Mark Rippetoe on Accessory Exercises You Should (and Shouldn’t) Be Doing

 

What’s the best way to get big and strong? 

Some people say that the only way to get big is to get strong, and the best way to get strong is to stick to the big lifts. Do a lot of heavy compound weightlifting, and you’ll naturally get bigger as you gain strength.

In other words, anything that’s not the squat, bench press, overhead press, and deadlift is a more or less a waste of time and effort.

On the flip side of the coin, some claim that if you want to get big, you need to blast your muscles with tons of reps on isolation exercises to really concretize the “mind-muscle connection” and gain size. 

In fact, they claim, you don’t have to do any compound lifts to get bigger and doing big lifts like deadlifts and squats cause more fatigue than necessary, limiting how much work you can do on accessory exercises.

Who’s right? 

As is usually the case, the truth is somewhere in the middle, and in this episode, I speak with Mark Rippetoe on the best ways to incorporate assistance exercises in a strength training routine.

I thought Mark would be a good guest because while we agree on many things, we don’t always see perfectly eye to eye when it comes to training for aesthetics (or wanting a six-pack). In fact, Mark didn’t agree with my approach to the programming in the latest edition of my book for intermediate and advanced weightlifters, Beyond Bigger Leaner Stronger, and I thought this could make for an interesting discussion.

In this episode, Mark and I discuss . . .

  • Movement patterns versus assistance exercises
  • Exercises that really move the needle when it comes to muscle growth
  • The value of barbell curls and lying triceps extensions
  • Why and how to incorporate rack pulls
  • Halted and wide-grip deadlifts
  • Overhead squats and good mornings
  • The importance of trap and ab training
  • And more . . .

So, if you want to learn about effective assistance work you can incorporate into your routine, this is an episode you don’t want to miss. Hit play and let me know what you think!

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Time Stamps:

7:19 – Should you put accessory exercises into your program?

38:36 – What about variations like rack pulls or Romanian deadlifts?

38:23 – How and why should someone put a rack pull into their program?

43:19 – What’s the point of the halted reps?

49:01 – What about overhead squats?

51:36 – Is the good morning a good assistance exercise?

52:25 – Do you recommend any direct trap training?

54:29 – Do you recommend any ab training or anything directly for the core muscles?

Mentioned on the show:

Beyond Bigger Leaner Stronger 2nd Edition

Legion VIP One-on-One Coaching

What did you think of this episode? Have anything else to share? Let me know in the comments below!

 

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