Why you should be doing accessory movements.

Why you should be doing accessory movements.

Written by Todd Stone

CrossFit coaches and athletes, and now a growing number of fitness professionals, love to talk about “functional fitness.” It sounds great and makes a lot of sense, for instance we deadlift because we pick things up off the ground in real life. We squat because we have to be able to sit down and stand up. We do burpees to help us get up off the ground. We walk on our hands because… it’s cool… 


The truth is, functional is relative to the person. Your specific goals should dictate the direction your training takes. Talk with your coach and make sure you both understand what you want out of training. If you are a member of 12 Stones, you can book a goal review session here:




One thing we know to be true, being strong helps. Obviously in sports, strength plays a major role, but what about everyday life? How does being stronger make me a better soccer mom? The most important aspect we are going to talk about today is injury prevention. Being a stronger person will help keep you healthy and moving. You can play with your kids, help a friend move their couch and complete projects around the house without any issues. No more picking up a box that was a little too heavy and “throwing out your back.”


But how do we get stronger? And what does this have to do with accessory movements?!


We won’t get too into the science of strength training, but know that strength is gained through focused training working against progressively challenging loads. In comes the barbell. While the barbell is not the only tool to increase strength, you’ll probably never convince me there is a more efficient way to add real strength to a novice fitness buff. When starting out, increasing your strength across primal movements such as the vertical push/pull, horizontal push/pull, squat, hip hinge, and step-up/lunge will be your fastest way to a stronger, more stable, bulletproof body. 


At a certain point, the novice training window wears out, and it becomes important to start adding in accessory movements. Chances are, you already do some, you have just decided that kip swings are more important than bicep curls.

Typically, when we look at accessory movements, we are looking at single joint movements. Pretty much anything not done with a barbell. Think of things like bicep curls and reverse flys, or Romanian deadlifts and glute bridges. We pick accessory movements to focus in on specific muscle groups that sometimes fall behind.

Due to the nature of our group classes at 12 Stones, we take a bit of a shotgun approach. We constantly vary the movements, angles, and tools we use to hit different common deficiencies we see in the general population. If you are interested in getting something more directed at you personally, schedule a goal review session and talk with one of the coaches. If you have been lifting for a while and feel that you are stalling out, the right accessory plan could be just what you need!  

Aryn Stone