T Nation

Russian SS Training Assistance Work Question


#1

Christian,

What sort of, if any, assistance work would you recommend during the Group 1 and 2 sessions that wouldn't be a detriment to the program? I read and re-read the article and comments, so my apologies if this was asked earlier.


#2

I think the assistance should primarily be about filling in the blanks - think that aren’t covered by the 4 main movements. This would include perceived weaknesses, areas you want to bring up for whatever reason (e.g. arms) and most importantly high volume back hypertrophy.

Since it’s not specifically outlined in the programme, I think you have a bit of license here to experiment and explore. Assistance probably wasn’t mentioned because everyone has different areas they need extra work on.

I do a few supersets for back on both upper body days + extra sled rowing in the PM.

I do reverse lunges from a deficit for higher reps + a glute superset on the lower body days to work on activating and strengthening my glutes.

I plan on changing the assistance exercises periodically to keep things interesting. (maybe each new cycle)


#3

Assistance work is selected to either:

  • Fill the gap in muscular development; hitting muscles that you feel at neglected by the big exercises

  • Correct an individual imbalance

  • Do a little more work for the muscle you feel is holding you back on the main movement(s)


#4

[quote]Christian Thibaudeau wrote:
Assistance work is selected to either:

  • Fill the gap in muscular development; hitting muscles that you feel at neglected by the big exercises

  • Correct an individual imbalance

  • Do a little more work for the muscle you feel is holding you back on the main movement(s)[/quote]

Great! That helps. Thanks to both of you.


#5

[quote]Christian Thibaudeau wrote:
Assistance work is selected to either:

  • Fill the gap in muscular development; hitting muscles that you feel at neglected by the big exercises

  • Correct an individual imbalance

  • Do a little more work for the muscle you feel is holding you back on the main movement(s)[/quote]

By the way, I did my first manual labor day this weekend. It looks easier on paper. It got more and more difficult, especially around set 15, where I started cursing your name, lol!

I had to adjust how I moved from station to station because of unloading the bar and such and it made me wonder about exercise selection.

Should the manual labor day be the exact exercises (or as close to) the main lifting day exercises? I ask because I did squat, floor press, and deadlift (which are my main skill exercises) but realized it would flow much better if the deadlift was replaced with hang cleans.


#6

Since this programme is about strength skill, the same movements should ideally be performed. Thibs states in the article that substitutions may have to be made to ensure the flow of the circuit isn’t affected, particularly in commercial gym settings.

IMO, if doing deadlifts causes you to go significantly above the estimated circuit durations (in article) or if changing plates detracts from your ability to produce perfect technique on your lifts, a change might be worth considering. At the end of the day it’s about pros and cons - could try both and see which works better for you.

I use DB floor presses in place of the close grip bench press btw


#7

And Thibs, I would like to expand on some of the questions asked by OP here rather than starting a new thread:

  1. What volume of assistance work (let’s say comprised of 80-90% compound exercises) can one get away with without interfering with progress on the main lifts. I know it will vary by individual, but a ball park figure or range would help. I tend to always overdo things, resulting in injury

  2. Would it be wise to manipulate volume over the 3 week cycle? (E.g. adding a set to each exercise, each week. Change exercises for next cycle and reduce volume again). Or is this unnecessary?

Hope these questions aren’t too silly and would like to thank you again for a thoroughly enjoyable and effective programme. After completing my first cycle, I can confidently say the past 3 weeks have been the most fun I have ever had in gym.


#8

[quote]rabidshrimp wrote:
Since this programme is about strength skill, the same movements should ideally be performed. Thibs states in the article that substitutions may have to be made to ensure the flow of the circuit isn’t affected, particularly in commercial gym settings.

IMO, if doing deadlifts causes you to go significantly above the estimated circuit durations (in article) or if changing plates detracts from your ability to produce perfect technique on your lifts, a change might be worth considering. At the end of the day it’s about pros and cons - could try both and see which works better for you

I use DB floor presses in place of the close grip bench press btw[/quote]

Thanks for the advice, shrimp. On Saturday, I ended up using the squat half rack and did floor press, power clean, and back squat. It flowed a lot better and I was able to keep the pace up without doing too much fiddling with the weights. I don’t think the change from deadlift to cleans will hurt in the long run and I got a great session in.


#9

[quote]BigIron77 wrote:

[quote]rabidshrimp wrote:
Since this programme is about strength skill, the same movements should ideally be performed. Thibs states in the article that substitutions may have to be made to ensure the flow of the circuit isn’t affected, particularly in commercial gym settings.

IMO, if doing deadlifts causes you to go significantly above the estimated circuit durations (in article) or if changing plates detracts from your ability to produce perfect technique on your lifts, a change might be worth considering. At the end of the day it’s about pros and cons - could try both and see which works better for you

I use DB floor presses in place of the close grip bench press btw[/quote]

Thanks for the advice, shrimp. On Saturday, I ended up using the squat half rack and did floor press, power clean, and back squat. It flowed a lot better and I was able to keep the pace up without doing too much fiddling with the weights. I don’t think the change from deadlift to cleans will hurt in the long run and I got a great session in.
[/quote]

Not at all, if anything it’s even better (I know it is). But since not many people are fond or efficient at the power clean I tend to recommend the deadlift more often.


#10

Hello CT bit personal question but would your Russian strength skill be a nice “de loading” workout following layers? Maybe deloading wrong word but less volume/taxing and opportunity to domiate technique on the big lifts.

I’m failing to get a pump and layer system not giving me the physique changes I had experienced before (which I think is combo of stress, stims, lifestyle) so maybe more strength skill oriented work is ideal.

Where would you rank physique effects from most powerful to least (layers > built for bad > double stimulation > uper hero complex > Russian strength skill)?

I will also continue starting workouts with gymnatic ring work or do you think it hampers recovery too much? Thanks coach


#11

[quote]Christian Thibaudeau wrote:

[quote]BigIron77 wrote:

[quote]rabidshrimp wrote:
Since this programme is about strength skill, the same movements should ideally be performed. Thibs states in the article that substitutions may have to be made to ensure the flow of the circuit isn’t affected, particularly in commercial gym settings.

IMO, if doing deadlifts causes you to go significantly above the estimated circuit durations (in article) or if changing plates detracts from your ability to produce perfect technique on your lifts, a change might be worth considering. At the end of the day it’s about pros and cons - could try both and see which works better for you

I use DB floor presses in place of the close grip bench press btw[/quote]

Thanks for the advice, shrimp. On Saturday, I ended up using the squat half rack and did floor press, power clean, and back squat. It flowed a lot better and I was able to keep the pace up without doing too much fiddling with the weights. I don’t think the change from deadlift to cleans will hurt in the long run and I got a great session in.
[/quote]

Not at all, if anything it’s even better (I know it is). But since not many people are fond or efficient at the power clean I tend to recommend the deadlift more often.[/quote]

Thanks for the reply, Christian. I just saw this.