How to Find Your Weak Spot

Posted March 4, 2010 in Fitness Tips 5 Comments »
Swole Fitness Tips

Is there an exercise that you hate? For some people it’s squats, for some it’s deadlifts, and for others it could be something that most of us consider fun, like dips or the ab wheel.

An Entire Exercise Could Be Your Weak Spot

Weak Spot
Find Your Weak Spot

If you any any particular exercise because it is hard, awkward, or uncomfortable, then you have probably found your weak spot.

Depending on the exercise, the main muscle used and/or the ancillary muscles used, are probably weak points for you. There is likely a muscle imbalance, or at least a weak muscle that should be prioritized for a couple months.

The best exercise you can do to bring up your weak point, is the exercise that you hate.

Most People Hate Squatting

For a long time I hated squats. I found that I couldn’t get out of the hole, my chest dropped, I fell forward, my knees pushed inward, everything was wrong with my squats. I hated them.

So, what did I do? I asked a more experienced lifter to watch and correct my technique, and to recommend ways I could improve my overall squat. I started squatting 3 times a week, using the advice to fix my squatting form.

Within a year, my squat shot up from a shaky 185 x 5 to 315 x 7 as a warm-up. The thing is, I had to make serious adjustments to my form and force myself to squat even when my squatting muscles were still weak from novice-itis. Today I am comfortable squatting because my form is pretty good and I have equally developed all the squatting muscles such that none of them are significantly weak relative to the rest.

Weak Spots Within Your Favorite Exercises

Even when you love an exercise, you can develop certain plateaus, which can be mental blocks or muscle imbalances. These plateaus can be disheartening and can cause you to lose motivation to train. Don’t let that happen. Analyze your reps for potential weak spots and fix them.

For example: perhaps you love bench pressing because you have trouble pushing the bar off your chest then you might need additional chest work to develop reversal strength, or you might need to use pin presses to develop starting strength.

Maybe you can’t seem to complete the lockout at the top of a press. In that case you might need additional triceps work in the form of close grip bench, close grip pin press, board press, or rack lockouts.

Maybe locking out the deadlift is your problem. In that case you might need lower back and hip work in the form of rack lockouts, rack pulls, good mornings, stiff leg deads, Romanian deads, or pull thrus.

Do you have trouble pulling the bar off the ground? Then you might need to work on your deadlift starting strength by pulling with a wider grip or while standing on a block.

Trouble pushing out of the hole when squatting? Try some box squats at a low depth or pause jump squats.

Box Squats
Box Squats or Cushion Squats?

No matter what, if you take the time to analyze WHY an exercise is really hard in a certain range of motion, uncomfortable, or awkward, then you can almost always fix it. And remember if you absolutely HATE a certain exercise, then that is a good enough reason to use it 2 or more times a week until you’ve mastered it.

Please take this advice knowing that if an exercise causes actual pain, or if a doctor has told you to avoid certain exercises due to a previous or nagging injury, then you should take that doctor’s advice.

Share the Swole!

Tags: , , , ,

5 Responses to “How to Find Your Weak Spot”

  1. Blaow!!! Thanks for the motivation and guidance on squats, Steve!
    I recently squatted 275 twice on my own and the third time with a spot coming out of the hole. To me, that is amazing, the most weight i have ever squatted twice. And i have you to thank for giving me the courage and skills to achieve this goal! So, thanks again, for all that you do on ProjectSwole! 🙂

  2. That helps TREMENDOUSLY!!!

    I can better utilize good form if i can visualize it by doing something other than the exercise, so by trying to hip thrust that will help me greatly. I have been trying to get out of the hole with my quads, and it isnt working. lol

    I am more of an explosive lifter, so when i struggle, it doesnt work well for me. I will fight it until i can’t lift the weight, but i just don’t do as well if i am not exploding.

    I will make sure i practice doing the hip thrusting coming out of the hole, as that helps me to lock out in a deadlift, i didnt think it would apply to squatting as well. Thanks again!

  3. Damn you Steve. LOL

    It’s not that i hate to squat, but i feel like im not very good at it.
    The best i can do is a couple sets of 225 x 5, then i must go down to 205 and then 185. Max is somewhere around 285, probably on the lower end.

    My biggest problem is i feel like when i go down, that i have nothing to push with when i’m “in the hole.” Therefore, i don’t go very heavy, and im not growing. I started out struggling with 135 so i have definitely seen progress, but you know what i mean. Also, when i start to struggle at the bottom, my chest dips down and my ass comes up, so that i can essentially transfer some of the load into my back, and then perform a half-ass squat/good morning coming out of the hole. I don’t think to do this, i just naturally do this when it’s put up or shut up time. And it’s disheartening.

    I realize that in the world of weight-lifting, particularly powerlifting (my style), where they are constantly maxing and working out with really heavy loads for 5 sets of 3-5 reps, even 2 reps in some cases, that the SQUAT is the exercise that separates the men from the boys. And i want to be better at it. I am determined to be better at it.

    • haha! The truth hurts buddy. Work on perfecting your form at a lower weight. Stretch yourself out by doing ass to grass squats with just the bar, and work up from there. Sit in the bottom position for a second, then bust out of the hole as fast as you can. When you go down, you need to constantly tell yourself to keep your head up and chest out. Consider looking at something high on the wall or even on the ceiling. If your head starts slumping forward, keep it up! Hold the bar lower on your back, perhaps at the back/bottom of your traps instead of right up on your neck and shoulders. You are going to want to use your glutes and hips to drive the bar up, rather than just pushing with your quads. Essentially you want to be hip thrusting into the open air in front of you. Not sure if that helps at all, but you can do it. Also, mix it up with some front squats now and then. Those bastards will really teach you to keep your head up, otherwise you’ll drop the bar.

Leave a Reply