Vertical Integration when weightlifting/training only

Let me first check that I understand Vertical Integration first, part of the idea is that it is better to focus on improving one athletic quality at a time (I’m really not sure if I have this right, please correct me if so). Examples of qualities are Limit strength, Starting strength, Top speed, Speed endurance.

So as I can only lift weights at the moment, I was wondering if this could apply to weights. Should I concentrate on either limit strength or RFD at any one time? Do any weightlifters (or even powerlifters) train like this? If I understand correctly for example Westside trains them concurrently, I guess most weightlifters do as well but I don’t know.

Also, would it be a good idea to first increase max strength, then ‘convert’ this into improved RFD while maintaining limit strength, unlike some programs which aim to convert without keeping the heavy weight training in? What do you think?

You would still be working on power and still be working on Max S all the time, but having different focuses for each micro or meso. If you look at Charles Staley’s Diagnol Summation on T-Mag (with credits to CF), you can see one way VI can be applied to weightlifting.

How about this combination in terms of one week based on my current training (4 sessions a week)

Max strength phase (RFD maintenance):
Squat & Deadlift total 70 reps a week @ 75-80%, (2x15+2x20)
Bench and Shoulder Press total 70 reps a week @ 75-80%, (2x15+2x20)
Rows and Pulldowns total 70 reps a week @ 75-80% (2x15+2x20)
Power Snatch/Hang Snatch/Power Clean/Speed Bench/Power Jerk 48 reps a week @ 80% (4x3 a session x4)

Total limit strength reps 210, total RFD 48

RFD development phase (Max strength maintainence):
Power Snatch/Hang Snatch/Power Clean 80 reps a week @ ?% (10 x 2 a session x 4)
Speed Bench/ Power Jerk total 120 reps a week @ ?% (10 x 3 a session x 4)
Squat and Deadlift 48 reps a week @ 80% (3x3 a session x4)

Total limit strength reps 48, total RFD 200.

How does that sound?

I believe you have the concept right about focusing on improving one thing while keeping all other constant. So for weightlifting you could focus on Limit strength while keeping these other qualites; such as, Starting strength, Top speed, and Speed endurance constant. Also if you find that you are plateuing remember what Zatsiosrky says about changing exercises every 8 weeks or mesocycle. I believe that you can do this is the CFTS template by switching Barbell bench press with dumbell bench press and then switching back to barbell bench press. In the end both approaches, vertical integration and switching exercises will help you inrease your absolute strength and this approach can work for Starting strength, Top speed, and Speed endurance as well. It all depends on what your focus is on.

If you train Db Hammer style, that’s how you would approach it :slight_smile:

But not in cookie cutter cycles.
work your weakness at any point time - work what you need, and not what you want

The multi-faceted, yet prioritized, concurrent training and development of various motor abilities in sequence is know as Conjugate Sequence, or Block Training.

Block training was introduced in Russia by Yuri Verkhoshanski in the early 80’s.

The primary directive being the concentrated loading of a primary motor ability while concurrently performing maintenance volume for previously developed motor abilities all in an effort to raise the motor potential of the athlete directed towards specific motor tasks.

Westside Barbell is an adaptation of Conjugate training, which originated in the training of Olympic weightlifters in the former USSR

Do you have or does anyone else have links to threads/articles on the original Conjugate training, I want to read more?

Maybe some old threads on the Supertraining board?

Hey I like cookie cutter cycles! They’re only templates anyway, weights are adjusted based on feel, usually by reducing volume when necessary. Not quite like training to drop off, but I’m not sure whether training to drop offs is a good idea. Not that I know all the ins and outs of DB’s system…

How is your training going btw?

good, making steady gains in all areas, except I lost 3inches on my VJ since I started doing long duration walks… :mad: :frowning:

if you have access to New Studies in Athletics, i think, you’ll be able to find some of these articles by Verkoshanskiy (?)

i suppose these are the ones meant by a previous post…

I will be discussing this topic in great detail on the Symposium at my site.

What/where is New studies in Athletics? Is it online or is this a printed journal?

i know it as a printed journal (by IAAF) -not sure about online

if you can go to a uni library perhaps with a good sports department, you should be able to find it…

hope it helps!

Here’s an article written by Dave Tate about Conjugate Periodization as applied to powerlifting.

