T Nation

Assistance Work Day?


#1

So I do a full body 3x a week workout. The setup usually goes:

Olympic Lift or variant
Squat (back or front)
Press (Mostly ohp or push press)
2 Pulls (clean/snatch pulls, deadlift, rows, chins)
Core Work

By the time I get to my core work I'm drained! I'm still making linear gains on my oly lifts, squats, and pulls off the floor. But my presses and rows have not gone up in 4 weeks.

Have any of you tried doing something along the lines of an "assistance work day" or something of that nature? I'm starting to feel like I'm getting to that point where I need more than just doing the main lifts for 3x5 or 4x8.

For example my OHP has been stuck at 130 3x5 @ 165lbs for 4 weeks. I'm feeling my core getting stronger, but I think I need to add some assistance work such as raises, cgbp, dips, etc). Instead of doing it at the end of a workout where I'm fatigued, I was thinking of just doing all my assistance work on 1 day. I'm so use to high frequency that it seems odd to just do something once per week. I like to keep things simple and not complicate it if I don't have to.

I just care about getting my Snatch and C&J up, but the assistance for those are mostly squats lol. So I need assistance exercises for my assistance exercises if that makes any sense lol.

Any advice would be helpful!


#2

Or should I just keep trying to push the basic exercises without any assistance? I know everything I do overlaps with each other.


#3

What is the exact program you are following?

Assistance for assistance? Really? Is it that important to you?

But really, the exact program with reps and sets for the three days would be good.


#4

With your current program, what is the goal? Is the goal currently being met? If it is, I would change nothing about the assistance work, as it’s working, even if it’s not improving.

Assistance work days are viable options for sure, but it may be treating a problem you don’t actually have.


#5

[quote]JFG wrote:
What is the exact program you are following?

Assistance for assistance? Really? Is it that important to you?

But really, the exact program with reps and sets for the three days would be good.

[/quote]

MONDAY
Snatch 5x2
Back Squat 3x5
Snatch Pull 3x3
Bent Over Row 4x8
Dips 2xF
Hanging Leg Raises 3xF

WEDNESDAY
Jerk off Rack 4x2
Front Squat 4x4
OHP 3x5
RDL 4x10
Pull Ups 50 Total Reps
Weighted Decline Situps 3x12

FRIDAY
Clean & Jerk 5x1
Back Squat 3x5
Push Press 4x3
Clean Pulls 3x3
BB Row 4x6
Ab Roller 4xF

I guess the assistance exercises are not important to me. But I feel like they should be going up slowly that’s all.


#6

[quote]T3hPwnisher wrote:
With your current program, what is the goal? Is the goal currently being met? If it is, I would change nothing about the assistance work, as it’s working, even if it’s not improving.

Assistance work days are viable options for sure, but it may be treating a problem you don’t actually have.[/quote]

The goal is to Snatch and C&J more weight. That’s the primary goal. Yes, my snatch and C&J are both increasing weekly and the technique is getting crisper.

T3hPwnisher you’re right. I was just thinking that as my other lifts go up that my assistance lifts would increase slowly as well. I have noticed the reps have been getting more controlled so I guess that counts for something.


#7

[quote]isdatnutty wrote:

I guess the assistance exercises are not important to me. But I feel like they should be going up slowly that’s all.

[/quote]

I’ve gone YEARS cycling through the same weights on assistance exercises at times. The thing you gotta keep in mind is that that’s all they’re for: assistance. As long as the main lift is going up, the assistance work is working. If your assistance work keeps climbing and your main lift doesn’t, you’re training wrong.

Additionally, consider this: not increasing assistance work while increasing the primary lift IS progressing on assistance work. Being able to maintain the same reps/weight on a movement while having hit a heavier/harder movement first is most definitely a form of progress.

Let take an obvious example: Let’s say that you run 1 mile, rest 3 minutes, and then deadlit 300lbs for a single. The next time you train, you run 2 miles, rest 3 minute, and can still deadlift 300lbs for a single. Even though the weight didn’t change, the amount of fatigue you had before the lift DID change. You were able to lift the same amount of weight in a more fatigued state, which is to say that, in a less fatigued state, you could lift even more weight.

Thus, if your first lift of the day keeps increasing and you’re also able to still hit your previous lifts on your assistance work, everything is getting stronger.

And of course, this says nothing of the various other methods of progression that don’t directly relate to weight lifted (shorter rest times, faster rep speed, better control/mastery over the weight, increased movement efficiency, etc).


