T Nation

Reducing Assistance in Anchor Cycle


I’ve decided to try Heavy Prowler pushes for assistance on Squat and Deadlift days instead of doing the FSL work. I will still be doing FSL work on Press days. I have a history of a severe low back injury that flares up when I do too much volume with Squats and Deads. I am also going on 54 years old. After re-reading Beyond I remember where Wendler suggests Heavy Prowler in place of volume work for those with back or knee issues. I did this a few years back and made good progress by just using 5s Pro and PR sets. I will be doing 6 pushes with increasing loads. Example; 2x40 with 90 lbs, 2x40 with 180 lbs, 2x40 with 270 lbs.

My question; I know we are supposed to reduce assistance volume in the anchor phase, but I was wondering what the opinion on this would be with the heavy Prowler? Should I reduce the volume? Keep the volume and reduce the weight? Or just keep it the same since it doesn’t impact me in the same way and it’s easier to recover from than the FSL work?


Honestly just use your best judgement based on the principles of the program. I’ve never done heavy prowlers so I’m not sure how they work with everything. The idea is you reduce volume and increase intensity so if you do that in some way you should be fine. Without knowing what else your doing I think the PR sets on main lift + whatever you want on prowler is fine but is that your entire workout or do you do anything else? If your already doing a lot less on leader than most people then maybe you don’t need to change anything.


I am also doing 25-50 reps of accessories from each of the three categories in Leader, and will be doing 50-100 reps in anchor. Mostly Dips, DB Rows, Back Raises, and Goblet Squats.

A typical Squat day is:
Bike 10 minutes
Agile 8 / Stretch
Some Ab Work
Squats 5s Pro / Bar Dips (super set)
Heavy Prowler pushes
1 Arm DB Rows


There is generally an INCREASE in assistance work during Anchor phases; this is mainly to keep the hypertrophy as “constant” as possible in the training program. The Leader phase generally uses the supplemental work to drive the strength AND hypertrophy; as this component is decreased in the Anchor (generally, of course), we make up for it with an increase of assistance work. Since assistance work is much less stressful to the system than supplemental work, this should allow one to increase the intensity of the main lift.

In your case, for the squat and deadlift, you can probably get away with keeping the Prowler/sled work fairly constant through both phases. I would HIGHLY advise you to have several Prowler/sled options to avoid total boredom. So you could use your example above OR do:

6x40 @ 180


2x40 @ 90
4x40 @ 270


2x40 @ 270


That ALL makes perfect sense and I really appreciate you taking the time to give me a personal response.