View Full Version : Accessory work and linear progression

Ola Persson
03-18-2011, 02:17 AM
Being a beginner under the bar and training on my own questions keep popping up. Right now I can’t make sense of whether or not to use accessory work when doing a linear progression (see my log for details of where I’m at).

As the weights get heavier my form when (high bar) squatting goes to shit. I have a tendency to round my back and do a GM out of the hole. Self-diagnosing myself, I would say I’m very quad dominant and have a problem engaging my glutes and hamstrings. For example, I’m struggling to do just a few reps of Leg Pull Backs (http://pilates.about.com/od/pilatesmat/ht/leg-pull-back.htm).

I understand the reasoning behind the view that squatting is all you need to do for your squat when on a LP. At the same time Matt Wenning makes perfect sense to me in his “So You Think You Can Squat” (http://articles.elitefts.com/articles/powerlifting-articles/so-you-think-you-can-squat-part-3/) series when he says that “You cannot fix weak spots on the squat by squatting, you have to do it with accessory exercises”.

For now I will lower the weights and work on technique, but I would appreciate your feedback on whether or not to add accessory work.

Dave Van Skike
03-19-2011, 01:48 PM
i totally disagree with that for most people and everyone who is still makign progress doing a linear progression. i don't think you can "fix" weak spots in a squat or a bench or a press without squatting, benching and pressing. geared squatting is different.

the best thing you can do is back off sets. take weight off the bar, treat it like it's heavier than it is and make it look pretty. do doubles and triples. It will sort itself out. save accessories for when you know exactly what to do and why.

Ola Persson
03-20-2011, 05:31 AM
Thanks! Iíve noticed your signature before and this just reinforces it. Iíll add in a couple of more warm up sets and work even more diligently on perfect form then. I don't think my main issue is an actual weakness in my hamstrings but rather a problem to activate them when i squat so this should work.

A couple of questions due to my knowledge gaps though:

i don't think you can "fix" weak spots in a squat or a bench or a press without squatting, benching and pressing.

Could you develop on why this is so? Why wonít I always utilize my strengths in order to make the lift and thus not train my weak spots fully?

geared squatting is different

I understand why geared lifting differs from raw, but how come it may alter how you train?

Dave Van Skike
03-20-2011, 10:25 AM
First thing. i don't mean to be dogmatic at all. if you hit it consistently, track your progress and keep learning just about any program of approach can be made to work. it's all just tools we're talking about, you might find a tool works for you that doesn't work for me.

WRT weakpoints: While it is possible to understand where a weak point is and strengthen it, in general the doing of that movement will sort itself out, in most cases it's not a strength deficit in one place, it's a deficit all over.

This isn't to say at a certain point a person's particular leverage won't dictate they do something different to address weaknesses. longer limbed lifters may benefit more from certain accessories (like hamstrings, triceps grip and calves) or working on the hardest parts of the lift, (pause squats and lockout work) but linear p is not that point.

Geared is a different beast. Compared to raw, gear makes the bottom of the squat feel more stable and "easier"(a very very relative term). Think of this almost like the difference between rack work or partials and full range squats....it's very different. that said, good geared lifters I know do the same training as raw lifters most of the time. They squat a lot press and pull a lot and as they peak for a meet, (8-12 weeks out) they begin working more with gear.

There is nothing wrong with doing accessory work even at a relatively novice stage, even elaborate stuff with bands and chains etc.they are just tools. But it can be a snipe hunt trying to find that one thing that will "fix" your weak point if you aren't experienced in how each tool works and for what and how. If you're doing LP, now is not the time to waste your energy figuring out bands. If you have a good coach, they can do this because they've seen how it works, you should be busy learning to squat.

I will say, IME, there are a few very good "accessory" variants of the lifts that are pretty foolproof and seem to benefit everyone, even beginners. Doing these variants for as little as 3 sets of 3 at the end of your session can be really helpful.

squats: 2 second pause squats
dead: deadlift standing on a plate (deficit dead)
bench: pause bench and board presses
press: push presses

Ola Persson
03-21-2011, 11:59 AM
Thanks for taking the time to clarify! This really helped.