T Nation

Different Assistance Exercises on 1st/2nd Days


I just finished reading through all of DeFranco's whole ask questions column and I read a q and a regarding doing a 2nd lower body day if one wanted to one during the week. In DeFranco's answer he gives a sample template for a 2nd lower body day and notes: choose exercises from the list that you DIDN'T perform on your 1st lower body day.

So, since on the 2nd lower body day I am supposed to choose lower body assistance exercises from the List that I didn't do on my my 1st lower body day, I am wondering if whether or not for the 2nd upper body I am supposed to choose assistance exercises from the list that I didn't do on my 1st upper body day.

Also, I am not sure why the 2nd lower body day assistance exercises are supposed to be different from the 1st lower body day assistance exercises. Does it have something to do with preventing burnout?


  1. No. You can do the same exercises for upper body twice a week, although the rep ranges will differ.
  2. Yes, it is mainly to get variety and prevent burnout/overtaxing the joints in a particular way.

The real issue is you "reading through all of DeFranco's whole ask questions column". I think everybody on this board made it clear to you that you tend to overthink things. You already know way too much at this point and it paralyses you - why the hell would you add more to the pile?!?

PS Did you finally start training?


All you have to do, is pick an exercise from the list. That's ALL. Stop over analyzing it. Stop analyzing it at all. Just pick an exercise and do it.


Yes, I have been trying the W4SB program for about a month now. I am starting to feel significantly stronger and while I know that muscle mass builds at a slower rate compared to building muscular strength, my muscles are actually starting to look somewhat bigger and when I flex my muscles they apparently feel denser than before I started this program. Nevertheless, I would like to learn as much as I can as I go along with training in this program.


DeFranco is teaching you with his program and you are not listening. Do the program for 3 months, and listen to your body.

Don't ask the difference between Max and dynamic effort. Learn it by doing and listening.

You went thru the whole q&a and did not see the answer to your question. You didnt have to, it is explained very well in the actual program. It would have taken you two seconds to figure it out if you we're actually doing the program and learning.

Weare not tired of answering your questions, we are tired of telling you the same thing.

Go back to all your questions and you will see that pattern.


Then, why doesn't everybody else stop asking anymore questions on what exercises to do, concepts on strength and/or conditioning, or articles, and what have you and learn by just working on a "proven" program?


Because not everybody does what they SHOULD do. Everybody else should do exactly what you just said. But they don't. We can't stop them, but you do see a pattern of most people on this forum saying "try this proven program instead of your own made-up one" most of the time. We often tell others exactly what we keep telling you.

Regarding your questions. 1) No, you can do the same lifts on upper body 2) Lower body was originally kept to once a week because DeFranco felt newbs may not be able to recover from heavy lower body work 2x a week in addition to training camp practices 5-6x a week. The extra variety--i.e. his advice to "do different exercises from the first leg workout"--is to keep variety in there and help guard against repetitive stress in a movement during a stressful training accumulation phase.


Hmm...I see. Well, then I guess I am not the most crazy and obsessed member on Tnation. Lol. So your saying that most of the people who have posted on the Tnation forum whether it be in the beginner section, combat section, powerlifting section, bodybuilding, Olympic weightlifting section, bigger stronger leaner section, Meadows section, Thibaudeau section, injuries and rehab section, etc. have been over thinking like me?

With regard to doing the same upper body exercises twice a week, you're saying that doing that would not put excess repetitive stress in a movement compared to doing the same lower body exercises twice a week? Why can newbs recover from doing two moderate to heavy upper body workout per week better than recover from doing two lower body workouts per week?




Many, many people. Yes. Although I was referring specifically to the Beginner's section since that is where it is most rampant. It occurs in most forums at different levels, some not very much, but most beginners are by far the worst. I would not say "most people"--nor did I say that. I said most people giving advice on this forum (Beginner's). But yes overthinking happens and it happens most often by people in your shoes with your level or lack of experience--Beginner's and BSL forums to be specific, although that does not prevent it from being in all the other forums. Some of the questions Thibaudeau fields are mindblowing.

We are not singling you out.

Not just newbs. Remember Defranco's program is geared for competitive athletes most of all. That's the population he wrote the program for. It works fantastically with other populations as well, but the training considerations are for athletes.

Athletes have 5-7 field practices a week. Every day, sometimes twice a day, and then games on top of that. The lower body takes an absolute pounding when you are running suicides or doing tackling drills, blocking drills, scrimmages, or running 400m in track practice every day. Or wrestling. The upper body does not take near the strain that the lower body does in contact sports unless it's wrestling.

Newbs can recover from 2 leg workouts a week. Newbs running sprints in team practice 5 days a week, plus tackling/blocking/wrestling/hitting....not so much.


