Page 1 of 2 12 LastLast
Results 1 to 10 of 13

Thread: Assistance work for Wendler 5/3/1 page

  1. #1
    atmetal's Avatar
    atmetal is offline Senior Member
    Join Date
    Feb 2012
    Location
    Connecticut
    Posts
    120

    Assistance work for Wendler 5/3/1

    Shop Now
    I'm going to try out the 5/3/1 program because it looks like it will be good while eating at a calorie deficit because of the slowness in which weight is increased (longer recovery). Also, each individual lift is separated by over a week of rest, so I think I'll be able to work in some cardio without interfering with recovery.

    My question is regarding the assistance work. There are suggestions for both strength and body building type assistance work. I'm not interested in the body building, but I also don't want to spend too much time on the strength because my main goal is fat loss and I don't want to be in the gym for 2 hours. Facilitating my fat loss, I partake in high rep isolation work on machines to deplete muscle glycogen so that I can cycle my carbs. So I would like people's input. Take the deadlift day. I wouldn't mind some direct assistance work such as rack pulls or rows, but I do want to make my workout as efficient as possible. What's the minimum amount of assistance work I should do before moving on to the high rep work, which itself might be considered assistance work because I would be working similar muscles as the deadlift (pulldowns, curls, back extensions). Also, on a similar note, how much of the high rep work should I be doing to sufficiently deplete muscle glycogen?

  2. #2
    sbhikes's Avatar
    sbhikes is offline Senior Member
    Join Date
    Nov 2011
    Location
    Santa Barbara
    Posts
    8,720
    I was planning to try the 5/3/1 program, too. Do it twice a week, no assistance work, but adding in my olympic lifting class which lasts only 6 more weeks. I don't have any answers to your questions, but I like your thinking. I think you put into words why I thought it might work better for me: the slower pace allowing for doing cardio and my olympic lifting class without screwing up the program, perhaps the ability to get some weight loss at the same time.
    Female, 5'3", 49, Starting weight: 163lbs. Current weight: 135 (more or less).
    Starting squat: 45lbs. Highest squat: 167.5 x 2. Current Deadlift: 190 x 3

  3. #3
    Neckhammer's Avatar
    Neckhammer is offline Senior Member
    Join Date
    Nov 2011
    Posts
    7,148
    Honestly I can't follow your reasoning. Why deplete glycogen just to cycle carbs? If thats your goal why not just remain low carb and do a low volume high intensity workout twice a week to keep your lean mass?

    High rep isolation work is about as useful as chronic cardio when it comes to weight loss and muscle retention.

    Do a 3-5 compound movement workout full body at high intensity for 1-2 sets twice a week. So 3 exercises might be pull ups, dips and dead lifts. This is HIT, and its lack of volume works perfectly for retaining lean mass and losing fat. 5-3-1 is more about adding mass and strength which would be best suited to when your goals are not necessarily weight loss IMO.

    Just think about it. But, to answer your actual question here is a good web page with a cool calculator blackironbeast.com - 5/3/1 Calculator
    Last edited by Neckhammer; 04-20-2013 at 04:50 PM.

  4. #4
    teach2183's Avatar
    teach2183 is offline Senior Member
    Join Date
    Apr 2012
    Location
    Chicago Suburbs
    Posts
    1,057
    I moved to 5-3-1 because I couldn't maintain the linear progression of starting strength anymore. Plus I'm at the "intermediate" weight load for every lift. However, I don't do any assistance lifts or anything else. I do a warm-up set or two and the prescribed lifts. If the weather cooperates (kids play outside while I lift) I do 1 lift Fri-Mon. If not, I do squat/bench Sat and dead/press Sun since I can lift during naps those days. Otherwise I chase my 2 and 5yo at the park and play soccer Wed nights. I have not had trouble increasing according to the plan and this is my third cycle. I can see the definition developing in my muscle as well.

