Accessory Work - Everyone Needs It, But Nobody Wants To Do It

Here at FitClub, we see a lot of people who are doing their best to work out and get healthy. They run, do CrossFit, take classes, or try to do their own thing at the gym. They come in with a variety of injuries, but there is a common denominator with all of them - they are mostly, if not all, overuse injuries.

What does this mean?

Let’s take CrossFit, for example. CrossFit trains a lot of complex movements - squats, presses, everyone’s favorite burpees, and everything in between. These movements require a fair amount of strength and coordination between muscle groups. Many times, bigger or more dominant muscle groups will take over all the action, and the smaller or weaker muscle groups will be left hanging out to dry. This creates a big imbalance between the larger and smaller muscle groups. This phenomenon isn’t limited to CrossFit, though. It can happen with any repetitive motion, like running, jumping or swimming.

If you only use the more dominant muscle groups during these movements (at high repetition, high weight, or both), at some point, they are going to call “it quits.” When this happens, you will end up with a strain, such as in your back when you pull a heavy deadlift (or a lot of light deadlifts) with bad form, or at the worst, a tear (such as in the muscles of your shoulder after doing high repetition pull-ups with poor shoulder stability).

The thing is, your body will start giving you warning signs (PAIN) very early on that something needs to change. This could be a painful clicking in your shoulder, sharp pain in your knees after a squat day, or soreness in your back that lasts a few days (read: do not take back pain as “normal!”). Most people try to “work through it” instead of addressing the issue, which often leads to a more serious injury that usually requires more recovery time.

This totally sounds like me - what can I do?

Two words: ACCESSORY WORK. Everyone needs it, but nobody wants to do it. Accessory work wakes up those weaker muscle groups so that they can contribute to the movements your body is trying to perform and balance out the work. In this blog series we will be going over a few of our favorite accessory exercises for different regions of the body to help you reduce your imbalance and avoid overuse injuries! In the long run, this doesn’t apply to just CrossFitters; it applies to anyone who is trying to get healthy through movement and exercise!


If you think you may have an overuse injury and want a more guided and individualized approach to recovery, our Doctors of Physical Therapy are here to help! Click here to schedule your first appointment or call 646-875-8FIT.