Many coaches categorize the active components of their training programs into at least two separate groups: main lifts and accessory work. While main lifts like back squats, snatches, or deadlifts are big and flashy, accessory work is the unsung hero in helping to achieve goals and prevent injury. But what are accessory movements and how do you plan to use them?
While there are many approaches to implementing accessory work, I primarily look at these exercises as a means to facilitate localized hypertrophy and injury prevention. After I decide on an athlete’s overall volume and frequency concerning their main lifts, I take into consideration any particular lurking imbalances or weaknesses that may hinder progress towards their ultimate goals. Usually, there are different categories of accessory work that I try to incorporate regularly into all of my training programs. Some of these movements include:
- Bilateral flexion/extension: barbell bicep curls, manual resistance leg curls/extension
- Unilateral stability: 1 arm overhead lunges w/ kettlebell/dumbbell, 1 arm floor press
- Multiplanar Mobility: warmups that include rotation/flexion/extension/deviation around all major joints
- Plyometrics: kneeling box jump, 1 leg hops
- Ambulatory loading: 1 arm farmer carry, front rack lunges
- Irregular implements: sledgehammer orbital swings, tire flips
The volume I choose for these movements is relatively arbitrary, primarily because I believe these movements are more effective when volume subjectively determined by the athlete themselves based on feeling and effort with the movements. These are just a few of many progressions/regressions I implement for assured, comprehensive strength in my athletes.
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