Lift Big: The Best Assistance Exercises
Our experts share their top assistance exercises to help you break plateaus and hit new personal records.
BIG LIFT THREE: Squat
> Exercise One: Peterson Step Up
"Designed to hit the VMO (inside quad muscle) which is a common weak link for people who have knee issues, depth issues or both. Making this muscle stronger allows squats to have more strength in the bottom range, and assists in driving through sticking points."
> Exercise Two: Rear Leg Elevated Split Squat
"Stretches the hip flexors (rectus femoris) under tension on the rear leg. This can allow for greater range of motion when healthy. It also allows stabilizers like adductors and, again, VMO to work harder."
- Lee Boyce, CPT and owner of Lee Boyce Training Systems
> Exercise Three: Heavy Partial Squats
"In order to improve squats, add heavy partial squats in the Power Rack by adding up to 100 lbs over what you can actually squat and doing 8-10 partial movements. This conditions the support muscles to handle heavier-than-usual weights and provides a psychological boost due to the fact that your usual squatting weights now feels much lighter."
- Mike Duffy, CPT and owner of Mike Duffy's Personal Training