T Nation

Figuring Out Your Weak Spots


I read a lot of training for weak points on the different forums. While my weak spots are glaringly obvious, I'd be interested to know what other's felt their weak spots were, how the spotted them and what they are doing to bring them in line. With the different goals and disciplines we have represented on this board, the topic has become an interesting one to me.

Personally I think my chest and shoulders are causing my bench to lag back a bit. I'm just not sure of the plan I need to implement the catch my chest and shoulders up.

So where are yours and what are you doing for them?


Mine are small - merely glutes/hamstrings/chest , triceps and shoulders. LoL!

I'm doing box squats and may have to do low box squats plus sumo deads to bring the G/H's up.

For chest I'm doing paused bench and slowly increasing my range of motion on pin presses.

For shoulders I do a mix of heavy partial range seated pin presses, I arm DB presses and high rep standing presses/ seated DB presses.

Triceps I'm hitting with higher frequency stuff that I haven't been logging.


I can't say that! I have some areas that I believe could us some extra attention. My legs of course, which I will run through at least three workout routines this off season.

I have some areas that are under long term repair ie my shoulders. This of course transfers to the chest. Just means different exercises are needed to achieve the desired strength. Lots of push-ups, which I love doing.


Mine would be limit strength in general, legs in particular. I am usually much weaker in terms of max squat, bench, deadlift, and presses than the people I compete against, in weightlifting or throwing. If I can lift a weight at all, I can usually lift it quickly. I have caught and stabilized snatches that I have been unable to stand up with.

To address this I have tried many different things. I have worked heavily on squats and various assistance exercises and have seen good strength gains, only to loose most of it in just a few weeks of more normal training. What I am trying this time is a slower approach. My lifts in training are based on percentages of my 1 rep max. I don't actually do a 1 rep max to set this, but use a conservative estimate of 2 rep max + 2.5 kg. I also limit the increase to 5 kg per 12 week cycle.

The idea is to build a broader foundation. The gains come slower, but I should be able to continue making gains longer. At the rate things are going, it will be 9-12 months before I start approaching lifetime bests in squats. I guess I'll see then if this approach works.


I'm guessing you try to stay in a certain weight class, meaning that you don't look to develop more muscle tissue and therefore body weight. Strength gains end up being CNS related in that case and can be lost without continual training in a very short time - on the order of a week in some cases.

You may consider tacking on a top set of 3-5 reps of the major strength movements to the back end your technique training days to move ahead more quickly.

Or not. You know your sport better than me. Your competition season may preclude maintaining such a regimen in-season.

Jeez - I can't seem to stop myself from butting in...


Yes I do want to keep my bodyweight stable. Besides, I have trouble eating enough to gain weight. All sincere advice is welcome. I want to stick to the plan as long as its still working. I'll keep your suggestion in mind for when it looses its effectiveness.


Looks to be working just great, looking at your videos...


Great damn question!
Biggest problem area: nutrition.
Solution: Working on this one
Problem area: Flexibility, which lead to me giving up squats, which lead to weak legs (For want of a nail a shoe was lost, for want of a shoe a horse was lost, for want of a horse, etc,).

Solution: Forcing myself under the bar and doing the damn squats.
Problem Area: Rear delts, obvious in the mirror. Until recently I never worked them directly. Front delts too developed in relation to rest of body. Every lift I was doing I could feel pumping up my shoulders.

Solution: Added face pulls, rear delt raises, concentrate on form in other lifts to keep from using front delts.
Problem Area: Lats, main focus has always been lower back with some bent rowing.
Solution: Added pullups, seated rowing. Backed off on DL a little.
Problem Area: Abs, linked to nutrition problem and failure to work them regularly.
Solution: Working them regular and trying, unsucessfully
so far, to get a handle on the nutrition.
Problem Area: Crappy form. Actually brought up by Carl in a post. Tendency to muscle a lift, eg, Clean and Jerk rather than use/learn proper form and eventually lift more doing it right.
Solution: Concentrate on form, lower weight if necessary
Damn, that's enough for now. My ego can only take so much.


Willy, I think this can be a really helpful thread!

Problem: Nutrition. You guys are going to hate what I'm going to say, but I definitely screw up in this department. I wax and wane between eating too clean and not eating enough. Yup, there you have it. I hold the reins too tight.

I know I don't get enough dietary variety. Too many years of eating what I know "works" means eating (pretty much) the same old thing over and over again. I've read some of your food descriptions (Hel, Willy, Elaikases) and thought, "gee that sounds so scrumptious," but I'd never dream of eating anything like that myself. Hm.

Yup, I have a very odd relationship with food. (I think it's only fair to mention that on the up side, I have a relatively low bf% and my weight is always somewhere within 2-3 lbs of my ideal.)

Fix: I need to try to cook with an eye for a little more variety. Best solution I can come up with is to make an effort to try one new recipe a week or dig out an old favorite recipe that I haven't made in a long time.

I did that last week when I made Jumbalaya. It was great! Of course, being the way that I am, I'd be perfectly content to eat Jumbalaya four nights in a row. Sigh I'll let you know how this works out.

