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Progression for Front Squat or Any "Alternate Move" as Supplemental?

Hey guys,

Just putting in my work, chugging along with the book.

Question on supplemental work for the squat. I’m doing 5’s Pro/FSL, and I want to switch the Squat supplemental to Front Squat for a while… I’ve read that it’s either FSL or SSL (albeit SSL only during Leader cycles) and to always keep it limited to 5 reps. I also read that if I’m going to do an alternate movement then I need to put in the work and do my 1RM calculation on it.

How often do you think I need to test this? I mean, I’m not doing the main work on it, so I don’t think increasing the TM by 10 lbs each week is really appropriate. I could keep it the same until I run the 7th Week Protocol on the rest of my lifts and retest it then? I could add 5 lbs to the TM each cycle and test/reset it on the 7th week…

I guess this would apply to any of the other lifts you may substitute for the main lift during supplemental sets; I’m curious with what others are doing for that…

Increase your TM in line with your main movement. So if you’re increasing your Squat TM by 10lbs, increase your front squat TM by 10lbs at the same time.

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i dont agree on this as 10lb increase for a MAIN movement would be ok, your front squat probably being a weaker movement and being done much more sets and reps, might not feel appropriate…
there was a time when i did BBB 5x5 or 5x3 and i couldnt do all the sets and reps with prescribed % of my main lift(BBB being done with same basic lift).

I am doing Rule Of 50 now, which is basically same BBB 5x10, but the goal is to do 50 reps in no matter what way, so first sets are higher reps, etc.
I also use alternate lifts as my CNS is weak as shit and if i do anything over 1 set of heavy deadlifts, i crash and burn, and get sick.
So my deadlift supplemental is good morning, for squats its box squats, and for presses its dumbbell variations.
Dont overthink it - just pick a weight and do your sets and reps. If it felt too light - next time take a bit heavier weights. If its too heavy - pick a bit lighter ones.
Nothing changes if you skip a few reps on your FSL cuz u picked a bit too much weight, and nothing happens if you will have 1 session too light also. Just go by that, and progress by small incriments.

What i do is this : So lets say im doing Rule Of 50 on dumbbell overhead press. My goal is 50 reps, so im doing like 15-15-12-(8-10). If i cant complete these reps, i just keep doing this weight no matter how many weeks until i can, and when i can, i jump the smallest possible incriment on a dumbbell… If its goodmornings or box squats i might jump 5lb plate and keep grinding until i can do all the sets and reps.

Unless you are newb or very undertrained, i dont think its possible to increase supplemental lifts every cycle by such large amount of weight as it is expected to do in a main lift. In fact, most people cant add that much on a main lift also. Once you deadlift 5 plates for reps, then yes - maybe 10lb increase is ok… But you take a woman who deadlifts 2 plates, and adding 10lbs to her deadlift will take good 2-3 reps off of her AMRAP sets and it will get waaay too heavy in 2 cycles.

That is just my experience and opinion but - you shouldnt treat supplemental work as strenght work, therefore i dont think you will be able to increase ALL the lifts by 5-10lbs so easy all the time.
For me, it sometimes takes 2-3 full cycles to, lets say, add 10lb jump on a lat pulldown(im too weak to do real pullups) and maintain required sets and reps.

What @dagill2 said makes sense, but lets look at it this way, from my experience - i do squats with 4 plates for reps, but i do my supplemental work box squats with only 1,5 plates… so lets say my training max on Squats is like 440 but on box squats its like 350 or almost 100lbs less… adding 10lbs to both means a LOT bigger jump percentage wise for box squat and also i have to do three to five times more work on that one, than on regular main lift squat… i would hit a wall very very fast… so i would recomend - keep your supplemental and assistance work hypertrophy oriented and go by feel and increase when possible, not grind yourself into the ground chasing TM increases.

I actually believe that 531 should call for TM increases by a % not a set weight. When i train beginners it is almost never possible to increase lifts by 10lbs every cycle if the person barelly deadlifts 1 plate a side. My common practice for beginners and girls is dropping increase in half(i actually made 1,25lb plates for them)… Also 10lbs increase on lower body is a fuckton for a single plate deadlifters while it might not even be noticable for someone who reps with 6 or 7 plates… I believe that a TM increase should be based on a % based off your lifts, so stronger people increase more and weaker ones - less.

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It’s important to know your TM for the supplemental movement you are using. So, figure out/test an accurate TM for your front squats.

After that. Increase your TM by 10 lbs each cycle, just as your normal squat. Or, if you feel that’s too heavy. Increase by 5 lbs each cycle.

Just keep plugging away!

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I was working on the assumption that supplemental lifts were pretty comparable to main lifts. If you’re using wildly different lifts for supplemental compared to main work, then I’d make a different call. I’d also add that because you’re “only” doing supplemental work with the supplemental movement, it doesn’t matter as much if your TM edges towards the higher end of the scale.


Thanks guys! Really appreciate the insight.

On the topic of assistance work, do you guys normally do sets after your main/supplemental or in between? I’ve been doing push ups, dips, hanging leg raises, ab wheel, pull ups, DB press, plate raises, inverted rows interweaved between my main/supplemental sets, so I was curious as to how others are doing it.

That depends on the focus of my training and the “difficulty” of the assistance. What does your training look like? And what’s your main focus?

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4 days per week 5’s Pro/5x5 FSL, switching supplemental (ie press main with bench supplemental, etc) that I do in the morning. I go to a functional fitness class (basically CrossFit) like every weeknight for an hour for conditioning/fat loss.

Goals: Get back to consistently weight training (have been out of it consistently for like a decade for excuses that are all bad), to get better at pull-ups (at about sets of 5 or 6 for 30-40 per workout), and to lose my gut (not looking to be a model but it got ridiculous. So far went from 195 to 177 since June).

I’ve been doing 5’s pro/FSL since June and was looking to try a new template, but from everything I can read on the forum and in the books I’m a “beginner” since I haven’t been training consistently for so long. I figured that come December I’ll be ready to switch it up a bit…. Think BBS, BBB, or something like that. Still looking for what should be next.

Right now I do all of the assistance in between, but I understand that I’m doing basically the easiest of templates. Usually hit 60-90 reps of each category for the assistance, but am going to try to adhere to the Leader/Leader/Anchor programming now.

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Also, per the forever book it seems like there is a push, pull, and single leg/core prescription no matter the main lift, correct (even if the Rx allows for 0)?

If the RX is zero, then you don’t have to do it, but yes. Remember there is wiggle room within that to use your common sense. A “pull” movement, for example could be weight vest chin ups, or it could be face pulls or curls. Make sure it balances with the rest of your program.

Is it working?

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Yeah, it is working. I’m assuming that I’ll be able to ride this out for a while…. Several “ami ready to move on yet” type questions seem to point toward me doing this for a solid 6 or so months as long as I am making progress, so I’m good with that concept.

Understood on the assistance. Deadlift days have definitely been days with less demanding assistance for example.

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If its working, don’t stop.