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5/3/1 Assistance Philosophy

Hi, After a year off training I’m attempting to get back into the weights room. Due to other commitments I can only go the gym twice a week. Which I think I can manage consistently and I can make it work for strength and size gains I’m after. However I use a busy gym. The equipment is not always available. And trying to do 6 prescribed lifts, at prescribed weights is proving to be hard in a sensible time frame.

So my question is about the rigidity of the assistance lifts. As when I ran 5/3/1 last time I obsessive over doing the right reps and sets with right weight on the right exercise no compromise. And this time I can not be so fixed.

The main lifts will be kept strictly 5/3/1 of course. With the exception of trap bar dead lift in for the straight bar dead lift.

But I was wondering if I could swap exercises with movements. And pre set weights, reps and sets with a philosophy of “do 24-50 reps over 3 to 5 sets”. So everything from 4 sets of 6 at a heavier weight. To 5 sets of 10 of a lighter weight. Depending on the equipment that’s not being used.

For example my works out will be:

Day 1:

Squat 5/3/1
Glute ham raises 24-50 reps over 3 sets
Core 24-50 reps over 3 sets
Bench -5/3/1
Pull motion 24-50 reps over 3 set
Press motion 24-50 reps over 3 sets

Day 2:
Dead lift -5/3/1
Glute ham rises 24-50 reps over 3 sets
Core 24-50 reps over 3 sets
Press -5/3/1
Pull motion 24-50 reps over 3 set
Press motion 24-50 reps over 3 sets

I’d keep the pulling, pressing, core exercise to the staples used elsewhere in the 5/3/1 program. Things like dips, chins, rows. No swapping pressing for kickbacks.

If there is any feedback I’d appreciate it.

You have no supplemental program here.

I think you mean assistance work, not supplemental, but that’s just a question of semantics. I would normally advise some sort of supplemental work as well though (FSL etc.).

There are advantages to doing consistent assistance work, in that you will learn what works for you. Some lifts will impact your main work more than others and if you’re changing approach every week, you’ll never figure out which they are. Having said that, if you genuinely can’t keep them consistent week to week, I don’t see that you have much choice, and it’s not going to completely destroy the program.

This is the sort of reply I was hoping for.
I appreciate its not ideal. But recently there has been a queue to do curls in the power rack. So I’m doing this like swapping seapping my pressing to dips. And one arm row for bent over rows etc etc.


WTF? If that’s the case, you may seriously want to consider going to another gym

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Yeah the male staff are more interest tidying up the ladies only area than work. And the female staff are just as bad, hanging around the Bench press and seated cable row.
Its not even a joke. Last Sunday I had to wait as some one done burpies on the dead lift platform.