I’ve mentioned previously that before I had taken ill I ran Jim Wendler’s 5/3/1 program. I found after a few cycles that I wasn’t getting much out of the strength training assistance work of 5x10x50% and ended up modifying assistance work to better suit the parameters which I have found help me progress in strength and size (lower volume, increased intensity) after some consultation with Callum Mahoney.
Assistance work for my primary lift became a dynamic version of Jones’s Rule of 24 combined combined with Mahoney’s outlined 90% Method. Weights for assistance work were based off of treating my top set on 5/3/1 as my “daily max” as outlined by Mahoney, requiring all of my assistance work to be done at or above 90% of the top set. Reps for assistance work were equal to the number of reps completed during the top set, and sets were calculated based on the rule of 24.
Any rep count higher than ten was performed for only two sets as form would be lacking from fatigue if run any longer than that. An example of a deadlift session on “3″ week would be:
Additionally, this assistance work was applied to deload weeks as well. Deload week on this version of the program is a repeat of the weights and reps from “3″ week, but you stop your last working set at three reps instead of going on for a large/maximal effort. In this case, the assistance work for deload week will always be done with a set/rep breakdown of 8×3.
This is a method which I found worked well for me and allowed me to make better progress on 5/3/1. I would recommend making the switch in assistance work only if you’re not seeing results with the regular 5x10x50% as that’s something which is quite tried and true. If you haven’t run 5/3/1, but are looking to make a change in your program to increase maximal strength, I would highly recommend paying to pick up the manual and giving it a read. It just might change the way you look at training.