1

After not training for a couple of years I am just starting again, and decided to use the 5/3/1 template.
I am pretty much set on using 5/3/1 but if you can make a (very) good case for another program (and it isn't Starting Strength/Stronglifts) I will consider it.

My short-term goal is to lose fat, I am currently a 235lbs bag of lard (well, there is still some muscle there). And my long-term goal is to be strong while looking good doing it.

Since I am very limited in time, I opted for a 2 day/week split. One day is Squat/Bench, the other is Deadlift/Press.

For assistance I add 5x10 dumbbell rows on day 1, and heavy farmers walks on day 2.

My question is: are these assistance exercises a good complement? Or should I substitute for different ones? Or should I maybe add more?
Time is very much a constraint, so I would prefer to stick to 1 assistance exercise. But if you can make a good case for adding another I will definitely consider.

And another thing: when do you change up assistance exercises? I was planning to change every 2/3 cycles.

  • "After not training for a couple of years [...]" -- are you planning to start with your previous 1 RM numbers, or work your way up? – C. Lange Sep 18 at 17:21
  • No, I devoted a session to do some doubles on the big 4. Calculated a 1RM off of those numbers, and actually used 80% of that as my training max for the first cycle. – Dennis Haarbrink Sep 18 at 17:58
  • Care to explain why you favor 5/3/1 over a true beginner routine like SS, 5x5, Greyskull,...? I mean, you're artificially slowing down your progress by limiting your 5RM increase to every four weeks, while your body could easily handle increasing the 5RM every workout. – UnbescholtenerBuerger Sep 23 at 14:39
  • @UnbescholtenerBuerger I have used programs like that in the past, but I burn out too quickly, I can't seem to recover quick enough. And your assumptions about 5/3/1 aren't quite correct. I can skip the deload week if I want, which shortens a cycle to 3 weeks. I can also increase the load by more than generally recommended. And then there are the AMRAP sets, which can get you above and beyond your training max. So yes, I think, in the long run, 5/3/1 might be good for me. – Dennis Haarbrink Sep 23 at 18:07
  • I hear you. Again, let me suggest you take a look at Greyskull LP (or Phrak's modified Greyskull LP). It is built upon SS and addresses your exact concerns about SS' complete lack of autoregulation: With GSLP, each main lift's last set is an AMRAP set as well, and if you manage to do 10 or more on the AMRAP, then next time you're supposed to put on twice as much additional plates than as usual. As per your problem with recovery - Struggling with a biweekly beginner routine suggests that you are either not a beginner at all, or you might have issues with sleep hygiene, malnourishment, etc... – UnbescholtenerBuerger Sep 23 at 19:03
1

My short-term goal is to lose fat, I am currently a 235lbs bag of lard (well, there is still some muscle there). And my long-term goal is to be strong while looking good doing it.

This is a great start -- good job on getting back at it. Just remember, abs are made in the kitchen, not the gym! The number of accessory workouts completed is not as important as the number of calories consumed.

Are these assistance exercises a good complement?

My favourite opinion is that you should match your push and pull workouts at a 1:1 ratio.

Heavy bench day with dumbbell rows afterward is a good combination. On the Overhead Press day, I might add lat pull-downs instead of farmer walks. If I were to add any other accessory lifts I'd either add one leg accessory workout (split squats, calf raises, or leg press) or another set of push/pull (overhead dumbbell press/seated rows, flat bench dumbbell/barbell rows, etc.)

And another thing: when do you change up assistance exercises? I was planning to change every 2/3 cycles.

You can change it up whenever. Substitute your push or pull workout with any other push or pull workout. I change them up when I get bored, if I decide I want to work on something specific or to avoid an injured area. The point to keep in mind though is that these are accessory workouts and the key to the 5/3/1 method is in the main lifts.

  • Yeah, diet is the main thing to lose fat, I am aware of that. I believe in Dan John's 5 basic movement patterns: push/pull/hinge/squat/loaded carry. So I would really like the carries to stay. I think I will add pullups (well, static holds and/or negatives actually) to that workout. Thanks – Dennis Haarbrink Sep 20 at 7:31
  • 1
    @DennisHaarbrink, farmer walks are one of my favourite workouts. They work the core and grip nicely. I find they're a practical movement too (we're all just trying to get the groceries in one go, really). Deads, OHP, negatives, and farmer walks would be a great workout. With a 2 day split, you'll have lots of rest time. – C. Lange Sep 20 at 16:16

Your Answer

By clicking “Post Your Answer”, you agree to our terms of service, privacy policy and cookie policy

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.