The Importance of Accessory Work in CrossFit

The Importance of Accessory Work in CrossFit

If you’re a regular in this sport you’ll already know that it’s nourished by other disciplines, such as weightlifting, sports gymnastics and athletics (among others, as it never stops evolving).

Accessory Work to Keep Progressing

If you want to be good at this sport, or you’re at least truly interested in finding out how to improve your performance, you’ll already have noticed that on top of the directed classes (wods), you’ll have to dedicate time to another type of work.

And included in the long list of “everything”, is accessory work

It may seem like you’re always have to do heavy squats, or snatch PR or something like that to get a good workout. But there’s another kind of training you can do: accessory work, which, although it may not seem so exciting, is necessary for your progression as an athlete.

Pull ups

Why do Accessory Work in CrossFit?

Accessory work can be performed in a number of way: lifting of unusual objects, glute bridges, strict time controlled pull-ups… The aim of the accessory work is to control the volume of work, adding density and intensity to the training.

For example, when unusual object lifting is included in the programme, the athlete can improve his strength by performing challenging lifting from different angles. This results in a different stimuli to those achieved with bar lifting, meaning it provokes an improved response to this stimulus.

Muscle up

Benefits of Accessory Work in CrossFit

The inclusion of accessory work reduces the amount of training in classic heavy lifts, and at the same time frees the athlete’s joints, which are usually loaded. This allows you to add more work without putting extra strain on your joints.

Basic weight lifting work is important for the athlete to improve on these movements, but it’s also insufficient. Because if the athlete constantly performs the same movements, they’re basically always working a number of muscles that are most involved in those lifts. But at the same time, the rest of the muscles that are not directly involved, and are weaker, will be the ones that prevent them from advancing.

Let’s take a common example in the boxes:

Glute Inhibition

If an athlete, when doing a squat, sees that the knees aren’t maintaining their position and are bent inwards, they can do the lift, but it will be difficult to improve their squat if the strength of the gluteus medius does not improve. A weak gluteus medius (or at least not as strong as the athlete’s squat) is what causes the knees to collapse. If you manage to reduce this difference in strength, which obviously means increasing the strength of the gluteus medius, you’ll be able to continue to progress with the squats.

Over the Head Movements

Other typical cases are the lack of shoulder strength to stabilise the bars above the head. The main idea then is that the accessory work facilitates the correct posture that the muscles need to have in order to perform the movement well. And it’s the basis for being able to progress well (positively and without injuries).

Mobility exercises

Working Your Weak Points

When it comes to it, this doesn’t mean simply upping your routine by adding all sorts of accessory work. For an athlete to work their weak points, they’ll have to add accessory work by substituting part of the traditional training. It doesn’t mean adding hours, but revising the quality of the training. Add progressively to the base classes of your training program, and without causing more overload than benefit with the accessory work.

To choose the correct accessory work to do, an athlete needs to analyse their weak points and note them down to be able to correctly focus their extra work sessions.

And we emphasise that although it may not seem as interesting as doing a great squat, the accessory work for a good squat is the best way to improve your weaknesses and progress well with your performance.

If you need help adding accessory exercises, ask your trainer. They’ll know what’s best for your specific case. Don’t be afraid to ask, a good trainer will always be ready to help.

Related Entries

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Review of Accessory Work in CrossFit

Keep progressing - 100%

Why do it - 100%

Benefits - 100%

Working the weak points - 100%


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About Anabel Ávila
Anabel Ávila
Anabel Ávila emphasizes her view of a healthy lifestyle mainly focusing on a Paleo diet and practicing CrossFit in order to guarantee a good health.
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