T Nation

Stabilizing Muscles

My question is to anyone who may be able to help.

My training partner and I have been working out together for about a year. We do a lot of strength work. We prefer to use free weights whenever we can. i.e. bench press, dumbell bench press.

The problem he’s having is, the balancing of the weght. It’s like his stabilizing muscles are under-developed. He wobbles throughout the lift with weight he’s strong enough to lift.

His strength is decent but his flexibilty is terrible. I wonder if that has anything to do with it.

I see it a lot with people when they’re just starting to lift with free weights but my buddy has been lifting for about 4 years, steadily.

Can someone recommend a possible reason why or a solution to help over come this.

Thanks

Some people are just slow when it comes to realizing that “mind muscle connection”. You are right, this is usually seen in beginners who have not yet learned how to use their body better when performing a certain movement. As far as correcting it, if there is even a possibility, I would probably try to get him to build most of his routine around free weight dumbbells (not the olympic bar) and see if that helps over time. Has he gained a significant amount of size in those four years?

Does he have this problem on all or most lifts? Some, like overhead squats are very dependent on flexibility. If he has inflexible shoulders, it could cause the barbell to stray forward. The further the weight moves from the body’s vertical plane, the more unstable it will become.

[quote]Shane wrote:
My question is to anyone who may be able to help.

My training partner and I have been working out together for about a year. We do a lot of strength work. We prefer to use free weights whenever we can. i.e. bench press, dumbell bench press.

The problem he’s having is, the balancing of the weght. It’s like his stabilizing muscles are under-developed. He wobbles throughout the lift with weight he’s strong enough to lift.

His strength is decent but his flexibilty is terrible. I wonder if that has anything to do with it.

I see it a lot with people when they’re just starting to lift with free weights but my buddy has been lifting for about 4 years, steadily.

Can someone recommend a possible reason why or a solution to help over come this.

Thanks[/quote]

First of all are you pushing the same as you are pulling, doing similar number of pulling exercises to pushing exercises both in vertical and horizontal planes.

Does he have any injurie(s) that havent healed ?

Is the lack of balance present in both limbs or only in his right or left arm? He might need to do unilateral work.

Also too much use of lifting gear, belts, straps etc might cause this. An example would be too much use of lifting straps which lead to no grip strength in turn leading to no stability in movements where the forearm muscles act as stabilizers.

Thanks to everyone so far for comments I’l ltry to answer the questions to all the posts here.

Professer X - No, he’s not gained much size but has increased strength by about 40% in the last 2-3 years.

Testy1 - Yes, most lifts are wobbly. Primarily upper body. Push presses, dumbell bench, both incline, flat and upright. Skull crushers, olympic bar bench and incline press. Overhead squats are out of the question due to his shoulder, knee, hip and ankle inflexibility.

orangutangjuanj - he does plenty of pulling and pushing. pretty even in fequency. He’s more wobbly pushing than pulling. No one limb more than the other. Now that I think of it, he’s not to bad pulling.

He does complain a lot about nagging injuries. Mainly knees but lower back and shoulders occasionally. He’s in his early 40s.

He uses no gear at all. no gloves, belt, straps. nothing like that.

Thanks

[quote]Shane wrote:

Professer X - No, he’s not gained much size but has increased strength by about 40% in the last 2-3 years.
[/quote]

That doesn’t surprise me and means that you shouldn’t count how many years he has been training…that is clearly not his training age. He could probably still be qualified as a beginner. I would try to focus on GAINS in size and body weight while also concentrating more on dumbbell lifts. If he has gained no size, most of his gains are probably only from neurological adaptation. Considering how behind he is on the mind muscle connection, gaining more actual size could help solve the problem.

I see so many people in the gym for years who look exactly the same 2 and 3 years later. If you aren’t gaining muscle weight, what are you really there for? To tone? Possibly “sculpt”? None of those words really mean anything.

Professor X - Let me re-phrase. He has gained some size, but not tons. I think you may be right though on all your other points. From a training age point of view he probably is still pretty young and I guess because he’s in his 40s it would probably take a little longer to develop than if he were in his 20s.

Well then, more dumbbells and mass building for him.

Thanks everyone for the advice.

Shane