The Best Strength Accessory Exercises
Many athletes that begin functional fitness training fall in love with the pursuit of greater levels of strength. Crushing that next PR is always a great feeling. But often, the daily WOD isn’t enough to build maximal strength. If you are wanting to bump up your strength, we have ten Fitness Athlete Strength Accessory exercises that you need to incorporate.
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 Fitness Athlete strength accessory exercises with you.
Want more? Our “50 Best Fitness Athlete 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.
Band Resisted Hip Hinge
- Who Is This Exercise For: Athletes needing increased glute strength or wanting to continue pushing the hip hinge pattern when the low back is irritated.
- Technique: The athlete performs a hip hinge pattern with a band around their hips. The band resists the hip extension that happens at the top of hinging movements. Adjust the weight held and band tension as needed.
Barbell Hip Thrusts
- Who Is This Exercise For: Athletes wanting to improve glute strength and/or size.
- Technique: The athlete begins with their upper back on the edge of a bench and glutes resting on the floor. A barbell is then positioned over the hips and knees are bent to approximately a 90 degree angle. The hips are lifted up until full hip extension is reached before going back down towards the ground.
- Who Is This Exercise For: Athletes needing increased leg strength or wanting to squat without significant load on the spine because of back pain.
- Technique: The athlete stands between two boxes with a weight hanging from a dip belt (or specialized belt squat belt). The athlete squats with this set up to emphasize leg size and strength development over the lower back.
- Who Is This Exercise For: Athletes wanting to build quadriceps size, strength, and/or endurance.
- Technique: The athlete assumes their usual squat stance while holding a weight in front of their chest. They then squat to full depth but only come up partially, stopping a few inches above parallel. The athlete then returns to full depth before finishing the rep by fully standing upright. This range of motion sequence keeps significant tension on the quads for a longer period of time than typically felt with squats.
- Who Is This Exercise For: Athletes wanting to improve quadriceps strength and size.
- 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.
- Who Is This Exercise For: Athletes that need upper back strength that notice they consistently miss heavy front squats and cleans when their upper back rounds over.
- Technique: A barbell is held in the bend of the elbows as the athlete squats. This forward position of the barbell increases upper back strength demands.
Band Lat Rows
- Who Is This Exercise For: Athletes needing increased lat strength or needing assistance “feeling” this muscle work.
- Technique: The athlete performs a standard tripod row with two significant changes. First, a resistance band pulls in the direction the athlete is facing. Second, the athlete focuses on pulling their elbow towards the hip, in an arching motion. Both of these changes increase the emphasis of the movement on the lats.
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.
- Who Is This Exercise For: Athletes needing to build grip and bicep strength.
- Technique: A thick towel is put through a kettlebell handle and the athlete grasps either end of the towel. As the athlete performs curls, they should emphasize trying to squeeze the towel as hard as possible.
Bonus: Download our FREE 3-week Grip Strength Overhaul program HERE.
Behind the Neck Push Press
- Who Is This Exercise For: Athletes wanting to build overhead stability for the snatch and overhead squat.
- Technique: The athlete begins with a barbell resting on their upper back with a snatch-width grip. The knees and hips are bent slightly and rapidly before the hips, knees and ankles all quickly extend. This rapid triple extension will begin moving the barbell vertically off the shoulders and the athlete will follow through by aggressively pressing the barbell up with their arms.
- Who Is This Exercise For: Athletes wanting to develop the deltoids and upper traps for better strength.
- Technique: The athlete holds a weight in front of his or her body and then bends the elbows, pulling the weight to chest height before lowering it back down.
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