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5/3/1 and Dave Tate's Periodization Bible Question

Hey everyone,

New to the forums! Joined in the hopes of learning more about strength training generally and Wendler’s 5/3/1 program in particular. I’ve been perusing the forums to get answers to some of the questions I have after reading (and re-reading) Jim’s original book.

My question (err more of a request, I suppose) relates to the original 5/3/1 program and the 4th assistance work protocol based on part 1 of Dave Tate’s periodization bible: how would this look in terms of exercises and set/rep breakdown? I was fine with Jim’s write up until I read a few pages after and came across the section “Programming Your Assistance Work - The Simplest Strength Template” in which he introduces the idea of one big assistance lift (with percentage and set/rep break down for each week) to follow the main lift of the day (Bench, Military, Squat or Deadlift). No further direction is given for the other assistive (or accessory) exercises.

Out of respect for Jim’s work, I’m not going to quote from his book here. I’m hoping someone who has read 5/3/1 can explain and perhaps provide an example of how this version of the program looks.

I have been reading website after website for more information amd have even gone as far as reading Dave Tate’s article, but I am still unclear on how this version of 5/3/1 should look. I am hoping to start the program in August/September after completing my current program. Any help would be appreciated.


So are you asking for clarification about the Periodisation Bible or SST? I would suggest not blending them if that’s what you’re considering. Like every answer to every question about 5/3/1, choose a program and do it

The simplest strength template is it’s own, separate assistance work protocol (ie., an unnumbered sixth option)? Is it more or less a “build-it-yourself” option?

When I read that section, it sounded more like a general rule of thumb for setting intensity and volume (weight and reps/sets) for assistance work (specifically the lift which follows the main lift of the day). In either case, I’d be interested to see how others are setting these assistance work templates up in their 5/3/1 program.

I’m still deciding on my own preferred exercises, but will post more info on what may become my program later today.


I havent done either templates myself, but they aren’t a single program. After a bit of experimentation you could probably try blending the two (WITH CAUTION, I doubt Jim would endorse this), but otherwise keep them seperate. In a way, treat SST like you would BBB. I also recommend investing in 531 Forever as it has an updated SST program that might helo clarify how to program assistance

My best answer to simplify the periodization bible would be to do this for assistance (depending on program):

25-50 push
25-50 pull
25-50 single leg/core

50-100 push
50-100 pull
50-100 single leg/core

The periodization bible is not far from this method of programming. Don’t think of specific exercises - think of movements from those categories and simple get the reps in.

Thanks for your input j4gga2.

With that being said, I would still be interested in seeing some examples of how other ppl have set up either template (Tate Periodization or SST).

Just to clarify, I never intended to blend together two separate templates - it seemes SST was merely a guideline for setting up the first assistance lift following the day’s mainlift. Admittedly, both example outlines given in the book have a degree of overlap in terms of their requirements.

Thanks marc,
I’ll have to read up on “leader” and “anchor” - I think these are concepts from Jim’s later books (I’ve only read the original 5/3/1). I do appreciate the response though.