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BBB: Supersetting Main Lifts/Supplemental Lifts with Assistance Work?

Hey guys.

When reading over the assistance section for 531 BBB in Forever (page 57), Jim mentions it’d be a good idea to superset pulling work with the pressing movements, i.e. Bench Press then superset some bicep curls.

My questions are:

  1. When is it okay to superset? Can I start after my first main lift set? Or should I save my energy and superset only during BBB sets?

  2. Can I do the same with Squats and Deadlifts? Superset Squats with a pull and Deadlifts with a push?

  3. Jim mentions to do light-ish types of assistance work like tricep pushdowns or curls. Due to this, I’ve been staying away from doing pull-ups/chin-ups. Am I being too careful here? I do like pull-ups/chin-ups.

3a. Thoughts on programming some Good mornings/Romanian Deadlifts into 531 BBB?


You can superset even starting with the warmups. If you are doing 5’s PRO, I superset all the way through the warm ups, main lifts, and supplemental sets. If it’s a “+” week like on an anchor, I will often only superset on the supplemental if I’m going for a PR.


I don’t know where this is mentioned. You should be smart with assistance and how it fits in with your program/ability/goals. So, for some, doing weighted pull ups is impossible, while for others supersetting it with squats works fine.

I think you could do these as supplemental lifts for DL day. So, instead of BBB for DL’s, you could do romanian deads.

Thank you for your response, @antiquity !

Those were really useful replies. I’ll begin programming my supersets into my warm-ups and main sets.

Is 5’s PRO where you do 5 reps for main lifts without “+”? If so, that’s currently what I’m doing.

When you do your assistance work, do you work on the muscles that were targeted on that day? Like more chest work on bench day? An example week could look like:

Squat day - quads(push) with biceps(pull) work
Bench day - chest(push) with lat(pull) work
DL day - hamstrings(pull) with triceps(push) work
OHP day - shoulders(pull/push) with something

Or is the main sets and 5x10 BBB sets already enough to blast those muscle groups and I should focus on other muscles for that day?

Sorry for the large wall of questions. Really appreciate it again!

Think he’s already given you your answer by placing dips and chins as something to superset on lower days but counting rdls as supplemental.

I do BPA, rows and dumbell sldl on my bench day. Extra chest between benches would be catastrophic for me, in a couple of ways. Btw I don’t do 4 days a week so don’t copy the sldls.

Ah yeah, that’s true, cheers!

So I should focus other muscle groups after my main/supplemental lifts.

What’s BPA?

Band pull aparts. Assistance is a way to sort out weaknesses but shouldn’t interfere with the main lift. Is it better to do some pushdowns or bench a little more? Err on the side of caution, BBB is a lot of work.

Okay cheers! And that’s fair. I think since I’m still in my infancy with the program, the weights are light so I’ve yet to feel the true brutality of BBB.

Hey Tails, just reading over this reply again, I was wondering what do you do on your Squat/DL/OHP days, generally?

Thanks man!

Oh balls, I really don’t want to subject the world to my skewed programming. Atm I have just started doing 3 days a week as the clocks have gone back in the UK, which means I’ll get less opportunity for outdoor fitness. Before this I was doing limited time template. I’m taking this time to play with the combination template as I’m having some mobility issues with my lower back. Otherwise I’d be jumping straight back on beyond 1.1 from this site. Also, I travel with work so I’m changing it about, regularly.

Mon is BBB with bench. Assistance as above
Wed is box squats with rdl. Dips and chins are supsetted.
Fri is OHP with bbs. Face pulls, ab roll outs and curls are ss.
All, this means that if I travel wed I’ll do lower on tue or Thurs and adjust assistance. Same if I run, cycle or climb. This is just a learning time for me.

I recommend the beyond 1.1-1.3 templates on the site. They will set you up to know what works for you. I blew 1.3 by choosing to do too much, I learnt from it. 1.2 was the sweet spot for me. Didn’t feel taxing but all lifts shot up. I’ve based all my numbers on that as a guide.

Thanks man, was looking for some ideas and this helped a ton!

Happy to help, but please take my programming with a pinch of salt, due my lower back issue which rdls seem great for.

Check out wendlers ugss videos on you tube, he talks about coaching krypteia to the HS team. Gives great insight to how he prioritises different assistance and why. And also what areas he is cautious about i.e bar speed on the big lifts

  1. I do this by not doing a true superset, for example bench day I do about 10 sets total, warmup to 5’s Pro weight followed by 5 sets of some reps for supplemental. I do 5 sets of lat pulldowns so I kind of have 2-1 ratio of superset. Yes its more pushing than pulling but I make up for it a bit later in the workout.

  2. Squats and deads I tend to superset something a bit easier

  3. There are a few ways to do this but here is what makes most sense regarding your other questions. Do pullups/rows as part of your supersetting with bench/OHP and DONT count it as assistance. I’m not doing a particular 531 template but I treat pulldowns and barbell rows as equal movements to bench/OHP meaning they are primary lifts not assistance.