Develop Your Weaknesses Slowly

This is a simple tip…and an interesting experiment to play with.

  1. Choose your weakest lift. For me, it is strict press.
  2. Choose a weight that you can do 5 PERFECT reps – it might only be the kids bar…but more likely about 60-80% of your current 1RM.
  3. Just practice 5 sets at 5 reps at that weight – but the reps must be PERFECT – it is harder than it sounds. 2-3 times per week should be good enough. Please note that because it is a perfect rep you are seeking, you probably won’t feel it in your shoulders.
  4. Next week, add 0.5 to 1kg in total to the bar. You will have to use fractional weights…
  5. In a year, you will have increased your lift by up to 50kg…that sounds amazing and to be honest, it isn’t realistic…
  6. Realistically though, you will probably encounter some plateaus because you will need deloading periods and rotation to other exercises. So listen to your body and only do what your body can manage that day…don’t force the issue by trying to make a certain weight. Just keep at it slowly and do your best for that day. If you hit a plateau, it is time for a break and change of exercise. I might try a Pendlay Row or ring rows to change it up
  7. once that weak lift has come into line with the other lifts, you can resume your usual programming or pick on another weak area.

The slow progression will be beneficial for a number of reasons:

  1. It will give your body time to adapt to the load over time
  2. The progressions are so small that you won’t be able to tell much difference day to day…but over time, those little increments really add up!
  3. By practicing strict, perfect form, you will be doing 50-75 reps per week – that volume of perfect form will pay off in terms of strengthen good motor patterns and carryover into other strength-based exercises
  4. the secret to this success is perfect reps. You are training motor patterns, not building muscles (necessarily). Most plateaus I see are a result of some sort of technique flaw. Make sure you start at a low enough weight to do them perfectly

It is discipline – it is a challenge! Are you up for it!?

 

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About Antony Lo
Antony Lo is an APA Musculoskeletal Physiotherapist based in Sydney. His website is www.MyPhysios.com.au. He specializes in the management, treatment and prevention of pain and dysfunction, particularly of the pelvis and ribcage. His sub-specialties include Crossfit and Exercise Performance Optimization, Ante-Natal and Post-Natal Care and difficult cases that have failed treatment elsewhere.

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