Part 5: "Add-Ons" - Supplemental Training & Accessory Movements
Preparation tips were in Part 1 and Part 2 of this series. Strength work suggestions were in Part 3, and MetCon advice was found in Part 4.
What's left? Additional work to sharpen your skills, round out your mobility, and achieve the best fitness possible. The checks and balances of strength and conditioning.
As with most of the fitness concepts we've analyzed in this series, there isn't just one way to approach supplemental work. Since human bodies are all different, each individual will benefit from a specific method to their own mobility, strength, conditioning, and accessory movements. There are a quite a few ways to obtain fitness, so therefore, there are several things to consider for additional weekly work.
In other words, if we are looking to create a sum of x (lifelong fitness), we can add up entities a, b, and c (strength, conditioning, and accessory activities) in a multitude of ways (program differentiation) to achieve our desired equation (weekly workouts).
Let's find a formula to consider for additions to your workout regimen.
First and foremost, your biggest efforts need to remain with the priorities. Hit your major lifts and skilled movements each week, attack a variety of metabolic conditioning, and then sprinkle in your supplemental work.
1.) Core to Extremity
The functional piece of CrossFit includes range of motion through multi-joint movements, where primary movers in the hips and shoulders create a force that flows to the arms and legs. You can see this in exercises like Wall Ball Shots, Push Jerks, Snatches, or Kipping Pull-ups. Let these be first in your fitness equation. After that, put any accessory movements at the end of your workout, or on off-days from strenuous exercise. At least to start.
Start simple with extra reps of Push-ups, Bench/Box Dips, or Hanging Knee Raises.
2.) Weakness Work
Any strict movement, particularly those you struggle with, can be an accessory throughout the week. Cap off a shorter workouts with more strength.
Try Strict DB Shoulder Press (seated or standing), Strict Pull-ups (which may be band assisted in the early days), or strict, eccentric negatives in Handstand Holds.
3.) Mobility Work
Mobility efforts never end, do they? However, do not force additional work when lines of action are sloppy. Get your movement algorithm straight and be rational: form first, intensity second.
Handstands, Kipping, and even Air Squat therapy might help for technique and range of motion.
Experienced athletes tend to get in routines, and often those routines cut any supplemental work for the sake of time (and effort). But what about using those 5 or 10 minutes that you can grab here and there on either end of your workout hour? Want to maintain fitness with age? Need to push through a training plateau? Stop skimming numbers off the top of your personal fitness.
1.) Pay Attention
It's a little rare to do accessory work beforehand, but it might be an option as a quick "primer" for the day. Better yet, notice we throw in accessory lifts during class from time to time with supersets of strength movements. These are a little more traditional than supplemental in nature, but deserve the focus just as much as the partner lift (Bench Press, Front Squats, or gymnastics moves). Try to hit all reps with sound technique and ROM just like any other movement.
Maintain efforts in Barbell and Dumbbell Rows (Bent Over Row, One Arm DB Row, etc.), Bulgarian Split Squats, or Floor Press.
2.) Decrease Wear and Tear
Instead of hitting a double MetCon or adding an additional barbell lift after a full hour of work, it might be beneficial to use accessory lifts instead to maintain volume of training while taking a little stress off the CNS. This could be particularly true as an athlete ages for recovery reasons.
Consider GHD Sit-ups, Back Extensions, Ring Dips, or Bicep Curls.
3.) Cardio, Anyone?
Directly opposite of the point above, some athletes actually do need that extra conditioning work. It can sometimes be an overlooked tenet of fitness once CrossFit has entered the scene. And let's make one final plug to simply be active in life. Use your fitness to play sports and try new physical activities. You have a body; it has function outside of a typical gym sequence, and a value greater than the sum of its parts. Put it to use.
Think about extra sessions of sustained Running, Rowing, or Biking, at an aerobic heart rate.
We come in all shapes and sizes. Check out body types and a little about the endocrine system as it relates to fitness.
Embrace your strengths, and attack your weaknesses. See some recommendations on how to rid yourself of those chinks in your armour.
“So what do you do for abs?” A question common for CrossFit gyms, as if the only measure of fitness is 6-pack abs. So what do we do?
This is part five of a six-part series entitled Maximizing Your Amplify Experience. Stay tuned for the final piece.
- Scott, 8.11.2017