Need help with accessory placement

Hey everyone. I have just started getting back into 5/3/1. My first cycle I did a mixture of accessory work but wanted to get back into what Jim recommends. My issue I have is the way I laid it out. Here is the example of what my accessory work looks like,

Squat day- pull ups with bands, Back extensions, and dips
Bench day-KB Swings, Rear delt raises, tri push downs
Deadlift-DB Rows, Full range plate raises, Good morning
OHP day- DB Bench, Curls, Ab Wheel

The issue I have is I am on cycle 2 and starting to feel sore. A few days I feel great but other days I’m sore. For example, On squat day my back is screaming. On top of that most of the accessory work I can’t get 50 reps, 25 is ok to push through. I started pull ups with negatives and now I am using a band but I noticed today I am only able to do descending reps. Today I got 7 reps the first time then the second time was 6 and finally I got 5. Dips I can do about five then I need a break. I have been taking breaks then going back and trying to get at least 25-50 total reps but I would like to be able to build up to doing 10 reps before tiring or more.

OHP day my shoulders seem sore but The accessory work seems appropriate and manageable.

My question is there any tweaks I could do that could help me with not feeling so beat up? Any tips on how to build up some of these lifts that I am struggling to get past 15 reps on

Some background on you might be helpful. You say just getting back into 531, does this mean back into training after a break or you have been consistently training and just switched to 531 programming?

What 531 template are you following ? What supplemental work are you doing before the accessories ?

Are you overweight/ out of shape?

I’ve been consistently training. I was running Alexander bromleys program bullmastiff from his base strength book. I am currently running Rhodes 5x5/3/1. My first cycle was with 5’s pro with supplemental. Supplemental was as follows:

Squat day- RDL
Bench- seated OHP
Deadlift- front squats
OHP- close grip bench

I have currently cut out the supplemental for this cycle to see if it helps any but struggling with accessories.

I myself feel that I am overweight. I am 5’10 and weighing currently 190 lbs. I was about 175lbs but was placed on some medication that has made me gain some weight. I am trying to get back down in weight and do plan on running the fat loss and prep template after Rhodes template is done in two cycles.

The goal of assistance (not accessory) work is to build muscle. Jim has said this many times. You are using assistance work that is far too heavy for that goal: it’s in the realm of supplemental.

Stuff you can only do for 5 reps needs to be cut out. OR, if 5 reps is your max, only do sets of 2 and just do a TON of sets through the workout, grease the groove style.

Doing a good morning for assistance work on a deadlift day is bonkers. In general, don’t touch barbells for assistance work.

I’d put extensions and good mornings (if kept) on the upperbody days and ab work on the lower body days.

If you have a terrible KB swing, that could also be why your lower back hurts. Be sure to study up technique on that.


That’s not heavy enough that I’d imagine you’re getting terrible low back pumps from standing, so it’s probably way more in line with what @T3hPwnisher said.

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Too much lower back work. Get rid of one of those Big exercises and use a focused hamstring move like Leg Curls (maybe band leg curls) in its place for awhile.

If your lower back is irritated, consider some single leg work to make sure your hips and legs are moving evenly and not torquing on your lower back. Good mornings could become 1 leg RDLs or Back Extensions could be 1 legged for a cycle to even things out.

For the dips and chins, just do easier moves for a couple cycles to build yourself up.

Instead of dips do pushups on the barbell, supported in the power rack. Elevate the bar off the ground so you can get sets of 10-15 reps. When you can get 50 total reps in 3 sets, lower the bar to a more difficult position and do it again.

Instead of chinups try Inverted Rows or Rack Chins, so you can get into the 10-15 rep range and build from there.



So I know this sounds strange but if you were to program for someone what would you suggest for assistance work?

Also with Rhodes should supplemental work be done or was that cut out, I can’t remember

Thanks that seems do able for a lot of the issues I’m seeing.

This would depend but as a holistic recommendation, Jim has you covered here:

I’m pretty sure the majority of assistance his high school does is DB Squat, Chins, Dips, ab work, and running. All of this needs to be in line with what the goal of the template is. The OG 5/3/1 allows you to push assistance a lot harder because of the 1 or 2 AMRAP set but something like God Is a Beast would require you to focus in on the main work and use less/lighter assistance stuff. The best thing is to experiment and see how you feel!

Because of the 5x5 with the main barbell lifts, there is no supplemental. It’s pretty hard to push the main lift like that when you are also pushing/doing supplemental lifts that are taking from your gas tank!


Does not seem to match with this:

It just sounds like you need to get a lot stronger and that takes time.

@T3hPwnisher has already given some good advise and suggestions for other accessory work that may be a little easier until you build some base strength.

You may want to get used to it. Hard strength training had a tendency to make your body sore. I not sure I can remember a day where something doesn’t hurt.

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I agree with you about feeling sore and getting a feeling for the template. As for the consistently training and issues with dips is that while I have trained consistently my assistance work has been more like rows, curls, tri push downs, ab work, some barbell supplemental work so I’m not surprised that dips are weak as I am just starting to do this movement again