What are your thoughts on accessory exercises for calves/biceps/triceps/abs/lower back? Generally, I don’t use these with people while cutting. I see accessory work as being divided into two broad categories –
  1. That which is specific and targeted to improving the main compound lifts. (Mimics the action in some way e.g. for the deadlift they would be – Shrugs, Racked DL’s, GHR, Good Mornings)
  2. That which is for vanity/hypertrophy.
Getting strong in the compound lifts should always be prioritized. When cutting: accessory work type 1 isn’t needed, and too much type 2 can be detrimental. When bulking: if the main lifts are improving then there is no need for type 1 work. Type 2 work can be added as long as the main lifts are going up. Often, assuming the correct training intensity, commitment and all the other obvious pieces of the puzzle being in place, lack of progress in the main barbell lifts does not necessarily mean that the trainee has reached the point where they need to add in type 1 work, they merely need to eat more, or drop the type 2 work.

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