Tom Myslinski also wrote The Development of the Russian Conjugate Sequence System. It can be found at in their articles section. Look under the heading of Elite FTS Articles.

Wish I was as clever as Kelly Baggett :stuck_out_tongue:

Q: What do you think of the conjugate method of training, does it carry over well to athleticism in sports or is it more suited for powerlifters?

Yes, I like the conjugate periodization method for any purpose but there has been a lot of confusion as to what conjugate periodization is so I need to clarify that. Chances are what you think is conjugate really isn’t conjugate. A lot of people think it’s one of the following:

A: A periodization setup where you switch exercises every 2-3 weeks.


B: A periodization setup where you train all the necessary strength qualities at the same time without getting away from any of them. For example, you’d train maximum strength, reactive strength, explosive strength, and endurance with equal volumes during the same training week so as to address every quality.

Ok, now let’s talk about what conjugate periodization REALLY is.

There are essentially two main systems of organising long term training:

A: The concurrent system

B: The conjugate sequence system.

The concurrent system involves the simultaneous training of several motor abilities, such as strength, speed and endurance, over the same period of time, with the intention of producing multi faceted developments in fitness. Sound familiar?? Although research has corroborated the effectiveness of this system, the subjects used in these studies were generally conducted on athletes of lower qualification. While the negatives of the concurrent system are not apparent with less advanced athletes, they become very noticeable with elite athletes. It produces only average results in higher level athletes simply because when you try to train everything at the same time you limit the amount that you can focus on any given quality. Advanced athletes need more focus on a given quality in order to improve that quality, thus, when they try to do everything at the same time it doesn’t work as well.

To evoke a more powerful training effect in advanced athletes it is necessary to use intense phases with a singular focus in an order that produces a sum greater then it’s parts. This is precisely the purpose of the conjugate sequence system.

The conjugate sequence system involves successively introducing into the training program separate, specific phases, each of which has a progressively stronger training effect, and sequencing them in a way that creates favorable conditions to grasp a greater cumulative effect of all the training loads.

The conjugate sequence is characterized by a concentrated focus on developing individual specific motor abilities (strength, speed, strength endurance etc.), each of which is confined largely to a given period and sequencing them in such a way that each phase builds off the next producing a sum greater then it’s parts.

Research has shown clearly that training using a specific system of different means and methods produces a significantly greater effect than the separate random use of different training methods. This advantage is also achieved even with a smaller volume of work.

So each phase builds off the next and because of the concentration used, each phase has delayed effects, which carry over into the next phase. To give you an example, for someone in a speed dominant sport the sequence of phases would look something like this:

Gpp (4-6 weeks---->Strength-(4-12 weeks)---->explosive strength (4-12 weeks) (shock/plyometric/speed)---->competitive

Gpp builds a base of basic fitness by using a higher volume of low intensity work. This leads into a strength phase which uses a high volume of strength loading. This leads into a shock phase where strength is further intensified and explosive strength, plyometric capacity, and speed are developed to a much greater extent. During this phase the total amount of work is lower but the intensity is higher. Not only will the body be adapting positively to the shock loading itself, but it will also be supercompensating positively from the previous phase of high volume strength work. So you get the long term delayed effect of the previous strength work therefore you’re getting stronger, faster, and more explosive at the same time.

It should be noted that reversing the order of the training sequence will not often produce the same “summation” of training effects. Therefore if you focus on explosive strength followed by strength it’s likely you’ll reach a quicker stagnation at an earlier plateau then otherwise.

It’s also worth noting that some phases can be lengthened, that’s just a general outline. Simple enough!

Now does that mean that when you’re “focusing” on one quality that you totally avoid the other qualities?? No! It just means that those other qualities would be addressed at a much lower volume and intensity. If you were a speed athlete and you were in the strength phase, then your speed workouts might consist of performing low intensity technical drills. If you were in a speed phase your strength work might consist of lifting done as infrequently as once or twice per week consisting of 3 x 3 at 80-85% for a few movements.

Now that’s conjugate periodization!

Wow, great post…

I must be missing something - westside seems like concurrent rather than conjugate from the basic article I just read from AggieLax. They don’t vary the amount of power/strength work over time, or do they? I suppose they are always focusing on max strength and maintaining power.

i agree Jimbo!
try and read the stuff i told you about from NSinA by Verkoshanskiy, if you are interested in training in “blocks” -let’s put it this way…