Sleep: Damn mid-life crisis. I seldom wake-up feeling rested. Not in the last two years. This seems to be getting a little better, but its taking forever.

Fix: I've set a new cut-off time so I'll get ready for bed 1/2 hour earlier, more if I can swing it. I find that if I get in bed with a book I'll usually only last a few minutes before I turn out the light and crash.

Stretching: I do it, but I'm not always 100% on board.

Fix: I'm thinking break it up into 2 shorter sessions instead of one. That way if I miss the evening session I'll still (at least) have done the morning session. Looks good on paper, but will I do it?

Attitude: I'm a little embarrassed to admit that at my age I'm still too hard on myself. I've heard it several times since starting Muay Thai and BJJ, so I know I'm not making this one up. I need to lighten up and have FUN.

Most of my hard/heavy lifting days are behind me. The MA stuff should be a challenge, but it should be fun. So they say. I know I've eased up on myself in MT, but that's only because I'm getting better at it and can actually see my own progress. I'm still pretty clueless in BJJ and I let it bother me way more than a rookie probably should.

Fix: Being a rather intense, serious person, I have no clue how to fix this.

I think those of us who are coming clean should periodically come back to this thread and post our progress. If we're making progress that's great, but if we're not, then maybe we can get some new input?



How? How are you working on this? I want to see thoughts that indicate some sort of action!

Are you happy with this? Think it's going to solve the problem? I've read your log and I know forcing the issue has helped .... but ... I sense some dissatisfaction here. (Correct me if I'm wrong!)

OK, so let us know what you're doing to try to get a handle on the nutrition or where you think you're falling down and maybe we can help?

Kudos! Hard to do, but well worth the effort!

Hel, you're making some GREAT changes and going about it right way! I think it's just a matter of time before you start seeing some nice improvement in several areas.



Overeating, flexibility and cardio.
Going to follow an Atkins diet plan. I would like to hover in the 230s (260 right now). I just bought a book by Eric Cressey with info about flexibility and foam rolling. Putting cardio on hold until I hit the powerlifting goals I've set.



When I reach my goal on dead lift (10x10 at 400),then I will do assessment. I will probably do some isolation work in the afternoon. Arms are pretty much sore all the time now-when the time is correct I will really hammer them.


I do hope that you are doing a little something for them now, as they need to be able to counter the strength of the triceps to some extent. They also engage in isometric contraction during deadlifts. Without biceps strength and the concomitant strength of the tendons/ligaments there is a danger of injuring them on DLs.

10x10 with 400 is a lofty goal. Now you're on the hook for it :slight_smile:


Yes I realize this.
I wrote a check with my mouth and now I have to cash it with my derriere.
Currently on dl at 330 10x5, when I reach 7 reps I add another 20lbs. I super set dl with close grip pull up (5xmax) and incline (5x170). Have tried to push bench farther, but 55yr old shoulders scream nooo.
I feel the higher my dead lift goes the more my body transforms.
Could be a bridge too far at my age ,but I'm going for it.


Legs, legs, legs! Stronger, more explosive, greater endurance. My personality does not allow me to achieve personal satisfaction. I may say I am, but deep down I'm analyzing how to make improvements.

I have zero limits for strength and power. I will continue to push for greater results.

I need as well as strength and power. A level of endurance of strength and power that can last more than 60 minutes.

I need to be able to explode and recover several time in a 60 minute period. While maintaining an 80% maximum out put.

How do me do this! Good fuck'n question. I'll let you know once I've figured it out. Oh, I will figure it out, count on it!


You're not too far off then.

There was a story of an old gentleman who used to come to the teller's gym and do the 'Hand and Thigh Lift' every 3rd day or so. This man, in his 70's would load up the thing and lift until he had worked his way up to around 1200 lbs. Swore by it for keeping his vitality and frame of mind.

I have no doubt you'll reach your goal.


So far I've cleaned up what I'm eating, some, cut out some bad stuff, sodas, mayo. Have been pretty good at getting breakfast in, cereal, milk, bananna. Taking skinless chicken with me for lunch. Don't always get a chance to eat it. Supper(dinner for yawl)is still my big problem area. Have to skip lunch many times so I end up eatting large and usually late and in bed watching the news.
Not happy with forcing myself under the bar but it is getting easier if not easy. I do want to squat so I can powerlift. Believe me when I say I have tried all kinds of stretches for the shoulder. Lot of scar tissue in there. May just have to live with the discomfort.


Jumbalaya four nights in a row sounds like a way to solve nutrition problems.

My current goals are to have my upper body catch up with my legs and back.

That, and get out to the gym tonight. Guess I'll get changed and out the door in another five or ten minutes.


Found a new weakness deadlifting yesterday. Bar stalled at my knees on my third set. Means I need more lockout work now.

That's the thing about weaknesses: they move around. Once you hit a weakness really hard such that it isn't one anymore, a new one crops up as the poundages increase.


What parts? Arms.

What am I doing? Lifting like Hell.