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Favorite Assistance Work?

I’ll start off with a caveat: I’m a 50 year old hunk of gorgeousness who has only been lifting for just over two years so I know the sum total of fuck all and I appreciate the knowledge on this site very much. Well done you lot.

I was wondering what everyone’s favourite assistance exercises are and why.

I have done Lying L-Flys since I started and I’m convinced these are the reason I have never had any shoulder issues. I do 100 reps once a week only using 5.5lbs.

My second favourite is Wrist Curls / Rolls. I’m not sure if its the correct terminology. Basically I have 16.5lbs attached to a rope, rope to a 2" pole and roll them up and down vertically for 50 reps once a week, arms held straight down. I think this is great for grip work and my forearms could smash a hole in a brick wall they are so hard from lactic acid afterwards.

Thanks for your indulgence meatheads.

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I’m not a powerlifter so I don’t really think in terms of assistance work, but I do sort of think in terms of primary, secondary, etc. A primary lift is generally has a higher skill component, is done heavier for fewer reps, and is more about a movement pattern, whereas a secondary lift would have a lower skill component (maybe a machine rather than free weights) and is something I will go a higher reps, shorter rest, concentrating on feel and burn.

So like a heavy dumbell press would be a primary lift, an incline on the Smith would be a secondary. I might hit a heavy 4x8 on the dumbbell press, followed by 3x15 on the Smith. The dumbbell press is done with super slow eccentrics, paused contractions, etc., whereas the Smith press is all about getting some lactic acid in there so the reps are faster and the rest periods are timed at a minute or two.

Dunno if that’s the sort of advice you’re looking for, but it’s how I approach things.


Interesting perspective Yogi. I see what you’re doing there. I watched a Louis Simmons youtube the other night training fellas on the bench using 50% with 25% bands with high speed reps at volume. Thought that was a novel way to go about it and obviously works. I guess you’re more of a body builder?

I’ve no idea what I am training, just do the four compounds once each week with some assistance work based upon progression. Auld Arse Strength I suppose :slight_smile:

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Dumbbell rows, barbell rows, lat pulldowns, pullups, inverted rows.

Dips, pushups, tricep extensions and tricep pushdowns.

Goblet squats and split squats.

Plus probably worth adding a few rear delt flys and lateral raises.


My primary exercises are the Trap Deadlift, Press, and Weighted Chin Up

My ‘‘secondary’’ exercises (or assistance) are GHRs, Reverse Hypers, Back Extensions, Lunges, Dips and Face Pulls. I also do Boxing and BJJ.

If I had to pick my favorite one, it would be Back Extensions because it’s very easy to set up and not too taxing, the lower back pump feels great too. The most useful? Probably rolling around with a BJJ dummy, takes care of cardio, mobility, joints, etc.

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GHR, reverse hyper, various forms of rows and pull downs. Farmers walks and Prowler work can double as assistance and conditioning for me as well.

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Bulgarian Split Squats. They fucking suck donkey dick, but they hit the quads and glutes like nothing else I’ve ever tried.


Ring bodyweight work: ring dips, ring rows, inverted ring shrugs, ring chin ups, ring push ups, ring fall outs.

Other staples: seated face pulls, weight vest squats, KB swings, neck harness.

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For my first cycle(s) of 5/3/1, I’ve been sticking to the “basics” for assistance.

Dips, db presses, chins, db rows, delt raises, face pulls, sldls, leg presses, cable crunches, lunges.

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Face pulls and hip thrusts because who doesn’t appreciate healthy shoulders and a donk?


Incline barbell press, barbell row, SLDL, and belted squatcomiment the big four nicely

I’ve yet to try them but I heard that contra-loaded ones (i.e. holding a DB in your left hand while the right leg squats) are even more gluteal. I see Terry Hollands does them this way.

In my current program, my ‘primary’ movements are BB press, BB squat, BB bench, BB deadlift and chinup. My ‘accessory’ movements are 1 arm DB press, DB row, Zercher squat, dip, BB row and front squat. I’m doing a few 5/3/1 density cycles with a primary giant set followed by an accessory giant set, with chinups done every primary giant set and alternating press/squat and bench/dead, followed by a short (~20 minute) conditioning session.

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