I see. So it's the beginners and the BSL people on this site who you were mainly referring to. Yet, you're saying that the overanalyzing happens somewhat in all the other forum sections of TNation as well. Now that I realized this, I believe that this problem has been happening on forums of other websites too like bodybuilding.com, RossTraining.com, Elitefts.com, etc. Also, I appreciate you saying that I am not being singled out.

I know that it works with other populations as well. I was just trying to specifically refer to newbs doing this program. In any case, I didn't think that the upper body take less strain overall than that of the lower body in contact sports because I thought that the conditioning exercises such as the one listed in DeFrancos W4SB II including: all the ones on strongman conditioning day, the push-up variations, and the prowler exercises make the the upper body as heavily involved as the lower body in terms of conditioning.

Plus, what about the fact that contact sport athletes such as football or rugby players need to have there upper body well conditioned for pushing and tackling, or even combat athletes such boxers, kick boxers, MMA fighters, who need to have excellent upper body conditioning?


Admittedly, with guys like wrestlers things DO get a little tricky since their sports practice taxes their upper body strength. With guys like football players, however - who I believe were the primary audience for WSFSB -, most of the offseason program - the full program is not meant to be done in season - consists of running drills. And any kind of weighted carry will also primarily affect the lower body.

We should be clear on one thing: technically, the lower body extends up to the bottom of the rib cage as far as most upper/lower splits are concerned. Why? Because things like squats and deadlifts also tax the abs, spinal erectors and spine heavily, which is why you do ab exercises on LB days with WSFSB.

Anyway, the bottom line is: it's a very well-written program by a very smart and experienced coach. All of the things you are confused about - why to change exercises here, why to keep them the same there etc - happen for a reason. The thing is: explaining every bit of reasoning behind it will take up enough space to fill a novel - it will also be unnecessary.

You do not need to understand all of it for it to work; your muscles will react to the stimulus even though your brain can't explain why. Which is why I hope you do not have too many questions left since, frankly speaking, I simply do not feel like answering all of them till the cows come home. Neither, I assume, does anyone else. No offence. :wink:


If they had any sense at all that's exactly what they would do, but because they are doing the same thing you are and are looking for the magic program, rep scheme, or exercise instead of just fucking lifting and putting in the work they continue to spin their wheels. If you had put in the same effort to your lifting and diet as you have trying to read every program and word written about it you might have something to show for it.


I will also echo that I have never seen anyone that is big or strong ask these sort of questions, whereas I have seen a lot of small and weak people ask these very same questions.

If your goal is to get bigger and stronger, I would imagine you would want to emulate those that have accomplished it, rather than those who have not.


That all sounds good, but I don't think that you can just emulate those who succeeded in getting bigger and stronger, because you don't know if what he or she has done only works out for him or herself. Also, everyone's has different genetics so one who has good or great genetics in building muscle, strength, and power can get away with not following most of the rules, guidelines, and methods with regard to building strength, size, and power. However, someone who has poor or even average genetics for building such abilities would have to follow most if not virtually all of the right rules, guidelines, and methods to building those things.


We KNOW you can emulate successful people to reach similar gains. Stop stopping yourself. The old "Success leaves clues" is tried and proven. Also, words are important here. This is not a "follow to the letter" saying.

Genetics?? Really?? Genetics is an edge at elite levels, not a starting point.

You remind me of someone that sits in the car of his dreams, with the owners manual in hand, then asks the salesperson if it's ok to warm up for 3 minutes instead of two, as the book says.... Just put the keys in and drive.



I don't feel like you are in a position to say what is and is not good for getting bigger and stronger due to your limited success.


End of thread



I took a bodybuilding class during the summer of last year and my weightlifting instructor was actually a track and field athlete who specialized in the 110 metre hurdles and came close to being in the Olympics. He has been a coach for college tracks and field athletes, mainly those who train in the hurdles, and he still has the body and strength of a pro hurdler or sprinter. However, when I train in his bodybuilding class, for someone he has us do 4-5 sets of 12-15 reps on all of our weightlifting exercises. I did this for about 8 weeks and was getting bigger to some extent, with significant gains in muscular endurance; however I made very little to no gains in strength (I later realized that it was because working with weights within your 12-15 RM per set doesn't illicit significant gains strength even for those with novice levels of strength.

Now that understand the principles and metholodogy behind proven program such as W4SB, Starting Strength, 5/3/1, etc., I don't know why my instructor had us doing 12-15 reps on all of our exercises when he should had us doing during a given week, at least a few exercises within the 6-10 RM range and at least one max lift exercise each for the upper body and the lower body that is done within the 3-5 RM range.