Train Your Synergists
Written By: Coach Brandon
Since becoming a CrossFit coach, I have paid closer attention to the recovery of our athletes. Something I have picked up on is that any time we have a high-volume workout, majority of our members experience significant delayed onset muscle soreness (DOMS). Typically, this soreness is of the synergistic muscles rather than the agonist, or primary muscles of a movement. For example, we had a WOD that consisted of a 50 M lunge, 100 Med Ball Cleans, 100 Sit ups, 100 Pull ups, and 50 M Lunge; due to the amount of stress on the biceps from the med ball cleans and pull ups, many well-conditioned athletes had incredibly sore biceps. That prompted me to ask how often they trained biceps to which many said “never." The DOMS was due to deconditioning of the biceps.
In CrossFit, we are all about functional movement, but as my body building brain meshes with my CrossFit brain, I am reminded that you are only as strong as your supporting musculature, and isolating your single joint muscles will only improve your multi joint movements. Your primary single joint muscles are the flexors and extensors of your extremities; for arms you have biceps and triceps, and legs are quadriceps and hamstrings. There are so many ways to isolate these muscles and depending on the WOD, you can do these exercises either before or after the workout that day. Below is a table giving a few examples of a compound movement, the agonist, synergist, and an isolating exercise for the synergist.
If you have any questions on what muscles are involved in a particular movement and how to isolate that muscle group you can email me at firstname.lastname@example.org or please feel free to approach me anytime at TCF!