T Nation

Assistant Exercises for Squat


#1

Afternoon all,

I've been following the 5/3/1 program religiously for the past four months and I'm enjoying the growth and new-found strength a lot. I've been following the "Triumvirate" variation provided in the 5/3/1 article and I've been supplementing the squats with Front Squats and DB Rear Lunges. The Front Squats are progressing fine, but I'm afraid I'm going to plateau soon with the DB lunges due to a combination of leg fatigue and grips.

I've been working on my grips during the deadlift day with Farmer Walks, so it's been helping with the lunges, but I'm wondering if I should switch to a barbell soon or just keep progressing with the dumbbells until I hit the max weight my gym offers.

Any suggestions, even to drink a cup of concrete and harden up with the lunges, would be appreciated. I haven't gone this heavy with my lunges in the past and I'm treading this new territory carefully due to injuries.


#2

I like good mornings. Good complement to front squats as they target the areas the front squat doesn’t.


#3

Single leg work is incredibly underrated, if grip becomes a limiting factor you could switch to straps if you enjoy dumbbells over a barbell. As for myself I have also enjoyed the barbell over the dumbbells, with the barbell I’m able to stay tighter and keep a straight back easier.


#4

[quote]Mike PVD wrote:
Single leg work is incredibly underrated, if grip becomes a limiting factor you could switch to straps if you enjoy dumbbells over a barbell. As for myself I have also enjoyed the barbell over the dumbbells, with the barbell I’m able to stay tighter and keep a straight back easier.[/quote]

I’m with Mike, I find the barbell easier on my back than carrying dumbbells over time, especially since you are already doing farmers walk.


#5

Thanks gents. I’ll try the barbell once I notice my weight plateauing in the future. I agree though, Mike, I’m a huge fan of unilateral exercises myself.


#6

Reckon you are better off using the time to get more squats in.


#7

[quote]tsantos wrote:
Reckon you are better off using the time to get more squats in.[/quote]

What do you mean?


#8

[quote]jon.chigges wrote:

[quote]tsantos wrote:
Reckon you are better off using the time to get more squats in.[/quote]

What do you mean?[/quote]

Are you aiming to improve your DB lunge as that’s what you’ve listed as reaching a plateau?

If not and you’re more concerned about your squat, I think your squat is best served by squatting rather than lunging.


#9

I see what you mean. My squats have been steadily improving with no sign of plateauing. So, I suppose I should just do what I can with the lunges and don’t worry about it too much since they’re just an assistance exercise. That’s kind of what you’re getting at?


#10

[quote]jon.chigges wrote:
I see what you mean. My squats have been steadily improving with no sign of plateauing. So, I suppose I should just do what I can with the lunges and don’t worry about it too much since they’re just an assistance exercise. That’s kind of what you’re getting at?[/quote]

“Squat more if you want a better squat” is a tried and true response to “How to improve my squat?”

What I have found to be most important is pick a program that you love and truly enjoy or you will be more likely to become disenchanted with your time in the gym. So if lunges are your thing than do lunges, last time I checked lunges build tremendous legs so they’re probably helping.


#11

When you do lunges do you push into the ground or pull through your heel? When I started pulling through my heel I had to drop the weight to about 25% off what I could do. It really smokes the posterior chain and helps with exploding out of the bottom of a squat. It could be a way to keep progressing your squat while also continuing to use lunges as a good assistance exercise.


#12

Just treat assistance work as it is - assistance. There’s really no need to periodize it. Keep the volume and weights the same on the assistance work until there is an actual need to change it. Remember, don’t let assistance work detract from the main goal.


#13

[quote]BillyHayes wrote:
When you do lunges do you push into the ground or pull through your heel? When I started pulling through my heel I had to drop the weight to about 25% off what I could do. It really smokes the posterior chain and helps with exploding out of the bottom of a squat. It could be a way to keep progressing your squat while also continuing to use lunges as a good assistance exercise.[/quote]

I do rear lunges, if that makes a difference?


#14

[quote]jon.chigges wrote:
Afternoon all,

I’ve been following the 5/3/1 program religiously for the past four months and I’m enjoying the growth and new-found strength a lot. I’ve been following the “Triumvirate” variation provided in the 5/3/1 article and I’ve been supplementing the squats with Front Squats and DB Rear Lunges. The Front Squats are progressing fine, but I’m afraid I’m going to plateau soon with the DB lunges due to a combination of leg fatigue and grips.

I’ve been working on my grips during the deadlift day with Farmer Walks, so it’s been helping with the lunges, but I’m wondering if I should switch to a barbell soon or just keep progressing with the dumbbells until I hit the max weight my gym offers.

Any suggestions, even to drink a cup of concrete and harden up with the lunges, would be appreciated. I haven’t gone this heavy with my lunges in the past and I’m treading this new territory carefully due to injuries.[/quote]

By FAR the most important assistance work for the squat is abdominal/low back work. This is not even debatable. Lunges and front squats are nice but pointless if you can’t do basic movements with your trunk. This is not a sexy response and I’m sure 99% of people will ignore it, but it’s the truth.

A strong man is strong in the middle.


#15

[quote]Jim Wendler wrote:

By FAR the most important assistance work for the squat is abdominal/low back work. This is not even debatable. Lunges and front squats are nice but pointless if you can’t do basic movements with your trunk. This is not a sexy response and I’m sure 99% of people will ignore it, but it’s the truth.

A strong man is strong in the middle.
[/quote]

Jim,

What do you think of someone doing a specialization template focused on abs/low back, structured in the kind of way the beach body template is structured, but with a performance goal for good mornings & leg raises or something?