3 Simple and Highly Effective Accessory Workouts to Add Size and Strength

After squats, cleans, and mobility work, there is only so much mental capacity (and energy) left to devote to accessory workouts. Many great athletes and coaches will push themselves, with the understandings of the immense benefits that accessory and hypertrophy training can offer. Others, however, will go through the motions and/or skip out on these lifts all together, only to then be left wondering why their performance and aesthetics are suffering!

In this article, I am offering three quick (15-30 minutes) and highly effective accessory workouts to build quality, dense, lean muscle. You may even find you will burn some bodyfat in the process.

Why Should You Do Them?

Every one of these workouts targets large muscle groups, creating a highly anabolic environment through moderate to heavy loading (60-75% rm), high volumes, and short rest periods (45-60 seconds rest). The benefits that can be expected from adding these into your training is increased lean muscle mass, elevated work capacity, and decreases in body fat (all are assuming you nutrition is not atrocious).

When Should You Program These?

Add these workouts after main power and strength lifts (cleans, snatches, squats, deadlifts, bench press, push presses, etc). By doing these in the back half of your sessions, you can focus on moving throughout the full range of motion with moderate volume at a nice, anabolic pace.

Special Considerations

Nearly every athlete, regardless of sport and/or goals will benefit from including the below routines into their training program. Added muscle mass, training volume, and mental training can equate to greater progress in later, more sport-specific phases. As with all programming, coaches and athletes need to balance other movements and loading with the following high volume, DOMs inducing, and anabolic circuits below for best results and recovery.

Fitness enthusiast and “Dumbbells and Dragons” podcaster Kenneth Rotter had this to say after trying out these workouts:

“Make sure not to go too heavy. Pay particular attention when doing the Weighted Back Extensions, Front Squats, and Kettlebell Swings. Because these are coming after a main workout, you may have trouble keeping proper form. Just lower the weight.

These exercises will hit all the main muscle groups, so you can work your entire body more often. If you stay committed and incorporate this into an already existing workout routine, along with a proper diet, you should see that beach body in time for the 4th of July… Maybe make that day a reward day. (We don’t cheat or have cheat days. We reward ourselves!)”

The Workouts

Below are three simple, yet intense workouts developed with muscular hypertrophy in mind. The movements are straightforward, are highly relatable to functional fitness, weightlifting, powerlifting, and strongman sports, and can be done nearly anywhere and anytime. The biggest limiting factor will often be, you and your ability to push yourself past mental and physical fatigue.

A post shared by Mike Dewar (@mikejdewar) on

The above video is showcasing both the “Beach Bodybuild” and Midline Muscle Workouts.

Beach Bodybuild

  • Weighted Pull Up: 10 sets of 3-5 reps
  • Parallete Push Up: 10 sets of 10 reps

Nice tapered lats with slabs of lean meat hanging from the triceps?! If that’s not beach body, I don’t know what is. The addition of lat and tricep muscle will also help pulling and pressing (lockout) strength and performance, both of which are vital to weightlifters, powerlifters, and functional fitness athletes.

Midline Muscle

  • Weighted Back Extension/GHD: 5 sets of 10 reps
  • Pike: 5 sets of 10 reps

Many lifters forgo core training at the end of sessions, which can truly be a limiter when looking at progressing from beginner and intermediate levels. Increased lower back musculature can help squats, pulls, and positional integrity. Increased abdominal and oblique muscle tissue will allow you to brace harder in more maximal strength lifts. Lastly, you will actually develop a stronger midsection, which is worth it regardless of sport.

Power Wheels

  • DB Front Squat: 10 sets of 10 reps
  • KB Double Swing: 10 sets of 10 reps

This is high volume training at it’s finest. Simply performing 100 quality repetitions of each movement, under short rest periods. Easy to remember, easy to follow, hard as ever to finish. Choose a manageable load (something you can do for 15 reps) and move through, trying to finish in 20-30 total minutes.

Final Words

We all have seen and read the powers of hypertrophy training and it’s importance for Olympic weightlifters, powerlifters, and fitness athletes. The above three workouts are simple and effective ways to add more muscle and get one step closer to your strength and power goals.

Featured Image: @crossfitstdenis on Instagram

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Mike holds a Master's in Exercise Physiology and a Bachelor's in Exercise Science. Currently, Mike has been with BarBend since 2016, where he covers Olympic weightlifting, sports performance training, and functional fitness. He's a Certified Strength and Conditioning Specialist (CSCS) and is the Assistant Strength and Conditioning Coach at New York University, in which he works primarily with baseball, softball, track and field, cross country. Mike is also the Founder of J2FIT, a strength and conditioning brand in New York City that offers personal training, online programs for sports performance, and has an established USAW Olympic Weightlifting club.In his first two years writing with BarBend, Mike has published over 500+ articles related to strength and conditioning, Olympic weightlifting, strength development, and fitness. Mike’s passion for fitness, strength training, and athletics was inspired by his athletic career in both football and baseball, in which he developed a deep respect for the barbell, speed training, and the acquisition on muscle.Mike has extensive education and real-world experience in the realms of strength development, advanced sports conditioning, Olympic weightlifting, and human movement. He has a deep passion for Olympic weightlifting as well as functional fitness, old-school bodybuilding, and strength sports.Outside of the gym, Mike is an avid outdoorsman and traveller, who takes annual hunting and fishing trips to Canada and other parts of the Midwest, and has made it a personal goal of his to travel to one new country, every year (he has made it to 10 in the past 3 years). Lastly, Mike runs Rugged Self, which is dedicated to enjoying the finer things in life; like a nice glass of whiskey (and a medium to full-bodied cigar) after a hard day of squatting with great conversations with his close friends and family.