands and chains. I always thought that this system was only good for powerlifters. I’m assuming you think differently. I respect your expertise and I would love to know how you manipulate the WESTSIDE System to achieve the incredible results that you get with your athletes.
Also, I have to do an internship
to earn my exercise phys. degree and was wondering if you
are taking on any interns in December/January?
I would really appreciate a response.
I’m not sure where to begin. First of all, the CONJUGATE METHOD has NOTHING to do with bands & chains. Bands & chains are implements that can be used when performing the CONTRAST METHOD. (I think you got these 2 terms confused.) The contrast method can be used (and should be used) in conjunction with the conjugate method. The contrast method of training gets its name due to the fact that the weight is contrastingly different at certain parts of the repetition of an exercise when bands and/or chains are attached to the bar.
Now, it is true that most (not all) of my training programs are modeled around the Russian-based CONJUGATE SEQUENCE SYSTEM. I like this system because it is based on the notion that several motor abilities can be trained concurrently. This is unlike the basic Western Periodization model most coaches in this country use. Instead of having a hypertrophy phase, maximal strength phase, transfer to explosive power phase, mintainance phase, etc., all aspects of strength are trained at once – all year long! In my opinion, the Conjugate Sequence System is much more effective in the real world for athletes. After all, what good is it to train for maximal strength for 6 weeks if you are then going to neglect it for 18 weeks?! This system enables athletes to be big, strong and explosive all year long! My athletes train heavy, explosively and are constantly trying to improve their “weak links” all year long. This system also leaves a lot of room for variety. By constantly rotating the exercises and manipulating the volume, we prevent boredom and overtraining.
A great example of the effectiveness of
this system is N.Y. Giants linebacker Dhani Jones. This
past Tuesday (7 weeks into the season), Dhani close-grip
bench-pressed 325 lbs. for 5 strict reps. This was 5 lbs.
more than he did a week before training camp. Then,
on Friday, (yes, 2 days before the game) he performed dynamic
box-squats with 280lbs. for 6 sets of 2 reps (this included
80lbs. of chain weight). He averaged 2 reps in 2.21 seconds
for all 6 sets!
So while most NFL players are getting weaker during the season, many of my football guys are getting STRONGER & MORE EXPLOSIVE!
I don’t want to get into any more specific details as to how I manipulate this system for athletes of different sports, but it’s important to know that I don’t do the same thing for every sport. (Like I said earlier, one of the great things about this system is it can be easily manipulated, while still following the basic “template”.) For example, I have a 1st round baseball draft pick coming to train with me at the end of November and I will get him training under the Conjugate Method. Although many aspects of his training will overlap with what I do with my top football guys, many aspects of his training will also be very different. But if I told you the differences, I’d have to kill you.
As far as internships are concerned, unfortunately I will not be taking on any interns this semester. Many students have contacted me, but I just don’t have the time. My days are booked solid with training appointments, meetings and future projects. I would be doing a disservice if I took on interns and then couldn’t spend time with them. I appreciate your interest, though. Keep checking back with me, as eventually when things “calm down” I’m sure I will start an internship program.
Q: Hi Joe,
I usually play basketball but right now I'm learning to play volleyball.
I’m 6'3" and 180 pounds and I have a standing vertical jump of 24"-25". (I have done some weight training). Since I'm learning I would like to know what kind of training is good to improve my footwork for volleyball and maybe add a couple of inches to my vertical? I'm taking a rest week from a 3X3 cycle, using the 5X5 rep scheme. (I used from 55-85 percent of my 1RM) and I feel a lot more explosive than before. My deadlift is around 260, my squat is 210 and my bench is 155.
By the way I like your site a lot, hope it keeps going as good as it is now.
Thanks for your help,
With your body-type and by the looks of your max lifts, I would suggest you continue to focus your efforts on strength training. You need to get stronger. Remember that maximal strength builds the foundation for most other athletic qualities – including explosive power (which is what the vertical jump measures).
