We are a commune of inquiring, skeptical, politically centrist, capitalist, anglophile, traditionalist New England Yankee humans, humanoids, and animals with many interests beyond and above politics. Each of us has had a high-school education (or GED), but all had ADD so didn't pay attention very well, especially the dogs. Each one of us does "try my best to be just like I am," and none of us enjoys working for others, including for Maggie, from whom we receive neither a nickel nor a dime. Freedom from nags, cranks, government, do-gooders, control-freaks and idiots is all that we ask for.
For regular "Fitness for Life" people, two days/week of heavy weights (powerlifts) is good. (That is part of the Maggie's Fitness for Life program - plus 2 days with HIIT Cardio and one or 2 days of calisthenics and endurance "cardio". 6 hours/week is not too much for anybody).
(A reminder about Powerlifts: These are mostly full-body, or multi-muscle group/compound exertions: Bench Press, Deadlifts, Barbell Squats, Rows (dumbell, TRX, seated, barbell - whatever), Military Press, and pull-ups or pulldowns.) Depending on general health and taking into account past injuries, these are sturdiness basics regardless of age or sex. Ordinary people should not push their powerlifts two or three days in a row because recovery is needed. For a good discussion about powerlifts.
So-called Accessory Weight Exercises are good time- fillers, and do not need the sorts of recovery that the powerlifts do. Here's a partial list:
Curls of any sort Tricep exertions of any sort (dips, push-downs, skull-crushers) Shoulder shrugs Leg machines (ham curls and quad lifts) Calf lifts
Do any of our readers do Accessory Weights and, if so, what?
In my (and other's) view, an accessory lift is something that is used to assist in the development or performance of one of the main lifts (squats, deadlifts, bench press, overhead press, and the like). This is exactly what a ham curl does, isolates and helps develop the hamstring muscles, and only the hamstring muscles.
But I also beg to differ with the idea that squats (at least properly performed low bar back squats) and deadlifts don't hit the hammies adequately. Hamstrings are vital in hip extension, which heavy squats and deads specialize in utilizing, and, especially in the squat, helping to hold the spine at the correct angle during the movement.
I don't think that accessory exercises are really needed until you get fairly advanced with the main lifts. When you are getting started in lifting, everything is weak, so there's no point in focusing on isolating a single muscle. Squats, deads, bench, press, and chin ups will strengthen everything. But if you want to throw in some 'curls for girls', go right ahead, can't hurt.
Now that my squat is approaching 400 lbs for reps and my deadlift 500 lbs, I'm still not doing squat-related accessory lifts other than the occasional box squat but rather I adjust the programming to spread the stress out over a longer time period. For deadlifts, I've actually stopped doing full deadlifts because of the recovery needed after doing a heavy set (as I'm turning 61 this week, recovery is something I really need to consider). Instead I alternate, on a weekly basis, rack pulls (deadlifts starting from just below the knees) and haltings (deadlifts that stop just above the knee). These two work the entire range of the deadlift without being as difficult to recover from as a full range lift.
For upper body accessories, I really like lying triceps extentions (similar to skull crushers, but different in important ways), chin ups and, when I don't feel like doing chins, the cable pull down with varying grip widths. LTEs and chins will really work and develop biceps, triceps, and lats (plus a few other muscles to a lesser degree).
I do forward and side "shoulder raises" (might be called something else). Mostly because my shoulders are garbage and this helps.
I also do dumbbell curl to an Arnold press--for the same reason, to work as much of the shoulder (not upper back, shoulder) muscles as possible.
I also do pullups on an assisted pullup machine, and interleave them with dips.
William O. B'Livion
I used to do deads, bench press, barbell squats, and overhead press. Old hip and shoulder injuries started bothering me quite a bit while lifting therefore I was looking for alternatives. After reading Doug Brignole's book on physics and strength training, where he lays out the most efficient resistance movements based on physics and muscle movement, I basically do all isolation work now. I feel just as strong yet, more mobile since I am not suffering the pain from past injuries, doing isolation movements. Brignole doesn't state that anyone should stop doing compound movements but the most efficient way to build muscle is certain isolation movements.