Yeah, wasn’t really meant to sound like I’m patronizing you or anything, I just meant to clarify that your max can (and should) indeed improve right from the start on 5/3/1. People also should spend some time thinking about their assistance templates, as they can play a big role in boosting your strength on the big 3 beyond what the actual 5/3/1 provides (and I’m personally not too fond of most of Jim’s stock a.t.'s).
That being said, for a very weak/skinny/beginner trainee I’d probably still choose a different routine for faster, non-periodized/planned-out progress and weight gain… If he were up for it.
I’m the exact opposite with regards to the assistance. I know people seem to scoff at the “keep it light” mentality of 5/3/1, but the loading is fairly aggressive[/quote] Compared to? I guess if someone isn’t used to deadlifting for moderate to high reps, then he might feel rather drained from that. (but you’re used to it from DC if I’m not mistaken?) Are you talking about the 10% jump loading parameter table or the 5% one? I don’t dig the 5% thing much, that wears me out far too much before my top set.
[quote] and it is easy to burn yourself out. I’ve seen (natural) trainees have the most success in terms of strength gains using the more abbreviated templates. [/quote] Well, I have 2-3 main assistance exercises per training day in there for people on the standard frequency (EOD with weekends off or similar), but usually with a low-volume approach and usually no more than 1-2 work sets, whatever gets them stronger.
I just like being able to cover areas such as scapular retraction strength via scap rows (heck, so many people are just plain weak in that area), brachialis via pinwheels (I need those for benching actually, if I slack on brachialis strength, my fairly close bench grip gives me trouble/pain on the bicep side of the elbow) and some weighted ab work or rollouts. That plus tricep work (I don’t think you can get even remotely close to your limit in the bench without that, whether you lift raw or equipped… Particularly if you have longer arms… Long-armed guys also may need a bit more in the ways of delt assistance than just laterals).
Now, on deadlift day, if my trainee does conv. deads or sumo deads and he’s a raw lifter, I have him do some quad work as assistance, and on squat day he gets some ham/low-back assistance stuff. Just 1 exercise usually, plus whatever else you do on leg day (I still have them do whatever curls they do on lower days before squats or after deads, plus the ab work).
It’s really not much if you consider that he’s training as such a low frequency… The assistance work in combination with the main stuff basically means that the trainee will hit the whole body more or less at DC frequency, 3 times in 2 weeks… Or just at regular frequency if recovery is really an issue/for very strong guys (has not yet been necessary).
The 5x10 low weight straight set thing isn’t something I’m personally all that fond of, but everbody has their own preferences, and I let guys do whatever they want for sets/reps on assistance work as long as it allows them to make progress without accumulating too much systematic fatigue. That can be regular BB ramping with large weight-jumps to a top set or several non-failure sets at the same weight or whatever…
I can see how someone trying to stay in a weight-class and thus perhaps eating a little less than is good for their progress (and perhaps not deloading often enough… Seems to be a common theme as everybody thinks they’re the reincarnation of Hercules, and that as long as they’re still making some progress, everything is fine), maybe also having somewhat messy sleep patterns etc might end up burning out… But if those areas are covered? I dunno man, 5/3/1 (with the 10% table) doesn’t feel draining to me at all.
I wouldn’t add 5 assistance exercises per day or anything like that, but recovery-wise, a 5/3/1 main exercise is basically not too different from the same exercise being done with a standard bb ramp (only slightly more demanding perhaps as the weights are closer together, even on the 10 percent table) for me…
Something like say the main lift and then two assistance exercises using 5 straight sets of 10, increasing the poundages on assistance every cycle or so.[/quote]
Well, here’s an example of a template I have several guys on that has been working well thus-far:
-Tricep assistance, either Dead Stop Extensions or some such, or In-Humans/SWRGB/Pin CGP/JM Presses (perhaps even in the HS Incline or similar, thanks for making me aware of that variant btw) -> whatever allows you to keep the shoulders out of the exercise to a good degree. If you’re a skinny long-armed guy though, then Power-squat push-presses or some such exercise that covers both the tris and the delts may be done instead…
Gotta work to balance out the shitty leverages after all…
-Back assistance (1-2 exercises, depends on the trainee’s needs, at least one of those exercises will be done with a focus on scap retraction. If he chose extensions for the tris, then back stuff is done before his tri work… I also like rack chins better than regular pullups for many people, particularly the guys who are really heavy already… Easier on my elbows and easier to progress on when using a low frequency imo, plus easier to get your lat size to a point where it makes a real difference on the bench… I do have high lat attachments though and always had to find alternative ways to bring these suckers out… Pullups never did shit for me)
(-laterals? If he wants to… Or inverted rows/face pulls perhaps)
(if the lifter goes with CGP’s or Pin presses as main 5/3/1 movement, then of course instead of tri assistance he gets to do off-the-chest strength or pec assistance)
-DL/sumo/whatever 5/3/1. Between that and kroc rows, I think grip should be ok as well as trap size… Though of course one can make whatever changes are necessary in case any of those areas happen to be weak-points of the lifter.
-Pinwheels or some bicep-focused curl instead, your call…
-Quad assistance (hack machine, leg presses, whatever… Even leg extensions if you feel too drained or you’re an equipped, wide-stance squatter and just don’t care too much about your quads).
-Ab assistance (weighted or rollout-type, both if your abs are weak)
-Tri work, whatever area he didn’t cover on bench day (i.e. extensions or presses)
-Back assistance (1-2 exercises, depends, and that’s usually rows and vertical pulling… No rack pulls)
(-laterals in case he wants to)
-Either a bicep-focused curl, or Pinwheels (whatever he didn’t do on DL day, and done first so he can do them some justice… Not like those would actually interfere with ones’ ability to squat heavy)
-Back/Front/Box/whatever Squat 5/3/1 (for raw lifters, that’s basically your quad exercise of the day as well as the main movement)
-Ham/low back assistance exercise (anything he feels up to, from reverse hyper or GH raises to GM’s or SLDL’s… If he does something that doesn’t include the low back, then we usually don’t add any low-back work in unless low-back strength is a weak point)
So that’s it… Quite manageable from what I can tell. Just an example template of course.
Lifters usually deload every third week, but can skip the deload every other time or so if they want. I usually don’t have them go longer than 2 cycles without a deload though… Assistance exercises are deloaded either on deload week or during wave 3 if the lifter likes that better.
Protein intake stays high unless there’s some trouble with staying in the weight-class…
(I’m not claiming to be a major authority on PL assistance templates, mind you, I just happened to create a few for myself which worked well and others wanted me to share them… And ended up liking them too, so yeah)