T Nation

Bodyweight with NOV


Hi all,

I understand that the most annoying posts/threads are those asking about assistance templates however I've just bought and read the book and have decided to do my first cycle of 5/3/1.

My background in training involves basic barbell lifts using programs like Hepburn's "A routine" and Starting Strength. I have also spent a lot of time doing bodyweight movements, with programs such as convict conditioning and Charles Bronson's Solitary Fitness.

My goals are to increase strength in every aspect of the word so I'm eager to continue building up in my bodyweight movements and barbell movements while keeping my conditioning and mobility optimal. I know that sounds like a lot. A side-goal is to increase muscle mass, not too bothered about fat, though don't just want to be a fat powerlifter.

After my really long winded post, my question is, do you think using the North Of Vag "template" with the bodyweight assistance template will be optimal for achieving my goals?

And also, my gym has no access to a GHR machine, is there an exercise I can substitute this for? I've looked into "natural glute ham raises" using a slight push-up at the bottom and also cable/band pull throughs.

Thanks for your time in advance and sorry for the long winded post!


Just do a basic 3 or 4 day a week 5/3/1 template, FSL sets at 3-5x5 and then pick one or two bodyweight movements as "small" assistance work. Do prowler work 2 days a week and mobility work 5 days a week minimum, just something you will do consistently.

Examples of bodyweight movements:

Bench - Dips or pushups and Chins
Press - Dips or pushups and Chins
Squat - "Bulgarian" split squats

Deadlifts don't really have a killer bodyweight assistance movement that I can think of right off.

Example day:

-Squat: Push last set hard until bar speed slows considerably
-FSL sets: 5x5 keeping bar speed up
-Split squats: 3-5 sets of 10-20 reps depending on your current skill level
-Ab movement of some sort

Treat upper body days the same as above. Remember that 5/3/1 works best when you truly dedicate yourself to your main sets. Lastly, try to set specific goals rather than general desires like "getting stronger". If you squat 315, set a goal for 325 and a date in which to achieve that goal. Then set another goal after that.

Good luck.


Thankyou very much for the reply, would you suggest maybe using BBB instead of FSL and then using bodyweight assistance afterwards? I feel like this would be more beneficial for hypertrophy as well as building my strength up but if I'm wrong then tell me!

Thank you for the goal setting comment also


Glad I could be of some help. You could do BBB instead of FSL if you wanted. FSL, to me, gives you a bit of size and strength combined, while the bodyweight movements can be done for added hypertrophy. For instance, doing dips with a slow eccentric, a hold at the bottom and no lockout would probably add some size.

That is just my preference. If you think BBB will be what gets you excited to train, then do that instead. BBB won't help much in the strength department, in my opinion, but again, do what is exciting to you. Dedication and consistency is what makes a good program successful, not the details.

And remember, no 5/3/1 variation works forever. So do 12 weeks of BBB if you want, then 12 weeks of FSL, then 12 weeks of something else. Just be consistent for at least 6 weeks before changing things up.


Thanks a lot for your help, i'll stick with FSL for now then switch to BBB further down the line.