There is an often overlooked element to a training program, at least a balanced program, which can add great benefits to an athlete.  Accessory work should be considered a must and not an, “if I have time”.  It is almost cliche to tell a CrossFitter to knock out a few hammer curls after a conditioning piece, or hit 100 band pull throughs post WOD.  The problem with this mentality is people are missing out on a great opportunity to make strides in physique, PRs on classic lifts, and good old fashion fun.  

The class performing bent over dumbbell rows post WOD

No matter what, even if it is subconscious, we all want to look better naked.  If a new member begins CrossFit and does “Fran” in 10:04 with assisted pull-ups and retests the same workout three months later at a higher level and his or her time drops to 6:00 one can bet they look better naked.  A wonderful consolation prize to increased performance is an increase in muscle and decrease in fat. How can one become more proficient at Fran, which is made up of thrusters and pull-ups?  Get stronger legs, back, shoulders, and biceps.  How do you get there faster?  Accessorize.

A great way to add proficiency to classic lifts are by doing accessory lifts.  While this will never replace a classic lift, it is a great way to supplement, target, and create stability.  Some of my favorite accessory lifts include trap 3 raises, banded face pulls, GH raises, CURLS…well I actually love them all.  These lifts allow an athlete to work a muscle group specifically, even when worn down from the classic lifts.  Not only will these help your overall lift, they can be used to correct movement faults.  Are you a quad dominant squatter?  Well, doing GH (Glute Hamstring) raises can help you develop your hamstrings and help correct movement patterns.  Sometimes it takes more than squatting to increase your squat and correct deficiencies in movement.  How does this not sound like fun?

Maybe it is just me, but there is nothing better than knocking out some accessory work post workout, BSing with friends, and sipping my post workout recovery shake.  I use the movements as a chance to cool down and reflect on my training day.  The lifts add five to 15 minutes to my training time, situation dependent, but also adds to my sanity.  Some days you walk off the platform and you had problems hitting an 85% or you felt slow and sluggish.  Guess what?  You won’t have an issue with your Yates row or a rear foot elevated split squat!  This time allows you to end the day on a high note, which sometimes is all you need to walk out feeling great about a workout.

open gymWe offer accessory work almost everyday in our programming. You can find it under open gym extra, at the bottom of a training day, via Zen Planner.  The work varies day to day and is dependent on what we did in class that day.  Some days it is core based, or posterior chain based, or you’re knocking out some hammer curls.  If you are interested in adding accessory work to your routine, talk to a coach and get signed up for open gym.  I promise that you will see an increase in your classic lift performance, a better body composition, and leave the gym in a better place, both physically and mentally.

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