T Nation

5/3/1 Assistance %

I’m currently on a strength/power split routine at moment and just moving over to 5/3/1 to switch things up for a while. My main concern is assistance work on the program. How can one progress with assistance work if it is remaining at bodyweight/fixed weight. Could I perhaps use the % scheme used for main lifts on assistance lifts also?

Obviously the routine works I’m just wondering if that would be possible and could lead to greater progression? At the moment on my upper strength day I’m adding heavy dumbell press and heavy weighted dips for instance. I feel the dips have made a tremendous difference to my chest and triceps but under the 5/3/1 I would be doing them at bodyweight?.. Forgive me if I have made some false assumptions I am only starting the program. Feedback would be greatly appreciated.

Current Program
Upper strength 80-90% 1rm
Shoulder warmup

Dbell press 3 sets 4-6r . Internal rotation rehab between sets
Neutral grip dbell shoulder press 5 sets of 4-6r
Lying barbell row 5 sets 3-5r
Weighted pull up 3 sets 5-8r
Side lateral raises 10r ss Face pulls 15r 3sets
Weighted dips 3 sets in 2-5r range followed by one set at body weight

Lower strength

Warm up, to get full range of motion. Open up hips and ankles.
60kg at bottom of atg movement hold 10-15 seconds. repeat 5x

Front squat 2 warm up sets 10r .3 working sets 3-5r atg
Back Squat 3 sets 3-5r close stance atg
Leg press 4 sets 5-8 reps
glute bridge 3 sets 5-8r
Glute ham raise 3 sets 8-10 r. slow contraction
Stiff legged deadlifts 3 sets 5-8r

Upper Power
60-70% 1rm
Dbell Press 3 sets 10-12r
Neutral grip dbell shoulder press 5 sets 6-10r
Inverted row ,explosive 3 sets 10-15
Tricep pull downs ss face pulls ss lateral raises. 10r 3 sets
Dips ss Lat pull down. 2 second lowering phase and then explode. 3 sets 10-15r

Lower Power

Same exercises as upper except in higher rep range ,more explosive, less sets.
Box jumps added 4-5 sets
On leg press have feet close at top of plate,let knees come back to chest.works more glute and hamstrings and is a good accessory to atg back squats

If you like weighted dips, and they work, no reason you MUST go to body weight. People have used the 5/3/1 scheme and percentages to get better at those lifts (including myself), but you need to prioritize and find balance.

-Avoid “Majoring in the Minors”
-Assistance work is just that, assistance to bring up your main lifts
-You can’t train everything at that high of an intensity and make the same progress

I’d actually recommend the Simplest Strength template found in 5/3/1 2nd addition, as it uses weekly percentage based progression for your 2nd lift of the day (like 5/3/1, but more like 10/8/5). You could apply this to things like RDLs, Front Squats, Incline Pess, Dips, etc. I would put dips on OHP day.

[quote]JohnMcG wrote:
I’m currently on a strength/power split routine at moment and just moving over to 5/3/1 to switch things up for a while. My main concern is assistance work on the program. How can one progress with assistance work if it is remaining at bodyweight/fixed weight. Could I perhaps use the % scheme used for main lifts on assistance lifts also?
[/quote]

I have bought all of the 5/3/1 books and I don’t recall ever reading that assistance was remaining at body weight / fixed weight. Where are you getting that info from?

My take on assistance is who gives a crap about %. Use whatever weight you want. Don’t nerd this up much man. Just train the compound movements then switch to gym rat mode with assistance work to make your compound work better.

What the others have said.

You can do whatever you want for assistance. If you want to do dips with 100lbs hanging off you then do it.

The catch is not to get too obsessed about assistance. If you’re holding back on the benchpress because you need to keep something in the tank to do those weighted dips then you’re doing what’s called “majoring in the minors”.

Have you read the book?

this is not 531 what you are doing looks like PHAT if that is the case you just pick a weight that is challenging to you and lift that simple. i wouldn’t go to failure every time you are just doing the assistance lifts to build muscle you shouldn’t really need to use any psyche up to do the assistance lifts