For the love of CrossFit, don't forget your accessory work.
Post Fran, you are lying on the floor trying to figure out what just happened, gasping for air, exhausted, and feel like you have just died and been resurrected. Before you hit the metcon, you worked up to a heavy set of 3 in the back squat. You are D-O-N-E! All you can think about is that post WOD meal, foam rolling, or hanging out with friends playing Spike Ball.
Your coach yells, "We aren't done yet, we have a buy out of accessory work!"
"Noooo....(eyeroll)" you think to yourself, as you finish the accessory work uninspired, or, sneak out the door like a ninja. Accessory work, sometimes called a “cash out", may seem like a hassle at the end of a tiring WOD or something that you can treat as optional, but understand this: doing accessory work is tremendously beneficial for your overall health and fitness and will improve your CrossFit performance.
Accessory work is the little exercises that contribute to the bigger lifts and movements that we do at CFG. Accessory work is anything that compliments the bilateral and full-body movements that are done in CrossFit. Bilateral movements involve using both sides of the body together. For example, presses, deadlifts, cleans, the list goes on. Accessory work may involve isolation exercises (targeting one muscle or muscle group) or unilateral movements (using one side of the body), with the intended goal of improving overall performance and helping you perform better, or develop your pull-ups or ring dips.
Accessory work should be done for a number of important reasons:
Accessory work is typically programmed at the end of the workout, and can vary. Some examples are
What do you do When Life Gets in the Way of Training?
Tis the Season Right? Daylight Savings is upon us, Holidays, food, family, work, and other commitments. What do you do when life gets in the way of your training? I am there. I am trying to juggle my work, my child’s school activities, homework, afterschool activities, and still try to fit in some time for myself. It has proven to be very challenging. I think most of us have good intentions when we overload ourselves, but what happens when it is too much? Here are some things that have helped me to stay somewhat sane in the business that is life.
1) Plan your workouts. I have a weekly calendar for my daughter’s afterschool activities. I actually write them out each week. On this same calendar I write in my work outs for the week. I put the time, what I am going to focus on, and how much time I have to work out.
2) Some days a little work out is better than nothing. There are days when I don’t get everything that I want to do in that particular session. So, I have to choose. Is it better to get a run in or a squat session. That is going to depend on your goals. As I have been training for races, I have chosen to run more lately. Once race season dies down, that will change more to lifting.
3) Keep some things at home in case you can’t get to the gym. I plan to invest in some home equipment for times such as there. Even if you have no equipment, body weight stuff will get you a quick work out too. Air squats, pushups, hill sprints, and the beloved burpee.
4) Keep your nutrition in check. Easier said than done, but if your work outs are not happening as often as you would like, then make sure you are keeping a handle on what you are eating. Especially if you are trying to cut weight or lean out or you are prepping for an event. Remember that nutrition is the CrossFit foundation to which everything else is built upon.
5) Do not Stress. I need to remember this one myself. If you miss a workout, it is not the end of the world. You WILL NOT lose all your gains in missing a workout here or there. Plus if you stress, that produces cortisol which will make you hold on to weight, which might cause more stress. Just be careful to not let it become a slippery slope. Don’t let one day turn in to five days.
We only get this one beautiful life. Make sure that you are taking care of yourself, but also remember what is important. Missing a workout in order to go watch that Christmas musical your child is in, or to go to that dinner with a friend you haven’t seen in a while, is not the end of the world. It is about balance, health, and making memories. I guarantee that when you look back on your life, you won’t remember the workouts you missed. But you will remember the opportunities that you didn’t take to make memories with friends and family.
Be well my CrossFit friends,
For most of us the CrossFit pyramid has been an image that we are all familiar with, especially for those who have attended the CrossFit Level 1 certification. However, some may be asking “What is it?” For those who may be wondering, The CrossFit pyramid is the theoretical hierarchy of development of an athlete. It is tool that we as athletes and coaches use to get better at our sport, and a tool that we can use to point out or short comings otherwise known as weaknesses.
At the base of this foundation is nutrition, then metabolic conditioning, gymnastics, weightlifting & throwing, and finally at the very top is sport. A pyramid is only as strong as it’s foundation, and in this case the foundation is nutrition. To get better at our sport, or any sport for that matter, we need to build upon this foundation, however, it seems that the pyramid has been flipped upside down where sport is now at the bottom.
People want to get stronger, have a big back squat or deadlift, snatch and clean and jerk big weights, and be able to RX a workout, which is great. But by focusing solely on this puts sport at the bottom and everything else on the side. I get it, CrossFit is awesome, the people are awesome, we all share a common goal, we all love to sweat, suffer, PR together, and the workouts leave us feeling so great that we keep coming back for more. Once we’re hooked on CrossFit there are never ending goals. We set a goal and once it’s achieved then we set another goal, so we’re constantly striving to get better, it’s a good, viscous cycle. But this cycle tends to lead people to believing they need to show up to the gym to do two or three-a-days and hitting multiple WODS in one day. Again, putting sport first, and forgetting all the other important steps: nutrition, metabolic condition, gymnastics, and weightlifting. When all of the other aspects of the pyramid are skipped we start to develop bad habits, ignore our weaknesses, plateau, and may develop nagging aches/pains or injury.
Let’s flip this pyramid back over and build upon each and every step. Work on our nutrition and start eating right. When we are eating right we feel better, move better, sleep better, recover better. Then let’s hit those metcons hard and all out. Putting our food to use and using it as fuel to push us through those metcons. Next, focus on gymnastics where we can create even more body awareness, and build upper body pulling and pushing strength, which will transfer over into the next tier, weightlifting. Here we can now focus on the snatch, clean & jerk, & being explosive in our lower body. Finally leading us to the top of the pyramid of sport, which in our case is CrossFit. Now we have built on our foundation and can put all of these practices to use at once!