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Finding Balance in Supersetting/Giant Sets for Assistance

Forever 5/3/1 divides assistance work into three categories: push, pull, single leg/core. Each template has a range of reps to reach depending on goals (conditioning load, etc) which are explicitly stated.

Assuming that you want to get the prescribed of reps in for assistance movement and that assistance movements should NOT affect your lifts, doesn’t this mean that we can do assistance work whenever we want as long as we are smart, don’t add to the carefully-designed template, and don’t turn it to some stupid P90X kind of circuit-training? The reason I ask is because I’m doing my 7th Week Protocol (Training Max Test), today was bench day, and I supersetted some pulling work with the bench press. Because supplementary work is not included, I had a few reps left to complete for pulling, and then I had 25-50 reps to do for both pushing and single-leg core.

If we are to assume assistance is light enough to not affect main lifts, wouldn’t it mean from a logical standpoint that if one wants to shorten their time at the gym, they can superset the two movements (or even giant set the three movements) to complete the required number of reps? Does being able to do a giant set mean that I am not working hard enough in the assistance work? Or is it advised that I do the assistance whenever and however long (or short) it takes, as long as I am not treating this as conditioning?

I feel like it’s the latter after reading through the forums and reading Jim’s writings, but I want to hear from you guys since I could be overlooking something. Is this the right approach?

It’s fine. I do a set of a push, pull or single leg/core exercise between warm ups, between agile 8, between 3-5 jumps and between my main lift for the day. Obviously be smart about it, but get in the reps however you want.

Doing it this way, my assistance in all categories is done at the same time or before my main lift + supplemental work is done, without affecting performance.

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I have a bit of a hard time with pushing exercises.
I do press the day after deads and close grip bench the day after squats, so I try to avoid triceps pushdowns, dips, DB press/DB bench on deads and squat days.
I’m unsure if it will impact on the following day’s workout, right now I use cable cross on the deads day and cable lateral raises on squats day - not the greatest exercises but at least I get some volume and hypertrophy work.
I’d like to manage to get at least 50 pushups spread out in the lower days, but I prefer not to superset the main work (I already superset everything except deads with band pull aparts) and I’m already supersetting all the supplemental and accessory work, don’t want to start supersetting 3 exercises.