T Nation

Assistance Work Reps for Hypertrophy


I’m doing an upper lower split focusing on the 4 main lifts.
Monday deadlift.
Tuesday overhead press.
Thursday squat.
Friday bench press.

I then do one supplemental lift on each of those days to work on a weak point for the main lift for 4-6 reps

After that I move on to assistance movements isolating muscles involved. How should I go about treating the rep ranges?

Jim Wendler recommends doing two to three sets of 10 to 20 reps to failure to pump the muscle up and stimulate hypertrophy.

Do you think this rep range is too high and should I focus on between 6 and 10 Reps to failure for the isolation movements?

Thank you


It likely doesn’t matter, anything from 6 to 20 will work if you go to failure. And 2-3 sets is right. You don’t even have to worry about progressive overload since you are taking care of that with the first 2 exercises, just create a lot of local fatigue in the target muscle. Go with a weight/reps that allow you to get the best mix of mind-muscle connection and load.


Ok this is exactly what I was wondering. Thank you for the answer


Personally I like to do 8-10 for the isolated assistance. Lighter than that I get less of a mind-muscle connection, it feels like the muscles are not contracting as hard even if I’m squeezing and more weight than that I lose the mind-muscle connection again because I compensate with other muscles or slight position changes. But everybody is different.


I feel 8 to 10 would be good for me too. I just didn’t want to go too heavy where I start to interfere with progress on the main lifts.


How do you feel about the maximum overload training principles where everything is done in the 4 to 6 rep range?
Probably good for the compound movements but not so good for the isolation movements for the reasons you stated earlier about mind muscle connection?


Right, you know, if someone can get a good mind muscle connection doing heavy sets of 4 and 6 on isolation work they can definitely go for it. I personally can do that on pecs, quads, traps and hams. But not for biceps, triceps, delts and lats. But it is likely an individual thing.