  5. #5
    Ghshl's Avatar
    Ghshl is offline Senior Member
    Join Date
    Apr 2012
    Location
    Denmark
    Posts
    452
    I like what he describes in the 'Simplest Strenght Template' section of the book.
    It's a programming for a secondary lift. Personally I've been using safetybar squats, close grip bench press, incline bench press and rack pulls as the secondary lifts. Will probably change rack pulls to deficit deadlifts, as I think that's where I most need the work.

  6. #6
    atmetal's Avatar
    atmetal is offline Senior Member
    Join Date
    Feb 2012
    Location
    Connecticut
    Posts
    120
    Quote Originally Posted by Neckhammer View Post
    Honestly I can't follow your reasoning. Why deplete glycogen just to cycle carbs? If thats your goal why not just remain low carb and do a low volume high intensity workout twice a week to keep your lean mass?

    High rep isolation work is about as useful as chronic cardio when it comes to weight loss and muscle retention.
    I eat high carb every workout day to keep leptin levels high, which helps with fat loss. Granted, I've read that only really lean people looking to get even leaner need to worry about it. But I was at one point plateaued, and carb cycling seemed to do the trick. Whether I still need it or not, it can't hurt so long as I make sure my glycogen is low before the meal. Also, I'm aware high rep exercises are no good for muscle retention. That's why Lyle McDonald (author of the Ultimate Diet) recommends heavy compound lifts to maintain muscle. He also advocates the high rep stuff as well for the purposes of glycogen depletion. Anyway, you're entire post seems to be speaking along the lines of me doing the absolute minimum to maintain muscle while I let diet take care of the fat loss. I can't afford this as my employer (US Navy) requires that I stay fit. I personally couldn't handle it either because I'm still trying to fight a food addiction that even eating Primally, I am constantly hungry on even a slight calorie deficit. Sorry for being long-winded there, but that's my reasoning.

    All the other responses certainly helped give me ideas. Thank you.

  7. #7
    maclrc's Avatar
    maclrc is offline Senior Member
    Join Date
    May 2011
    Location
    London
    Posts
    128
    Hi Atmetal,

    I've done a lot of research into the assistance work. Ultimately I discovered that you shouldn't over-think them...

    One of the most popular variations, and indeed the one I use, is BBB (Big But Boring). After the 5/3/1 sets, you simply do 5 sets of 10 reps with 50% of the 1RM on the same exercise, so on Squat day, you would do 5 sets of 10 squats.

    Essentially you could just leave it at that if time is an issue or add in 1-3 further assistance exercises. I always add in at least one complimentary/opposing muscle group exercise e.g. Pull-ups on Shoulder Press day and then 1 or 2 exercises related to the main lift.

    I do this for all days except deadlifts, where I feel that just the 5/3/1 set of deadlifts is enough. Note that lower body days involve less assisstance work as they should be hard enough work without. Anyway, my program is as follows:

    Deadlift Day

    5/3/1 deadlift
    5 sets of 10 Kettlebell swings/Pull-throughs/other lower back exercise (keep weight modest for these)
    3 sets of 10 ab exercise e.g. hanging leg raise
    Possibly some bicep work every now and then (3 sets of 10)

    Shoulder Press Day

    5/3/1 press
    5 sets of 10 press 50% 1RM
    5 sets of 10 Chin/Pull-up
    3 sets of 10 lateral raise/front raise/french curls/pushdowns/other tricep or shoulder exercises (do none, 1, or 2 exercises)

    Squat Day

    5/3/1 squat
    5 sets of 10 squat (can use variant if you wish e.g. front squat) 50% 1RM
    5 sets of 10 straight leg deadlift/leg curl/glute ham raises/other hamstring exercise
    3 sets of 10 bicep curl/abs/lunges/shrug. (do none, 1, or 2 exercises)

    Bench Day

    5/3/1 bench
    5 sets of 10 bench 50% 1RM
    5 sets of 10 rows (whatever variant you like)
    3 sets of 10 close grip bench/incline bench/french curls/pushdowns (do none, 1, or 2 exercises)

    Doing the BBB sets (i.e. the 5X10 helps keep workouts short as there is no need to set up another exercise)

    Hope this helps

  8. #8
    maclrc's Avatar
    maclrc is offline Senior Member
    Join Date
    May 2011
    Location
    London
    Posts
    128
    I forgot to mention that there is enough volume work here that you wouldn't need to do the high rep work you mention in your original post.

