T Nation

Assistance on Separate Days vs Supplemental Lifts on Separate Days



The reality of my schedule has made me look at some of the “limited time”/“2+2+2”-type of templates in the Forever book. (I’m on my second go through with Krypteia, but need to switch it up due to life’s obligations).
I notice there are a few programs with 2 days of barbell lifts (531+supplement), and the assistance work is done on separate days. I like this approach as it makes for more compact workouts and makes for a balanced week of training.

So, now to my question: Why not do the supplemental lifting on separate days and do the 531/assistance work on the same day?

So, like this:

531 Squat; 531 Bench. Assistance. (ex: 50 pull ups, 50 dips, 50 roll outs)

Supplemental work: 5x5 FSL on DL, OHP. (or BBB, or SSL). No assistance

531 DL; 531 OHP. Assistance. (ex: 50 inverted rows, 50 push ups, 50 HLR)

Supplemental work: 5x5 FSL on Squat/DL (or BBB, or SSL). No assistance.

Other days would have mobility, conditioning. etc… as prescribed.

The reason I like the way laid out above is that I can superset assistance work with the 531 lifts while not so much if supplement is done with the 531 lifts, making the workouts faster. Plus, I also like to superset while doing the 531 lifts. On the Supplement day, only easy things like face pulls/pull aparts would be done. Can anyone explain any drawbacks to this type of programming? Is this something Jim has already laid out, or something he has already spoken against? Thanks for any feedback.


What I see first is that it would have you doing the same big lifts often with just 1 day in between. Supplemental OH and DL and then 531 2 days later and Supplimental Bench and Squat on Sat and 531 on Monday.

What about putting your 2 531 workouts on Monday and wednesday with assistance and then supplimental bench and squat on Friday and Supplimental OH and DL on Saturday? I’m not saying it’s ideal because the assistance work on a non heavy day may help with restoration somewhat, but I’d rather do 2 days of 531 on Monday and wednesday and 2 Supplimental on Friday and Saturday than doing 531 with only 1 day off following 5x5 of the same movement.


The poster above me already touched on it but I will go reiterate it.

I think there is a setup for BBS where you do your main 531 work for Squat and Bench on a Monday and Deadlift with Press on a Tuesday, then your supplement Squat and Bench work on a Thursday and your supplemental Deadlift and Press work on a Friday. So I think you could probably do something like that.

Another thing you could try is still only focus on one lift a day in a standard 4 day format, but when on a Leader only do the supplemental and do NO assistance and when on Anchors focus on doing a PR set, a Joker (maybe), NO supplemental, and then LOTS of assistance as time allows. I think doing it this way would lend a bit more focus on your training at certain times rather just trying to fit it all in if your in a time crunch. That being said I like supersets, I currently use them with BBS so my training sessions don’t go overly long.

If you go through Forever (which I assume you have) you should be able to find something that suits you best.


I think your plan may be better than mine. That may spread the work across the week better, and give longer recovery times after the 531 workouts.

I do have it, and have found some programs I like. I was going to run one of his two days a week 531 programs with assistance on the off days (there are a few variations of programs like this), but my only thing is I like to superset assistance with main lifts, and adding supplemental work after 531 for two lifts takes a long time. I was looking to swap the supplement with the assistance to balance out my week and gym time. Thanks for the input, though. Much appreciated.


Have you put any thought into super-setting the main movements?


You mean like bench/squat as a type of circuit? Yes, I have done that and like that style of training. The difficulty has to do more with logistics. I either work out at a University gym, and it’s tough to maintain use of two stations (bench press / squat rack) or I work out at home where switching the set up from bench to squat for each set would be too time consuming.


Ah gotcha, bummer! I work out at home as well, but have the benefit of multiple bars and more weight than I know what to do with, so I can run several stations at once. Uni doesn’t have power racks?