Accessory exercises are meant to build up weaknesses that an athlete may have based off their main lift or determined through a performance assessment. You can really hone in what an athlete’s weaknesses are after training with them over the course of a long duration.
Accessory movement are generally less intense than the main lift and are usually done with reps between 5-12 but can go all the way up to 100 or even for time. The lower rep ranges will build strength and hypertrophy (5-12 reps) while the giant sets will help to develop muscular endurance and strengthen connective tissue.
Accessory work is a great way to individualize your program but every great strength coach know there’s certain accessory exercises that will have a more profound impact on building up an athletes weaknesses than others. Time and time again I find myself using these accessory exercises the most, simply because they work!
1. Glute ham raises
2. 45-degree back extensions
3. Reverse hypers
4. Farmers walks (this can be done with dumbbells, kettle bells, trap bar, and strong man handles)
5. Dumbbell loaded Bulgarian split squats
6. Sled push/heavy sled drags
(this is a contrast example, you can also use the heavy sled push by itself)
7. Chest supported rows
8. Face pulls
9. Nordic hamstring curls
10. Push ups
Sure you can use 100’s if not 1000’s other exercises for accessory exercises but if you’re looking for biggest bang for your buck these are always the ones I end up returning back to. It’s good to go outside of your main exercises you program but it’s important to know where your home base is and what you top most effective exercises are. If these aren’t already in your program I highly suggest you start using them after your main lift.