Before starting a strength training program, we all look for that perfect program that will work. Realistically all programs will help you improve your strength but if you stick to one program, you will plateau or even regress your progress. Our body will adapt to the stress placed upon it, once your body fully adapts there is no more room for improvement, that is why you should cycle through different programs to prevent plateau.

I want to share with you 3 strength training programs that I have used personally and with clients. I like to blend and cycle through these programs to prevent a plateau. It is great to have multiple options for programs to keep training from becoming boring. Who wants to do the same workout over and over again?

What is Strength Training?

Strength training is not only meant for athletes like football players, basketball players or powerlifters. Any person can improve from a strength training program.

Whether your strength goal is to lift 500 lbs or be able to lift your kids you can benefit in a strength training program to increase your overall strength as much as possible.


What movements are involved? Mainly when we program for strength we use the big 3 movements, Squat, Bench and Deadlift. But you don't necessarily have to focus on the big 3, this is where a regression and progression happen. Instead of Squatting under a bar your goal could be squatting a heavy kettle bell or squatting body weight, instead of benching you may want to be able to do body weight push-ups or instead of deadlift you may want to be able to lift heavy boxes and move them around, you get the point. 

Power movements are great but you can also change it up based on your goals. The programs I have listed below are made for powerlifters, crossfiters, olympic lifters and other athletes, but if those are not your goals you can still use them and change up the movements. Remember these are Strength Training Programs that anyone can use and it will help improve your strength no matter what your goal is.

Sets and Reps? A strength training program uses lower rep ranges (3-8) compared to higher rep ranges (12-15+) that bodybuilders use. This is because lower rep ranges lets us use heavier weights and when we want to increase strength, we want to be able to lift heavier weights and use progressive overload. For powerlifting, we may go down as low as 1 rep to 3 reps because the goal is to lift as heavy as we can.

Conjugate Periodization

Before we get started with conjugate, some might be thinking that it's not meant to be done by raw lifters, "it's only supposed to be for multiply lifters." When we hear the word Conjugate we can honestly say we think about Westside Barbell and Louie Simmons. Yes most of his athletes are multiply wearing suites and wraps and all that. But the concept of conjugate goes beyond equipped lifters and powerlifting (this is another topic). Raw lifters can also utilize this method when done and applied properly. Every training program will work for somebody, the coach has to know when and how to utilize it.

Louie is not known worldwide because the shit ONLY works for multiply powerlifters. Since I left in '05, his popularity has increased tenfold. Meanwhile, multiply powerlifting has substantially decreased.

-Dave Tate (EliteFTS)

I might be biased because I went through the conjugate periodization when I first started powerlifting, I saw huge gains and fell in love with it. But noting that as a beginner, we will have huge gains due to the body adapting to the new stimulus you put it on and your body's nervous system catches up to the stress placed upon it (SAID PRINCIPLE) especially when you implement Max Effort Days.

As I learned through reading and coaching others, I would not start with a conjugate program because this program requires maximal efforts and plenty of variations. A beginner needs to understand how to use proper technique and by putting them through maximal efforts, they will not learn and it will increase the chances of injury and potentially no gains.