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Best Supplemental Lifts for Leader?

Hey Jim! I’d like to thank you for all the great information you’ve put on this forum, and your own forum! I’ve been able to use it to improve my training and make simplicity of everything lately - which have been much needed for me!
I’m currently running the program shown below, which you’ve been kind enough to approve - With damn good results (I should’ve shut my mind earlier and just do the damn thing).

I was wondering if I could pick on you brain? What would you consider the best or better (I know principles matter) supplemental for each lift during the leader of a program, with strength being the goal - particular 1RM strength (even though I know you dont work with PL anymore or even have the interest). 5x531, SSL, BBS?
I guess you’ll possibly tell me to down each for 6 weeks and evaluate, but the thing is I’d really like to know your thoughts on this.
Thank you for taking the time to read this!

5x5/3/1 isn’t a supplemental program - it’s for the main work.

In general, FSL, SSL, BBB and BBS all work very well. Honestly, the only consideration you need to have is how each supplemental lift fits into the total program. No lift exists by itself so BBB might be great for your squat but doing BBB for the squat may cause problems with your bench press and deadlift. This is why programming is so difficult and why so many people get it wrong. EVERYTHING has a price and you must learn to balance it out. That is why all thing must be considered and why we have basic rules of recovery - the first being proper programming.

So I have no idea - everything works provided you have balance. If in doubt, do 5x5, FSL. Too many people try to fit 1 year of programming into two weeks. Don’t be that guy.

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Thank you for taking the time to answer this Jim! Great response!
I understand what you’re saying, especially with the balancing.

I know 5x531 isnt supplemental, but I guess you wouldn’t do any supplemental along with it.

Would something like this work?

TM: 85%

2 cycles
Jumps - 10
main lift - 5’s Pro for squat and press
Supplemental - 1st cycle: BBS for press and squat, SSL 5x5 for bench and deadlift and then switch it around for the next cycle? Or would you prefer FSL in place of SSL?
Assistance - 0-25 each category
condition - 4 easy, 2 running/bike

7th week deload

1 cycle
Jumps - 20
main lift - 3/5/1 - PR Sets, jokers on week 1+3
Supplemental - FSL 3x5
Assistance - 50-100 each category (easy assistance choices)
condition - 4 easy, 2 running/bike

7th week protocol TM test

could you explain what 5x531 is or is that something from Jim’s private forum (or will it be in the new book)?

Hi Jim

Are you saying that people need to rotate things like FSL, SSL, BBB and BBS simply because one might be better for one lift and another for another lift?

If so, if someone were experienced enough to know that say BBB worked well for squats and FSL for bench, then should they simply do BBB for squats and next session FSL for bench exc rather than applying the BBB / FSL to all lifts for a given cycle?

Also if say BBB works well NOW for squats does that mean it will work well forever or is it just SIMPLER (not necessarily optimal, but simpler) to pick a supplemental program and apply it to all lifts such that over time you get a good mix and should the type of training you require need changing then you get that anyway rather than having to figure out that BBB is no longer working for you and that you now need SSL etc.

Thanks in advance

I found the explanation for 5x5/3/1 in another thread on this forum. Jim mentioned 80% or lower.

Does that mean that the TM should be set to 80% or lower and then do the top set 5x5 for each week? Do you still go for a rep max on the first top set or just do 5x5 straight sets?


As I understand it, it is 5x5 sets straight at the top set, much like bench in Building a Monolith.

I guess you answered this:

Sorry for this - And thank you for the answer!

and TM should be set to 80% or less? or the 5x5 should be 80% or less?

Jim, one thing I’d hope you could help me get answered: Could one still use 3/5/1 with PR sets and NO JOKERS during the leader phase of a training program? With bar speed, the principles and technique in mind the whole time! The doubt comes from your forum topic ‘NPA - PL’ where PR sets should be remembered, and since I’m PL I’d really like to know if I still should train the perfect mix of bulgarian, russian and western model you’ve created :slight_smile:

We never use Jokers in Leader phase. Kind of ruins whole idea of programming. Understand that the Bulgarian model, at least from what is often being touted, isn’t correct. There are physiological effects of their “total program” that are totally dismissed when people try to make some hybrid program. Either you are all in or all out - simple as that.

I totally understand how it ruins the purpose of the leaders, that was why i asked if one could still do the PR sets during the Leader, but with the jokers thrown away - I guess it would depend on what supplemental you’d do, but what supplemental work would allow for PR sets during the leader? - Should it be done as the ‘Never peak Again - Huge write up.’ (If this still holds true for powerlifters)?

Or would you still say that the 5’s Pro is the way to go doing the leader?

Thanks you for answering this! :slight_smile:

Never mind this question… I just reread the Lifer Training: More on Never Peak Again article on your forum. It simply confuses me with the one article saying one thing and the other saying another, and those PR sets makes my day!
Thank you for the great information you keep giving!

One last thing - sorry for my stupidity, but this keeps running in my head!

Would FSL 5x5, 3 assistance categories x25-50 ea. and ‘light’ condition 3x/w, like you detail on your forum, make space for PR sets and still adhere your principles and sub-max training? - Jokers are left for the anchor obviously. Or would this simply be stupid and that fuckup should follow 5’s pro and the supplemental that drives the lift for the leader?

I’d just follow the many, many programs I’ve written for the forum.

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