  9. #9
    atmetal's Avatar
    atmetal is offline Senior Member
    Join Date
    Feb 2012
    Location
    Connecticut
    Posts
    120
    A couple of "developments" have happened before I saw you're very well thought out post. First, I read somewhere that just because I'm following LeanGains does not mean I need to eat a calorie surplus on workout days, the reason being that as someone who is not actually that lean, I can afford a deficit everyday, even workout days, without worry of muscle loss. I think this alone allows me to scrap the high volume work I talked about and only do 5/3/1. I found this info by Googling "LeanGains cut" because without that keyword, all you can really find are the people who cycle their surplus and deficit. Though I myself might still include one surplus day per week, just to make sure my body doesn't get use to the lower food intake.

    The other thing I discovered just today (my first 5/3/1 workout) is that the workout has more of a cardio effect than I expected. Today was squat day, which I followed with 5x10 lunges (95lb) and then 5x10 leg press (250lbs). After hitting the main lift and maxing out the last set, I was already kind of winded because I wasn't lifting heavy enough to require the typical long rest times. But once I started those lunges, I was really huffing and working up a sweat. I've never sweated before lifting weights. This workout tells me that I won't need the high volume work and probably would be better off without it.

    I appreciate the work you put into your post. Unfortunately, I had already set up an assistance routine of my own. I wouldn't mind you're opinion.

    Squat Day
    Lunge 5x10
    Leg Press 5x10

    Bench Press Day
    Pendlay Row 5x10
    Dips 5x10

    Deadlift Day
    Chinups 5x10 (or whatever it takes to make it to 50 reps total)
    Good Morning 5x10

    Press Day
    Dips 5x10
    Chinups 5x10 (or whatever it takes to make it to 50 reps total)

    I'm thinking about adding ab work at the end of each workout in the form of reverse crunches.

    Also, the 5/3/1 book suggests leg curls as the one assistance exercise other than 5x10 squats at 50% when doing Big and Boring. I chose leg press back when I thought I would be doing curls during my high rep work. So on the basis that I probably won't be doing that part of the workout anymore, should I ditch the leg press and put in leg curls? In other words, is there any reason why Wendler suggested leg curls as opposed to any other leg exercise?
    Last edited by atmetal; 04-24-2013 at 07:47 PM.

  10. #10
    maclrc's Avatar
    maclrc is offline Senior Member
    Join Date
    May 2011
    Location
    London
    Posts
    128
    PrimalCon New York
    I suspect the reason leg curls are recommended is because it is a hamstring isolation exercise, the theory being that it will balance the squats, which are more quad and glute dependent. I wouldn't bother with the leg press if I were you; it does allow you to lift very heavy weights as no stabilisation is required, but firing all the stabilisation muscles is crucial to overall body balance.

    Your routine looks okay, my comments as follows:

    Squat Day
    Lunge 5x10 this is fine (essentially just following BBB with a squat related exercise)
    Leg Press 5x10 I would switch this to a hamstring exercise for balance

    Bench Press Day
    Pendlay Row 5x10 I would swap the order of these 2 exercises to bring it in line with BBB, but it isn't essential
    Dips 5x10

    Deadlift Day
    Chinups 5x10 (or whatever it takes to make it to 50 reps total) again I would swap these 2, but again not essential
    Good Morning 5x10

    Press Day
    Dips 5x10
    Chinups 5x10 (or whatever it takes to make it to 50 reps total) change to pull-ups
    Possibly add some shoulder isolation work (lateral raises for example), but only if presses are not progressing well.

    Tbh your routine isn't actually far off the one I recommended, it should work well. You always have the option of adding in some isolation work for biceps, triceps, etc. if you want to, especially on less intense parts of the cycle

Page 1 of 2 12 LastLast

Posting Permissions

  • You may not post new threads
  • You may not post replies
  • You may not post attachments
  • You may not edit your posts
  •