Many people go into the gym and incorporate the main three exercises without really knowing what these may be. The main three exercises are the squat, bench, and deadlift, as well as all the variations of these movements. These are compound movements that recruit multiple muscle groups and require coordination between said groups. These main movements are also particular to the individual and their needs. An average person will get more out of a typical goblet squat verse and athlete looking to build strength/explosiveness . Athletes may lean more towards strength movements such as the back squat , deadlift and bench press. Plyometric training is also another modality that athletes utilize in their training as well. These consist of many types of jumps and drills to help increase jumping capability as well as speed. For the general population doing heavy max effort type movements incorporated with the strength and power realm isn’t a main priority for that client base. Don’t get me wrong , if your goal is to build your squat up , then by all means it can be done!! But As you can see it is all going to very on your fitness level and your prospective goals. So, the main movement you choose should correspond to your goals. Your Strength coach or Personal Trainer should sit down and discuss these goals with you.
Accessory movements are exercises implemented as supplemental movements to help weak areas and strengthen the main movements. For example, if you are squatting and your chest keeps caving, you probably need to build up your low back/erectors and your core muscles. Assistance or auxiliary exercises should be individualized to the person and their particular weaknesses. That is why it’s important to analyze and evaluate movement during exercise. By analyzed an individual’s movement, weaknesses can be evaluated and the correct accessory movements can be perscribed. Speaking in generalities, The anterior(front side of body) chain is often overdeveloped and the posterior(rear side of body) chain is usually underdeveloped. The posterior chain is extremely important because it involves all of the muscles of the low back, glutes, hamstrings, calves etc. These muscles need to be strong to improve performance as well as injury prevention.
Some examples of accessory movements are listed below:
Leg exercises/Low back exercises/Core exercises
Glute ham developer
45° degree back extensions
Hollow body hold
Chest/back /biceps /Triceps /Shoulders
Regular dumbbell curls
Overhead tricep extensions
Rear delt flys
All of these exercises are great auxiliary movements to sub in after you hit your main movements . The sets and reps are unique to an individual. Volume and intensity are two important modalities in training. You don’t want to incorporate too much too fast so volume and intensity should be increased slowly as work capacity increases . It is often best to start with 2-3 sets of 10-12 reps. These should be done after the main movement and correspond to the main movement you performed- that is, lower body movements after deadlifts/squats and upper body after pressing. Finish with some solid core movements to round the workout . These are just ideas- there are many other exercises that can be used as accessory movements. Be creative, keep it fresh, and have fun!
If your deadlift is lagging, you need to read this article!! As a powerlifter competing in the 198 class, I have compiled three elite totals in my short time . My best lift is the deadlift, pulling 650 at 198 conventional and sumo. I want to share some advice and key tips that you can use to strengthen your deadlift. After all, don’t you know? The deadlift is king of all the lifts, having the biggest power transfer of the big three lifts. Being able to produce force against the ground and push off is a major key . It doesn’t matter if you are running , jumping etc ..your ground force production is extremely important. This also ties into absolute strength , but that article is for another time!
Tip #1 Deficit Deadlifts
When doing any deadlift programming, you need to assess your weak points. For example, many people struggle with getting the bar off the floor or they get stuck at the knees. Figure out what your issue is, and work on it. The answer is usually always more glutes/low back and hamstrings . In your training I highly recommend incorporating deficit deadlifts. Deficit deadlifts help you create more leg drive off the floor . Start out with a 1-3 inch deficit if you are going to add these in. If you have bands, you can add them for some accommodating resistance. In the time I spent at Westside Barbell, Louie Simmons was very pro deficit deadlifts. So if you are on the fence, there is your answer.
Tip #2 Accessory Movements
Accessory movements must be key in your training! But not just any accessory will do! As I mentioned above, you must assess where you are weak and focus on that muscle group . I am going to share with you a couple of my favorite accessory movements to push your deadlift.
Variations 1.) arched back good mornings with a medium to wide stance 2.) rounded back good mornings with a medium to wide stance 3.) seated good mornings
These are 3 of my favorite variations , because each one teaches you to strain in a different way . So in return it’s like a bench press , you work your sticking points . Make sense ?? Well you need to do the same on your deadlifts! Perform these exercises with 8-10 reps (moderate -heavy weight ). These can also be subbed in on a max effort lower day in place of a deadlift for that week.
Lastly, my two favorite accessory movements are the reverse hyper and back extension (GHD). The reverse hyper is famous for decompressing the spine and allowing spinal fluid to reach the muscles of the low back. It is a huge tool to build a strong posterior chain. The reverse hyper can be utilized to build strength and restoration. My suggestion is to incorporate the reverse hyper for 8-10 reps at (35% of your max deadlift or back squat) on lighter days. On heavier days, utilize the reverse hyper at the end of your workout for 15-25 reps at 20-30% of your 1 RM(squat /deadlift). I like to superset back extensions with the hyper. So on the heavy day with the reverse hyper, I would do bodyweight back extensions/banded leg curls for reps of 20-30. On heavy back extension days I use weight I can get for 8-12 reps and utilize the lighter percentage on the hyper those days. See the trend here? I hope this helps!
