Secrets of Matt Wenning’s Conjugate Method: DVD Review

WRITTEN BY Martijn Koevoets

Still confused on how to make the conjugate method work for raw powerlifting?

Then you need these DVDs. Here’s my review.

A while ago Matt released his first DVD set called “Matt Wenning’s Conjugate Training Secrets”.

It’s a 5 hour recording of a live 2 day seminar Matt did and it’s jam packed with valuable content about the science & practice of the conjugate method.

In this blog post, I’ll give you the low down on what’s on the DVDs.

Who is Matt Wenning?

Some people might not know who Matt Wenning is. So a short introduction is in order.

Matt Wenning has the brawn and brains to churn out athletes who excel at what they do.

The proof is in the pudding. Matt currently holds three world records, a bachelor’s degree in exercise science and a master’s degree in sport biomechanics.

He has more than 10,000 hours of experience working with Division 1-A athletes, NFL players and Olympic competitors.

Matt is also the director and co-founder of MAW, which directs more than 6,000 troops in strength, conditioning, and wellness for the U.S. Army.

In addition, Matt also works with firemen as the strength and wellness coordinator for the Washington Township Fire Department, creating training protocols.

In competition Matt squatted 865.3 lbs, benched 611.8 lbs and deadlifted 727.5 lbs. This was done without squat suits, briefs or bench shirts. This was done RAW.

Matt Wenning set his first world record over 10 years ago and has remained injury free during his period at the top of the powerlifting food chain. There are a lot of powerlifting champs that can’t say the same.

Anyway, the point of all this is to show that Matt knows what he is talking about and that he has made the conjugate system work for raw powerlifting.

You can stalk Matt here on his personal Facebook profile and Facebook page. And here on Instagram.

Conjugate Method for RAW Lifters

Most people get confused when they try to adapt the conjugate method. Do you need to box squat? What are the percentages for dynamic effort? Do I need to use chains and bands?

The confusing stems from the old articles Louie Simmons originally wrote. He wrote those about how the guys and gals over at Westside Barbell train as multiply lifters. Not as raw lifters.

Including Matt Wenning, but Matt has moved into RAW powerlifting, still trains according the conjugate method and is still crushing it.

That’s why I was so excited when the DVDs were released.

Matt Wenning’s Congujate Training Secrets is a 2 DVD set with over 5 hours of everything you need to know about the conjugate method.

What’s on the DVDs

The Science and Practice Of the Conjugate Method

DVD #1 starts with a short introduction by Matt Wenning on conjugate training. He discusses what it exactly is, common pitfalls and a short overview of the 2 day seminar that is taped for these DVDs.

The actual seminar starts with Matt Wenning talking about the art and science of training.

The science part refers to stuff like physiology, biomechanics and physics. The stuff you can learn from text books.

Matt Wenning recommends you have these 3 books in your library: Science and Practice of Strength Training by Zatsiorsky, Science of Sports Training by Kurtz and Supertraining by Siff.

Coincidentally 2 of these books made in my list of 7 awesome powerlifting books you need to read.

The art part of training refers to knowing when you know a deload, how to set up your cycles so you get the most of it.

This is basically the individualization part of training. It goes beyond physiology, biomechanics and physics.  It takes into account external factors as well.

Matt gives an example of how he walks around  280 lbs most of the year, but he competes at 305.

He realizes that if he walks around at 305 lbs year round that eventually that would damage his health and in effect would damage his lifting.

All this stuff determines your overall training. The stuff you normally think about like volume & intensity.

I really liked this section since it gives a really good insight the ‘Matt Wenning training methodologies’ and why he’s been able to get to the top, and stay there.

Laws of Training

After that Matt Wenning talks you through the general laws of training.

If you’ve been in the game for a while then you probably already know about the law of accommodation and law of specificity.

You’re probably already a hour into the seminar before Matt even starts discussing stuff like max effort, dynamic effort and rep effort.

One of the things I picked up is that max effort means a max effort for that day. It’s no big day if it isn’t all time PR. Which in effect acts as a form of auto regulation.

Even more interesting is the part about the percentages you need to use on dynamic effort day. The classic percentages from the old Westside Barbell articles are way too high.

Matt Wenning uses much lower percentages. It’s all about bar speed, and this used to be hard to measure. Only possible with expensive tools like GymAware.

Nowadays you have some more reasonable prices options like the Push Band, Beast and the Open Barbell Tracker.

The bar speed should be 0.7 m/s. The weight that is used to achieve this, isn’t important.

Matt takes you by the hand and shows you how to set up your conjugate system template after he discusses the training methods used in the conjugate method. Including warming up.

After this it’s time for the attendees of the seminar to put the bar on their back and start squatting.

Squat with Wenning

I’m not sure how similar it is to the 5 part “so you think you can squat” that Matt Wenning did for EliteFTS.

But what’s golden information is how to squat with Olympic shoes. Louie Simmons is adamant about using flat soled shoes and never really talked about squatting with Olympic shoes.

This is causing a lot of confusion with a lot lifters. Especially lifters in the IPF.

So seeing Matt coach someone squatting with heeled shoes was really interesting to see.

During this portion the lifters are working up to a max squat, without a box. And Matt analyzes different weaknesses and tells you how to fix it.

This is information you can instantly apply to your own squat.

Bench Press with Wenning

After squats comes benching. So it is in powerlifting competitions, and so it is with this DVD series.

It gets the same treatment on DVD #1 of Matt Wenning’s conjugate training secrets.

The second day of the seminar is on the second DVD of this set.

It starts again on the drawing board where Matt discusses a sample 4 week conjugate method training program.

This gives you a detailed real life example of how Matt sets up a conjugate method routine.

After that Matt discusses the concept of ‘mini workouts’ and GGP.

Finally it’s time for a deadlift session.

Sumo Deadlifts with Wenning

I didn’t expect it, but Matt only talks about the sumo deadlift. No conventional deadlifting on these DVDs.

I might’ve missed why that exactly is, but from what I understood it’s because the sumo deadlift is a harder movement and trains the ‘right’ muscle groups.

The conventional deadlift is says Matt, so if you can master the sumo deadlift then you’re building the right muscles in the right places. That will help your squat and your conventional deadlift.

But like I said, maybe I missed something.

I normally don’t do sumo… but I might need to give it a shot after watching and hearing Matt about this.

The seminar ends with some accessory work and the JM press. The JM press is one exercise that everybody does different and nobody is sure how to do it right.

Even Matt says in the DVDs that this is how he does it. But is probably one of the better explanations of this exercise that I have seen.

If you have made it through all of this, like I have… then you just sat through more than 5 hours of conjugate method training secrets.

After watching these DVDs then you will never have to read anything on this subject again. Just pop in these DVDs every now and then to refresh your memory or to be reminded of things you forgot.

If you are interested in the conjugate method then Matt Wenning’s Conguate Training Secrets DVD set is the ultimate resource to have.

Click here to see more info about the DVD set.

I hope you enjoyed my writings on this DVD set. Feel free to let me know by using one of the social media buttons on this page.


Author: Martijn Koevoets
Martijn is head honcho of Powerlifting University, a powerlifter, author, blogger, online coach & extreme metal aficionado. He also loves a good whiskey. He has been featured on websites like EliteFTS, JTSStrength, JMAX Fitness and more.

Get your hands on my cheat sheet for setting up training programs that took a 132lbs. skinny weakling from not being able to bench the bar to deadlifting 3x his own body weight and winning silver at the nationals.



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