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Which DL/Squat Assistance Lifts?


Hi folks,

I've really been killing it in the gym (and kitchen)and I'm trying to get my squat and deadlift numbers up. I'm not focusing on just those lifts though and my current split has one leg day (first in the week though).

My plan is an ABABAB type

week A: Heavy Squat(ramped to a 3-5RM)---> 20 rep widowmaker,??accessory DL lift??,leg press 3x15

week B: Heavy deadlift(ramped to a 1-3RM), ??accessory squat lift??,leg press 3x15

Not sure about the assistance lifts. I was thinking for deadlifts either pulls from a deficit or rack pulls. I have long legs and a shorter torso. When I pull my hips start higher than average. I'm working on my form, but I feel like my back should be doing less work and I should be pushing through my heels/hips more.

Any suggestions? Should I forget about deficit/rack pulls and do something like hip thrusts instead?



My advice would be to stick to a simple, proven template like Wendler's 5/3/1. If it was me, I would do GHRs as assistance for squats, and Kroc rows for deadlifts. You can add in other lifts, but those are the ones I've found that helped the most.


i like romanian dls and goodmornings or hyperextensions w/ a band (or ghr if you have one) for accessories.


well, having long legs and short torso gave you a big leverage advantage on deads and a disadvantage on squat IMO.
I would cut conventional deads and do pin-pulls and heavy romanian deads.
for leg number improvement heavy leg press and prowler.
it sound from your fenotype that the weak ring-chain is legs not lower back so I would concentrate on legs first.
(all this imo)

Mike from Italy


buzza mentioned weak points, and this is dead on. The assistance lifts should be determined by where your weak points are. Post some vids of heavy lifts if you can so we can see what you are doing right or wrong and where you're struggling during the lifts. Also, do you pull sumo or conventional?

In general, training the shit out of the posterior chain is a good place to start. GHR's, reverse hypers, GM's, prowler/sled, and box squats are all going to push numbers for both lifts. Hip thrusts are okay. I feel like they help on deads, especially if you have a hard time pushing through with your hips. I don't get much out of them on squats though. Lots of ab work is a must too.

Good luck man. Keep us posted...


Firstly you need to be squatting more than once a week otherwise you will be spinning your wheels.

Secondly Really leg press guys?, Isn't it really is a pointless exercise with little to no carry over into the squat? Good for body building not so much for powerlifting.

Thirdly, Good Mornings / Romanian Deadlifts / GHR / Box Squats / Pause Squats will all help.


IF you pull conventional and you feel like your hips are rising too fast, it could be that your quads are weak. If you want to keep the same split then throw in front squats or high bar ATG (ass to ground) squats on your heavy deadlift day. Put RDL's or Good mornings on your heavy back squat day.


I go with this. You know why? Because it sounds rational.......

its early give me a break. But seriously, If you take a long gaze at what he said it sounds right and kroc rows are awesome so therefore win.


m8, I know it will sound eretic but to me prowler (better, sledge pushing with 3 linemen on ) helped much to improve squat(when I was a player).
one could say that there is no transfert from pushing (parallel)a sledge to a vertical push like a squat BUT , and very IMO, anything who train the SNC to recruit 110% of fast fibers for almost 3/4 sec helps............

my tought is ; if lower back is strong and legs so so, punish the legs in any way you can (I heard that Tate have been doing heavy&fast set of leg-extension?)

Mike from Italy


You can definitely make serious progress without squatting 2x week.

Also, don't discount the leg press for SQ/DL assistance. I've been having good luck using it to train adductors for breaking off the floor in sumo deadlifting (serious weak point for me).

x2 on GMs and RDLs.


Twice a week is great for some people and not for others, but you do probably need to squat and deadlift each week versus every other week. Two lower body training days per week will do alot for you. If you have trouble recovering from doing each lift each week, look into some GPP work, westside style. Lots of moderate intensity work to enhance conditioning and work capacity. You can add this work in on top of sessions or schedule a few short extra sessions during the week.

Basically, train heavy as often as possible, get in better shape so you can train more and recover faster, and focus assistance on weak points.


I variations of glute ham raise are helping me.

I'm curious to know what Grettiron says about squatting twice a week. I dead on Tues and squat on either Fri or Sat. I personally just think that there is too much muscle down there to squat twice a week. Unless you are able to not use your legs at all between lifts for max rest.


No I can see the carry over here I just never really saw much carry over from leg press.

As for Squatting 2x a week I guess each person is different but they always say to get better at something do that exercise.

If you haven't trained legs much you should be able to take advantage of 'beginners luck' and training them twice a week to bring them up. But as mentioned it is different from person to person.

I am talking from a Beginner/Intermediate point of view on squatting as once you start hitting higher loads it would be more difficult to squat twice a week as the recovery period wouldn't be enough. I wouldn't recommend squatting max loads twice a week thou!

I'm still learning, so by no means know the best routes just what has or hasn't worked for me.


People who squat more than once a week are crazy! NTTAWWT. But I do squat and dead every week... usually SQ Monday and DL Thursday.

Did GMs after squatting almost every session this past year, but now I'm going to experiment with minimizing low back stress on squat days and really hammer that shit on dead days. DL assistance might be RDLs, or SSB GMs, or if my shoulders can take it just regular GMs.


I appreciate all the feedback and responses. Whomever said my DL > my squat was spot on to the tune of 100 lbs. I will be trying to rectify that for sure.

I am only just now returning to training after about 8 months off due to severe knee pain (and tennis elbow to boot)MRI was negative, Ortho was clueless.

My goals are strength and size while trying to remain pain free. I definitely don't consider myself a powerlifter, but I do believe that training for strength is both the best and most fun way to train and there's maybe 3 people in my gym that I see training as hard as I do.

Once my DOMS is manageable after my single leg day in a couple weeks I may try to add an additional squat session in on back day if my knee holds up. The foam roller has been my best friend in terms of knee pain.

Monday I did ME Squats ramped to 3 rep max(was hoping for 5 but beat my previous max by 10 lbs woot), heavy rack pulls, and 3x15 leg press to finish. My glutes are still sore but otherwise feel good 4 days later.

I think I will continue to use the leg press for both quad development and relatively low knee/back impact.


everyone is different,
I have been squatting/deadlifting once per week, I mean one week squat, the other dl,recovering from deads was longer than squat but maybe it's just me,anyway the stress on lower back was at limit ,still managable with conditioning&teeknikal football sessions but,it was hard :slight_smile:
very imo, leg press could develop strenght and size in the legs saving the weak-ring chain (lower back) from overtraining from squat/deads in same week.
last december, before the last (i hope) knees injury (football not weights related :-)I did 800lb leg pressx6 but my squat was a lot lower (400???) as I wanted to save my lower back energy for the field collisions LOL,anyway legs were strong,squatting or not...
but again it's a matter of trying and see if it works.

good luck from Italy