There are several major exercises we can use to build a warrior-like physique and conditioning, but there are also assistance exercises. These should be thought of as a kind of “icing on the cake.” They are a few extra weapons available in your arsenal. Generally speaking, you'll train them one day a week.
They can cover three broad needs we'd like to see filled, which are:
- Build up Strength in Weak Areas of the Body. As perfect as the rest of our program is, the multi-joint exercises do leave a few areas that need to be addressed. These areas are usually smaller body parts, like biceps or shoulders.
- Help Increase our Ability to Powerfully Execute our Bigger Lifts. Sometimes we will hit a plateau in an exercise like the squat or bench press. The missing link to our pushing up more weight can often be worked on with an assistance exercise. Once this weak spot in our muscle chain is focused on and gets caught up to speed our plateau is overcome and we are back to making quick progress!
Help Balance Physiques. Some of us suffer from slower muscle growth in certain areas. Calves and shoulders are two common examples. If we see this in our own physiques in the mirror, after we have some training under our belts, putting an extra focus on our less developed points can help build a more visually appealing physique.
Here are a few additional exercises for when you are following our Spartan program.
Who doesn't want large, well-developed biceps? Bicep curls can be performed with either a barbell or two dumbbells. Some even use exercise bands, which will work too as long as they offer enough reps to keep the exercise range in the 5 rep area.
Pick up the barbell or two dumbbells palms facing away from you. Curl upwards keeping your back straight. Do NOT throw your shoulders back. This is a clear sign of being a person who hits the gym to put on a show, rather than get themselves into top shape!
Also gives you the option of using a barbell or dumbbells. This is a TREMENDOUS tool for building shoulders like cannonballs. Don't forget the bigger your shoulders become, the smaller your waist will appear. Makes sense right?
Bring the heavy barbell or dumbbells up to your shoulders. Explode upwards. Only one warning: never do behind the neck presses. They are very, very dangerous and often lead to serious injury.
Shrugs build you’re the rear muscles of the shoulders or traps. Pick up very heavy barbell palms facing your body. Shrug your shoulders to your ears. Hold for a second. Repeat for reps. Not only will shrugs help you build an athletic-looking shoulder and back, but they will also skyrocket your grip strength. Avoid the temptation to use “hand wraps” to reinforce your grip. This is a silly bodybuilder practice that keeps their forearms small and grips weak.
Feel fortunate if you have a dip station to use. If not perform your dips between two sturdy chairs. Do for high reps. Dips can be thought of as “high octane” push-ups and condition the entire upper body. I never skip them on my “day 5” of training where we bang out assistance exercises. Try them and you will likely love them too!
Can you add more assistance exercises to your arsenal? Yes. But don't get too creative until you have some momentum behind you and you are more in tune with what your body needs to get the job done!