WSBB Blog: Primary Accessory Exercises for the Deadlift

WSBB Education
Tue Aug 03, 2021

In the mind of the average strength coach, you must constantly train competition specific movements in order to grow the strength necessary to lift world class weights. To those who subscribe to the Conjugate Method way of training, we understand that the accessory exercises lay the building blocks of strength development, and work in concert with main exercises to develop effective programming. One of the most important aspects of building successful accessory exercises plans is the primary accessory exercise.

The primary accessory exercise is the first accessory movement following the main exercise, and will generally be a multi-joint movement performed for low to moderate volume at a higher intensity. Below, we will cover a few effective primary accessory exercises we use at Westside Barbell that we believe will have an immediate positive impact on your programming’s effectiveness.

Cambered Bar Good mornings with Forward Pulling Minibands

Like all forms of good mornings, this exercise will be both extremely challenging and extremely effective. To set this exercise up properly, you will want to place two kettlebells or dumbbells of appropriate weight in front of the monolift or the squat rack. From there, you will take your minibands and halve them around the handle of the kettlebell or dumbbell, and attach them to the cambered bar so that the bands sit next to your shoulders when you unrack the weight. Once you have that set up we recommend that you take a few reps with just the barbell and the band tension to get a feel for what the bands will do when you unrack the weight.

The benefits of this exercise are numerous. One of the most valuable is the way the forward pulling band creates a similar feeling to locking out a heavy deadlift. Usually, once you get past the halfway point on a good morning it gets easier, which often is not the case with a heavy deadlift. With the forward pulling bands the lift will only become more difficult, requiring greater amounts of force to lock out the lift.


Pin 3 Rack Pull versus Quad Minibands

This exercise is one of the oldest and most commonly used deadlift movements in the WestsideBarbell exercise arsenal. Depending on the amount of bar weight you put on, these can either be difficult or nosebleed inducing. This exercise can be used as a max effort exercise, working up to a heavy single, however for accessory work all sets will be at least three reps. The important aspect of this movement is making sure to get the quad bands hooked up correctly, for those of you who are unfamiliar keep a look out for a video showing how to attach quad minibands to a barbell soon.

At Westside, we will use a few different set and rep 
schemes for this exercise. One of the more common set and rep schemes is the classic 5 x 5 rep scheme where we will pull the heaviest weight we can while successfully completing all sets and reps. Another way we'll work up is by starting from the floor, pull three reps, add a mat, pull three reps, working up until you have worked to an elevation that puts the bar at a deficit compared to your typical starting point. This way is a bit more difficult than most approaches, so be aware and know your limits in order to prevent injury.

These exercises are just a few of the primary accessory exercises we use at Westside Barbell to create world class strength in the deadlift. Implementing one or both of these exercises into your programming will have an immediate positive effect on your training, and you should expect to see correlation between the introduction of these exercises into your training and gains in your deadlift strength. Keep an eye on the Westside Barbell Blog to find out more ways you can get the most out of your Conjugate Method programming.