Do Your Special Exercises!
Updated: Apr 16, 2020
Have you ever seen that person in the gym that fails in the same place for their squat, bench or deadlift? Maybe on the squat their knees always cave in or on a bench they can never seem to lock the weight out. Deadlifts, they just can’t break the floor without their back bowing. Their training partners or coach tell them all the time, “push your knees out” or “brace your abs” but they still cannot do it. Believe it or not, it isn’t because they can’t take direction. It’s because they have a specific weakness that is causing these problems. Issues like these are exactly why we utilize special exercises as an extensive part of our programming.
To move perfectly there are two qualities you need. First, you must have optimal mobility to obtain perfect position; Second, you must be strong enough to maintain position. Lack of strength is often the cause of mobility issues which is where special exercises come in! Special exercises are single joint movements that work very specific areas in the body. We can utilize them to increase strength or leverages, build a certain physique, or optimize an athlete for a specific sport. The great thing about special exercises is they are very easy to recover from, so they make up 80% of the volume in our training. If we look at the athlete above as an example, we are seeing that his knees are caving in on the squat. This could be because he has a mobility issue in the hips, but what is causing that? He has a hamstring weakness. Continuing to only do squats all the time is not going to fix this problem because his body will always find a way around the deficiency. He needs to do special exercises that target the hamstring so he can build up this weakness and improve his position in the squat. This applies for every movement. No matter if it’s for a compound movement or a specific position in a sport, you must utilize special exercises to help maintain a better position. Don’t be the person who does the main movement and leaves; do your special exercises! It WILL pay off!