#276 – M.E.D. Masterclass #6: Supplemental Lifts — What, When, & Why


In the sixth installment of the MED (Minimum Effective Dose) Masterclass series, Matt takes a deep dive into supplemental lifts, why you should do them, when to incorporate them, and which variations are best for developing continued strength adaptation.


Matt considers supplemental lifts to be exercises which look like the main lifts, but differ in range of motion, intensity/load, amount and type of musculature trained, or some other aspect of the lift. This is in contrast to accessory lifts, which may train similar muscle groups but are significantly different. For example, a box squat would be a supplemental lift for the squat, while lunges would be an accessory lift.


There are dozens of potential supplemental lifts, but the primary ones discussed during this episode are (in no particular order of preference):



  • Box squat
  • Pause squat
  • Tempo squat
  • Pin squat
  • High Bar / Front Squat
  • Banded/chain squats
  • Safety squat bar (or other bar variation)
  • Belt squat



  • Straight leg DL
  • Romanian DL (RDL)
  • Deficit DL
  • Rack Pull
  • Cocaine DL
  • Paused/Halting DL
  • Bands/chains
  • Snatch grip


Bench Press

  • Incline Press
  • Floor Press
  • Paused Bench
  • “Hover” Bench
  • Tempo Bench
  • Slingshot Bench
  • Close Grip / Wide Grip Bench
  • Pin Bench Press
  • Block Press
  • Dumbbbell Bench
  • Bands/chains
  • Specialty bars — axle, football, etc.



  • Press lockouts
  • Strict press
  • Seated press w/ or w/o back support
  • Dumbbells
  • Paused press
  • Press starts
  • Push press
  • Push jerk




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