Tonawanda News

September 16, 2013

FIT FOR LIFE: Use biomechanics to make physical gains

Jack Lazurus Commentary
The Tonawanda News

Tonawanda News — What’s your best lift? 

We all have genetic predispositions for certain exercises and are sometimes extremely good at something that other people find incredibly difficult. 

The reason behind this is generally work ethic — you enjoy one exercise over another so you get very good at it. 

But every once in a while someone is just naturally gifted at a particular exercise. The problem with being good at an exercise or favoring an exercise over another is that we tend to over-emphasize that exercise or at least that muscle group because it’s easy for us, which causes us to slack on other muscle groups causing muscular imbalances, which can lead to injury eventually.

As a personal trainer, I hate to admit it, but I am guilty of such. I am very much quad- and glute-dominant when it comes to working out my legs. 

So much so that I’m actually able to get better depth, and potentially lift almost as much, on a front squat than I can on a standard squat. The reason is simple: I lacked hamstring and low back focus for so long that, comparatively, those muscles are underdeveloped and I refuse to have imbalance in my muscles. I’ve been working to alleviate myself of that weakness. 

Now class, what exercise works the posterior chain the hardest? Deadlifts! So, all in all, it was pretty simple; go harder on dead lifts and correct my imbalance. The problem with doing that is that by the time I got done with such a taxing exercise I wasn’t able to go quite as heavy on a squat if I tried to do them on the same day. 

So I had a couple options: one — split my leg day up. One day for deadlift, hip and hamstring work early in the week since those are my weaker muscle groups and I need more energy to get through those exercise, and then do quad and knee-based exercise later in the week. Or, option two — put deadlifts with my back training. I opted for deadlift with back training but an argument can be made for either. 

Now you might not have the same problem as me, but the basic principle stays the same. For instance you might be extremely good at pushing exercises but awful at pulling exercises. A great way to alleviate that is pull first and push second. 

Should you ever have questions about you muscle imbalances ask one a personal trainer, and fix those problems to develop the best possible physique your body has to offer.

Jack Lazarus is a personal trainer for Chrisfit in Niagara Falls and Lewiston. He is filling in as a Fit for Life columnist for Chris Tybor, owner of Chrisfit.