Why does Westside conjugate variety work? What are its primary benefits?
Conjugate variety as defined in the Westside template calls for the use of multiple exercises which are either variations of, or totally unique from the classic lifts of the back squat, bench press, and the deadlift. The efficacy of the system is based upon multiple factors. First, the use and rotation of multiple variations of the classic lifts permits the building of the involved musculature while simultaneously mitigating overuse syndrome in the joints and connective tissues. Next, using many different exercises helps to automatically address relative weaknesses. For example, if ones weakness in the back squat is due to a squat specific mid or lower back weakness and all one does is squat over and over the same weakness will remain a relative weakness and ultimately be a limiting factor in how much the lifter can increase their squat. Each variation of a classic lift will place a unique stress on the main involved musculature and thus automatically target relative weaknesses by heavily stressing them with some degree of frequency. So, in the squat example, if a good morning variation were included in ones rotation the mid and lower back would be heavily targeted by the good morning exercise thus strengthening them and helping to eliminate them as a relative weakness in the back squat. Finally, when consistently training at or near 100% intensity as is called for with maximum effort (ME) days in the template, the rotation of exercises for said ME work each week helps to preclude neural stagnation or overtraining. It does so by virtue of the fact that even small variations in movement patterns stress the nervous system in unique ways.
Conjugate variety is a key to long term development of great strength and power. If you want to learn more about the Westside strength training system go to www.westside-barbell.com and check out their books and DVDs. You can also check out their Facebook page at http://www.facebook.com/westsidebarbell?fref=ts.