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Wendler 6 Assistance: When? How Intense?

What would be the best way to use the Wendler six assistance movements?

  1. Would it be best to do them for every workout or just do the Abs low back on lower body days and dips curls rows on upper body days?

  2. Would it be okay to do these intense going for rep Maxes on some of these like dips chins and curls or just do three sets of between 10 and 20 reps trying to get a pump and be done?


I know in the new book that I bought it says to do push pull single leg core for 25 to 50 reps or 50 to 100 reps based on cycle. But that’s a pretty broad range.

I know they say use your experience and I am pretty experienced but I just want to go a little more into detail on that.

I was thinking about going one week of going total reps with just bodyweight on the lifts and the following week going a rep PR between 10 and 20 reps let me know what anybody thinks please. And Jim if you have time please let me know.

I just like setting PRs on all lifts no matter what.


That gives you freedom to do a variety of things.

If your into setting PR on assistance, its really quite simple. Here are a few things I do/have done:

  1. Pick a rep scheme appropriate for the movement and training phase your in (3x8 DB bench, 5x5 weighted chin, 5 x 10 DB row, etc.) when you hit all required reps in the scheme, add weight.

  2. Pick a total rep goal, again that is appropriate for the movement and training phase (50 total reps of dips, 30 total reps of Barbell rows, etc). Try get the total reps in the fewest number of sets possible.

  3. Pick a movement like BB Rows, or DB floor press. Pick a target reps scheme like 2x12. When you hit your target reps, either increase the weight of the SECOND set only. Repeat as you continue to hit target reps, OR just increase the reps from 12 to 15 then 18 then 20 and then increase the weight and go back down to 2 x 12.

These are just a few ideas to help push assistance work. Remember to account for pushing your assistance hard in other areas of your training.


Thanks for that. I’ll try a few of these. Jim do you have any methods you like to use for these assistance lifts?

I’m just confused when he says don’t track these numbers with weights or reps just do them. I feel like everything should have some type of progressive overload to it

It should to an extent, but not like your main work. If you can do 100 pound dumbbell bench for a few sets of 10 after your main work in cycle one and can maintain doing the same 100 pound dumbbells after your main work in cycle 6, you’re stronger. That’s all he’s getting at. If you feel like the assistance is too easy, add weight. If it’s too hard, dial back. The main point of assistance is to assist main work so if it begins to detract from the main work, it’s not doing it’s job.

I like Ed Coan’s approach to assistance work. He said “just get some blood into the muscles.”. Pick exercises where you can feel the muscle working and then do the exercise until you feel blood running into the muscle. Following this guideline will keep you from going too heavy and help you to keep good form. You may do 1 rep or 1000. You may lift 500 lbs or 5. Those things don’t matter. If you feel blood flowing to the muscles you did what you are supposed to do.

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