Wendler's 5/3/1 re: Assistance Work

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I'm looking to make the switch to 5/3/1 from Stronglifts 5x5 and I just laid my first week of my first cycle on my spreadsheet.

I am quite limited in gym time on the weekdays, as I need to be out of there in 50 minutes max from putting my things away, warm up, the work, and getting dressed as I need to take transit to work and it involves a bus and train ride. I like the early mornings (first person in the rack when it opens) as the demographic that goes during that time are all very elderly and don't use the same equipment as me. The evenings are a different story.

Anyways, enough rambling...

I believe I can do the programmed main lifts in the time I have, including warm ups. However, I do not think I can do the assistance exercises in that time.

Would I be wrong to pick a day where I'm not doing 5/3/1 to do them? I could come on a weekend day and have more time or pick the one weekday that I'm not doing 5/3/1 to do them.

Thank you!

Replies

  • not_a_runner
    not_a_runner Posts: 1,343 Member
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    Are you going to be doing 5/3/1 as a four day split? So you would only have one move to focus on per day, OHP/dead/bench/or squat. You could superset the assistance work to save a bit of time.
    If you kept your assistance work to a minimum (I think it's recommended to do 3 or so anyway? So not a ton) and kept your warm ups moving I would think you'd be fine squeezing everything into 50 minutes. I just started 5/3/1 myself, and it took me less than half an hour to do the warm ups and working sets for the main lifts, and that was with taking my sweet time.
    If not, go earlier? Or go in the PM when you have time.
    You will more than likely run into some recovery problems trying to squat one day, then do leg assistance the next, etc etc. It's really nice to have the off days to simply recover.
  • sammyliftsandeats
    sammyliftsandeats Posts: 2,421 Member
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    Are you going to be doing 5/3/1 as a four day split? So you would only have one move to focus on per day, OHP/dead/bench/or squat. You could superset the assistance work to save a bit of time.
    If you kept your assistance work to a minimum (I think it's recommended to do 3 or so anyway? So not a ton) and kept your warm ups moving I would think you'd be fine squeezing everything into 50 minutes. I just started 5/3/1 myself, and it took me less than half an hour to do the warm ups and working sets for the main lifts, and that was with taking my sweet time.
    If not, go earlier? Or go in the PM when you have time.
    You will more than likely run into some recovery problems trying to squat one day, then do leg assistance the next, etc etc. It's really nice to have the off days to simply recover.

    Yeah, my concern was running into recovery problems as you stated.

    Unfortunately, my gym is not 24 hours so I go at 6 when it opens and have to be out by 6:50.

    Maybe it looked like a lot on paper...I guess I'll only know if I do it. But if you can do it in less than half an hour for the warm ups and working sets, maybe I am overthinking.

    My plan was to do the four day split, as that was best for my needs.
  • deputy_randolph
    deputy_randolph Posts: 940 Member
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    If you have the 5/3/1 book, Wendler addresses some of these types of questions at the end. There might be an answer in there. I ran 5/3/1 and 5/3/1 for PL for about 2 years.

    In the beginning, you could probably get away with an extra day of assistance (as long as it isn't back to back; like squats on Monday and squat assistance on Tuesday). Like previous poster said, recovery is going to become an issue over time. Most days with main lift and assistance work take me about an hour total.
  • shor0814
    shor0814 Posts: 559 Member
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    Don't overthink the assistance work. Focus on the main lifts and leave the assistance work as assisting your weak areas.
  • nossmf
    nossmf Posts: 9,302 Member
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    I just started a modified 5/3/1 program using a template put together by @SideSteel in the Eat, Train, Progress group forum. Basically you do each lift twice per week, once heavy using the 5/3/1 template and once more with much lower weights as a volume assistance. So Monday is bench 5/3/1 & OHP volume, Tuesday is squat 5/3/1 & deadlift volume, Thursday/Friday are the reverse. These days I do only the two main lifts (maybe throwing in rows as supersets on Mon/Thu). Wednesday I do other stuff (lateral raises, face pulls, shrugs, etc). Like you, I have 50 minutes door-to-door, so I arrive at the gym already dressed and am standing outside the door when the doors are unlocked, run in to throw my gym bag in a locker, and immediately start working. The bench/OHP days I can typically finish in 25 minutes, squat/DL in 30. Shower, dress, out the door.
  • eeejer
    eeejer Posts: 339 Member
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    Accessory work is not important. Do the main lifts, and do FSL if you feel you need a bit more volume.
  • sammyliftsandeats
    sammyliftsandeats Posts: 2,421 Member
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    nossmf wrote: »
    I just started a modified 5/3/1 program using a template put together by @SideSteel in the Eat, Train, Progress group forum. Basically you do each lift twice per week, once heavy using the 5/3/1 template and once more with much lower weights as a volume assistance. So Monday is bench 5/3/1 & OHP volume, Tuesday is squat 5/3/1 & deadlift volume, Thursday/Friday are the reverse. These days I do only the two main lifts (maybe throwing in rows as supersets on Mon/Thu). Wednesday I do other stuff (lateral raises, face pulls, shrugs, etc). Like you, I have 50 minutes door-to-door, so I arrive at the gym already dressed and am standing outside the door when the doors are unlocked, run in to throw my gym bag in a locker, and immediately start working. The bench/OHP days I can typically finish in 25 minutes, squat/DL in 30. Shower, dress, out the door.

