CrossFit Sweat Shop – Walnut Creek

From the Blog

Accessory Time (not just for bicep curls)

I wanted to take some time this afternoon to talk about the importance of accessory work. If you haven’t yet, you may want to think about adding some accessory exercises to your normal workout routine! Accessory exercises are ones that we perform other than the main barbell lifts such as the classic back squat, deadlift, or presses. They have tremendous carry over that could possibly help improve those numbers or even just getting you moving correctly/safely. Let’s take a back squat for example, if there is an individual that has trouble keeping their chest up while coming out of the bottom of the squat (you’ll see the butt rise and the torso drop), then there could be some weakness in the posterior chain. In this case, it would be ideal to add some accessory exercises that specifically target that region in order to improve the overall squat. Let’s take someone that is able to maintain an upright torso, but continues to have trouble finishing the lift at the top. The posterior chain may be strong enough, but in this case, the quads might be the limiting factor in producing enough force to finish the lift (the lifter is forced to dump the barbell behind them). In this example, it would be a good idea to introduce the individual to some accessory exercises that target strengthening that specific part. Now what about just performing the main barbell lifts over and over again, shouldn’t that help improve everything on it’s own?

Here’s my answer to that question…to an extent, yes! It’s well known that if you want to improve a particular movement, you must practice that movement. Remember, the body adapts to the stimulus it’s given! By continually practicing just the squat, sure, you will make some gainz in that movement. The problem here lies in the fact that we are only recruiting the same muscle groups every time and will eventually be limited by our weaker muscles. So in addition to performing those classic lifts, it’s always a good idea to add some accessory movements in so that we can break through any plateaus and continue to make some serious overall gainz.

Another benefit that is great is the fact that accessory exercises add a completely different stimulus than the perfectly symmetrical barbell. With our classic lifts, everything is always symmetrical. Same weights on both sides of the bar (hopefully) and setting up in the middle of the barbell (crossing my fingers here). The great thing about accessory movements is the fact that we can target different muscle groups in different ways that a barbell might not be able to! Continuously adding new/different stimulus is a great way to improve your overall strength as well.

So ask yourself this question…Do you get hyped up to do accessory exercises just like you do when we program your favorite lifts or metcons? It’s totally understandable that it’s not as exciting to do some strict pull ups, ring dips, death marches, or split squats. Just keep in mind that they hold an entirely new set of benefits and rewards to be gained that most individuals are missing out on!

When can you get your accessory work in? We are trying to make a conscious effort to give you all some time at the end of class to get your accessory work in, but sometimes that isn’t the case and we understand that you all have busy schedules. Understandably it is difficult for some to stay after class or get here early before class starts (especially at 6am), but we’ve done a great job programming those GOAT emoms once or even twice a week. Those GOAT emoms are a great opportunity to really work on some accessory exercises. If you’re having trouble adding some to your normal workout routine, don’t know which ones to add, or struggling to fit them in please don’t hesitate to ask one of your coaches! We’d be excited to help!

And then yes, you can hit those bicep curls after!!!

About Marko

CrossFit Sweat Shop Coach since 2014

4 comments

  1. Tara Swarts - October 13, 2017 5:22 am

    Great article Marko. These exercises are so important! Thx!

    Reply
  2. Art - October 13, 2017 3:09 pm

    Thanks for the tips Marko:
    Even minute-snatch high pulls
    Odd minute- snatch balance
    Every 4th minute snatch grip deadlifts

    Reply
    • DJ Lynam - October 13, 2017 3:41 pm

      I was thinking more along the lines of
      Even minute- Hammer Curls
      Odd minute- Concentrated curls
      At the end- two burnout sets of towel curls

      Reply
  3. DJ Lynam - October 13, 2017 3:50 pm

    On another note a fantastic resource for accessory work (if you dont know where to look) is the functional bodybuilding instagram. Just type in functional bodybuilding into the search bar and it will be the first that comes up! Its run by Marcus Filly, an ex games athlete with a medicine background.

    Reply

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