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Powerlifting Assistance Exercises?


im a 17 yr old on my school powerlifting team. i lifted on my own for about 2 yrs and finally got enough balls to join the team at school. Since i didnt lift at the same intensity as the other kids on the team i am behind on all my lifts. Right now i Dl 465, Squat 375, Bench 255. What sort of exercises could i do at the end of our workouts to progress faster?


What's your weight, height and quick description of your training style and split...


Remember that powerlifting isn't necessarily like other sports with which you may be familiar. More isn't necessarily better, and staying after practice to do extra work isn't necessarily the best way to improve.


Assistance for bench press:
Rack lockouts, board presses, dumbell presses from all angles, all shoulder raises, shrugs, triceps extensions, chinups, latpulldowns, all kinds of rows. Pick two to five each bench workout.
Assistance for squats and deadlifts:
reverse hyperextensions, hyperextensions, good mornings, stiff leg deadlifts, pullthroughs, situps, leg raises, glute ham raises, banded good mornings and leg curls, dumbell side bends. Again, pick two to five that YOU NEED, not what someone else's or what you are good at. I hope this helps. This stuff is all new to me but reiterating it to someone else reinforces my own routine and habits.


If everyone on the team is stronger than you, pay attention to what they do and be patient.

And eat Burger King.



last week i weighed in at 206. I am 6'1. and our team trains 6 days a week. mon-sat. weds and saturday are both legs day. we do alot of volume in our routines, usually 5 sets per exercise. and anywhere between 3 and 7 exercises each workout.


Also, have someone check your technique, or videotape yourself while training. IMO assistance exercises in PL should target one's weak spots, instead of "just" building muscle.

In my case, for instance, I've weak quads compared to my back when I squat, and therefor I choose assistance exercises that I hope will correct this (front SQ, close-stance SQ, leg ext.).

I also have a weak upper back when I deadlift, and will probably benefit from exercises like heavy DL from knees up.


I've always found that doing high pulls, power snatches and power cleans increased my deadlifts better than doing full deadlifts, partial deadlifts or other deadlift assistant exercises.


How much and what assistance work will depend on your current exercise volume, closeness to contest, and weaknesses.

With that said, here are some ideas.

Squat: Good mornings, lunges, squat with bands, box squats, paused squats, front squats, high bar squats, ultra wide squats, bulgarian squats

Bench: Board press, floor press, military press, close grip bench press, incline press, bench press with bands,
skull crushers (barbell or dumbell

Deadlift: Romanian deadlifts, deadlifts with 25 pound plates, deadlift w/ bands, hyperextensions, rack lockouts

Abs: Ab wheel, weighted incline situp, kneeling cable abs, russian twists, leg raises

There are so many to choose from.



Go into the Article Library on this site and read EVERYTHING by Dave Tate, Louie Simmons and anything with 'Westside' in the title. The 'Tate's Toolbox' series has a whole whack of assistance exercises.

I'm no expert, but if your deadlift is that much higher then your squat my best guess is that you squat with a quad dominant form. Try adding box squats so you can get used to employing the hamstrings more. I'd guess that your squat could go up by improving your form alone.


I just wanted to point out this post again, since it is important.

You may already be overtraining at 6 days a week with large amount of volume. You need to focus more on the recovery aspects. If you want to stay after the workout, what you might try is 10 minute of low intensity cardio work to get your blood pumping through your body. Follow that up by 15 or 20 minutes of stretching.

What is your workout/pre/post workout nutrition like? In fact, how is your nutrition in general?


since i have to cut weight (212 down to 198), i eat pretty well. I grill lots of skinless chicken breast and thighs, eat whole grain foods (bagels,pasta,bread) and some fruits and vegetables. I drink lots of skim and 1% milk and i also eat lots of eggs and egg whites. i eat a protein bar after lifting and somtimes a shake before bed and when i wake up.


What does your program look like now? what are your sticking points? do you bench wide or narrow, squat wide or narrow? deadlift conventional or sumo?


our program is different week to week. mostly we use percentages from 60% to our max and (somtimes 105 or 110% with a spot) with the three main lifts (bench, squat, d.l) then add assistance exercises afterwards.

In bench i notice i stick almost at the top of the press,in d.l. my sticking point is getting the weight off the ground, and in squat coming out from the bottom is where i stick mostly.
I used to bench wider but brought my hands in a little and my max went up a little. i squat wide and d.l. in a conventional stance


If you're having trouble out of the hole on your squat/deadlift, then you probably could use some hip adductor work. Try box squats or seated good mornings. For failure at the top part of the bench stroke, you need to address tricep weakness. Try some 4 board pressing.


Hip adductors? For conventional stance deadlifts?

I personally wouldn't add any more exercises, you might want to change things around, for instance board presses for your bench and deadlifts off a 1-6 inch block. But powerlifting isn't a sport where you can catch up to someone by training harder, in fact it is very easy to overtrain, you must instead train smarter.


My stepson is also a 17 year old powerlifter. He use to lift at school; but now he lift at home. He had to many conflicts with the coaches workout program. He wants to lift westside style; but his coaches wanted him to lift progressive overload style. There are to many problems with progressive overload for powerlifter; it could lead to accommodation and overtraining.

Here is what we do in a nutshell.
For Max bench day work the triceps Speed bench day work the cheast.

Work lats or upper back on both day.
For Max squat day lowerback & quads abs
Speed squat day lowerback & hips/glutes.
Work hams on both days.
You can see my stepson stats @ http://metalheadgym.4t.com/