Don’t Leave Class Without your Cash
Cashing Out – 3 Reasons CrossFitters Should Do More Accessory Work
WRITTEN BY: EVAN WHITEMYER
Many CrossFitters make the decision to take off right after the METCON or AMRAP in the class programming day in and out, that habit needs to be changed. Believe me, I know the feeling after a workout where you lay down next to the barbell that almost crushed you and all you want is a giant cheeseburger and breath of fresh air, but taking a few minutes after class to do some extra movements can help us as CrossFitters with longevity, performance, and also looking good.
Most accessory movements are involving only a single-joint, such as curls or tricep pushdowns, isolating certain muscles from the rest of the body. There are some multi-joint movements such as dumbbell shoulder presses or goblet squats, but all of these movements have one thing in common: They are a great way to strengthen joints throughout the body. Accessory movements help address lagging muscle groups that may not be hit during the strength portion of a class. While hitting deadlift PRs can feel pretty good, doing a couple extra shoulder presses or farmer’s carries after a workout can help cool down the body and prepare the joints for the functional movements of daily life.
Along with the body being ready to move better in daily life, accessory work has direct impact on the major lifts performed during a regular CrossFit class. For example, banded face pulls will help with stability in deadlifts; paused goblet squats help with standing up heavy cleans, and decline pushups can make those tricky handstand push-ups better. With accessory work we have the freedom to use equipment we may never touch during a class, change the tempo of certain movements, and load weight in ways our body is not accustomed to. Performing functional accessory work after a WOD will help build a strong base for major lifts in future classes, allowing us to smash old PRs and set new goals.
One reason many of us go to the gym is to look and feel good, and performing regular functional bodybuilding accessory work can can have a massive contribution to physique and muscle development. Performing muscle-specific movements using hypertrophy methods (8-12 reps) can help build muscles and burn calories at the same time. Performing movements to train for endurance (15+ reps) can help our muscles as well as our joints, and adding some other movements for strength (3-10 reps) will help build our muscles in ways that conventional lifts just might not be able to do. Adding isometric and eccentric movements to our training will keep our body under tension for longer amounts of time, therefore, burning calories and helping us to get stronger and build those sexy muscles that we are after.
Accessory work (cash-out) is an often unenthusiastic and overlooked piece of most training methods, but in order to feel good and move better, we as athletes need to make sure that we are making time to prioritize the little things. As a coach, I too love to max out squats and push around some heavy weight, but in order to succeed in the gym and improve our quality of life we need to do the daily accessory work because in the long run we will all be better for it and we all plan on training for a lifetime, not just a brief time.
My Tips For Accessory Work:
- Superset different exercises! Supersets are a mixture of two different movements that increases workout intensity by overloading muscles and limiting rest periods.
- My favorite supersets are:
- Biceps/Triceps (Curls and tricep pushdowns)
- Pressing/Pulling movements (Banded face pulls and dips)
- Legs/Core (Split squats and back extensions)
- Try to do these movements at a tempo or with pauses! Performing a set of accessory work slowed down or with a pause when your muscle is fully contracted will help build time under tension and allow you to master control of the movement
- Track rest periods with a clock or watch to ensure adequate rest time. Rest times for accessory work should range from 30 seconds to no longer than 90 seconds
- During rest periods, walk around, bike at a conversational pace, jog in place, anything simple and easy to keep the heart rate elevated
- Be creative with movement choices! Accessory work should not be boring, but instead a fun way to explore new movement patterns and discover the amazing things our bodies can do