T Nation

5/3/1 Accessory Work


I am switching up the exercises this month. I know the program is not necc. set up like this, but I try to keep something of an even ratio between push pull, vert/horiz. hip/quad and all that. JUst wondering whether I should count the main lift and the accessory by the same name one lift or two. Meaning, on bench day, would you count the bench as one hor. push or two. The only reason I think it might be two is the increased amount of pushing seems like you might want to equal it out with as many reps of pulling.
I think I just answered my own question but Ill still take suggestions


Just count the total sets, or total working sets. Obviously your 5/3/1 lift includes 3 working sets, and if you did boring but big you have 5 more working sets of horizontal pressing, so evening out would have 8 working sets of horizontal pulling. You'd probably do some warmups on those, like 3 matching the 3 warmups for the 5/3/1 lift. The easiest thing is to just alternate sets while you workout, and this is what Jim has recommended (at least with pressing and pulling).


I'm a big fan of boring but big, plus body weight exercises for assistance. I'm on my third mesocycle and it's been working well so far.


ethanwest: which exercises are you currently doing for the body weight assistance?


Pullups, Dips, Glute Ham Raise, Jump Split Squat, Pushups, Box Jumps, Walking Lunges

on Squat day I'll usually assist with some jump split squats, box jumps, or lunges.
on Bench day I'll usually assist with pull-ups, or bent-over barbell rows (yeah I know it's not body weight)
on Deadlift day I usually assist with glute ham raises
on Overhead day I usually assist with dips, pushups, and maybe some pull-ups


Why are you using bench press as an accessory lift when it's a main lift in the program?

You have the right idea about balancing pushing and pulling and whatnot. Let me make a suggestion for your accessory lifts, though. Do some researching and assessing to determine your weak points in your main lifts. Your accessory lifts should work put some extra work on those weak points. So for instance, if you know your hams are the weak point for your DL, then Stiff Legged Romanian Deadlifts should be on your list.


^^This is what I have always done. Find your weak points.. and make it so they aren't your weak points anymore.

For some reason I've always made my accessory lift rep scheme kind of the same as the main lift scheme as well. I don't know why, but for me it has been working quite well.

Say it's "5 rep bench day" - I'll do those, then have my accessory lifts set up in a circuit for 10 reps, then on the last set I do as many as possible. I like circuits, because I work out in an empty gym.
"3 rep bench day" - Accessory 8 reps, last set AMAP.
"1 rep bench day" - Accessory 6 reps, last set AMAP.
I'm watching all of my accessory lifts go up week from week as well.

Then I do the deload week. Don't ask me why I set it up that way, but I really enjoy the feeling of the last "as many reps as possible with good form" set(s) this way more than just a certain number of reps.