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Changing 5/3/1 Assistance After 2 Yrs


I was thinking about posting this on bodybuilding forum, but still strength is my priority so maybe this is the right place.

I've been doing 5/3/1 for the last two years. Mostly triumvirate or bodyweight template. I've had great progress with deadlift, good with squat, moderate with bench and almost none with military. I don't really care for the last two, my pressing always sucked and now is still better then ever.

On the other hand this huge disproportion (220kg/484lbs deadlift vs. 110kg/242lbs bench 65kg/143lbs military) is really showing in my physique and I'm starting to look like flying squirrel. At 90kg/190cm i feel I'm definitely to skinny (except my back).

This is what i was thinking of (note that i have a shoulder problem and don't want to press that much so bbb for bench and military is not an option.):

Day 1
Bench Pres 5/3/1 superseted with barebell rows 5/3/1 (not really a hypertrophy thing but i liked an idea when Wendler wrote about it) then dumbell flies 5x10

Day 2
Deadlift 5/3/1, Deadlift BBB, Shrugs, Neck Harness

Day 3
Military Press 5/3/1 supersetted with chin ups, DeFrancoe's shoulder shockers, dips

Day 4
Squat 5/3/1, Abs, Calves

I want to add some direct biceps work (well if I'm going to do calves i might do another facebook muscle too.) but I'm not sure when. Military day?

Any opinions would be appreciate


Original Post: 12:37 pm

I would do BBB Squats as an assistive exercise to add mass. Are you doing chest dips or triceps dips? Can your shoulders handle Incline Bench Pressing or lateral raises? Incline Bench Press makes my chest look bigger.


With curls, Wendler has said something like "do them whenever, they are just curls" -- I would do them on either upper body day, probably the one for which your biceps feel freshest after the rows or pullups.

I also second FX's suggestion of BBB squats.


Mesjasz, there is a lifter who posts a 5/3/1 training blog on wordpress. I don't know if T-Nation forum rules prohibit me from posting a link to it because I cannot locate the rules on this website.

Google "A Stronger Life." He made a great deal of strength and mass gains doing 5/3/1 and he curls a lot.


"I don't really care for the last two, my pressing always sucked and now is still better then ever."

This is obviously the problem, imo. If you don't care/think you suck, you aren't pushing as hard, relative to the lifts you like/feel strong at. The assistance work is secondary to that.

That being said, I've been on 5/3/1 for a bit myself, and have been starting to think I might want more volume on the upper body stuff as well (however that may be because I have the opposite problem as you, relatively strong bench/military and weak squat/deadlift)

And to more directly answer the question, I'd be willing to bet you could do with some more tricep work.



Not really sure, pressing for me is like Russian roulette - one day I'm breaking my PR and everything feels fine, another after really light training I can't move my left arm for three days. Thought that flyes are the best solution for me, but I'm open to different suggestions.

Well, that's the thing - relatively - I have huge quads. They look like taken from different body actually, hence the whole 'doing calves' thing - I'd like to even up things a little bit.

I'm aware of hormonal response and squatting but I wonder if BBB squatting adds a lot more testosterone and hgh then 5/3/1 squatting by itself. If it does I would do it, if not - and only noticeable difference would be adding mass to my glutes and thighs I think it would be better to preserve my CNS for different things.

I did care, had some obsession about my small numbers actually, but my bench when up and down with no reason (at least no reason I did understand) as I had steady progress with squat and deadlift. That changed my attitude, as far as I think nobody should neglect upper body strength, for overall strength squats and deads are far more important. And for me bench press was really an ego thing ("how much do you bench" is pretty universal question all over the world when someone hears that you're lifting weights). Right now I know that what I do I do for myself, and I'm actually really happy that I'm more talented in pulling and squatting. Simplyfing I did push as hard as I could and I still had mediocore results :wink:. Oh well.


Periodisation Bible template


You say that strength is your priority, but your posts are telling a different story. If you wanna do some bodybuilding stuff, go for it. Your strength won't magically go away if you shift your focus temporarily, and unless you're a powerlifter, it shouldn't be a huge deal to you if you lose some poundage on your main lifts, which you probably won't anyway, if you're smart about it.

Also, what's up with the bench/row superset? Maybe your bench will go up if you stop doing stuff between sets and just rest.

With the shoulder problems, hows your bench and military form? It can always get better, and a slight tweak might make things better. Have you actually injured the shoulder before, or is it just a general "my shoulder hurts" thing?

Just my two cents. Take what you will from it, I'm just trying to give a different perspective here.


The original title was "changing 531 assistence after 2 yrs to more hypertrophy-oriented, but was probably too long for the mods.

That's the problem, I've had really shitty period in my life lately, I drunk definitely too much and ate definitely too little and all my lifts went significantly down. I really liked them to at least get back where they were BUT as i said pushing doesn't matter for me that much and front of my body and arms are the places i lack muscle mass (it really looks like all my 90kg are in my back and thigs) so I could compromise strength gains in bench and press (to some degree) for some "vanity training" for those parts.

I always did chins between both military and bench sets (Wendler recommended this in first 531 manual), I don't see problem with that. But I also have to admit that I tried this with rows couple days ago and definitely felt weaker during my last bench set. If I'm going to do this I'm going to put chins in the bench day, and rows in the press day.

I often record myself, and after 2 years I think I'm starting to have decent form. Fact is that shoulder pains are less common since I started to concentrate on tucking elbows. As for injury, I think I might did something when I did 2 years of bodybuilding with really shitty technique and lot of benching (that was 7 years ago, but still.)

And I'm grateful for that. If I wanted be petted on my head and listen how awesome my training ideas are I would ask my girlfriend what she thinks not wrote here.


thanks for that! nice shit