TIP#3 BRACING and set up !!
This last tip is huge! It can make or break the lift!
When setting up, sumo or conventional, it doesn’t matter, you must set up and get tight. This means locking the lats into position (bending the bar ). Secondly you must fill your stomach up with air and push against the belt. The lower abs play a huge role in the speed off the floor . Lastly when you are committing to the deadlift you must think, “less of a pull and more of a push”. If you go up and yank the bar you take away all of the tightness and that puts more pressure on the wrong muscles . If you fill your stomach up, lock the lats in, and push the floor away you will notice a huge difference. Deadlifting is all about leverages and being mechanically efficient. Along with these tips, do not neglect your speed work! Bar speed is absolutely crucial! Speed deadlifts should be added in once a week and the percent should stay at 40%. I hope these tips helped you! Now lets fix that deadlift!
I have left a sample 4 week deadlift program below
Sumo or conventional deadlift 5 rep max off a 2 inch deficit
(Opposite of what you pull ) Example: Sumo deadlift
Does narrow Stance good mornings 4-5 sets 8-12 reps
Conventional = widestance good mornings 4-5 sets 8-12 reps
Sumo or conventional
3 rep max off a 1 inch deficit
Then 5 sets of 2 reps paused at knees (no deficit )
Seated good mornings 3-5 sets 8-10 reps
Sumo or conventional
2 rep max off a 3 inch deficit
Back down sets 4 sets of 6 reps (70% off a 1 inch deficit )
Pull to a 1 rep max off a 2 inch deficit
Good mornings (variation based on weakness ) Lighter weight (higher reps )12-20 reps
In the fitness community there is a lot of debate over nutrition. Everyone has a reason why their diet is the magic bullet that will help you get fit and solve all your problems. Although there are plenty of great diets out there, it all comes down to the one that fits your lifestyle the best. A healthy lifestyle starts with good solid nutrition. But this brings up an interesting question: what exactly is nutrition? Many think they understand it, and they have a very basic understanding. But there is so much more than meets the eye. Nutritional science is a complex subject, not something that can be mastered overnight. To understand it in any depth, you must devote years of research and study. Lucky for you, I have done so. So, I am going to present a general overview of nutrition. Nutrition starts with the three basic macronutrients. Macronutrients are the primary sources of fuel that we need for our body to sustain daily functions. Macronutrients play a role in absorption as well as digestion of food. Macronutrients also are critical in maintenance of an individual’s overall well-being. Body composition and metabolic properties also play a large role as well.
There are three basic macronutrients- They are:
Protein- 4 calories per gram- help build muscle tissue and prevent catabolic breakdown
Guidelines- .6-.8 grams per pound of lean body mass for general public
Athlete- need 1.2-1.5 grams of protein per lean body mass
Foods- lean red meat, bison, salmon, chicken, fish, low fat plain yogurt, Protein supplements (whey isolate)
Carbohydrates- 4 calories per gram- help with maintenance of muscle tissue, preservation, energy
Food choices- eat carbs higher in fiber- mixed beans, quinoa, white rice, sweet potatoes, whole oats
Fat- 9 calories per gram- energy needs, regulation of hormones, Transports vitamins and helps with regulation of functions in the body. Crucial for endurance athletes.
Sources- grass-fed butter, olive oil, nuts
If you are looking to improve body composition and overall health. Try these 5 nutritional habits.
Eat Frequently every 2-4 hours
Make protein a staple in your meals ( Lean beef , bison , fish , chicken , dairy etc )
Add in veggies during each meal ( Carrots , broccoli , cauliflower , spinach etc ) Great for Colon health!
The bulk of your Carbohydrates should be eaten post exercise ( Some People may need 30-40 grams pre workout , but for most individuals post workout carbohydrates are the way to go!) Examples potatoes , rice , pasta , whole grains etc.
Don’t be afraid of FAT!! EAT FAT!!! There are different kinds of Fats and they all play crucial roles in your body!!! Polyunsaturated Fats – flaxseed , nuts , fish oil etc — monounsaturated — olive oil , olives -Saturated fat – coconut oil , butter (SOME IS OKAY!)
The most important thing you can remember out of all this is that nutrition is highly variable from person to person. Your nutrition needs to be based on your goals and should be adjusted to your body’s needs with time and experimentation. Just eating to eat isn’t going to line up with anyone’s goals. Having a macronutrient split with your calories based on goals, body type, and fitness level is extremely important! If you would like to discuss nutrition or you just need help, please email me at email@example.com