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5/3/1 Forever Assistance: How to Balance Volume and Completeness?


#1

All,

Been lifting seriously for about 1.5 years, still relatively weak (started out at 125 pounds). Began to see stalls with linear programs, found 5/3/1. Did BBB initially, now searching for a new template balancing strength and size. Purchased and read 5/3/1 forever to get the most recent info (it’s phenomenal). However, I am a little confused by Wenderler’s assistance recommendations:

CORE PROBLEM: I can not find a way to do between 50-100 reps each of pushing, pulling, and single leg/core movements EVERY workout without either missing volume in important areas (like back) or feeling like I’m over-training significantly. By having to include upper body assistance work on lower body days (and vice versa) I’m struggling to find a balance between a reasonable amount of total volume and hitting each muscle group sufficiently.

Here is my current attempt at a program:

I am using the “Original 5/3/1 with FSL and PR Sets” exactly as outlined in 5/3/1 Forever, page 168. 4 times a week, Monday press, Tuesday dead, Thursday bench, Friday squat.

OHP days & Bench days (Monday & Thursday)

3/5/1 sets + PR set,
5x5 FSL

4x10 lat pulldown / chins
3x10 penlay row
3x10 bicep cable curl

4x (whatever) pushups
3x10 tricep pulldown

5x10 ab work

Deadlift & Squat days (Tuesday and Friday)

3/5/1 sets + PR,
5x5 FSL

4x10 lat pulldown
3x10 penlay row

4x10 RD
4x10 split squat

5x (whatever) pushups

Does this look balanced? I want to take Jim’s “don’t major in the minors” advice to heart, but also want to make sure I’m starting out on the right foot. The above program is pushing the limit on the amount of total volume Jim recommends (and that I can handle), but still has relatively low arm and leg volume in particular. Thoughts? Thank you so much for your time everyone.


#2

From the book…“Now each template has specific recommendations for the total amount of reps per category. You can choose to do more or less…”

Also, “Understand that you must use common sense to choose the correct assistance exercises for each program.”

“I can not find a way to do between 50-100 reps each of pushing, pulling, and single leg/core movements EVERY workout without either missing volume in important areas (like back) or feeling like I’m over-training significantly.”

The answer: don’t do it then; use your experience and common sense.


#3

Thank you, will do. Just to emphasize: you do recommend hitting some key muscle groups like back every training session correct? And would endorse doing some combination of chins / rows / lat pulldowns each training session? And I could do the same for chest (my weakest body part) if I can recover sufficiently and it’s not effecting my compounds?

Thanks!


#4

Just start with less reps, and easier movements. Not every day needs to be heavy assistance work either. On my Squat/Deadlift days I usually just do 50-100 pushups. Doesn’t affect my recovery at all. On Bench/Press days I’ll go heavier with dips and DB work. Start light.

For example: you can probably do 50 pushups, 25-50 chins, and 50 situps in a workout. Next day try 25-50 dips, 50 inverted rows, and 50 lunges. Work up slowly from there.


#5

The answer is already in the programming model I wrote:

Push
Pull
Single leg/Core

How and what to pick is up to you. Use common sense, your experience AND the advice in the book. EVERY single program has everything laid out, so just go from there.