    I joined the group and took a look at the discussion/spreadsheet you were talking about.

    I will have to read it more in depth, but I will keep it as an option.

    I think I am going to try the program with the accessories as it is done originally and if I just can't due to time constraints, I will look into that variation.

    Thanks!
  • sammyliftsandeats
    sammyliftsandeats Posts: 2,421 Member
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    I'd like to add: What kind of rest time between working sets are we looking at here? I am used to an app telling me LOL
  • not_a_runner
    not_a_runner Posts: 1,343 Member
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    I'd like to add: What kind of rest time between working sets are we looking at here? I am used to an app telling me LOL

    I go by feel, probably around 3-5 minutes if I'm doing heavy sets, sometimes more. 5/3/1 is what I would consider warm ups to 1 working set- your 5+ or 3+ or 1+ whatever the day it is. So I worked through some of my "warm ups"with even less time than that, maybe 1-2 minutes. Really whatever you feel you need to be ready to lift again though. As it gets heavier you usually need more time.
  • deputy_randolph
    deputy_randolph Posts: 940 Member
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    Couple of minutes between working sets (I don't rest much between sets on main lifts)...enough time to run to the bathroom. Nothing worse than peeing on the platform...
  • Ws2016
    Ws2016 Posts: 432 Member
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    shor0814 wrote: »
    Don't overthink the assistance work. Focus on the main lifts and leave the assistance work as assisting your weak areas.

    What this poster said. After doing 531 for awhile I've become less driven to do the assistance work. I know I'm getting a strong workout with 531 so I've cut back on assistance. And to your question I do assistance the days I do 531.
  • sammyliftsandeats
    sammyliftsandeats Posts: 2,421 Member
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    Thanks for all your input!

    I had my first day today: OHP.

    I actually finished the working part in about 25 minutes (including rest) so I did manage to get some assistance work in.

    That may change as it gets heavier, but right now...it might be manageable. I think I just saw the workout on paper and it looked like it would take a while and subsequently freaked out a little.
  • TR0berts
    TR0berts Posts: 7,739 Member
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    I've just gone back to 5-3-1 for my OHP. Here's my general mode of doing things.

    Warmups: Do a set, load up the bar with the next set, take a few breaths, do the next set... That should give you approximately 1 minute between warmup sets.

    Between my last warmup and my first working set, I usually rest about 2 minutes after loading the bar. Now, and when I did 5-3-1 for my other lifts, I'd wait 3-5 minutes between sets 1/2 and 2/3 - usually 3 minutes between 1/2 and 5 between 2/3. It kinda depends on which (5+, 3+, 1+) week I'm on and how I'm feeling.

    I do some lat work, volume benching, and some rear delt work - all with 2 minutes rest between sets. I'm out of the gym in less than an hour. If I were to superset the assistance work, I'd probably be done 40-45 minutes. Of course, I'm only doing 3 sets of each assistance lift, not 5.

    Obviously, there's no guarantee the way I do it will work well for you. But it's just an example of how it doesn't have to take a particularly long time.

    As far as an additional day? I suppose it could work, if you went in on the first of the 2-day rest period. If so, I'd suggest setting up your days as such: 1-Upper, 2-Lower, 3-Rest, 4-Upper, 5-Lower, 6-Accessory/Assistance, 7-Rest. I'd also suggest getting in at least one assistance lift (preferably an opposite-type lift) in on your main days, if possible. For example, on Bench day, do some rows, if nothing else; OHP day, some lat work; Squat day, some additional hamstring work; Deadlift day, some additional quad work. Then on your assistance day, I'd confine it to additional upper body work (whatever you want/need) and maybe some abs - maybe even some calf raises, if you plan on doing them. Just some thoughts.