“You can’t shoot a cannon from a canoe!”
Accessory work will make you better in your crossfit by helping you to build a rock solid body. Discover why it is important to add it to your programming.
Accessory work represents all the aspects of your workout that are not part of your “intensity” workout.
If your WODs are the main course, I see accessory work as the dessert.
It’s all the work that will help you to be better during your workouts.
Most of the time, for crossfitters, accessory work is something you don’t want to do.
Because it’s not fun and sexy, it’s long and requires patience.
But you can’t shoot a cannon from a canoe, right ?
That is why you have to put some time and some effort in it, if you want to be better in your crossfit.
Accessory will help you to :
- Build a rock solid body
- Prevent injuries
- Work on you mobility
- Have a better core
- Work on your weaknesses
- And way more !
Usually, you accessorize at the end of your daily program, after all the strength or intensity stuff.
We used to mix either weaknesses movements, core and functional bodybuilding, every single day and at least for maybe ⅓ the time of your session.
The idea is to mix bilateral movements (Squats, presses, everything your are doing with the both sides of your body together) and isolation ones (one side, one group at the time). Simply because you are not the same on each side.
If you are right handed, your right side might be more powerful that your left, right?
Working with dumbbells, Kettlebells, etc will help you to balance your body and as a result, be better at bilateral movement!
As an athlete, I used to do kind of a “bodybuilding routine”, one day will be the push day, one pull, one for legs, one for the upper back and one for the lower back. On top of that I train my core every day. For now that works great for me, but there is no miracle routine, you have to find what’s work for you, mix exercices to stay constantly varied and inspire you from others.
Here’s some examples of common issues with crossfitters and how accessory work can help it.
If you don’t have enough strength to execute strict pull ups, don’t spend time with banded Pull ups.
You need to build strength on your lats, your upper back and your arms.
The best exercise I can encourage you to do is Ring rows, this is a drill that you can easily scale depending on your strength and abilities.
The more you’ll be able to be under the ring, the more you will build muscle. If the rings are completely straight and you want to increase difficulty, you can elevate your feet with couple disks or a bench.
Once you will be able to be completely parallel to the floor and execute couple reps under control (you should be able to make a little pause at the top and have a good retraction of shoulder blade) you probably have build enough strength on your upper body.
I suggest to do 4 sets of 8 to 10 reps to increase muscular hypertrophy once or two times a week maximum.
Remember that you should be able to do Strict Pull ups BEFORE having kipping pull ups or any variation of it.
If you not that good at deadlifts, especially when heavy weight comes in. If you have a rounded back and you don’t know how to get rid of it.
One common cause is because you probably have some upper back weaknesses.
If you are rounding your back, it’s because your lats and traps can not handle the weight.
The exercise I would recommend to fix this is bend over row.
Bend over barbell row will help you on some points :
- Develop your posterior chain
- Work on your core to resist flexion
- Helping your lats to stabilize your spine
- Strengthen your upper back
I suggest between 3 to 6 sets of 8 to 10 reps once again to favorise hypertrophy and strength. Once a week is fine !
A lot of athletes complains about their poor shoulder strength.
If you aren’t that stable on your presses movement, if one arm is faster than the other or if you simply want to be more comfortable with overhead presses.
Try L-sit dumbbell presses!
Because you will be seated on the floor, legs straight, this exercise will be very challenging for your core and your presses. You won’t be able to go heavy on this one it’s normal.
Try to stay as perpendicular to the ground as you can and tighten your core.
It will help you to :
- have a better upper body mobility
- train your core
- be more stable on your presses
- balance your shoulders
I suggest to do 4 sets of 10 reps each side.
I like to mix either dumbbells and barbell. Twice a week, once with dumbbells, once with barbell is great. You can also use it as a warm up !
You can go each arms at the same time as well 🙂
If you feel that you aren’t stable on your lifts or even squats, it can comes from your hamstrings.
Hamstrings helps you to stabilize yourself when you are falling forward, build solid hamstring is really important for your every day Crossfit.
Especially for women whose are (in general) more Quadriceps dominant than men.
Hamstring curls will help you to have more balanced legs, prevent knee injuries and of course to be more stable on your feet!
You just need a band and a bench. It’s a really simple exercice.
I suggest to do 4 sets of 15 reps per side to increase muscle endurance. Once a week is fine.
Again, Accessory work is very personal. Ask your coaches in your affiliates, they know you more than you think.
Keep in mind, you must add accessory to your plan to be better in your Crossfit. Mix things, ask you coaches about what you should train, inform yourself to find exercises that work for you. Use isolated movement and work on your core. Do it often and take the time to do it right.