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Specific Assistance Work, When and How?

If you want to add specific assistance work for your big 3 (banded deadlifts, paused squat, spoto press) when do you do it? After your main lift? You replace it on one of your sessions? and what intensity do you use? It doesnt have to be an exact percentage, i want to know if you take it easy or if its nearly as intense as your main lift

It ultimately comes down to your preferences really. Generally I do not follow up a main lift with a variation of that same lift (or even more of the same lift at a different intensity and rep/set parameter). My reason for this is because I prefer to have increased frequency and exposure to movement patterns.

For example, on Mondays I perform my heavy competition squat sessions and then perform volume competition bench or a bench variation. I l’ll squat again Wednesday, this time for volume, and then do OHP. On Friday I’ll start with heavy floor press and then do pause squats.

This set up allows for increased exposure throughout the week. IMO it rarely makes sense for most to only perform a movement once in a week.

As for intensity on variations, it again depends on your preferences and the move itself. For example, my main bench variation is the floor press, which I program heavy (always over 85%). Reps per set tend to be lower as a result.

But for my squats and deadlifts, I do paused version, and I program them lower intensity BUT low rep/high set (kind of as if they are “heavy”). The reason for this is because the pause adds stress to the movement, making it harder than a standard dl or squat at the same weight.

Hope that helps.


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Helped a lot! What program are you following? Or what scheme if you program for yourself?

I use the GZCL method. It’s not a set program but a set of principles and parameters to program for themselves. It’s been a great experience so far.

If you’re interested in programming for yourself, check it out.


It depends on your program. If you are doing full body workouts then you could do competition squats one day and a different squat variation on other days, if you are using an upper/lower split then normally you would perform variations after the competition lift. As for intensity, it depends on where you are in a training cycle and what you are trying to accomplish.



I’m currently training 3 days a week. Each day is a competition lift followed by 2 variations of the other lifts.

For example. Sunday - Squat/deficit deadlifts/ incline press
Monday - Bench/ high bar squat/ sumo deadlift
Wednesday - Deadlift/ Overhead press/ Front squat
Emphasis is always on the competition lift. Intensity and volume vary.

Intresting, how does the high bar work for you? Im intrested on including it instead of the front squats, which I hate and dont feel that do nothing for me.

Sorry for the late reply,

I hate doing high bar squats but that is exactly why I do them. I bring my stance in and wear oly shoes same as I would with front squats. I keep the weights relatively light and do reps in the 5-8 range most of the time. It’s really something I have to check my ego and just do.
I wouldn’t say they are a replacement for front squats because of the way front squats force you to keep thoracic extension but definitely throw high bars in and see if they help.