Have you ever wondered why you can’t sit back or get deep in your squat? Or why you just can’t seem to “get” how to do certain exercises or movements? Or why certain exercises hurt your lower back? Or why people still take health advice from “celebrity to the stars” Tracy Anderson.
Whether it is for athletics or just for general health, the only way to get better is to begin by fixing your weak links. One thing that I have noticed with many people is that they focus almost exclusively on their strengths. This can be an extremely deleterious practice, especially when you already have marked weakness in certain movements. Tight hip flexors and weak glutes ring a bell?
Why do people tend to do most exercises that are easy and avoid the rest or perform them with terrible form? I’m pretty sure I just answered that in the question but it is because they are easy. The same people don’t do any leg training and don’t do squats because they hurt their knees. This is because they never properly learned how to squat. Dan John said it best by stating that squats don’t hurt people’s knees, whatever the hell they are doing hurts their knees.
You need to stop thinking of exercise from a kinesiological standpoint and stop training muscles like a bodybuilder and start training movements. Movements are movements and most people can’t move properly.
Basically, if you are having trouble with a certain movement, it is due to some weakness along the chain. This can be a tightness in the tissue, instability or poor mobility in a joint, a weak prime mover, or weak stabilizers. In this case it is important to learn how to clean up those weaknesses before continuing squatting or whatever movement you can’t do with perfect form. There is a reason you can’t squat and it is not because “your body is not meant to” which is a response I have gotten to which I replied:
Here is a list of how to determine some of your weak links in some of the major lower body movements. Be honest with yourself and focus on strengthening these areas before you continue to strengthen your dysfunctions.
You have weak glutes if you:
- Round your low back during deadlifts to make the back conduct the lift rather than the hips and legs.
- Round your upper back during deadlifts. This can be acceptable, though…many strong powerlifters do this because they can’t push their conventional deadlift max up further if they kept their upper back arched.)
- Let your hips rise first in the squat thereby turning the lift into a “squat morning”.
- Suck at locking out your deadlifts.
- Stop short or hyperextend the low back durnig the deadlift lockout.
- Don’t have much power out of the hole when squatting.
- Let your knees cave inward during squats.
- Suck at hip thrusts and glute bridges and feel them all in the low back and hamstrings.
- Have a saggy butt.
- Never feel your glutes “turn on” or don’t feel soreness in them from squats or lunges.
You have weak hamstrings if you:
- Have trouble sitting back in a squat.
- Don’t have good starting strength in a deadlift, where the most difficult part is getting it off the floor.
- Suck at arched back goodmornings, RDLs, back extensions, 45-degree hypers, and reverse hypers.
- Can squat much more than you can deadlift.
You have weak quads if you:
- Turn every squat into a “squat morning,” especially as the weight gets heavy.
- Suck at front squats or goblet squats, weighted lunges or weighted step-ups.
- Can stiff leg deadlift pretty much the same weight as you can conventional deadlift.
- Can conventional deadlift way more than you can squat.
You have weak thoracic extensors if you:
- Have trouble keeping the chest up during squats and goodmornings.
- Suck at thoracic extensions.
- Kick ass at movements that isolate the hips and legs, such as squats or hip thrusts, but suck when those movements are loaded on your back or in your hands.
You have weak abdominals if you:
- Round your low back during deadlifts (THis could also be weak glutes and poor hamstring flexibility).
- Suck at ab-wheel rollouts, weighted planks, side planks, straight leg sit-ups, side bends, landmines, and hanging leg raises.
Post your questions about your weaknesses and I will provide some fixes that you can add to your program.