The Best CrossFit Accessory Exercises

The Best CrossFit Accessory Exercises

The Best CrossFit Accessory Exercises

CrossFit provides a unique test of athlete’s fitness by combining movements that challenge your mobility, absolute strength, bodyweight/gymnastics strength, and multiple energy systems. The result is daily workouts that push the body with high-intensity workouts. Many athletes understand that the daily WOD alone won’t maximize their performance and regularly do CrossFit accessory exercises in addition to the prescribed metcon.

At Performance Plus, we have helped thousands of athletes reach their fitness goals following our 40+ accessory programs. We’d like to share our most prescribed CrossFit accessory exercises with you.

Want more? Our “50 Best CrossFit Accessory Exercises” eBook covers a wide range of movements to help athletes of all skills levels reach their fitness goals. Download that by signing up below.


The Wedge

  • Who is this exercise for: Athletes with limited ankle mobility impacting their squatting, Olympic lifts, running, etc.
  • Technique: The athlete places a heavy resistance band around his or her hips which pulls the knees forward in the bottom of the squat. As the knees move, the elbows will drive the knees out laterally. This combination does a great job of wedging the athlete into better squat positioning.

Eccentric Lat Stretch

  • Who is this exercise for: Athletes with tight lats impacting overhead movements and gymnastics movements.
  • Technique: The athlete will lie on a bench with his or her hips flexed to 90 degrees. A PVC pipe with a light load will be held with palms facing upward and then slowly lowered all the way overhead. Pause a split second at end range before returning to the starting position for the next repetition.

Arm Bars

  • Who is this exercise for: This CrossFit accessory exercise is for athletes rehabbing shoulder pain or wanting to build rotator cuff strength and stability.
  • Technique: The athlete lies supine with a weight held vertically and the leg on that side bent. The leg pushes into the ground, rolling the athlete onto his or her side while the arm continues to be positioned vertically. Once rolled, the leg then reaches over the body. The position is held 20-40 seconds to build shoulder stability before rolling back to supine.

Spanish Squats

  • Who is this exercise for: Athletes wanting to improve quadriceps strength and size that translates to better front and back squats.
  • Technique: A large resistance band wraps from behind both knees of an athlete and a stable anchor. The athlete squats while emphasizing vertical shins and torso positioning. As the athlete stands, they focus on pushing the knees back into the band. This execution keeps constant tension on the quads as they perform the Spanish Squat.

Snatch Grip GHD Hip Extensions with Lat Pull

  • Who is this exercise for: Athletes needing increased lower back and lat strength for pulling movements.
  • Technique: The athlete positions themselves prone on a GHD machine. A barbell is held with a wide grip. The athlete extends their hips until the torso is parallel to the ground, then pauses and pulls the barbell towards the GHD pad. The arm is then returned to vertical before the weight is returned to the floor.

3 Position BMU

  • Who is this exercise for: For athletes to build muscle memory for each position of skill and those who rush too quickly to top and end up with chicken wing or landing low in the bar muscle-up.
  • Technique: The athlete will use this drill to practice the arch, hollow and pull around by using tension and lats. After you see toes on horizon, press down with palms to activate lats and squeeze glutes to create an open hollow.

Toe Assist Pull-up

  • Who is this exercise for: For athletes trying to master their first strict pull-up.
  • Technique: The athlete will use the top of toe to assist in the pull-up. Make sure you begin with an active shoulder and keep a hollow body position throughout skill to work on building shaping for other skills.

Kip Swing 3 Position w Band

  • Who is this exercise for: For athletes to build on each position of the kip for better kipping pull-up mechanics.
  • Technique: The athlete will use this drill to understand how each position will build upon each other. Think about pressing down on the rig for hollow and pushing away for the arch. Do not generate power by bending at the hip. The hip should create a “smooth” shape [like a banana shape] not any angles.

Russian Pushup

  • Who is this exercise for: For athletes who want to build tricep strength for improved gymnastic movements.
  • Technique: The athlete starts with hands just outside shoulders and elbows down on ground. Create a hollow position and squeeze glutes to maintain a solid body. Drive shoulders forward as you press through the ground, while elbows move to press position. Push to top of push-up and then return the same way to start position.

Hollow Hold

  • Who is this exercise for: For athletes wanting to build core strength and stability that translates to better toes to bar, pull-ups, and muscle-ups.
  • Technique: This CrossFit accessory exercise starts with body flat on the ground. Raise legs while tucking pelvis and raise shoulders while tucking rib down to belly button. Eyes gaze over eyes and lower back is pressing through the ground to create a hollow shape, similar to the bottom of a rocking chair.

Ready for more help to improve your CrossFit skills?

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