Yesterday I stumbled across the following question on reddit:
Do you train the Pendlay row as a “main lift” or accessory lift?
Commenter shlevon has a really good point about the attitude with which you should approach the exercises.
I honestly think the Wendler-esque logic of primary vs. assistance is kind of a silly dividing line for people not participating in strength sports with a predefined set of lifts.
If a movement is worth performing in your routine, it’s worth getting stronger at it, and you get stronger at stuff using the same fundamental principles regardless of the specific exercise in question.
Even if the context differs (e.g. sets of 10 vs. sets of 5), the amount of good an exercise will yield is fantastically limited unless you drive up the working weights over time, which is what actually elicits the overload for the involved motion/musculature.
Using your example of Pendlay rows: if you’re going to be doing rows, “just doing some rows after your ‘primary’ lifts” will do approximately jack and shit for your rowing strength and muscle mass (shoulder extensors, scapular retractors, elbow flexors, etc) unless you lift in a way that has you rowing incrementally heavier stuff over time. Whether that be heavier sets of 5, sets of 8-12, whatever, your working weights will need to go up over time if the movement is to actually have an impact on your overall strength and muscle mass.