Powerlifting Buzzwords: Concurrent VS Conjugate VS Daily Undulating

What do all these things, these terms that we hear all the time in the gym actually mean? Concurrent, conjugate, block periodization, daily undulating periodization. What are they? These terms are thrown about a lot and we just want to clear up, on a basic level, what they mean.

Concurrent programming or training is training to always be ready. There are not a lot of peaks or valleys in this programming so you are always at a mid or high point in your training and you are always ready to perform.

Conjugate Method, made popular by Louie Simmons, the conjugate westside method, is a concurrent type of programming. It is two upper body days and two lower body days a week with one day of each of those being a max effort day. You will be handling a variation of one of the main movements(squat, bench, dead) at a maximal load, a heavy one rep. The non maximal day is what they call a, explosive day, speed day or dynamic day. On these days they will be handling anywhere from 50-70% of that 1rm with another variation exercise at singles, doubles or triples and move it very fast. This is a form of concurrent programming because they don’t have any peaks and valleys.

Block Periodization will have these peaks and valleys. You’ll have an accumulation phase, peaking phase, etc. where you are blocking things out by 2,4,6,8… weeks and you have multiple blocks where you focus on different things each block. Say block 1 is hypertrophy where you do sets of 8-12 on everything you do. Block 2 is extra volume where you handle heavier loads with a lot of volume, you could be doing 7 sets of 5 or 3. Block 3 is a peaking or tapering phase where you take away some of that volume and start handling heavier loads hoping for some super compensation where your body is healing from that volume in the previous block and be at your strongest and peak towards whatever your goal is.

Daily Undulating Periodization is where we condense these blocks and raise our frequency and hit nearly all of the blocks in the same week. With this type of lifting we are going to be a little bit more specific, you do not have to be and can have some of that variation. If you squat 3 times a week, one day will be that hypertrophy day with sets of 8, the second day will be sets of 3 for form and some volume at 70%, the third day will be that heavy day at 5 sets of 2 at 80-90%.

The main goal of every single one of these programs should be progression. If its not, you need to ask your coach or check your programming and find out what the goal is. If you aren’t aiming for progression then you are just working out and not benefitting from programming. We want the progress and intent towards your goals.