Turning weakness into strength


Do I have the strength to rectify my weaknesses?

This is one of the most important questions anyone embarking on a fitness journey, or seasoned training veterans, can ask themselves. It goes to the core of what we should be doing, as part of any training routine. Yet so often weaknesses tend to be ignored as we settle into a routine of what is familiar – in many cases focused on a narrow number of body parts and exercises we enjoy, to the neglect of others. This neatly brings us to understanding of how varied our fitness can really be. There are times when being specific in training is very useful, but not to the point where other aspects are impeded. Deep down don’t we all want the same thing? A well-rounded physique which displays strength, endurance, flexibility, mobility, stability, power, speed, balance, coordination and balanced muscle development. And if ensuring better health is your long-term goal, a balanced approach to fitness is vital. This means paying attention to things that need to be worked on.

When did you last assess?

It’s important to actively assess our overall progress, so if you haven’t tested yourself recently, it is time to carry out a current assessment. This can help pinpoint our strengths, and more importantly our weaknesses.

Embrace weakness

Understanding our weaknesses is essential – how else will you ever improve them? Focusing on improving a weakness is usually a hallmark of any champion. They identify shortcomings as quickly as possible, not just to improve, but to make sure they don’t deliver an edge to their opponents. This may take time and courage, but what every gym goer should have in common with any champion is the desire to work on your body to improve it, with weaknesses having the greatest need.

Common problem points

Some of the most common weaknesses I see are a lack of mobility, flexibility and stability in certain positions. Two good examples are:

  • The bottom of the squat, either getting there or staying there
  • Holding an object overhead, which is a weak overhead shoulder position

If you exhibit either of these problems, it is highly recommended you spend time rectifying them; it will be time well spent. It may mean learning to get comfortable with being uncomfortable, as you work on problem areas, but the reward will be improvement, while by applying this mentality to your whole training program, your potential will also develop. And as your overall performance improves, the risk of injury will decrease too.

Stand out from the crowd

Many people go to the gym to show off, so no wonder they end up playing to their strengths and neglect their weaknesses. Ironically, this is a sure-fire way to developing an unbalanced and potentially injury prone physique; not much to show off. Get with the programme, read the memo, set the standard. Work on those weaknesses and feel proud as you turn them into strengths.

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Alex is a registered Master Trainer and Nutritional Advisor with Level 4 qualifications in obesity and diabetes. He is also a strength specialist and a Ni Dan in Shotokan Karate.

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