You asked, “what kind of training is good to improve my footwork for volleyball and maybe add a couple of inches to my vertical?” I have good news regarding this question. In your case, we are able to kill 2 birds with 1 stone. You see, training to improve your vertical jump will carry over to your first step quickness and short sprint times (but NOT vice versa). By training to improve your vertical jump, your “volleyball footwork”(first step explosiveness & short sprints), as well as your jumping height, will improve simultaneously.
By the way, the best “drills” to improve your volleyball footwork would be to actually play volleyball! Don’t try to make it more complicated than it is - especially considering that volleyball is a new sport to you. Playing the sport, in and of itself, will help with your coordination and quickness on the court.
Check out my article entitled, THE
FABULOUS 15 - Top 15 Exercises for Higher Vertical Jumps
in the “articles” section of this site. Also,
you can click
here to check out my sample 6-week vertical jump program
from October 10's "Ask Joe".
Q: What kind of bodyweight exercises would you have children do to increase relative body strength? My athletes are 8-9 years old. Also, do you have any standard you like to see them reach? When doing these bodyweight exercises do you do them for time or certain number of reps?
A: First of all, I’m happy to hear that your young athletes are participating in a relative strength program. I think people are finally starting to realize the benefits of “strength training” even at this early age. It wasn’t long ago that most people thought that strength training was bad for kids and would stunt their growth. Nothing can be further from the truth! Position stands by the National Strength & Conditioning Association, the American Orthopedic Society for Sports Medicine, and the American Academy of Pediatrics suggest that children can benefit from participation in a properly prescribed and supervised strength-training program.
Here’s a sample of a relative strength program I’ve used with many young athletes. This workout is based on reps, but you can perform exercises for time as well. The more variation in the workouts the better. Kids have a tendency to get bored easily. Variety will make the workouts more fun for the kids. This will translate into improved efforts.
A. 10-minute dynamic warm-up – Start with general calisthenics to increase the kids core temperature and then progress to more challenging exercises. Get creative and make it fun! Remember that your kids’ nervous systems are still developing at this point. Their nervous system is basically like “plastic” and can be “molded” accordingly. So make sure you choose exercises that challenge the children’s balance, flexibility and work in multiple planes for full motor skill acquisition. Some of my favorites are: jumping jack variations, squat thrusts, skipping variations, side shuffles, balancing toe touches, leg swings, etc.
B. Body Squats – 2-3 sets of 10-25 reps
C. Push-ups – 2-3 sets of max reps w/ good form
D. Walking lunges – 2-3 sets of 10-15 steps each leg
E. Chin-ups or flexed arm hang – 2-3 sets of max reps or max time
F1. Crunches – 3 sets of 10-25 reps
F2. Low-back raises / “Supermans” – 3 sets of 10-25 reps
Keep the kids active so they stay away
from the video games!
Q: Joe –
Please help me if you can.
I can’t find any gym in the southern part of New York City that has the Olympic lifting bumper plates and platform –it’s driving me crazy. I am really disappointed with the NY Sports Club gyms --they don’t have the right equipment for athletes. Do you have any ideas where to go?
Frustrated New York Track Athlete.
I feel for you. Most commercial gyms cringe just by the site of Olympic lifters, powerlifters and athletes in general. God forbid if someone walks into the gym that actually wants to work out! Unfortunately, most “mainstream” gyms are geared towards pleasing the average gym member. And we all know the average gym member. That’s the guy/girl walking at 2.5mph on the treadmill, while watching “Friends” on the T.V. and talking on the cell phone. These are the type of people I would like to lay down on the bench press, duct tape their hands to a barbell loaded with 405 lbs., give them a lift-off and then walk away as the barbell comes crashing down and sends them through the floor.
Unfortunately, I am based in New Jersey and I’m not familiar with many gyms that are “Olympic-lifter friendly” in N.Y.C. There is a gym on West 21st called Peak Performance that is run by Joe Dowdell. I don’t know him personally, but I believe he has Olympic platforms and plates and he works with athletes. The website is www.peakperformancenyc.com.
Sorry I couldn’t be of more help.
Hopefully, you got a laugh out of it.
By the way, if you do find a gym, please let me know so I can inform the other subscribers of this website.
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