CFWS Conjugate Strength Training Survival Guide

We are now 12 days in to our CFWS Conjugate Strength Training program.  This program is different from anything we have run through the box in the past two years.  As stated in our previous blog, the goal of this 12 week program is to gain as much strength as possible while improving flexibility along the way.  Even though we are posting the workouts, the method to our madness may not be readily apparent.  At the risk of just creating more confusion, we have put together the Conjugate Strength Training Survival Guide.  Read on for a detailed explanation on what we have all gotten ourselves into for the next 3 months.


The Jargon

ME = Maximum Effort: These workouts bring you up to your one rep max and then demand you to continue to get single repetition sets either at or as near your max as possible.

DE – Dynamic Effort These workouts are performed at a percentage of your 1RM (usually somewhere between 55 and 65%).  Moving this sub-maximal load as quickly through the concentric phase of the lift as possible is the objective of these efforts.  The lifts are not difficult merely because the weight is heavy.  Instead, the lifter makes the lifts more difficult my trying to move as quickly as possible against the load.

UE = Upper Extremity

LE = Lower Extremity

Metcon = Metabolic Conditioning – You know…  3,2,1 GO!!

OLY = Olympic Weightlifting emphasis; both Maximum Effort days as well as Metcon days will be programmed using both the snatch and clean and jerk as well as skill transfer exercises for these lifts (ie. snatch balance, hang power clean, etc.)

The breakdown:

  • Day 1  – DE Lower
  • Day 2 – ME Upper
  • Day 3 – Metcon
  • Day 4 – Mobility
  • Day 5 – ME Lower
  • Day 6 – DE Upper
  • Day 7 – Rest/Mobility
  • Day 8 – Metcon
  • Day 9 – ME OLY
  • Day 10 – Metcon OLY
  • Day 11 – Mobility
  • Day 12 – DE Lower
  • Day 13 – ME Upper
  • Day 14 – Metcon

DE Days –  include a 10 x 2 for LE days and an 8×3 for UE days, with 30 to 60 seconds of rest between sets.  Once the primary lift is completed, there will be a Metcon that compliments the primary lifts for the given microcyle.  On that same day, CFWS athletes are encouraged to come back to the box for a second workout in which accessory lifts are completed.  The goal of these accessory lifts is to place an additional strength training overload on the muscle groups that are most heavily recruited for the primary lifts in a given microcycle.

ME Days – include not only the maximum effort lifts for the primary exercise of the day, but also a dedicated mobility session (usually preceding the lifting session) designed to allow our athletes to achieve ideal positioning for maximum effort lifts.

Metcon days are designed to be short and intense.  These days are not nearly as high volume as the DE days and are a way to maintain metabolic conditioning in this strength emphasis cycle.  The idea is to hit these WODs with as much intensity as possible.  Sprint right out of the gates and never look back.  Ideally, these WODs will take less than 10 minutes to complete.

Mobility days allow for the best possible recovery as the CFWS athlete is likely very stiff and sore from the preceding 2 – 3 days worth of training.  These sessions have been designed to improve the range of motion in the major joints of the body, including the ankles, knees, hips and shoulders as well as in the articulating surfaces of the rib cage and intrinsic bones in the feet.  Mobility days are essential for fine tuning the CrossFit athlete and ensuring that we will be firing on all cylinders when the next workout rolls around.

The Overall Vision:

CFWS athletes are being given the rare opportunity to hit a style of programming that has been proven in many of the worlds most elite strength training facilities during each of the 6 days per week CFWS is open.  Our unlimited membership allows our athletes to come multiple times per day as needed to get through the prescribed workload.  We have already seen tremendous results from members of the coaching staff who have completed a 12 week cycle of this exact training program earlier in the year.  Now it’s time for the rest of the box to take full advantage of this programming.  There is no doubt that those who stick with the programming by attending as consistently as possible (6 days per week is ideal), get adequate sleep, nutrition and hydration and journal progress each day will see the same phenomenal results our coaching staff experienced earlier this year.

This programming will be a game changer for those who stick with it.  If you are up to the challenge, you can expect to come out the other end of this a stronger, more capable athlete.  Metcons that once seemed unapproachable will suddenly be well within the realm of possibility due to new found strength and confidence within the fundamental lifts.

All that’s left to do is to commit to your fitness, show up regularly and work hard!!  See you in the box!


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