T Nation

Let's Talk About Accessories


I have a hard time activating my lats.
What are y’alls go to exercises for lats?


Rack chins

Here’s some good info from Dean Somerset

There’s also a video of a half kneeling 1 arm cable row that does wonders for activating your lats if you’re not used to feeling them.

I prefer to be a little more upright and less leaned back, but what ever gets that lat cranking.


Thank you again. I will work on tweaking the technique on these.


Somewhat related: I saw this out of the Bryant camp. Looks awkward and like it would suck balls. I might try it as I get elbow problems and this might be a little nicer on the elbows than a regular JM press though my gym’s SSB doesn’t have handles that long…


I think they came up with that at Westside Barbell, I don’t know if it would be easier on your elbows but apparently the idea is to keep you from cheating the JM press.


Personally I feel the fat bar makes it easier on the elbows with this movement. It could be because it takes stress of the wrist a bit, I don’t know. I do like this over the actual straight bar movement, but i’ve got bitch wrists so take that for what it’s worth


Concerning accessories, I too don’t really like them, but I’ve always disciplined myself enough to do them, because shit starts to hurt if I don’t.

Certain body parts burn out quicker than others, so sometimes I’ll move an accessory up before my main work, and treat it like a warmup/activation movement.

My deadlift is a bit speacial, since I hurt my back. Short and sweet is the goal for me personally. I rarely pull off the floor unless it’s for testing if I’m running a new block that requires a new calculated max. I stay doing rack pulls, or hypers, and mostly drop sets or straight sets for the former. Accessories don’t really do much for my deadlift, so much as actually training the movement. I take as much rest as I need.

My bench has a mind of its own. I can do accessories or not, so long as my frequency concerning the main movement is on point from week to week. Rest is usually 1-2 mins. Row variations, upper back work, and triceps work are what I rotate between. Usually something along the lines of 4-5 reps x 10 sets.

My squat is my prized possession lol, but I can’t cut corners with it. I use compensatory tension as a type of warm up, move on to main sets typically in a 6-10 set x 2-3 rep scheme, followed by a secondary movement usually front squats, pin lockouts, leg press, or rest paused competition stance squats. Accessory work is either lighter squats that I dish out fast but controlled, for reps upwards of 40+ and usually hamstring/lower back stuff. Rests are usually 1-2 min.


What is that?


CAT I’m assuming.



Make a light weight feel heavy


I don’t get it. You lift it slow or fast or what?


Wait… why the hell would you do that?


Maximum muscle recruitment. Getting the most out of the weight you’re using.


You have to move the weight as fast as possible to do that, or go close to failure.


Correct, but you can do that with lighter loads than your rep max.


As Baum mentioned, to get as much muscle recruitment as possible. I personally use it for a slightly different reason. It’s mostly just keeping tension all throughout the body. I mostly do it for squatting, and I prefer it over warming up, since warming up can sometimes take away energy from my actual work set. So I just cut down the number of warm up sets, but treat it heavy, to still get stuff all activated. It also helps me with jumping up in weight, keeping all my cues in mind, etc.


Not entirely, you can slow the tempo down too if you wish.


If it works for you as a warm up then that’s fine, but just so you know you won’t actually use the strongest fast twitch fibres unless you lift a maximal weight, push close to failure, or move the weight as fast as possible (which still doesn’t guarantee all fibres will be activated but certainly more than if you lift slowly).


On the accessories?


She was talking about squatting. For accessory movements you should be pushing within a couple reps of failure, don’t try to do single joint movements as explosively as possible because you might explode an elbow or knee.