Client Testimonial: Dave Marcus
You could say that, in some ways, the conjugate system saved my life.
When I was in my early to mid-40s my left hip started to degenerate. I have been a lifelong lifter and bad hips run in my family on the men’s side so maybe it was inevitable. By the time I reached the mid-late 40s my hip progressively worsened to the point where it got to about 30% range-mobility. I developed a swing limp and was also in a lot of pain. I tried to still squat and deadlift throughout this time but it was becoming more and more painful and the ROM was getting more and more limited.
I am a voracious reader and researcher by trade so I started looking for ways to manage the ROM and keep the joint as mobile as I could while realizing I would eventually have to have it replaced. It was at this point I ran across the writings of a rather eccentric fellow from Columbus, Ohio who ran a gym called Westside Barbell. Louie talked about this thing called ‘squatting on a box”…… well that sounded like something I could do even with a crappy, busted-ass hip.
My training life was immediately changed. I couldn’t box squat great, or even to parallel at the time, but I could squat onto a high box. Even with the gimpy hip my ROM improved, some flexibility and mobility through the joint returned but the pain and limp remained. I started implementing the conjugate system into my training life and started reading everything I could on the conjugate system whether it be Louie’s writings or his Russian predecessors. I decided I would pursue some of Louie’s Westside certs eventually as I found the conjugate concepts fascinating. They appealed to the researcher in me but, to be fair, Louie can be a bit hard to read and understand at times (especially his early works). I was hooked but I needed clearer sources. I found guys like Nate Harvey and AJ Roberts clearer in their explanations and programming concepts.
Around about my 50th birthday, I decided it was time to get the hip replaced. It was like being born again. The day I had it replaced I went back to nearly 100% mobility and ROM. The pain, with the exception of the surgery itself, was gone. Although I was not allowed to train for 6-8 weeks post-surgery I decide I would do one thing: box squat. The only difference was I did it with simple body weight. Sat on the high box and slowly lowered it over the course of 6-8 weeks. I healed, my mobility and flexibility returned and I was cleared to train again.
I set the goal of a 405lb box squat for myself and gave myself a few years to do it. The training was going well but I wanted better and I had even gotten my Special Strength certification from Westside but I was getting more and more interested in applying conjugate principles to things other than powerlifting as a sport geared to a single effort lift. It was at this point I discovered the writings of Matt Wenning.
Matt is, simply put, able to convey conjugate principles with more clarity and application than anyone else I have encountered. Even those that do it well, like Harvey and Roberts, do not convey how to apply the concepts of the three laws as well or as clearly as Matt does. My training life was, again, immediately changed for the better. Matt’s writings and applications have probably taken me farther in the last two years than any other source with the exception of maybe Louie’s himself as his writings formed my base understanding.
Matt’s writings and videos are like a masterclass.