What Donny Shankle Calls ‘Subordinate Exercises’

For those of you that don’t know (where have you been and what have you been doing!?), Donny Shankle is a legit Olympic Weightlifter. I mean seriously legit…the guys competed with a serious injury just so somebody else could go to the Olympics…no joke! Check out his blog here.

Donny talks a lot about ‘subordinate’ exercises i.e. accessory or additional exercises that are necessary for further development as an athlete – in his case a weightlifter. CrossFitters will generally squat, deadlift, press and do a mixture of the Olympic lifts. Is that enough? If a top Olympic weightlifter needs to do additional work shouldn’t us normal folk do some too? I actually think that ALL athletes, CrossFit or otherwise NEED additional work to compliment the traditional and O lifts. I mention this because MOST athletes do not engage their posterior musculature, glutes and hammys in particular, during most movements. This is either because of dominant quads or weak and under developed glutes and hamstrings…probably both.

Bret Contreras posted a few weeks ago on the 3 most basic lower body movement patterns – squat, hip hinge and glute bridge. Check out the post here. I definitely think that there is a place in ANY program for glute bridge and hip hinge a.k.a stiff leg deadlift (I refuse to call them RDLs). If you want to see gains in you squat and O lift numbers, these need to find their way into your program!

Check out one of Ben Bruno‘s clients, Megan Graham, performing a set of 10 glute bridges with 225lbs!

Oh yeah – I forgot to mention, ladies…glute bridges, when performed correctly, will help you get the derriere you’ve been waiting for!

If you want to accelerate your ATHLETIC EVOLUTION, you should seriously be considering what additional work you need to incorporate into your program. If you want any more advice, feel free to email me at athleticevolutionuk@gmail.com




‘I love my job’ – can you say that and mean it?

Yes I can!

I’ve spent the day coaching U18 athletes, male and female. The progress is amazing! Half of the female athletes have a gym training age of 5 months and were scared to pick up an empty barbell…in fact they were afraid to open their mouths and speak to me back in August! The words squat, deadlift, press, snatch all brought blank looks and worried murmurs.

Five months on the sessions are so different! The athletes have all developed in strength, confidence and now have a love of the barbell! Watching them load the bar and OWN it through the lifts makes me feel all warm and fuzzy inside… almost like a proud father! Today’s session saw girls tackle deadlifts, push press and single leg squats! On average the girls are pulling between 80-100kx3 on the deadlifts. A few are up to 50kgx5 on the push press and we have 3 girls able to pump out 3×6 single leg squats with no assistance! They are going to be incredible this time next year! I can’t wait! Their progress with the Olympic lifts is also incredible. Not one of them is scared of throwing the bar over their heads! We have girls who are nailing 40×3 FROM A HANG POSITION! In the words of Coach Burgener – ‘THAT FIRES MY ASS UP!’


A friend of mine, Jane Holgate, is writing an awesome blog called Ladies Raising The Bar. If you are female and the voices in your head constantly tell you not to lift weights because ‘you’ll get bulky’ – think again. What you’ll ACTUALLY get is strength and confidence, along with many other health benefits. Check out her blog via the link!

On to today’s WOD…it was a DOOZIE!

For time:

10 front squat, 120kg

20 box jumps, 24″

40 hand release push-ups

60 KB swings, 1 pood

100 double unders

400m run carrying 25kg plate