• Q&A
  • September17th


    How to Increase Volume of Assistance Work with 5/3/1

    There are two ways to do this.  The first way is to add in “big” assistance work such as SLDL, Deficit Deadlifts, Front Squats, Rack Pulls, SS Bar Squats (or any big movement).  You can use 5′s Progression or SST with any of these movements. When you add in the big assistance work, I’d start by dialing back your training maxes of your main lift to at least  90% of your max and don’t go for max reps. Just keep things ”even” with your heavy lifting. Don’t push everything that hard – keep the intensity up, but the volume  LOW. Remember that in training and in  life, there’s a balance to everything – a push and a pull. You push something into your training and something has to come out. In your case, you want to push up the volume of your assistance work to elicit greater gains in hypertrophy. Because of  this you have to pull something out.

    The second way to increase assistance work is to use small assistance work that is easy to recover from – in other words exercises such as dumbbell raises, lat movements, machine work and single joint exercises.  These exercises are not tracked for weight or records. Rather these movements are done with one goal in mind; to get a big pump. If you choose to this route, there is no need to adjust your TM as these movements and the way they are done should in NO way effect your main training. If they do, you are doing something wrong.


    The problem with the increase in assistance work is that everyone wants to have their cake and eat it  too. It doesn’t work like that – you can’t be strong like a powerlifter, fast as sprinter, and as big as a linebacker. Well, you can, but these people are so rare that teams pay them millions of dollars and television stations have billion dollar contracts to broadcast them to you. They’re called  professional football players, and if you’re one of them, you aren’t reading this, as you’re too busy counting your  money and cracking skulls.

    So if you want to increase the volume of your assistance work, follow the plans above and use your head. Also, less typing – more training and eating.


  • December17th

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    5 Ways to Increase Your Press

    Ever since I started pressing, I have been obsessed with making it better. Partly because I was so weak at it for so long (which meant that it had no place to go but up) and because it is simply a cool exercise to do. The death of the Press as a movement can be attributed to a lot of things, none of which actually matter. BUT, if you view this lift with as much enthusiasm as I do, use these tips to improve what I consider to be one of the most fun movements in the gym.

    1. Use a false grip

    I don’t know who told me this or why I began doing this but this made a huge difference with my pressing power and more importantly THE PATH of the bar. It may seem a bit scary at first; holding a bar over your head with a false grip. But this seems to keep the bar path perfect for me and for some reason, make it much more comfortable on my shoulders.

    2. Hold the bar in the shelf of your lats

    This is hard to explain but think about it this way; don’t support the bar in your hands or on your shoulders. “Shoulder” the load with your lats – keep your lats pinched and held tight. This will keep the bar path from getting out in front of you and make you feel stronger at the bottom. A good confidant start makes a huge difference.

    3. View it as a total body lift

    This doesn’t mean that you should turn it into a push press, something that I have caught myself doing from time to time. But because of the line of power goes from over your head to the ground, it requires your whole body to be tight. Squeeze your ass hard! “Squat” the weight up with violence. The press is NOT a shoulder exercise, it is a MOVEMENT. View it as such.

    4. Use volume to get stronger

    the first thing I did to increase my press is train to a heavy set and then back off for multiple sets of 10. This is very similar to the very
    popular Boring But Big. I have found that volume increases my press greatly – but do not forget that you have to train heavy, too. As a note – when doing my main sets of 5/3/1, my goal is to simply get the weight overhead; it is a MOVEMENT. When doing down sets, I pull my head through at the top and view it as a “muscle”, not a movement. This is a key distinction that one must have when training big lifts (squat, bench, clean, dead, press) and when doing assistance work. One is a movement, the other is a muscle.

    5. Make it a priority

    Just like any lift, if you want it to increase you have to make it a priority in your training. Once I did this, once I made it as important as my squat or bench press, it made huge increases. But please understand that of any of these lifts (squat, clean, bench or deadlift) this is the one that will increase the slowest and take the most patience. Keep at it and you will be rewarded. There is nothing better than pressing a weight that some people struggle to squat.


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