Workout Tips

The Best Accessory Work for Bodybuilding-style Splits to Bolster Strength

We tell you the best exercises for max gains.

Weighted Chinup
James Michelfelder

I normally follow a bodybuilding-style split. How should I change my accessory work to bolster strength gains? —Hector S., Grand Rapids, MI

Accessory work is great for building muscle and boosting strength on your main lifts,but not all accessory exercises are equal.

To maximize strength gains, focus on compound lifts such as close-grip bench presses, weighted chinups and dips, speed or deficit deadlifts, and paused or box squats. These exercises will have more carryover to your main lifts compared with moves like pec flyes, triceps rope pressdowns, and leg extensions. Aim to perform three to four sets of three to six reps for each exercise once a week.