T Nation

Assistance to Just Get Stronger


After running SS for two months, I’m looking to move on to 5/3/1 which allows me to plug in Prowler and conditioning work that would otherwise hamper my SS recovery.

I’ve picked one of the full-body programs for the main lifts:
Day 1: Sq / BP
Day 2: DL / OHP
Day 3: BP / Sq

but need direction with assistance work. My only goal is to get stronger, so I care not about being a Pushdown King or Leg Raise Queen and more about carryover to real world strength. Any help would be appreciated.


My best strength gains have come from FSL or SST for 2-3 cycles then 2 cycles of SVR II. Reset, then do it again. I’ll spare you the number increases, but they’ve been significant.

Disclaimer: My training consists of a lot of sprinting, jumping, and throwing. More then I usually see on this forum. Thus, I keep my lifting volume comparatively low. My assistance work is very limited. If you prefer more volume, BBB seems to work well. Plenty of folks have done that successfully and I’m sure can discuss it.


Outside of the main lifts and either FSL or SSL work, I’ve found KB’s to be really helpful, especially for the lower body. On Squat days I do a good amount of KB swings (a prep for DL day) and on Deadlift days I get in a good amount of KB front/goblet squats (a prep for the next Squat day).

As for your upper body, pushups & chins (weighted or not) are your best go-to for assistance. Get them in-between your sets of your main lifts for a total rep count.

There are a million ways to get some type of rowing in, you can mix it up, just don’t pick something that will fatigue your lower back too much, you need it for other areas. Personally, I think you can’t beat the chest-supported row. You can’t cheat it, there’s no lower back strain and it absolutely blitzes your entire back.

Hope this helps.


If you want to get stronger in the real world, then you have to do real world things. So take a leaf out of @Tepford’s book.

Any template will get you bigger stronger faster, and assistance will not be the determinate of those results. Sticking to the main principles of the program and focusing on bar speed, as well as incorporating sprints, throws, jumps, and flexibility/mobility work will yield those.

There are no magic templates, just the program.


It doesnt matter, make sure you focus on the main work, and execution of perfect, explosive yet controlled repititions with common sense programming.

I’ll just say: keep it simple, choose an exercise to do for each category (push, pull, single leg/core)
Push: dips, push ups, DB presses
Pull: Chins/Pull ups, rows
Single leg/core: ab wheel, leg raise, back raise, GHR, DB RDL, DB lunges, KB swing

Make sure you know that these are assistance, not supplemental, so that means if you wanna do heavy supplemental (something like BBB or FSL 5x10) then dont go crazy with the assistance and go by feel. Vice versa. This is the concept of push/pull, if you want to push something in you gotta pull something out. You can’t dip your balls into two ice buckets at the same time. Pick one.