T Nation

Unilateral Assistance Training, Total Reps?

Hi all,

I know Jim makes a point that assistance exercises are menial underneath the main principles of 5/3/1 however under the assistance principles of Push/Pull/Single Leg/Core it states you do a total number of reps across the whole workout. My question is if doing unilateral exercises do you count total reps for both sides or just a single side?

I.e. you do 50 total reps per workout for pull. If doing single arm rows would that be 50 each side total or 50 total for the whole exercise?

Thanks in advance!

50 for each arm

That’s a really good question that I’ve always wondered as well. I take it that, since you’re doing more work with unilateral exercises (more repeated efforts because you switch arms/legs which means double the work compared to barbell stuff), I would still follow the 50 reps total approach. Why? Because with unilateral movements you’re actually stressing certain muscles more compared to a barbell exercise because its more “isolating”. This is what I have found to be useful.

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I thought this too @scott1997 I’ve been using my best judgement since cycling using the 531 forever programs and each workout is done based on how I’ve felt more than anything. I’ve definitely found doing 50 per side has really taken the gas out of my lungs so I’ve typically stuck to 50 total. Simply wondering what Jim actually intending as it isn’t covered in the book!

On reflection… because he states you can do “Single Leg” that would infer that it’s 50 reps in total for that category. Therefore one would assume it would be that way for a single pull or push.