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What Works For You: Supplemental Work or Assistance?

In your experience - what does work better for you?
A)Wendler type extra supplemental work after top set(FSL, SSL, 5x5, 5x3 etc)
B)Lilliebridge type of shitload of 5x15 assistance exercises after top set?

I find it interesting how 531 could be set up that you use only 1 exercise for each lift, do top set and then just grind supplemental work with same exercise, and how Lilliebridges do exact opposite of doing like 10 different exercises 5x15 after top set.
Yes, i know, to each their own, everyone is different blah blah, but i just want YOUR opinion of your experience.

Thanks :slight_smile:

Ive found that if I’m being honest and pushing myself, it all works. But I understand what you’re saying.

If i look through my logs the one consistent has been I need more volume to increase my bench. Ive never responded well to low volume upper body anything. I followed a JM blakely style 6x6 twice a week and got my best numbers. Assistance was very triceps dominant. Close grip, extensions, skull crushers etc. Body building stuff for high reps, drop sets, super sets all that crap. Get blood into the muscles.

Deadlift for me is the opposite. I respond best to heavy weight around 3 reps. Assistance I keep to a minimum. Usually lockout stuff because that’s where im weakest. Block pulls, rdl, dimel dl.

Squat is somewhere in between the other two. Ive done supersquats and while not a powerlifting program had great results. 531 is great. 5’s and 8’s seem to be key. The assistance stuff that worked the best box squats, front squats and zerchers all at higher rep ranges. My squat used to respond well to super high rep leg presses, but i haven’t had access to one in like 6 years.

So there’s my screwy answer. Depends on the lift.


Your key words here are “experience” and “for you”.

You can always learn something from what people have to say but until you experience it for yourself how do you know what’s going to work? Also what is working doesn’t always work.

I think the important thing regardless of this discussion is to find what you can recover from and still make progress.

Currently I do very minimal supplemental and assistance and I’m making good progress still.

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Combo of A and B for me. I’ll usually do a main movement (squat, bench or dead), then a variation (ex. on bench day, I might do comp. bench, then narrow grip bench). Both of those movements, I’ll usually pair with a upper back pull (BB rows and chins would be typical for me in a super set fashion with each of the bench movements).

Then I do my assistance lifts which is usually 2-4 lifts. Usually, I’ll do two arm lifts (trying to bring them up for aesthetics). Generally, I’ll do stuff like GHR, leg press on squat and dead days. Stuff like flys, DB presses on bench.

I try to keep my lifting to like 5-6 exercises on lower body days, and 6-8 exercises on upper body days. I lift 4 days a week. I work back every session, but don’t have a dedicated upper back day.