View Full Version : second month on 5/3/1 - assistance exercises

11-03-2011, 07:39 AM
I started 5/3/1 last month and am currently on week 2 (3x3's). My setup right now is squat/ohp on Monday, bench Wednesday, deadlift Friday. Here's my assistance exercises I did month 1 and am continuing month 2.

M: chins (SS w/ohp) standing cable ab crunch, standing cable oblique crunch
W: chins (SS w/bench), good morning
F: chins, standing cable ab crunch, standing cable oblique crunch

I've never done direct ab work hence hitting it twice a month to start. Starting next month I'm going to do abs on Monday only and then do dips on Friday. Thoughts?

Also for chins I've worked my way up to 8x4; dead hang at the bottom to shoulders touching hands at the top. Next week I'm going to try for 5. At what point should I start loading the movement?


11-04-2011, 09:16 AM
Are you saying that you do chins every day?

And also how is your lower back not dead. Squats on monday, GM's on wednesday, and deadlifts on friday? That would kill me.

11-04-2011, 10:41 AM
Are you saying that you do chins every day?

And also how is your lower back not dead. Squats on monday, GM's on wednesday, and deadlifts on friday? That would kill me.

The past two months? Yes, chins every workout (3x/week). Went from doing 8x2 to 8x4. Eventually yes I'll reduce to once or twice a week; an article I read said to go high volume with BW chins to build endurance...

Deadlift 1RM (per 5/3/1) is 395. GM's are 3x10 @ 175, squat 1RM (per 5/3/1) is 295. It's not an incredible amount of weight.

11-04-2011, 02:34 PM
Well to answer your original questions I think you can get away with doing abs twice a week still. But maybe focus on "abs" monday and obliques friday.

I would definitely add dips in somewhere or at least some other pushing movement. Seem to be lacking in the push movements.

And personally i would have started adding weight to the chins a while ago. But i hate doing chinups so I usually put enough weight on to only be able to do 3x5.

11-04-2011, 09:51 PM
What are your goals? It's hard to say if this is a good workout without knowing what you're trying to accomplish with this set-up.

Tim K
11-05-2011, 02:28 PM

From Wendler's mouth (or keyboard as it were):

"Generally, I tell everyone to just do the program as is, regardless of training age.

Of course, if you’re a trainer and are using the program with a novice athlete or someone new to training, simply use your experience to make whatever changes are required – though there shouldn’t be many.

Now if you’re a beginner and are working out without any guidance whatsoever, it’s probably best to just stick with the basic program. One of the worst things a young lifter can do is take advice from other beginners on message boards – they usually have all the advice and none of the experience.

Below is one beginner modification that’s permissible, and effective. It’s a subtle, easy way to add in some extra work on the main lifts without compromising the program or the philosophies it was built upon.

You perform a full-body routine, three days a week. Full body strength routines are the best way for novice lifters to quickly get strong, provided the program is non-retarded (i.e. adheres to an intelligent progression system).

Instead of just one main lift per workout (using the 5/3/1 set-up), two main lifts are used for additional weekly exposures. The second main lift, however, should not be performed 5/3/1 style; instead, use a standard 3 sets of 5 reps, starting at 55% of your training 1RM for the first set of 5 and increasing the weight by 10% each successive set.

The exception is the deadlifting day with presses as the second lift. Just do 5/3/1 here across the board.


Squat – 5/3/1 sets/reps
Bench – 55%x5, 65×5%, 75%x5
Assistance work


Deadlift – 5/3/1 sets/reps
Press – 5/3/1 sets/reps
Assistance work


Bench – 5/3/1 sets/reps
Squat – 55%x5, 65%x5, 75%x5
Assistance work

The program is set up the same way – taking 90% of your max and working up slowly. All percentages are based on that training max.

The first thing I’ll be asked is, “What do I do for assistance work?” Because you’re doing a full body routine each day and using compound lifts, you need to keep the assistance work to a minimum. Chins, dips, back raises, neck work, and curls will serve you well. Stick with that.

The above program is nothing revolutionary, but it’s effective. When you’re given a training max and the exact percentages to use every workout, it removes all doubt as to what’s heavy, medium, or light. This is simple and easy to use for any beginner.

Intermediate lifters, provided the percentages on the non-5/3/1 days are lowered by 10 percent each set, can also use this basic structure. (As you get more experienced, you can’t handle the extra work at a heavier percentage.)"

Pure Water
11-05-2011, 03:30 PM
I agree with what Tim said above. Jim Wendler knows his stuff.