| June 21, 2021
Read time: 3 min.
The accessories that you choose can be crucial to your success as a powerlifter, doing the big 3 compound movements alone will not allow you to attain the hypertrophy of selective smaller muscles. You may find yourself hitting walls and plateaus in terms of structural issues and sticking points in your compounds, how do you fix this? The answer is accessories.
In the following, I will go over my favorite accessories for each of the Big 3 compounds, Squat, Bench and Deads.
Safety Squat Bar
The safety squat bar is a barbell that has handles, it helps to improve on an anterior load while still having the resistance close to a high bar position, upright torso positioning and structure are essential, be forcing the body to maintain an upright torso position with a load that is driving you forward, you will develop this position in the upper back, this also reinforces stability in the pocket, the last thing you want to do is excessively lean forward in the pocket and turn your low bar squat into a good morning, this is a sure way to annihilate your lower back and potential damage the area.
I am a firm believer in lunges, not only are they an amazing way to develop hypertrophy in every muscle used in the lower body, but they also are uni lateral based, giving the body added stability when performer correctly, they help with balance and there are several different angles that they can be performed in to target select area of the legs. Bulgarian, Split, hamstring, glute, quad focussed can all be isolated independently.
Dumbbell Chest press (flat/incline)
The dumbbell press is a staple to providing balance and stability as well as hypertrophy to the pectoral muscles, using them allow for stretch reflexes through muscles that you would otherwise not be able to fully stretch in the bench press alone (pec minor) the external rotators of the shoulder (teres minor/posterior deltoid) have to be recruited with the extended amount of range, this can also teach the athlete to learn better asymmetrical retraction into the bench, so that when everything comes together on the bench press itself, the eccentric movers are able to move effectively and make the movement stronger.
Dips, when performed correctly, are one of the absolute best tricep workouts to do, however when executing this movement correctly the athlete must understand that proper range is necessary in order to avoid excess strain in the delt, and to keep it isolated to the tricep alone, typically the ROM is overdone, the athlete will dip too low, and the scapula will go into a severe anterior rotation, putting stress and discomfort on unnecessary areas. When performed properly and consistently this will undoubtedly improve a second stick point in the bench press and make a lockout significantly stronger.
Blocks are an excellent tool, not only can you choose the height in which to pull your deadlift off of, where you may be sticking, but it helps to build the posterior chain to its fullest degree, the QL and erector spinae muscles will be building significantly, this not only helps to create a rigid spine and torso, but it will translate also into maintaining an upright torso position in the squat, I like to use heavier loads with this movement to really tax the CNS and create speed while doing so.
RDL (Romanian Deadlifts)
Romanian deadlifts will isolate the hamstrings and are generally done with a lighter load to put emphasis on hypertrophy of the hamstrings, it must remain important that when performing this movement that there is no pain in the back and the you are able to maintain tempo and control with speed, if you feel pain or discomfort, you should know that the load is too heavy and will not allow for the proper stimulus of the hamstrings to create an appropriate hypertrophy response.
New articles, content with tips, inspiration, and coaching directly to your inbox.