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  • assistance lifts

    When it comes to assistance lifts such as CG bench, dips, Good mornings etc is protocol to use lighter weight and more sets and reps such as 5 x 10 or is it better to use a 5 x 3 or 8 x 3 with heavier weight in order to grow strength to help on the core lifts?

  • #2
    Why pick just one way?? I frequently go with 2-3 heavy sets in the 3-6 range then bang out 1-2 in the 15-20 range on either the same or different exercise.
    Journal http://www.intensemuscle.com/showthread.php?t=51093

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    • #3
      If you follow wendler's advice, he wants assistance work for 10 reps for 5 sets. And 100 reps of the easier ones, like face pulls, tri pressdowns and stuff.

      And then he goes and writes a article, that is different than in his books.

      http://www.t-nation.com/free_online_...2012_in_review
      Last edited by -AJA14-; 01-23-2013, 12:09 AM.

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      • #4
        Originally posted by Adam2433 View Post
        Why pick just one way?? I frequently go with 2-3 heavy sets in the 3-6 range then bang out 1-2 in the 15-20 range on either the same or different exercise.
        I thought about this before posting and then the idea that doing too much of the same exercise will be redundant? And take too much time to complete. When doing the heavy weight low reps you gotta take a few minutes to rest in between sets while the higher reps you don't have to rest as long.

        With your suggestion, take CG bench. After doing a regular bench I could do something like 80% for 2-3 sets of 3-6 reps and then lower the weight to 50-60% and push out 2 sets of 15 reps?


        One of the reason I bring this up is because, although I am doing the 5/3/1 method and I think I am doing the boring but big I know I can get stronger faster and this includes the assistance lifts but it doesn't seem to me that the BBB does all of that especially when working up to 90% for the max.

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        • #5
          Originally posted by -AJA14- View Post
          If you follow wendler's advice, he wants assistance work for 10 reps for 5 sets. And 100 reps of the easier ones, like face pulls, tri pressdowns and stuff.

          And then he goes and writes a article, that is different than in his books.

          http://www.t-nation.com/free_online_...2012_in_review
          I will have to read this link later one. I see it is a bit long. I read an smaller article yesterday and it seems his 'project' is still in the stage of mutating. I am not longer a fan of doing so many reps unless under the guise of a widowmaker as Dante suggests for squats and even with that it is 20 reps or more with about 60% of your max.

          If Jim writes one thing in his books and another thing in his article does it show he doesn't know what he is saying or is it just that his learning curve continue to grow and evolve in that he is finding new tricks to get new strength growth?

          The one downfall for me, I believe anyway, is getting a cornerstone for strength/powerlifting to stay on and use it for the foundation to build strength. One example is the difference between westside and the 5/3/1 method. In this case Westside works up to your max while 5/3/1 works up to the 90% range. One gets stronger faster while the other is slower and yet it seems to me that the 5/3/1 might keep one near injury free while westside may not? (This is my thinking out loud anyway)

          At this time I am doing the 5/3/1 BBB but wanting to change the assistance to more lower reps for more strength so it assists more in the core exercises but is this the right direction to go for that? I am still learning about this because I don't want to go with what I think seems correct since I could be totally wrong in this process.

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          • #6
            Originally posted by -AJA14- View Post
            If you follow wendler's advice, he wants assistance work for 10 reps for 5 sets. And 100 reps of the easier ones, like face pulls, tri pressdowns and stuff.

            And then he goes and writes a article, that is different than in his books.

            http://www.t-nation.com/free_online_...2012_in_review
            If you really read all of Jim's stuff you'll see he really doesn't care about assistance. I think sometimes he goes a little too far in brushing off its value. But I get his point, it can help but far too often people worry too much and do too much about it and it ends up hurting.

            As he says, they major in the minor.
            Originally posted by DEADn View Post
            I thought about this before posting and then the idea that doing too much of the same exercise will be redundant? And take too much time to complete. When doing the heavy weight low reps you gotta take a few minutes to rest in between sets while the higher reps you don't have to rest as long.

            With your suggestion, take CG bench. After doing a regular bench I could do something like 80% for 2-3 sets of 3-6 reps and then lower the weight to 50-60% and push out 2 sets of 15 reps?


            One of the reason I bring this up is because, although I am doing the 5/3/1 method and I think I am doing the boring but big I know I can get stronger faster and this includes the assistance lifts but it doesn't seem to me that the BBB does all of that especially when working up to 90% for the max.
            I doubt the extra minute's rest between a few heavy sets is going to elongate your workout by anything noticeable.

            I have never done BBB for that one reason... It's boring. So I can't offer specific experience on that. However I think you are over thinking it. Why worry about percentages for assistance?

            Bench 5/3/1 sets. Feel good? Work up to some heavy incline weights. Still feel good? Bang out some bodyweight dips for high reps.

            Bench 5/3/1 sets. Don't feel good? Cable press downs for a few high rep sets. Go home.

