Powerlifting articles will often center on programming, periodization, and what you do with the bench, squat, and deadlift. The truth is, “power bodybuilding” has always been a thing even though people may have identified as “only a bodybuilder” or “only a powerlifter”.
Bodybuilders don’t have a name for these accessory movements. They are simply just workouts that they perform in the gym. The thing that bodybuilders got right was that they strive to increase strength on the most random of movements. Powerlifters have always failed to care about strength outside of their bench, squat, and deadlift. Powerlifters aren’t in the wrong here. If bodybuilders should only care about building muscle, then powerlifters should only care about their strength on those 3 compound lifts.
What if I were to tell you that a powerlifter that focuses on getting stronger on the accessorly lifts will also have a high chance of getting stronger on the 3 competitive lifts as well? What if I were to tell you that a bodybuilder that focuses on strength progression will build more muscle than one who doesn’t? If I told you either of those things then you will know that the accessory lifts are not afterthoughts or things you train half-assed. You should put just as much effort and intensity into the accessory lifts as you do the main compound lifts!
BENCH PRESS ACCESSORY LIFTS
DBELL FLAT AND INCLINE PRESS
STANDING OVERHEAD PRESS
DBELL/CABLE FLYE OR PEC DECK
DEADLIFT ACCESSORY LIFTS
ZERCHER SQUATS (AND ZERCHER SQUATS FROM PINS)
SAFETY BAR SQUATS
STIFF LEG DEADLIFTS
DEFICIT STIFF LEG DEADLIFTS
SQUAT ACCESSORY LIFTS
SAFETY BAR SQUAT
LUNGES AND THEIR VARIATION
UNIVERSAL STRENGTH ACCESSORY LIFTS
INCLINE SIT UPS (WITH/WITHOUT WEIGHT)
BARBELL AND DBELL SHRUGS
There are muscle groups that many people forget to train when they focus too much on the powerlift movements. In reality, having a strong core, hips, and forearms will always aid in all three of the powerlifts. Lastly, the back is used in all three powerlifts in some way or another as well. It is crucial to have strong traps, erectors, and lats to take your strength obsession the furthest!
You don’t have to perform all of these accessory lifts every time you train the power lift associated with them. I suggest you find out your weak points during the lift and then pick the best exercises to help you target those weak points. If you are training the main power lift very hard then you may not need more than 2-3 of these accessory lifts on any given workout day. If you were able to perform more than 3 of them then I would question your intensity that you are applying to training. You should not be capable of training that many of these movements!
Lastly, I want to remind you that you should train these with the same intensity and enthusiasm as you do the big 3 power lifts. If you are able to do this then I have no doubt your strength and powerlifting total will increase with them!
Let’s get better together.