WSBB Blog: Accessory Training Density
Time To Read: 3.5min
Walking into the gym, imagine you have a specific amount of money in your pocket, and each movement you choose to do has a price tag attached to it. Would you want to waste cash on high priced accessory workouts that have little return on investment, or would you rather invest your cash in valuable exercises that give you maximum return on investment? That is essentially the game you are playing with your energy reserves when you walk into a gym to train.
You walk in with a specific amount of energy, you’re given many exercises to choose from, however once your energy is tapped your training day is over with.
There is a big difference between getting a workout in at the gym, and legitimate training. If you want to become the best athlete or lifter possible, it is imperative you become mindful about the way you spend your energy in the gym. Too often, people mistake being tired or sore as a marker of a great workout.
Sure, you may have worked up a sweat and burnt a few calories, but did you perform the right exercises to get maximum returns on your energy investment? You can become sore and tired just by mowing the lawn, that doesn’t mean it is an exercise that will lead to sporting success. Now that we have established that you need to focus on maximum return on investment for each exercise, we will go over a few commonly wasteful accessory exercises and suggest replacement exercises you can program into your training today.
When it comes to barbell training, keep in mind the old school movements are typically the most beneficial. When training the back, many people will immediately go to the pulldown machine and use the variety of attachments you can use to target the back muscles. While pulldown variations can be good exercise to end the day with, they should not build the bulk of your back training.
An immediate replacement would be bent over barbell rows, and chest supported rows. Done for sets of three to five, with rep ranges from five all the way to fifteen, these two exercises will do more for your back training than any machine could attempt to. Triceps are often trained in a similar fashion, people immediately want to run to a cable machine.
You will build the strongest triceps you can by avoiding the cable machines, focusing on rolling dumbbell extensions, skullcrushers, JM presses, and close grip bench. Dumbbell presses from different angles should be performed to train the pecs and shoulders. For pec and shoulder training, dumbbell presses from different angles is preferred.
Biceps are typically trained using hammer curls, or alternating DB curls. Again, these exercises aren’t revolutionary scientific discoveries, they are the same old school moves that have worked for decades.
Lower body accessory training is a day that many lifters stick to the machines. Whether it's a leg press, quad extension, hamstring curl, calf raise, people use the lower body machines at the gym because they are generally comfortable, and place you at a less taxing advantage when lifting the weight. Avoid the machines, and attack your lower body with a barbell.
For lower back, glute, quad, and hamstring training we use accessory exercises such as goodmornings, deficit deadlifts, Romanian deadlifts, low box squats, front squats, inverse curls, reverse hypers, and kettlebell swings. All of these exercises offer gains to be had that machines simply cannot match.
When building your training program it is important to select the best exercises to give you the maximum return in strength for your time invested, using your energy as efficiently as possible. Once you build a program with the right exercises organized and scheduled correctly, you will be on the path to making consistent gains in strength without the worry of hitting a plateau. Contrary to popular belief, barbell training is a thinking man’s game.
Educate yourself on exercises effectiveness, learn to structure programming that gives you maximum returns in strength for your time spent at the gym, and you will begin to unlock levels of strength previously considered unattainable.