T Nation

Pairing the Right Accessories

I’m working with two lower body assistance days right now, one paired with squat and one with deadlift, and I’ve been debating about how to pair them for maximum efficiency and, of course, gainzzz :smirk:.

On day 1 the primary assistance move is a hinge (specifically RDLs) and on day 2 the primary assistance move is a squat (either front squats or SSB squats). My debate is which one to pair with my main, competition movement.

On one had, if I pair squat with RDL as the main assistance and deadlift with the front/SSB squat as the main assistance, then I’m upping the frequency of working both the squat and hinge movement patterns to twice per week, which seems like a positive. On the other hand, if I pair squat with front/SSB squat and deadlift with RDL, then I’m doing more to reinforce my main lift of the day. The other concern is that by fatiguing each movement pattern twice per week I might negatively influence the main lift - for instance if I do squats with the RDL on Monday, then I’ve already fatigued the hinge pattern before I do deadlifts later in the week which might negatively affect my deadlift session? Or am I overthinking that?

What do you guys think is the optimal way to pair them?

Probably not going to make too much difference so do whichever you prefer. If you really want an answer then run a few blocks where you do all deads and then another few where you pair a squat and deadlift and see how you respond.

1 Like

Could work well both ways.

Twice a week is unlikely to be overdoing it unless u have poor recovery and are super strong and go big both sessions. With 2-3 days between hitting the same pattern and one of those days being less intense than it’ll likely be plenty of recovery. I hurt myself in the past but that was from overdoing various things not just the frequency itself.

Try it out tho and monitor how you are going, whether your performance suffers and u are able to progress, because everyone is different and you’ll only really know by running it a bit.

Please call me out if I’m wrong, but from what I’ve seen, it seems like most strong lifters who I can recall will do all their “squat assistance” on the same day as their squats and all their “deadlift assistance” on their deadlift day.

Do it one way for a month and the other way for a month. Then you’re doing optimal, whatever that is, 50% of the time rather than risking doing optimal 0% of the time :woman_shrugging:

A less tongue in check answer, which is your weakest lift? If you’re posterior chain dominant I’d do option 1. Quad dominant, option 2.

Both ways. Fair amount of people hit both tho so ur probably not paying attention lel

1 Like

Cheers for the heads up. Glad you’re here to call me on my bullshit

Dems just variables that people play around with so u can do well in al kinds of ways. The principles will be consistent in all successful lifters but outside of them it’s open season

1 Like

There might be some advantage to either option from a motor learning point of view, and there might be some advantage to either option from a hypertrophy view.

I’m sure there’s a forum thread where CT explained the pros and cons to either approach but I don’t have the energy to find it.

And I think Wendler discussed the option to do deadlift assistance on squat day, bench assistance on press day,…, in one of the 531 books.

1 Like

As I see it, hypertrophy between the two options will more than likely be the same, since total weekly volume is the same.

Motor learning is a bit tricky, but I’d be inclined to say that “opposite assistance” is better, since you’d be getting more practice of the skills of squatting and deadlifting.

The way I see it, “same assistance” may have an added benefit of load management, since you could think of back squatting as a pre-exaust for front squatting etc.

As such, I’d think that for someone learning to lift, opposite is better. For someone handling heavier and heavier loads, same is probably better.

I wouldn’t say he discussed it as much as he said “it doesn’t matter”

Interestingly, Wendler writes that it doesn’t matter but he also writes that it is better to do it if one has less than ten years of consistent training experience :woman_shrugging: (531 Forever, page 60)


Note that the response is to this exact question (not supersetting as the topic would suggest)

1 Like

We’re crossing streams here talking about supplemental work vs assistance work, which doesn’t help when the topic title says “accessories”.

The language gets confusing.

Given that the exercises postulated by OP would be classified as supplemental in Wendler’s literature it felt more pertinent to relay the wisdom that pertains to these exercises moreso than to accessories.

Which Jim refers to as assistance, haha. It’s what I mean about the language. It helps if, before discussion occurs, we all agree on what the words mean.

For instance, in the quote that @j4gga2 was replying to you on

@j4gga2 isn’t incorrect regarding Jim’s view on assistance, but you’re correct with Jim’s view on supplemental: it’s just not what word was used.


Now I follow, good point. Yeah, I was just letting the exercises discussed be the context more than worry about the exact vernacular. Sorry @j4gga2 if we were speaking around each other in the manner @T3hPwnisher was highlighting

1 Like

I think it probably doesn’t make a huge difference either way, but squatting after deadlifting usually doesn’t work as well as the other way around. Also if your squat technique is not so great then squatting twice a week is a good idea for the sake of more practice but you should do your comp. squat on the 2nd day or a close variation like pause squats or squats with bands/chains or something like that.

Another idea is one heavy squat day, one deadlift day with no squats, and an easy squat session to work on technique.

1 Like

Hahah no worries mate, cheers for linking that CT post! Also thanks @T3hPwnisher for clearing things up

1 Like

I’ve got to thank everyone for all the well thought out responses. This is why I love this board.

Also, in terms of the question of language, I’ve always used accessories/assistance/supplementary interchangeably in this context. I guess I’m learning I need to be more careful with the vernacular.

I personally do RDLs on squat -focused days (preferably the snatch-grip variation) and weighted back extensions/ Good mornings after deadlifts , seen good results and no negative overlap.
270 deadlift / 225lbs squat at 105lbs

Thanks for all the advice. I just finished testing the DL/RDL, squat/front squat method and just started with with squat/RDL and DL/front squat method. Will report back with my results.

I will say from a preliminary perspective I think the first method may have burnt out my neurological system a little bit, but will reserve final judgement on that till I finish the test.