Accessories for the Win

Accessories for the Win!

By: Sean Wells

At Oregon CrossFit, we use a Conjugate approach to training. This approach allows people to always be addressing weaknesses in themselves using the accessories that are programmed daily. The Conjugate approach(https://oregoncrossfit.com/blog/max-effort-work, https://oregoncrossfit.com/blog/organization-of-training, https://oregoncrossfit.com/blog/inverse-curl, https://oregoncrossfit.com/blog/reverse-hypers) also allows OC members to continually be setting new records for themselves and “testing” their strength in methods and manners that have a great benefit but very low risk. As the accessory weights go up a lot of time so do the conventional lifts (bench, squat, deadlift) as well as the Olympic Lifts (Snatch, Clean and Jerk).

In a typical week, Oregon CrossFit General Population members will be exposed to 6-12 accessory movements, these accessories help correct a lot of the issues that we see with gymnastics movements, barbell work (Snatches, Clean and Jerk, among others). These accessory movements are utilized during the warm up, the strength portion of class, sometimes during the "WOD" portion of class in the form of Not For Time work and during the recovery portion of the class.

Unilateral movements vs bi-lateral movements: completing movements that can be categorized as “simple” allow the coaching staff and the athlete to identify weaknesses or “low hanging fruit” in the athlete. Most people get injured in their weak areas not in their strong areas. So these unilateral movements help us identify the weak areas and start correcting them. For example, here are some unilateral movements we use frequently: Bulgarian split squats, single leg deadlift, single arm Russian swings, weighted step ups, alternating presses, single arm barbell rows, db rollback extensions, db tate presses, among hundreds of others. All of these exercises allow a coach and an athlete to see if there is a bi-lateral deficit (a big discrepancy from one side to the other side of the body).

These “simple” accessories allow us after identifying the weak links (low hanging fruit) to correct the issue as fast as possible. A lot of times people want the “sexy” movements without first identifying the weakness areas that they have in those movements that are holding them back. For example, a lot of people want strict pull ups - but we see that they have a weakness in their lats, we can identify and start working to correct this lat weakness by having them use single arm db rows, for example.

Time under tension increases using accessories, which in-turn leads to hypertrophy in targeted areas. At OC we utilize a ton of hamstring, glute, low back work, specifically in unilateral exercises which builds muscles in these areas(ask me about the time the "Glute Guy" Bret Conteras came to OC). The work improves our compound movements but at the same time builds the muscles people typically want built - glutes, triceps, hamstrings. When a person lets us know they want to look “toned” - the best way of achieving that look is by hitting the accessories hard which in-turn makes the person strong and more resilient to injury.

The accessory work coupled with intelligent programming allows athletes to continue to progress, have very little issues with injuries, be healthy enough to pursue outdoor activities that Bend has to offer (Ski, Bike, Run, outdoor activities, etc) and see positive changes in their appearance.


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