Taken from CrossFit HQ Twitter (Feb 2015).
Everybody has a weakness somewhere, whether it is a muscular imbalance, a patterning issue, a technical fault, a mobility restriction, an energy pathway deficiency, etc. These weaknesses can be holding you back from achieving so much. Instead of trying to get stronger to compensate for your weakness, you should be correcting your weakness so that the strength you already have can be applied more evenly and efficiently. I remember reading an article somewhere where Dmitry Klokov said, “Athletes must train weaknesses” and that he spent most of his time fixing his weaknesses.
How to identify weaknesses?
Ask someone (can be a coach) who understands movement to watch and critique you. Chances are, if you’ve taken any of my classes, I’ve tried to point a few out for you (…in a constructive manner, of course). When coaches point out weaknesses for you, think of those as the low hanging fruit for improvement. Why? Because they are the often easily corrected and will yield 3x the reward as the time invested to correct them. When you run out of weaknesses to correct and still aren’t improving is when you should worry. Also, if you’ve been training long enough, you may be able to identify a few of your own weaknesses.
How to strengthen weaknesses?
You must practice them. You can use warm-ups as a time to perform them and focus on performing quality repetitions. One of my favorite ways to practice my weaknesses is to perform them EMOM-style as a warm-up, pairing 2 weaknesses with rowing, running or double unders. A second way to add them into your training is to add in work on your weaknesses one day per week. Pick 2 movements or muscle groups: can be opposing muscles, an upper body and a lower body movement, etc. Superset them for 3-5 sets until failure or boredom, keeping in mind that quality matters more than quantity. A third option is to set a 15-minute clock and see how many reps you can do in that time period, again prioritizing quality over quantity. There are countless ways to do it; almost any of them work as long as you are performing work. A final thing to keep in mind is that most people have imbalances between dominant and non-dominant sides. It would be very beneficial to perform unilateral work to close that gap, i.e. lunges, split squats, KB/DB presses and rows, etc.
Just getting stronger at your strengths will only get you so far. Eventually, your body won’t be able to compensate anymore and you’ll probably end up plateauing or injured. In order to prevent those pathways as much as possible, you should be correcting your weaknesses along the way. Coaches or others that understand movement (even yourself) can help identify them for you. Once you know what to target, accumulate time training your weaknesses. It doesn’t have to be elaborate; something is better than nothing. I’d be willing to bet that if you spent more time correcting faults, you’d be much better off than doing more of what you’re already doing.
Posted on 10/13/2015 at 06:16:00 PM