Weeding Out The Weak Points

Posted by Bear Strength on

This weeks blog is from Luke who runs 'Tough Love Cardiff Personal Training'. If you are looking for some personal training in the Cardiff and surrounding area then look this guy up www.toughlovecardiff.co.uk He's pretty bad ass at what he does and will give you the results you are looking for.

Anyway enough from me, here is his blog...enjoy!!

Weeding Out The Weak Points 

Weak Points. We all have them and, much like both opinions and assholes, the general consensus is that they should be kept under wraps and out of sight. Yet it is possible that these little monkeys on our backs could be responsible for dramatically stalling our progress. The old adage that excellence is achieved through 10,000 hours of specific work is certainly true but specific work/focus doesn't necessarily mean 10,000 hours of mindless repetition. Movements like squats should assessed, gaps and weak points identified, and correctional processes implemented. How many people do you see who squat with an excessive forward lean, are aware that they have an excessive forward lean, and will tell you all about how they excessively lean forward during squats and how their lower backs burn out long before their legs during squatting. Their solution? Continue squatting in the same manner in the hope that repetition will provide a solution. It doesn't. Sorry Greg Glassman but squats are not always the answer. Modern life has screwed us physically. Excessive time seated has left us with inactive glutes, overactive hip flexors, the core stability of an earthworm, and a whole host of other imbalances. When we start exercising, these faults don't automatically correct themselves, the body just sticks to what it knows and uses the same poor motor patterns and incorrect muscle activation to perform the exercise regardless of how much weight lifted. Failure to address these issues means plateaued progress at best and lasting injury at worst.

So how does one go about addressing our individual weakpoints? First step, realise that you have them! According to strength guru and Crossfit forerunner Dan John, standards and gaps need to be continuously reassessed,  meaning that you should always be aware of what you need to improve and work towards. Knees come in during a squat? Ok, good that you noticed and doubly good that you want to improve them. Secondly, why?: why are the knees collapsing inwards? This is the tricky part. Self assessment can be learnt, but personally I like going to a competent professional who can effectively screen my movements and identify issues with certainty. Look for someone who specialises in Functional Movement Screening ideally. Thirdly, what are you going to do about it? Again, this can be self assessed and a shotgun approach can be effective but again,  I choose to follow the recommendations of a suitable professional. Implementing new stretches, mobility and stability drills etc are important but don't get carried away doing whole sessions of weak point training - including them as part of your warm up is generally sufficient enough to kickstart improvement (what we certainly don't need is a return to the CHEK days of 2 hours of swiss ball core activation work at the expense of everything else).

So, to summarise, we could all benefit from bringing up our weak points, whatever they may be. Just use the 3 steps of:

1. What? (Are my weak points?)

2. Why? (Are they happening?)

3. How? (Do I fix it?)

After that, all that's left is sticking to the program and employing constant reassessment.

There's a famous story about a seminar where the speaker asks the audience who needs to improve their bench press. The audience raise their hands as one. The speaker then asks everyone who needs to improve their bench press to keep their hands raised if they are currently working on their lift. Again, all hands in the air. Finally the speaker, asks who in the room needed to improve their flexibility. Again all hands up. However, this time when asked who was working to improve it, not a single hand was left raised. You get the picture. Don't be those guys.

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