By Will Stuart
Why Am I Weak?
I often get asked by athletes and regular gym goers alike, "Why can’t I break my PB?" Or quite simply "Why am I weak?"
We have heard it all before, “I benched 120kg five years ago but haven’t been able to get passed 120kg since”.
Quite simply its the lack of accessory work. The same 120kg bench presser saddles up for the gym week in week out with his gym program from an internet expert. He benches three times a week but still the elusive mark of 120kg doesn’t get broken.
This isn’t just the male favorite bench press. The lack of accessory work can also be the reason for a plateau in all multi joint lifts. To some this may come as no surprise, to others these are a few ways you can add a few extras kg’s to the big 3:
Back Squat, Deadlift & Bench Press.
For many the biggest weakness in a back squat isn’t the legs. It’s the torso. A strong torso is the key link between your legs and the bar. The best bang for your buck when it comes to strengthen your torso is Good Mornings (Row). When done with correct technique these are great for strengthening your lower back, hamstrings and glutes. Start slow with these, slowly building load.
(Good Morning Row)
As per the Back Squat, Good Mornings are one of my main accessory lifts I use to help build a better Deadlift. Along with these, Deadlift varieties like the Romanian Deadlift are awesome for building strength through your posterior chain.
For most that Bench Press, often and regularly the biggest weakness is more than likely weak triceps and shoulders. For this the Military Press is one of the major lifts which helps build a big Bench Press. More accessory lifts are Overhead Presses (DB Shoulder Press for example) and Tricep Extensions (Cable Tricep Extensions or Band Tricep Extensions).
(Arnie & his beloved Military Press)
With my athletes I focus on these and other multi joint lifts twice a week. On the other 2-3 sessions in a week I focus the lifts around accessory lifts. The ones mentioned are some examples. I use a variety of other lifts, executed with correct technique and loading to make my athletes as strong as possible and bullet proof them from injury.
Will Stuart is an Athletic Performance Coach with the Australian Rugby Union Sevens squad. Will has been the Rehab Coordinator for over a year and has worked with the NRL's Sydney Roosters, Western Region Academy of Sport & is a Strength & Conditiong Coach. ARU Profile @WSStrength LinkedIn