In Pt. 1 we spoke about the General Warmup and in Pt. 2 we started getting Specific. In Pt.3 we broke down how to chose a main lift. 

Today we accessorize.

If all you ever did was come to the gym, warm up, and bench press you will get stronger… to a point. Eventually you will hit a sticking point. 

If you want to continue to progress you will have to address what’s holding you back. You will have to identify and attack your weakest points.

So, while lifting, pay attention to the hard parts. Where do you fail? Why? What could be stronger? What’s holding you back?

Then you have to determine what you can do to address the weak points. Let’s go through the 3 main lifts…

Bench Press:

When the weight gets heavy what happens? Do you get stuck on your chest? Do you get stuck halfway up? At lockout? Does the bar twist or shift out of position?


Do you struggle to keep stable? Do you get stuck in the hole? Halfway up? Lockout? Do you lean? 


Does the weight feel  glued to the floor? Do you lose it below the knees? Above the knees? Grip fail?

Now you know where your weakness lies… Address it!

It takes some experience and a discerning eye to determine the best thing to address and this is why an experienced coach is worth their weight in gold. They can tell, for example, if your issue is technique driven or structural weakness and also prescribe the most effective “treatment” of your issues for each of the lifts.

If your weak triceps are holding your bench back but then you do specific tricep exercises what is likely to happen to your bench?

If your squat suffers from a technique flaw but then you drill the proper movement pattern what will happen to your squat?

Fix the weakest link. Then test again.

Assess – Address – Re-assess

This is how we grow.

Next post I’ll include some common issues and common fixes which will provide a “matrix” of accessory exercises for you to choose from.