T Nation

Best Wendler Impersonation: Drop Sets in 5/3/1 Accessory Work?


One thing becomes apparent lurking in the T-Nation forums: there are a lot of posters who fancy themselves to be experts on the various programs available by the authors here.

And, occasionally, an author will support an answer in a thread with a "this" or some other similar endorsement; which is cool, because it benefits a lot of people and saves these guys a lot of time (other than the reading) answering questions.

I've read enough of the 5/3/1 threads to know there are some very knowledgeable people here who could answer questions in their best Jim Wendler-like voice.

So, here it is:

While maintaining JW's recommendation of 5 sets of 10 reps, would using drop sets but maintaining the equivalent volume (reps x sets) be a worthwhile addition? Or would this work against the spirit of the program and be counterproductive?

For example:
Perform three as straight sets of 10 reps
Perform a double drop set for last two sets (10 reps, lower the weight and no rest, 10 reps)

Perform two as straight sets of 10 reps
Perform a triple drop set for remaining three sets



What you do is buy the book.

Follow the book for at least 6 months.

Heck, he even provides a spreadsheet, you just go to the gym, lift weights, eat lots of food and get some good rest.

After six months of that, you will not ask questions, as you will know the answer.



who is that in your avatar?


NOT this...

Its ACCESSORY work--do enough to keep your mind and body strong...as long as you adhere to the basic tenets of 5-3-1 (i.e. the big lifts and not being a vag), then do whatever accessory work you feel helps you meet your goals...


Doesn't matter.

If you did nothing but work up to...

350 paused bench
500 below parallel squat
250 strict press
550 deadlift
bodyweight + 100 for chins and dips

...you'd be one large, strong individual.

Odds are, you'd need to tip the scales north of 220lbs to get to these numbers and you'd be larger and stronger than 99% of people walking the earth.

All the little filler exercises don't really do shit for you. Wendler just put them in the program because he knows people are OCD and want to do them.

Look at his logs, he sticks to a handful of basics and blasts the shit out of them. That's all that's really needed.


Accessory work has been a great way for me to see progress. Since starting 5/3/1 all of my numbers on accessory work are climbing as well, so I get to see the carry over effect from week to week.


We said the same thing....


IMO, accessory work should be entirely needs-based to hit weaknesses in the heavier compound movements(ie if you don't need it atm to progress, then don't worry about it). It doesn't matter if the accessory work is isolation or compound exercises, whatever works.




See, now I have to respectfully disagree here. VTBalla34's answer was open to further discussion and moved the thread forward; it gave consideration to the idea of accessory work as a means to an end. Yours came across as dismissive and as helpful as sand in your swim trunks. That's possibly a result of the way it was written and not necessarily your intention; hard to discern helpful thread contributor from trolling schmuck sometimes.

Clearly, you meant it to be helpful if you think your reply and VTBalla34's were essentially the same. That's cool, then; we're all heading in the same direction.


Does she really need a name?


Maybe more to the point would be: Where can I find more of her?


From your post, you have not read the 5/3/1. You have browsed snippets here and there.

The BEST thing you can do for yourself is buy the book. Dirt cheap and under $19 for us Canadians.

Why? The book answered your question.

Here is a quote for you

The 5/3/1 philosophy is more important than the sets and reps. Whenever I feel like Iâ??m getting sidetracked or want to try something different, I revisit these rules to make sure Iâ??m doing things the right way. Even if you decide this program isnâ??t for you, these basic tenets have stood the test of time. Take these things to heart, and youâ??ll be greatly rewarded. JW

He gave you a fish.

I told you to get the damn manual so you can educate yourself and learn the whole premise, not another snippet. Not only would you learn the right way, you would learn all about assistance work.



Christ on a donkey...

Yes, I own the book.

You are missing the point. It's brainstorming. It's a discussion in a training forum about training. 5/3/1 is the base; nobody is trying to fuck with that. And whatever accessory work one does is simply a matter of preference or goals.

If the basic tenets were all that were necessary, these wouldn't exist:













Or these options:
Boring But Big (most popular)
Triumvirate (smart man's program)
I am Not Doing Jack Shit (not recommended)
Periodization Bible
Bodyweight (less body stress, more athletic)
Bodybuilder (from Men's Fitness)