Did You Miss These Great Accessory Training Tips?

Last night’s Twitter chat presented a strong turnout, with Dave Tate and Matt Ladewski leading the discussion on upper body assistance work. Dave Kirschen, Julia Ladewski and numerous other experts weigh in with their expertise. Amy Wattles and Vinnie Dizenzo overcome technophobia and, through the assistance of local neighborhood children that are able to teach them basic Twitter-tech, get the basics down and share some great info.


Twitter Chat Highlights

  • Dave Tate Tip #1: The key to all accessory work is… more.
  • Jarrod Loidl asks for: “Tips on increasing your bench without eating your way there?” Julia Ladewski replies: “Stronger lats, good set-up and speed work.” Matt Ladewski echoes the importance of fine-tuning the set up.
  • To break in an elitefts belt, roll it into a fairly tight coil when you put it into your bag. It will loosen up over time. Dave Tate directed him towards the article: http://articles.elitefts.com/articles/powerlifting-articles/virgin-belt-users/
  • Vincent Dizenzo asks Dave Kirschen if he can help him increase his overhead press. Kirschen instructs, “Just make your head bigger to limit your ROM” (as if Vinnie’s cranium could get any bigger).
  • Eric Gujaretti asked for advice with his sexual impotence issues. The unanimous solution from all the male lifters was to date younger women. The female lifters recommended a series of tongue endurance exercises.
  • Dave Tate Tip #2: First know what you end goal is. What is the movement you want stronger?
  • Joseph Masulli asked how to get past a bench plateau. Dizenzo recommends that he “get all the supporting muscles stronger.” He was also advised to do board presses and presses against bands for triceps. And Kenzie Warrick threw in, “close grip floor presses are good for lockout.”
  • I made up that sexual impotence question to see who was paying attention. My apologies if anyone actually has the unlikely name “Eric Gujaretti.”
  • Dave Tate Tip #3: Once you know what you want stronger, which movements have the greatest carry over to that movement?
  • Jesse Bumpas also has a weakness in his lockout. And gets the recommendation of board and floor presses from Matt Ladewski and “more extensor work such as rolling dumbbell triceps extensions; also do assistance barbell work with a close grip” from Dizenzo. Dave Kirschen adds, “Pin presses and high board presses would be my top two for the lockout.”
  • Shane Church and Julia Ladewski discuss North American socio-cultural trends and the impending maple syrup embargo that may topple the Canadian parliament.
  • Dave Tate Tip #4: After you establish the movements with the best carry over ALL accessory work should be to make those stronger!
  • Justin asked for views on the use of straps in back training. Dave give the definitive reply: “No straps unless the movement is being done purely for hypertrophy.”
  • Dave Bergeron asks: “Thoughts on the chest flies in Shieko programs? Needed or should I ditch them for other assistance work?” Dave Tate replies, “If they were programed in by those who developed the program then they are there for a reason. Leave them.” Kirschen comments, “I’m not all that familiar with Shieko, but I don’t know many big benchers who use a lot of flies.”
  • Dave Tate raises his pimp hand on a spammer.
  • Larry Brown asked, “can bands help raw training or will it just kill the joints?” Dave Tate assured him that, “they can help raw training the same as geared training.” Dave Kirschen agreed but cautioned to be conservative in their use.
  • Dave Tate Tip #5: DON’T train the lift – BUILT it in a logical and effective way.
  • Exl Garcia asks, “[when] doing the J-curve what other muscles helps the triceps?” Dave’s one-word answer? Shoulders.
  • Steve Lannon asked, “[what is the] best way to warm up shoulders? Dynamic/static stretching? Light presses? Band pull-aparts? Other?” Julia Ladewski recommends, “upper back/scapula work, band traction, light complex of front/rear raises, lacrosse ball on the pecs.” Dizenzo chimes in,” dynamic stretching followed by some light dumbbell work.” Kenzie Warrick prefers, “stretch & 12-15 rep light weight shoulder moves. Get the blood flowing.”
  • Shane Ward asks, “What are some alternatives for chest-supported rows if you do not have a cambered bar?” Julia Ladewski MacGyvers a bench on an incline with some dumbbells. Shane Church recommends using a trap bar on a similarly rigged-up raised bench.
  • Dave Tate Tip #6: Make your “building” movements stronger (example: if you know your bench goes up when you floor press).
  • Bobby Walters asked, “Is it helpful to simulate a “bamboo bar” for accessory work? Can it be done effectively with swinging chains or banded plates?” Kirschen endorsed the bamboo bars ability to strengthen the shoulder girdle, which may be why lifters from Laos and Cambodia are known for having relatively few shoulder problems.
  • Date Tate Tip: Accessories are the KEY to breaking barriers, mini-maxes or whatever you want to call them.
  • Steven Moore asks, “After heavy bench I’m wiped out sometimes. Is it ok to hit accessories with my GPP the following day.” Anna Papij asks the same question. Shane Church comments that this is, “the perfect time for prehab/mobility.” Matt Ladewski adds, “That is similar to what James Smith did in his high/low manual. I would do at least one more exercise.” Dave Kirschen offers a contrasting view: “Nut up and do it that day. If you can’t follow your benching with assistance, then your conditioning is lacking.” Julia Ladewski replies to Anna, saying, “I’d say whatever your schedule permits. Sometimes, I have to do mine later in the day due to time shortage.”
  • And so many more useful pointers…


This is just a sampling of last night’s Twitter chat. Remember, we do these the second Tuesday of each month at 9:00 EST. (Last week’s was postponed due to Valentine’s Day). This is a great opportunity to have your training questions answered and learning from other lifter’s experiences. You may find answers to questions you did not even know you had.



Here is the archived hashtag for the chat last night: #eliteftschat

I want to thank all who attended and all elitefts™ sponsors and associates who showed up to answer questions.

Follow us at @elitefts to find out when the next Twitter chat is scheduled, be the first to hear about our specials, read our newest articles, and most importantly – get free stuff!



elitefts™ Twitter Directory

Josh Bryant @JoshStrength

Amy Wattles @superwattles

Dave Tate @underthebar

Jo  Jordan  @jojordan1

Julia Ladewski @julialadewski

Chad Wesley Smith @jgrnauttraining

Mike Robertson @robtrainsystems

Jen Comas Keck @jencomaskeck

Jason Pegg @jasonpegg

James “Smitty” Smith @dieselstrength

Joey Smith @NeboBarbell

Chad Aichs   @ChadAichs

Steve Pulcinella @IronSportGym

Michael Keck @Michaelkeck

Bob Youngs @AuthorBobYoungs

Jim Wendler @JWendler

Al Caslow @acaslow

Kelly Booth  @Kellysfitlife

Molly Edwards @mopowerhouse

Dave Kirschen @DaveKirschen

Vincent Dizenzo @VincentDizenzo

Adam Driggers    @AdamDriggers

Clint Darden @ClintDarden

Andy Deck @GetToDeChoppa

Marc Barley  @marcspudbartley

Dr Tom Deebel @tdeebel

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About the Author

Steve Colescott has worked as an editor for a variety of print magazines and helped build some of the industry's most popular websites. In addition to this, he has worked as a consultant for a number of prominent sports nutrition companies. His career pinnacle is his current position as the Senior Content Manager at elitefts™, a job in which he deals with the top strength athletes and experts in the world. Steve is the co-author of Lean Gain Principles with Shelby Starnes and is always working on other projects (including video projects and The Iron Subculture Podcast). His favorite part about what he does is the chance to interact regularly with elitefts™ readers.