Strength Training Staples Part V – Supplemental Exercises

Week in Review 2-16-18
February 16, 2018
Week in Review 2-23-18
February 23, 2018
Week in Review 2-16-18
February 16, 2018
Week in Review 2-23-18
February 23, 2018

If you’ve missed any of the previous installments in our Strength Training Staples series, you can find their links below:

Intro: The Importance of Strength Training
Part I – Squats
Part II – Deadlifts
Part III – Upper Push
Part IV – Upper Pull

Today, we’ll be covering two supplemental movements from each of the previous categories that you can include in your program.

What is a Supplemental Movement?

Supplemental or auxiliary movements are exercises that we include in a program to augment the work done during the bigger lifts. As valuable as squats, deadlifts and bench press are, our programs should be more than just those core movements. We need these extra movements to help improve other factors like stabilization or mobility that we might otherwise miss out on. For example, we might include a supplemental lower push movement, like a lunge, on our squat day. This strategy emphasizes single limb strength and stability, which will improve our capacity for overall strength, power, speed, and injury resistance.

We have many options for supplemental exercises. Rather than listing 2455 exercises that you could include as part of your auxiliary work, we’re going to touch on two from each category. Lots of things work, so let’s keep it simple and easy to execute.

Lower Push

  • Lateral Lunges: I believe in incorporating various planes of motion into a workout. While many traditional strength training exercises live in the sagittal (front to back) plane, lateral lunges allow us to work in the frontal (side to side) plane. They also provide excellent work for the adductors. As you step to the side, sit deeply into the lead leg and allow the trailing leg to straighten. Both feet should stay flat on the ground.

  • Step-ups: A great unilateral (single-limb) exercise that promotes stabilization, step-ups allow you to develop symmetry through the hip, knee and ankle. Just be sure that you’re performing them as a hip dominant exercise, rather than a knee dominant one. Keep your heel flat on the bench or box and drive through the heel.

Lower Pull

  • Single Leg RDL: My go-to exercise for promoting single-leg stabilization and hamstring strength. The key to this exercise is ensuring that you keep your back straight, your hips level and you stop at parallel. Doing so allows you to keep the focus in the glutes and hamstrings and away from the lower back.

  • Slide Hamstring Curl : Head over to the hardware store and pick up a pair of furniture movers and give this one a try. If your hamstrings aren’t on fire after 3 sets of 8-10 reps then you’re doing something wrong. Just make sure you keep your hips elevated and off the ground to keep the focus in the hamstrings.

Upper Push

  • Yoga Push-Ups: All the benefits of a push-up, with the mobilization benefits of downward dog thrown in. I love these after a heavy bench session because they promote scapular movement, which we can use after pinning our shoulder blades to the bench.

  • Dips: An excellent shoulder and triceps exercise that can be done with body weight. Be sure work through a full range of motion. Also, a narrow grip is preferable to wide grip, especially if you have a history of shoulder pain or injury. The wider grip creates a more stressful position for your shoulders.

Upper Pull

  • Suspension Trainer Y’s: These are great to counterbalance heavy deadlift or pull up sessions, which tend to pull your shoulder blades downward. Y’s are perfect for promoting scapular movement and elevation. Start at a 45-degree angle and form a straight line from head to toe. Keep your arms straight and raise them overhead to form a “Y”. The taller you stand the easier the exercise will be, so if a 45-degree angle is too difficult, walk your feet back a couple steps.

  • Dumbbell Plank Row: Whenever I can, I like to maximize the value of an exercise. Plank rows provide quality row work, combined with an excellent core challenge. Be sure to keep your hips level (if I put a ball on your back it shouldn’t roll off) and select your weight accordingly.

Use the right supplements!!

We want to create well rounded programs! Therefore, supplemental exercises like those discussed above should be included in your weekly program. At Vitalifit, we create challenging full-body workouts by using a variety of strength training movements. Whether you’re a novice who’s just learning to strength train or a more seasoned lifter who’s in search of new challenge, contact us today to join the Vitalifit Coaching Program that is right for you.