BodyBuilding Accessory Work.. Its Time & Place

Should we program or incorporate bodybuilding based accessory work for our athletes? It can be a pretty controversial topic now a days weather you are a Weightlifter or a Crossfitter. We like to consider this type of accessory work as "BodyArmor". 

There are a few reasons to add bodybuilding based accessory work for athletes. Generally sticking to higher rep ranges and less sets we add additional volume that helps with hypertrophy, as long as they have the energy and more importantly.. the time. Bodybuilding work is just that, body composition. It’s been said before and It will be said many times after..

“If you look good, you feel good and if you feel good, you play well.” 

As long as you understand the purpose of joint conditioning and stabilization with higher rep ranges it’s a great addition. Not only will you add “aesthetics” but you will aid in improving tendon strength.

Key Points

Remember the point of the bodybuilding accessory work.. is just that, accessory. It does not come close to being the most important part of your training. Have a well rounded program to start, then you can add in additional work. NOT the other way around, if you have to tailor or shorten your daily program to focus on your “bro work” you’re doing It wrong. This should take 10-15 minutes at the end of your training session.


As a Weightlifter or Crossfitter, your goal is moving and moving well. Don’t sacrifice your mobility for the sake of looking good in the mirror. Be smart, If you have a heavy squat day plan your accessory work around that. Don’t add upper body accessory work that could potentially ruin your training session tomorrow. Make sure your accessory work has a dual purpose, beneficial in movement and a little pump to make you happy.


If you’re in the first part of your training block adding targeted work 3-4 days a week can definitely be done. If you’re ending a training block and tapering for a meet drop the days to 1 or 2 or not at all! 


As with regular bodybuilding, use short rest periods—usually 60-90 seconds or so. Incomplete recovery will help create more damage, which means more growth. 


Use 3-5 sets or supersets of 1-3 exercises per movement group per day—something around 50-100 total reps or so. Start on the lower end and work up over time!


Stick with higher reps—usually in the 8-15 range.


Below is a sample of some targeted body building accessory supersets from our programs..
Shoulder/Mid Back
3 Giant Supersets
DB Front Raises x 20 Reps
DB Side Raises x 16 Reps
Barbell Rows x 12 Reps
Posterior/Lower Back
3 Giant Supersets
Goblet Bulgarian Split Lunges x 10 Reps per
Single Leg Cross Body KB RDL x 10 Reps per
Weighed Back Extensions x 10 Reps
3 Giant Supersets
Seated DB Press x 10 Reps
Incline DB Bench x 15 Reps
DB Bicep Curls x 20 Reps


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