            Check out my journal for some better examples. Sammich is also a proponent of 5/3/1 and has a great journal. Breck too.
            Journal http://www.intensemuscle.com/showthread.php?t=51093

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            • #7
              Do it all, by that I mean rotate it. If your main exercise is peaking your assistance is lighter, if your main exercise is in the lower percent of your 1rm then go heavier. Assistance is important as long as it has carry over. I used to think you needed a lot but I'm seeing that 1 maybe 2 is all that is necessary
              For Training Inquiries go see the HNIC [email protected] anything else is uncivilized

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              • #8
                Originally posted by Adam2433 View Post
                If you really read all of Jim's stuff you'll see he really doesn't care about assistance. I think sometimes he goes a little too far in brushing off its value. But I get his point, it can help but far too often people worry too much and do too much about it and it ends up hurting.

                As he says, they major in the minor.


                I doubt the extra minute's rest between a few heavy sets is going to elongate your workout by anything noticeable.

                I have never done BBB for that one reason... It's boring. So I can't offer specific experience on that. However I think you are over thinking it. Why worry about percentages for assistance?

                Bench 5/3/1 sets. Feel good? Work up to some heavy incline weights. Still feel good? Bang out some bodyweight dips for high reps.

                Bench 5/3/1 sets. Don't feel good? Cable press downs for a few high rep sets. Go home.

                Check out my journal for some better examples. Sammich is also a proponent of 5/3/1 and has a great journal. Breck too.

                Well, ok, seems that strength training does have alot more flexibility than the traditional bodybuilding aspect? I am trying to ween myself off of that mentality.
                Then what I will plan on doing is heavy assistance and only do the higher reps when something doesn't feel 'good' or 'right'.

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                • #9
                  Originally posted by DCBliever View Post
                  Do it all, by that I mean rotate it. If your main exercise is peaking your assistance is lighter, if your main exercise is in the lower percent of your 1rm then go heavier. Assistance is important as long as it has carry over. I used to think you needed a lot but I'm seeing that 1 maybe 2 is all that is necessary
                  Amen to the 1 or 2 assistance lifts. I was reading an interview with Dave Tate where he was saying (as you stated above) that if you're training strength, only do exercises that assist your current weak spot in any given lift. Anything more is essentially energy wasted.

                  For instance, if you're weak off the floor, do deficit deads. Rack pulls are useless since that's not the weak spot for this example.

                  I'll have to look again, but I think he was advocating training these in the 6-10 rep range, but don't quote me on that.
                  You're perfect, yes it's true. But without me...you're only you.

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                  • #10
                    If Jim writes one thing in his books and another thing in his article does it show he doesn't know what he is saying or is it just that his learning curve continue to grow and evolve in that he is finding new tricks to get new strength growth?
                    Jim more than knows what he is saying. The basic 5/3/1 template as outlined in his books are excellent and will work for just about anyone. He right now is experimenting with some different ideas on himself and some of the people he trains. This does not mean he does not believe in his original program. Advanced lifters such as himself may need some tweaks here and there to keep progressing as it is 100x harder to progress a lift even 10 lbs for an advanced lifter when compared to a beginner or even intermediate.

                    I have been experimenting with his Frequency Project recently. A little too early to tell the results but so far so good. As he writes on this project, anyone who does this must know their body very well and his best line in the short manual is "no questions about assistance work will be answered" meaning anyone who does this should have this figured out already. Not everyone has this figured out which is completely OK, which is why he only recommends this for certain lifters. I certainly do not know everything and strive to learn something new each day but after doing this (competing + coaching PL) for over 10 years you pick up a few things.

                    Also, please do not be in a rush to get stronger. Slow consistent progress is the name of the game. This statement is WAY overused but it is 100% true, this sport is a marathon and not a sprint.
                    "You need never feel broken again"

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                    • #11
                      I believe rest pausing assistance work to be very effective, I have a client after either max effort or dynamic work perform one main exercise rest paused, then the rest straight sets , norm 2-3 sets max for 1-2 exercises. As soon as the volume creeps too high its overkill, progressional overload is still the absolute key in all assistance moves, and that is largely dictated by volume vs recovery

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                      • #12
                        Originally posted by xjpx View Post
                        I believe rest pausing assistance work to be very effective, I have a client after either max effort or dynamic work perform one main exercise rest paused, then the rest straight sets , norm 2-3 sets max for 1-2 exercises. As soon as the volume creeps too high its overkill, progressional overload is still the absolute key in all assistance moves, and that is largely dictated by volume vs recovery
                        Interesting. I could incorporate part of that into my routine. I am experiment with assistance exercises as I go to see which ones I like but also which ones are helping me to push and pull more weight.

                        I am also amazed to see some of the things that can be done with the bands. I have a set of bands I used at one time but stopped. During one squat session I used a pair and found myself lifting up the half rack. I stopped using them on that then. My half rack is in a spare bedroom and I don't want to screw it into the floor.

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