T Nation

Assistance with 5/3/1 Assistance

Before I start I know that worrying about assistance work is like “majoring in the minors”. But at the same time, if doing less work would get me the same, or better results, then I feel it’s worth looking into.

So I’ve been doing 5/3/1 like this:

Monday - deadlift
Deadlift 5/3/1
Cleans 5x6
More lighter deadlifts 6x10
Left leg work (it’s about an inch smaller than my right)

Tuesday - OHP
OHP 5/3/1
DB OHP 6x6
Dips 5x6
Pull-ups

Wednesday - Breakdancing practice

Thursday - Squat
Squat 5/3/1
Front squat 5x6
More lighter squats 6x10
Pull-ups
Left leg work (it’s about an inch smaller than my right)

Friday - Bench
Bench press 5/3/1
Bent-over row 5x10
DB bench 6x6
DB holds

Saturday/Sunday - Breakdancing practice.

However, I want to leave aside more time and energy for breakdancing and cut out the unnecessary things in my program that are just tiring me out. My goal is to get stronger and stay the same bodyweight. Can I just do this:

Monday - Deadlift
Deadlift 5/3/1
Clean 1x6+ (like, work up to one heavy set to failure or close to it)

Tuesday - OHP
OHP 5/3/1
DB OHP 1x6+
Dips 1x6+

Thursday - Squat
Squat 5/3/1
Front squat 1x6+

Friday - Bench
Bench 5/3/1
Bent-over row 1x10+
DB Bench 1x6+

By doing just one heavy set to failure (or close to it) for my assistance exercises, would I get stronger more quickly, while staying at the same bodyweight, assuming I use the extra time and energy towards practicing breakdancing? My goal is strictly strength, not size.

Thanks for reading/answering.

To be honest, as you say you do break dancing, I’d say you should drop all the assistance stuff you’ve laid out and run the body weight template that JW has in the 5/3/1 book.

how tiring is dance practice? can you do 20 mins before training?

[quote]caveman101 wrote:
how tiring is dance practice? can you do 20 mins before training?[/quote]

I thought about that, practicing before lifting. I’m not sure why I’ve never gone with that option. I guess I would want to be fresh for lifting so I don’t hurt myself and so I can get stronger. But my original question still stands.

One way to reduce overall volume could be to just do an antagonist excercise after your main lift and
maybe a small isolation move after that.

Example:

Bench day:
Bench: 5/3/1.
A row excercise: 5x10.
Bicep curls: 5x10.

Squat day:
Squat: 5/3/1.
A hamstring/low back excercise: 5x10.
Abs.

OHP day:
OHP: 5/3/1.
Chins/pulldowns: 5x10.
Tricep pusdowns: 5x10.

DL day:
DL: 5/3/1.
A quad excercise: 5x10.
Abs.

If this is still interfering with your break dance practice, then you could reduce it from 4 times a week
to 3 times a week. Then a cycle would take 5 weeks instead of 4 weeks.

[quote]florelius wrote:
One way to reduce overall volume could be to just do an antagonist excercise after your main lift and
maybe a small isolation move after that.

Example:

Bench day:
Bench: 5/3/1.
A row excercise: 5x10.
Bicep curls: 5x10.

Squat day:
Squat: 5/3/1.
A hamstring/low back excercise: 5x10.
Abs.

OHP day:
OHP: 5/3/1.
Chins/pulldowns: 5x10.
Tricep pusdowns: 5x10.

DL day:
DL: 5/3/1.
A quad excercise: 5x10.
Abs.

If this is still interfering with your break dance practice, then you could reduce it from 4 times a week
to 3 times a week. Then a cycle would take 5 weeks instead of 4 weeks.

[/quote]

This is very similar to what I do (play rugby).

It would also be helpful to know how stressful your practices are. If it is a big priority, I would advise you to lift twice a week (don’t deload) with a set up like this:

Deadlift/Squat
Lower assistance movement (stuff like RDLs, good mornings, or single leg work)
Abs

Press/Bench
Rows or chins
Upper assistance (low impact stuff like pushdowns, lateral raises, or curls. Just pick one or 2)

As far as your question for rep scheme for assistance work, you need to keep this stuff higher rep
The main lifts are your strength work, this is were you get in the volume
3 or 4 sets of 8-15 reps is a good idea. For abs and the lighter upper assistance I would just do 2 or 3 sets however.

My practices are not stressful; I make sure to rest enough during them so that I can perform well and stay focused. Right now the only interference is that my lifting takes longer than I would like it to and I feel like there is currently some extra stuff in there that’s just wasting my time while I could be improving my skillz. And I want to focus on strictly getting stronger, I don’t care about doing anything to get bigger, which is why my assistance reps are lower right now.

Which is why I’m wondering: Will I still be able to get stronger if I just work up to one heavy, tough set for the main lift, then do the same for a compound assistance exercise, and then go practice and get on with my life?

[quote]marrot wrote:
My practices are not stressful; I make sure to rest enough during them so that I can perform well and stay focused. Right now the only interference is that my lifting takes longer than I would like it to and I feel like there is currently some extra stuff in there that’s just wasting my time while I could be improving my skillz. And I want to focus on strictly getting stronger, I don’t care about doing anything to get bigger, which is why my assistance reps are lower right now.

Which is why I’m wondering: Will I still be able to get stronger if I just work up to one heavy, tough set for the main lift, then do the same for a compound assistance exercise, and then go practice and get on with my life?[/quote]

Assistance work still has it’s place, even if you are just lifting for strength. You don’t need to do a ton, but I would still recommend that you keep it higher rep.

[quote]Chris87 wrote:

[quote]marrot wrote:
My practices are not stressful; I make sure to rest enough during them so that I can perform well and stay focused. Right now the only interference is that my lifting takes longer than I would like it to and I feel like there is currently some extra stuff in there that’s just wasting my time while I could be improving my skillz. And I want to focus on strictly getting stronger, I don’t care about doing anything to get bigger, which is why my assistance reps are lower right now.

Which is why I’m wondering: Will I still be able to get stronger if I just work up to one heavy, tough set for the main lift, then do the same for a compound assistance exercise, and then go practice and get on with my life?[/quote]

Assistance work still has it’s place, even if you are just lifting for strength. You don’t need to do a ton, but I would still recommend that you keep it higher rep.[/quote]

OK, thanks. You have definitely given me something to think about, but as it is now I’m getting stronger pretty consistently (minus getting sick earlier this month), so I don’t want to go change up a bunch of stuff. Plus, now I think about it the main issue seems more like time, not energy, which I just learned today is caused by the extra left leg work (which doesn’t seem to be working by the way). Otherwise my training sessions are all at most 90 minutes long, leaving me 30 minutes for good focused practice after lifting before going home, plus the crap ton of time I get to spend on the three days per week that I don’t lift.

Which makes me feel bad about making this thread since I basically asked for advice and then turned it down. Sorry, and thanks for your time and input.