Programming Accessory Exercises

Learn how to use specific accessory exercise positions to improve your movement and fitness

Movement Debrief Episode 122 is in the books. Below is a copy of the video for your viewing pleasure, and audio if you can’t stand looking at me.

Here is the setlist:

  • When would crawling be useful to program?
  • When would dead bugs be useful to program?
  • When would crab walks be useful to program?
  • When would tall kneeling be useful to program?
  • When would half-kneeling be useful to program?
  • What are the benefits of hanging exercises?

If you want to watch these live, add me on Instagram. Enjoy!

and the audio version:   

Zac Cupples iTunes

Show notes

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If you want to dive into hip flexion and sacral mechanics, you’ll need to check out this debrief.

Bill Hartman – He’s a great resource for deep diving into the joint mechanics even further than we go

Want to learn why inversion is useful? Then you’ll want to look into this post on reaching

Below is the decline quadruped on elbows exercise. it’s a great inversion-based exercise to encourage T2-4 expansion is narrow infrasternal angles:

Here is the drunken turtle exercise, this move works under a similar principle as the decline quadruped on elbows. I find it more effective because of the total spinal rounding you get with this move:

Follow Coach Lucy Hendricks. She has some excellent exercise variations that you might find useful

Check out the quadruped taps to prep for bear crawl:

Then progress that to bear taps:

Movements of the Sacro-iliac Joint – This is a great article where they x-rayed sacral positioning in several different positions. It illustrates just how the sacral movement changes based on the position you are in.

All About the Hinge – If you want to master the art of sacral nutation, deadlifting, and more, this is a must-watch.

If you want to get into hanging, this move is a great starting point:

You can progress to a single-arm version, which will really open up the buckethandle:

If you want to understand how to coach breathing mechanics, I would check out this video:

Here is what it looks like to check cervical rotation:

Shoulder Pain: The Solution & Prevention: Fifth Edition Revised and Expanded – This book goes pretty deep into the benefits of hanging for shoulder health.

Elevate Sports Performance and Healthcare – Here is the e gym that I currently work at in fabulous Las Vegas, NV

If infrasternal angles got you confused, then you’ll definitely want to check out this post.

TrueCoach – This is the app that I’ve switched to for all my online training endeavors. It’s reasonably priced, easy to use, tracks metrics, and allows for streamlined communication with your clients (no they aren’t paying me to say that!)

Crawling, Dead Bugs, and Crab Walks

Is crawling useful for what we are trying to do in the Human Matrix model and what about the face-up tabletop (dead bug) position as well as the chair dip position (crab walk)?

Tall and Half Kneeling 

When would you incorporate tall and half kneeling into your programming?


You did a brief discussion on hanging: I understand the impact of hanging of providing leverage for abdominals in the case of wide infrasternal angle.

But, can you talk about other implications in hanging as it relates more to local tissue impacts on shoulder health, thoracic and cervical positioning, and are the local benefits worth the hanging in the case of someone with a narrow infrasternal angle?

Sum Up

  • Bear crawls and dead bugs are perfect exercises for narrow infrasternal angle who need to drive anterior expansion and eccentric positioning
  • Crab walks are good for wide infrasternal angles and narrow infrasternal angles who need posterior expansion and eccentric orientation
  • Tall kneeling can drive sacral nutation
  • Half-kneeling can bias some counternutation on the up leg, nutation on the down leg. More counternutation can be biased on the front leg with front foot elevation, plantarflexion, and hip shifting
  • Hanging can be used to improve any buckethandle restrictions, T2-4 expansion, and shoulder mobility


  1. Episode 122 You mention several times narrow ISA’s are bias towards flexion, abd, ER and wide ISA’s are biased towards extension, add, IR. I know you talk about ISA’s as they relate to shoulders and hips which is it in this episode regarding the biases mentioned above?

    1. Hey Mark,

      Great question!

      Generally, the initial bias is toward the above measures at both the shoulders and hips. Any movements in the opposing direction (aka a narrow who has an internally rotated femur) would be a secondary compensation.


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