Accessory Work for 5/3/1

I’m on my 2nd cycle of 5/3/1 BBB and am still confused about accessory work. I try looking through multiple forums and people have different set ups for BBB. Can someone clear it up for me? What I’ve been doing is the 5/3/1 sets, 5x10, and then 3x10 on curls or tricep push downs depending on the day. I’m just kind of lost in all these variants of 5/3/1. Also is the Triumvirate variation a good routine? Looks a bit more fun than BBB. Thank you!

On BBB, your supplemental work is hard so I would keep accessories easy. Superset upper body BBB sets with rows or pull ups and lower body BBB with some sort of core work. If you want to do some direct arm work after, crack on, but don’t get too emotionally invested in it.

Yes, if you choose your assistance work appropriately.


If you have read the 1st edition of 5/3/1, Wendler is talking about “Training like a Bodybuilder”, wich means training with balance: If you do a push, do a pull, if you train strength, train also cardio and mobility/flexibility. Based on this, your assistance exercises should first and foremost bring balance to your program. Since the main lifts in 5/3/1 does not include upperbody pulling, you should add in that before any thing else. After this, some extra core/single leg exercises might be helpfull. Triceps/Biceps training can offcourse be added in aslong it does not fuck up your progression in the Squat, DL, pressing and pulling.

1 Like

Everything that’s been said above is correct, but that’ll also depend on what kind of BBB you’re doing.

A template like BBB @ 50% is going to be easier than the same sets at 70% or FSL weights, so in the latter case assistance would work would be less/easier. General recommendation is always 25-50 reps each of push, pull, and single leg/core work.

Finally, I know this wasn’t asked for but, in most instances 5’s PRO seems to be a preferable form of main work over the canonical 5/3/1 sets when doing BBB, as per the aforementioned “train like a bodybuilder” balance principle. Something to think about.

1 Like

For heavier BBB templates I’d just stick to these:

Upper - Rows, Chin-Ups, Curls, Dips, Push Ups, Laterals, Tri Ext
Lower - Lunges/Split Squat, GHR, Ab Wheel, Hanging Leg Raises

1 Like

For BBB, I like to pick two assistance exercises and get 50 reps (5x10) each. These might change based on what my goals/preferences are, but standards would be:

Squat day: assistance = dips, pull ups
Bench day: assistance = ab wheel, rows
DL day: assistance = pull ups, HLR
OHP day: assistance = goblet squats, rows

1 Like