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Old 01-02-2013, 06:35 PM   #1
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Default "Heavy" assistance work?

Hey guys, sorry if this has been asked before. But, was wondering if assistance work can be done on the heavy side? I mainly hear assistance work should be done 3-5 sets of 10 reps. Though, I was wondering if it can also be do on the heavy side such as 5x5?

Thoughts?
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Old 01-02-2013, 07:15 PM   #2
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Originally Posted by WilldBill'88 View Post
Hey guys, sorry if this has been asked before. But, was wondering if assistance work can be done on the heavy side? I mainly hear assistance work should be done 3-5 sets of 10 reps. Though, I was wondering if it can also be do on the heavy side such as 5x5?

Thoughts?
5x5 is designed to get big lifts up at a steady pace.

Assistance work is usually done so secondary muscles (like triceps for bench) or support muscles (like your core) can keep pace with your big lifts.

Can you do heavy assistance work? Yes.
Should you? Not really if you're following a specific program.

All the extra effort on heavy assistance work is going to take something out of your CNS and muscle recovery, which could upset your progress on the big lifts.

IMO, run the program as it is written....in fact, if your progress stalls, consider dropping/reducing the assistance work so you have 100% focus and energy for your main lifts.
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Old 01-02-2013, 07:52 PM   #3
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Thanks for replying jdmalm, you answered my question!
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Old 01-02-2013, 07:54 PM   #4
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Originally Posted by WilldBill'88 View Post
Thanks for replying jdmalm, you answered my question!
Awesome.

It's nice to see a newer lifter focused on real strength and open to input.

Stick to the fundamentals...they will carry you far!

Best of luck!
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Old 01-02-2013, 08:24 PM   #5
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It really depends on what you're considering "assistance" work.

For example my monday bench session has been:
Bench- up to 3 rep max
3 board up to 3 rep max
2 board up to 3 rep max
1 board up to 3 rep max
Declines 5 sets of 5 up to a max 5 rep

Heavy shrugs for sets of 20
curls for 3 sets of 10ish
Light shoulder raises for high reps

This is basic metal militia bench training. What do you consider assistance work in this setup? Board work? Declines? Shrugs and curls?

The only light exercise is curls and shoulder raises...

I guess it all depends on how your body responds. If you can only recover from one heavy movement per workout, then train that way as long as you're making progress.

I've personally pushed SOOO far beyond what i used to be able to recover from. I dont think people really understand the ability to adapt. I do more bench volume in one workout than some people do in 3 weeks, and i'm not "assisted"... i eat 2-3 LARGE meals a day and dont take any fancy supplements.

Experiment, log everything. If something works, keep at it til you squeeze all the goodie out of it and then make the changes necessary to keep progressing. If you try somethin and it doesnt work, drop it. Dont keep doing the same thing if it doesnt work. Or you could just eat more and basically anything will work. Lol.

Last edited by Disciple X; 01-02-2013 at 08:27 PM.
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Old 01-02-2013, 08:27 PM   #6
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Experiment, log everything. If something works, keep at it til you squeeze all the goodie out of it and then make the changes necessary to keep progressing. If you try somethin and it doesnt work, drop it. Dont keep doing the same thing if it doesnt work. Or you could just eat more and basically anything will work. Lol.
Good wisdom there!
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Old 01-02-2013, 10:13 PM   #7
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You could look at training in a different way as well. Primary, secondary, assistance. DX put it right earlier. Tonight was deads, I pulled up to a heavy double, then did rack pulls for heavy triples, lastly rounded back GMs for 10. Take your normal primary's, squat, bench, and dead, then use the same rep scheme for something like leg press, board press,and pin pulls, followed by accessory movements for 8-12. The main poin that people will miss it that your secondary work should focus on weak points. Accessory work should focus on the smaller related muscles.
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Old 01-02-2013, 11:12 PM   #8
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I have done heavy assistance work before while on 531 and I found it burnt me out prematurely and thus I could not complete as many cycles as I wanted to. I just didn't find the bang for the buck was there - meaning I didn't feel doing heavier assistance increased my core lifts as much as being able to complete more cycles would have.
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Old 01-03-2013, 12:56 AM   #9
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I will just paraphrase Jim Wendler from his 5/3/1 book. Goodmornings aren't on the final(meets).

I'd just recommend heavy enough, but more than 5 reps. I can tell you that when I was doing 531, trying to disregard Wendler didn't help me any. 3x3 on GM's did not help much if at all. With all that said, everyone above has some really good advice it seems. Pick something, try it. It may or may not work.
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Old 01-03-2013, 01:30 PM   #10
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Build the big 3 (big 4 if you count OHP) by lifting them heavy; do your assistance work like a bodybuilder, or like physical therapy - light/moderate weight and tons of reps. That's the common thread running through a lot of really strong people's training IMO.
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