#8

[quote]T3hPwnisher wrote:

I’ve gone YEARS cycling through the same weights on assistance exercises at times. The thing you gotta keep in mind is that that’s all they’re for: assistance. As long as the main lift is going up, the assistance work is working. If your assistance work keeps climbing and your main lift doesn’t, you’re training wrong.

Additionally, consider this: not increasing assistance work while increasing the primary lift IS progressing on assistance work. Being able to maintain the same reps/weight on a movement while having hit a heavier/harder movement first is most definitely a form of progress.

Let take an obvious example: Let’s say that you run 1 mile, rest 3 minutes, and then deadlit 300lbs for a single. The next time you train, you run 2 miles, rest 3 minute, and can still deadlift 300lbs for a single. Even though the weight didn’t change, the amount of fatigue you had before the lift DID change. You were able to lift the same amount of weight in a more fatigued state, which is to say that, in a less fatigued state, you could lift even more weight.

Thus, if your first lift of the day keeps increasing and you’re also able to still hit your previous lifts on your assistance work, everything is getting stronger.

And of course, this says nothing of the various other methods of progression that don’t directly relate to weight lifted (shorter rest times, faster rep speed, better control/mastery over the weight, increased movement efficiency, etc).[/quote]

Quality reply as usual! Man, that first part is spot on. I gotta keep in mind that the only job of the assistance lifts to help bring my primary lifts up for sure! Thanks for the response, I appreciate it as usual!


#9

[quote]isdatnutty wrote:
I guess the assistance exercises are not important to me. But I feel like they should be going up slowly that’s all.
[…]
The goal is to Snatch and C&J more weight. That’s the primary goal. Yes, my snatch and C&J are both increasing weekly and the technique is getting crisper.[/quote]
You really did answer your own question here. You’re on track.


#10

And I don’t really understand your program. Going low rep and heavy on almost all movement is a waste of time to me.

But, if it works for you.


#11

This.

I’ve had dedicated assistance days which worked well for a time but they still followed the general format of

Squat or deadlift variation
Press variation
Upper body pulls

which was how I was training at the time.

Now I find it much more efficient to just do a competition lift or two and a couple of assistance exercises. If you want to fit in more of them I like to do alternating sets. For example: GHR/ weighted dips or db incline press/chest supported rows.

Also, pick maybe two or at most three lower body assistance, a couple of upper body pushes and a couple of upper body pulls. Stick with those. That’ll also leave room for remedial/therapeutic stuff.

Example, my picks:

Lunges, GHR, reverse hyper
Db incline press, weighted dips
Chest supported rows, Kroc rows

Remedial: hammer curls, pull aparts

A typical session for me will go something like:

Comp lift or two
Bench press practice if that wasn’t one of the comp lifts
Lower body assistance, maybe alternating with an upper body pushes
Upper body assistance, maybe a pull or a push/pull alternating if I didn’t alternate the earlier sets
Remedial


#12

[quote]T3hPwnisher wrote:

[quote]isdatnutty wrote:

I guess the assistance exercises are not important to me. But I feel like they should be going up slowly that’s all.

[/quote]

I’ve gone YEARS cycling through the same weights on assistance exercises at times. The thing you gotta keep in mind is that that’s all they’re for: assistance. As long as the main lift is going up, the assistance work is working. If your assistance work keeps climbing and your main lift doesn’t, you’re training wrong.

Additionally, consider this: not increasing assistance work while increasing the primary lift IS progressing on assistance work. Being able to maintain the same reps/weight on a movement while having hit a heavier/harder movement first is most definitely a form of progress.

Let take an obvious example: Let’s say that you run 1 mile, rest 3 minutes, and then deadlit 300lbs for a single. The next time you train, you run 2 miles, rest 3 minute, and can still deadlift 300lbs for a single. Even though the weight didn’t change, the amount of fatigue you had before the lift DID change. You were able to lift the same amount of weight in a more fatigued state, which is to say that, in a less fatigued state, you could lift even more weight.

Thus, if your first lift of the day keeps increasing and you’re also able to still hit your previous lifts on your assistance work, everything is getting stronger.

And of course, this says nothing of the various other methods of progression that don’t directly relate to weight lifted (shorter rest times, faster rep speed, better control/mastery over the weight, increased movement efficiency, etc).[/quote]

This is fucking awesome. I needed to read that.