Here's how I look at assistance work, even if I keep the weight the same, I am progressing. Why?
Because as long as my main lifts are going up, then I am getting in more volume and thus creating a situation where my body needs to adapt.
Let's use a simple example.
Started with Bench Press, 3 sets of 5 with 200 (3000 pounds moved), over 6 weeks moved up to 3 sets of 5 with 230 (3450 pounds moved)
So even if Assistance remains the same, volume still increased by 450 pounds.
Atttempting to increase assistance can really increase volume of course:
DB Bench Press 70x10, 5 sets (3500 pounds moved) up to 85x10, 4 sets, (4250 pounds moved)
An increase in 750 pounds volume.
Here is the danger of trying to increase weight too much on assistance and then ending up cutting sets, you may end up doing less volume over time which I personally view as unproductive even if your main sets are going up.
Main work - same as above example, increase in 450 pounds
Started with 70x10, 5 sets, (3500 pounds moved) but bumped up weight too fast and 6 weeks later was using 95 pounds, but only doing 3 sets (2850 pounds moved), a decrease in 650 pounds.
Thus your net volume in 6 weeks is: +450 (Main work) -650 (Assistance) = -200
You decreased volume with this example.
However, a planned decrease in volume (not talking about a deload) may work.
If you keep main work same as first example, and then do 70x10, 5 sets, but decrease to 4 sets as you work up to 95 pounds, for example, that still yields a slight increase in volume. (300 pounds on assistance)
I think you get what I am trying to say. Excepting situations where you need a deload, I think it is wise to gradually increase volume over time.
However, in your recent post, you also mentioned cutting sets for your PT test which I think makes sense. You have to plan around your life.
James 1:16-17 ESV
Do not be deceived, my beloved brothers. Every good gift and every perfect gift is from above, coming down from the Father of lights
With God's help...Mens sana in corpore sano
Last edited by Commander; 02-29-2012 at 01:55 PM.