Accessory Lifts?

I have a few questions about the importance and usage of accessory lifts?

For the most part, I have always just stuck to the big compound movements, and tried to balance push/pull type stuff. But now I am thinking there may be some advantages to doing some accessory stuff.

From my understanding, if a stabalization or antagonistic muscle is weak, then the max force of the agonist muscles will be decreased. The antagonist muscles fire prematurly to prevent the weight from ripping your tendons and ligaments.

(This may not be exactly correct, but I believe this is the gist of it. Correct me if I am wrong.)

So this concept leads to my first question.

1.) when training accessory lifts, should you stick with 80-90+ % or 1rm as well as some DE work. It seems that the goal is to let the nervous system know that the antagonist muscles are capable of decelerating the movement fast enough. Or is this wrong and you should do higher reps and lower weight?

So thats my first question, and my second question, is what accessory lifts I should include?

Heres the lifts that I generally focus on. I basically train for increased strength, and increased Density.

1-leg squat / stepup
DB Snatch
Floor press
DB Side Press (shoulder press)
Pullup / chinup

*Now i know it would be best to work on Barbell squats, and maybe some other exercises, but for various reasons I work out without a spotter, and these are the lifts I feel most comfortable with.

So this list would seem to be fairly balanced, and cover a lot of the different movement patterns, but there are a few I believe may need to be added.

Heres the ones I have come up with and the lift they are for, but please fill me in with anything I am missing.

  1. Pullup ----Reverse shrugs w/ bar above head
  2. Snatch / Deadlift ----Leg raises or v-situps /reverse shrugs w/ bar in regular shrug position / lying pulluovers?
  3. 1-leg squat ---- Leg raises / V-situps
  4. DB side press ---- hanging scapular depression
  5. Floor press ---- DB curls
  6. Rows ---- Serratus anterior pushups

***Thats what I came up with, I may have missed something, and maybe many of these are unecessary completely. Please let me know what you guys think. Thanks guys.

Regarding your first question, I generally take high reps with my accessory lifts- typically in the 8-20 range. I think of these exercises as things that are done for blood flow and little extra hypertrophy. For example, I occassionaly do curls and flys. While these do nothing for the lifts I care about (squat/bench/dead), they help with bicep tendon pain and pec tie-in pain. Plus, they help make me look like I actually lift weights. I have no interest in being a strong curler or flyer, so I have no incentive to go heavy. With that said, soem accessory lifts have a direct impact on my overall strength- namely rows, rack pulls, lockouts. I take these heavier- in the 3-5 rep range.

As far as exercise selection- I say experiment. I shit-canned flies a few years ago since I thought they were useless for a powerlifter. However, when I started having significant discomfort in my pecs, I tried flies again. Voila- pain went away a couple weeks after adding flies to my accessory menu. I would say that at least half of accessory work is worthless to you at any given time. The problem is that you don’t know which half.

Accessory lifts are extremely important in my program. I use them for a variety of different reasons. I use them to help build extra strength for my main lifts. I help them to bring up weak points. I use them to keep from getting injured. And I use them to keep variety in my program so I am not hitting the same muscles the same way every time. To me, any program that only has the person doing big compound movements will eventually fail as you can only make so much progress hitting the same muscles the same way over and over.

Accessory Lifts are lifts performed after your Dynamic and Max Effort exercises that use the Repetition Effort method to build strength.
Usually 60-80% of your Max is used on accessory lifts. Rep and Set schemes vary.
Accessory Lifts are used to strengthen specific muscles that are crucial to the ME lifts.

Upper Back: Face Pulls, Rear Delt Flys, Dumbbell Power Cleans

Lats: Pull-ups, Dumbbell Rows, Pulldowns

Front Delts: Military Press, Incline Dumbbell Bench Press, Front Delt Raises

Glutes & Hamstrings: Reverse Hyper, GHR, Prowler Push

Quads: Leg Press, Lunges, Step-up, Backward sled drag.