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Every kid loves accessories, except for when they are not included with the cool new purchase you thought you were getting through your favorite shopping experience... However when it comes to training, sometimes they can become somewhat of an afterthought when compared to the primary movements. And while that's kind of true, let me propose a new way to look at them.

Let me first define what a primary vs secondary movement is. A primary is usually your first lift of a session, which is also a compound/multi joint lift that works multiple muscle groups at the same time (think squat/bench press). On the other hand, an accessory is after your primary, it usually only works one or few muscle groups, and often is an isolation exercise (ex: leg extension/DB flys).

Now let me bring in a new category: Primary accessories versus secondary accessories. These are both after a compound lift but the difference is a primary accessory is still usually a multi joint lift and activates a large amount of muscle tissue (ex: DB bench press/leg press). A secondary accessory is later in the session and always an isolation exercise (ex: cable tricep pushdown/leg curls).

When training, progression is key for improvement. However, there is a hierarchy when it comes to lifts here.

Compounds first, primary accessories second and lastly secondary accessories. If you can progress in that order, awesome! However, if you find that not doable, certainly progression on the secondaries are still beneficial.

As you break down your training, look not just at what you're doing, but when you're doing it as well.


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