Matt and Scott address accessory lifts and how they fit into a well-designed training program. As Matt says, supplemental lifts -- which he first discussed in Episode 21 -- are variants that closely resemble the main lifts, while accessory lifts are lighter, less stressful (but still complex multi-joint) movements that allow more advanced lifters to add small increments of stress. It goes without saying, then, that accessories become useful when more volume with the main lifts or supplemental lifts would be too stressful to recover from, yet additional volume is needed to drive progress.
As Scott expounds, accessory movements are useful because they work the antagonist muscle groups to the main lifts. For example, in a bench press the pecs are the primary movers (agonists) while the biceps and lats are the antagonists. Thus, a barbell row would be an accessory movement.
Some Examples of Supplemental Lifts
Note that we don't discuss many accessories for the lower body lifts. The lower body musculature is larger and stronger, and responds more robustly to the main and supplemental lifts. Thus, most people won't require accessory movements for the lower body.
Matt and Scott recommend adding accessories when a trainee moves into a 4-day split model, adding in one lat movement, one bicep movement, and one tricep movement each week. Remember these are accessory movements, so they are only used to add a little extra volume without adding huge amounts of stress and impact on the joints.
When adding any movement, we must consider training economy. We don't do exercises for the sake of doing them, we do them because they fit logically into our model for training advancement. In fact, most trainees will only need to perform chin-ups (often called the fifth main lift) and barbell rows (the sixth lift) during their training career.
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