Assessing And Building Weaknesses

I had an old friend I haven’t seen in ages come to town. Hes always been a complete lifting nerd, he performs his lifts like a math equation. Not personally my style, but he is fantastic at calling out weaknesses in a lift, and pointed a few things out to me.

Basically I want some more perspective on things I can do to address the following.

My calves seemed to be the weakest part of my deadlift. Now they’re obviously a minor contributing factor, but they were noticeable as soon as I broke about 1/2 my max and I’m sure it carries over to other aspects of lifting. I dont care to get watermelons on the back of my leg, but I would like to add appreciable strength to them.

When getting to maximal and super maximal loads on deadlift, my glutes were the deciding factor whether or not it went up. Once again, dont care for size, but I would like some ideas on getting them to fire and getting some serious strength added on.

Lastly, when I was benching, at my max my right shoulder kind of “popped” forward. I couldnt even tell, but it’s some kind of compensation I’m sure. Honestly im perfectly happy with my bench, its proportionately my strongest lift, and I dont have any immediate goals for it. But i would like to address any weaknesses before they get worse. Any ideas?


Never heard of this in my life. It MIGHT be the issue, but I highly doubt it. Regardless, doing weight vest walks and hill sprints for conditioning would help add size and strength to them without doing endless raises.

With this, weighted hyperextensions done right, rev hypers, RDLs and SLDLs and split/goblet squats will help.

This mostly would be technique. It’s common for people to almost “reach” at the top where it gets hard in max benching. It’s important to keep your shoulder blades back and together all the way to the top. If you’re having problem at lockout because of this, hammering technique, upper back and triceps will probably fix this.

1 Like

These buttoms up rdls with a pause at the knees are really good.

When i pause at the knees I really have to use the glutes to stay solid. And also feet/calves to keep from rocking back onto my heels. It’s like good MMC or practice to highlight these muscles in a deadlift motion.

Band thru belt walks are really easy to do and crush glutes without loading up your back.

I start with 3-4 “sets” of 50 steps, build to 100 steps, then jump to a bigger band.

What does a calf weakness look like in the movement pattern for a deadlift?

A bigger muscle has the potential for more strength so unless we’ve maxed out our weight class or something Its an efficient way to go about getting stronger long term. If you’ve identified your lagging muscle groups then it’d be worth spending time getting them bigger so down the line we can move more weight