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Maple Syrup Strength (littlesleeper)



What are your top three assistance exercises to do when peaking?

Edit: meant to say “meet preparation training”


I’m curious too, because TBH assistance when peaking should be almost nonexistent. We’re talking maybe a couple of sets of light, low rep supplementals at the very most.


Not “peaking”, per se, but in meet preparation training. I’m still looking to bring my lifts up a few pounds before January.


I’ll tell you a secret: meet prep training is just training. Then you peak.


That is a good analogy to live by. But I’ve been doing 5/3/1 and haven’t lifted above 85% of my max in 4 months. I’ve been hitting PR sets instead, and I’m not sure how well high-rep work transfers to singles without actually practicing singles @90-95% projected 1RM. So I’m cutting out the PR sets and getting openers + 2nd attempts (85% and 92.5% of meet goals, respectively) down pat for a month, and then I’m just peaking for another cycle with no PR sets or singles. Just purchased Jim’s book for $10 online, read through it in about an hour. That’s what it said to do.


No disrespect to Jim, but that’s BS. Remember, 5/3/1 isn’t for powerlifting as such. It needs to be modified for that. Lots of people think they need to feel heavy weights to be able to do them, but they don’t.

It’s simple: accumulate fatigue, peak, rest, perform. During accumulation your strength will ‘drop’ because of the load of fatigue you’re carrying. That’s meaningless. So is hitting heavier singles to ‘feel’ heavy weight. What you feel doesn’t mean jack shit. It tells you nothing.

Do what you like, but know that you never need to go heavy or do singles outside of a peak.


Could you recommend me a good peaking cycle? I’m pretty new to lifting, haha.


If the hamstring is truly tweaked then you should get some ice on it ASAP.

Don’t stretch it. Ice for 20 min 2-3 times a day for three days and then when you can’t localize the pain begin the starr / rippietoe rehab protocol.

Ice post workout and alternate heat every 5 min for 20 min.

If it’s just a twinge and not a tear then it would be different…



Go into it five weeks out from your meet. Don’t deload before unless your deload falls the week immediately before the peak. Your five weeks ends on meet day.

Week 1 (Mon/Tue/Thur)
Main lift3x1x90% of your working max
Paused squat/close grip bench/snatch grip DL 3x3x60% of your working max

Friday air squats, push-ups, inverted rows, back raises 25-50 reps each

Week 2 (Mon/Wed/Fri)
Work up to a small PR for each lift
No supplementals

Week 3 (Mon/Tue/Thur)
2x1x90% of week 2
Paused squat/close grip bench/snatch grip DL 3x2x60% of week 2

Friday air squats, push-ups, inverted rows, back raises 25-50 reps each

Week 4 (Mon/Wed/Fri)
3x1x80% of week 2
No supplementals

Week 5 (meet week)
Six days out
Squat 5x2x50% of week 2
Bench 5x3x50% of week 2
Deadlift 5x1x50% of week 2

Meet day
Squat and DL
Attempt 1 90-93% of week 2
Attempt 2 100-102.5% of week 2
Attempt 3 103-105% of week 2

Attempt 1 90% of week 2
Attempt 2 100% of week 2
Attempt 3 102-103% of week 2


Thank you. I’m assuming I’d be squatting on Monday, Benching on Tuesday, and Deadlifting on Thursday? And 3 x 1 means three singles?


Correct on all counts.

It’s basically a carbon copy of what Greg uses. It works.


I think for shits, once I’m done the program I’m on now and prior to starting the new one I’ll give this a go and see what the last year of general training has done for my powerlifts.


It was just a twinge. It’s better now, surprisingly. Thanks for the advice though! You messed your hamstring up pretty bad a few years ago, I remember.


Awesome. If I may ask, who’s Greg?


Greg Panora. Google him.


Haha, thanks man!


Thanks Mort, the 2 plates felt like an empty bar after doing those heavy squats. Although after about 10 reps, it started feeling extremely heavy…

Basically what @MarkKO said. For me, not typically considering myself a powerlifter, “meet prep training” is just training that is very specific to the big 3 lifts and my weaknesses.

So find where you’re going to fail a movement and try to hit that weakness with your assistance/supplemental.

These movements may differ depending on your weaknesses. Mark gave a list of some common exercises. I personally, do not like paused squats so I’ve been adding some volume in to the end of my squat session often with box squats and/or varied stance (feet wide in my case). I like JM presses, close grip bench and the use of a SlingShot for overloading the top end of the bench. Since I pull semi-sumo in deadlift, I often use conventional as my supplemental.To be honest though, time limitations have left the work outside of the big 3 quite minimal.

Oh, also, don’t forget about/neglect your rowing. Chinups/pullups, BB rows, 1 arm rows, inverted rows, facepulls, band pullaparts, etc. At a minimum, do some form of rowing for each bench workout, but I find that the back feeds off of volume/frequency.


I do some form of back work 4x/week. I do at least 50 chin-ups/pull-ups when I press and squat, and I row on bench day. And then, I deadlift. I will incorporate some of the bench assistance exercises you mentioned this cycle. Thank you!

Also, @MarkKO, this might be a silly question, but how long should I pause the squats for?


lol, brutal


Three seconds usually works.

@littlesleeper you’re bang on with exercise selection. What I set out is specifically for the peak. In the accumulation phase, we do a lot more variations and assistance.