T Nation

%1RM for Assistance Work? (5/3/1)


I'm beginning 5/3/1...with 90% 1RM as training max, after failing when I began with 100%. I'm only DL-ing for now, and will a speed/rep/...light (assistance) DL day instead of squat (free gym membership, great gym, only they don't have a squat rack. OTOH, I don't really care about my squat).
Fail: Tried DL-ing heavy twice per week... after a 245 x 5 one session, 260 x 4 the next, I got 245 x2 then fail last session. :expressionless:

To the question:
How much, approximately, of my DL 1RM should I use for SLDLs?
Secondly, SLDL means - done to below the kneecap, mid shin, or nearly full range?

Current 1RM DL (tested): 286 lbs (130 kg)


I'll probably get 5/3/1 next month.
BTW, should I get get 5/3/1 or 5/3/1 for powerlifting? I want to get the biggest (in the long run) DL I can get without getting injured. (does 5/3/1 for PL also contain the "normal" 5/3/1 info?).


"I don't really care about my squat"

Then you are missing out on one of, if not the, best exercises.

You obviously cant handle deadlifting twice in a week, deadlifting is a very taxing exercise for your body. It can take even some of the greats weeks to get over a brutal session.

You say you are doing a speed day but then say you are deadlifting heavy twice a week.

Are you deadlifting three times a week in reality?

I think the exact depth for SLDL depends really, arm length, leg length etc. I would say get a good stretch in the hammies without hitting the floor.

As for how much to use for them? Depends how much you can handle but if you are already deadlifting 3 times a week I would, if I did them at all, do them light for reps.

No offence but with a 130kg deadlift you arnt very strong yet. I would stick to the real 5/3/1 plan and use zercher squats, goblet squats etc in place of the back squats.

Then find a new gym with a squat rack.

"don't have a squat rack" =! "great gym"

I have a free gym but pay for a gym with a squat rack.


EDIT: I USED to DL heavy twice a week. Now I'll do DLs one day as per the program, and replace squat day with assistance work for the DL.


I don't do SLDLs, but I do sometimes do conventional block/rack pulls (mid shin this is my weak point) as assistance (I pull sumo). As far as a percentage I think I use about 60% of my DL max on these for 3 sets of 10 reps (315 on the block pulls 525 deadlift). I think this is fairly heavy for these as assistance work, but it is doing what I wanted it to.

I think more importantly you want to make sure whatever your assistance work is it is addressing your weaknesses and I would suggest erring on the side of being too light rather than too heavy. Maybe start with something you think you could do for 20 reps and do 3 sets of 10 with it with perfect form. In essence, go by feel.


The 5/3/1 book says 40% for 5 sets of 10 reps on the Big But Boring (BBB) section. I use 50% for 5 sets of 10 reps with a 1 minute rest between sets. I swap out assistance exercises from cycle/month to cycle/month. Last cycle/month I used sumo DLs, this cycle/month I'm using good mornings which I use 25% of my DL 1RM.

I actually use a stopwatch on the 5 sets to get
a muscular endurance effect. BUT, like Wendler said it's assistance work so don't go apeshit on the assistance work.

I don't 5/3/1 for powerlifters is out yet. Unless, you're referring to the link below.