I’ve received quite a bit of feedback about this series, so I’ve decided to make it a regular thing. Each Sunday I’ll be taking a look at one of my favourite pieces from this site’s archives; complete with my current thoughts on the topic. First up, a look at an article which had everyone testing their progress : Achieving Structural Balance.
Achieving Structural Balance
One of the key areas in training for any strength sport – particularly Powerlifting – is the identification of weaknesses, and their correction. With several muscle groups working together in a number of major exercises, the strengthening of any that are holding things back can make a massive difference.
Charles Poliquin‘s article Achieving Structural Balance looked at several key indicators in upper body strength. Accordingly, many of us took a look at our own lifts. The fact that my stats from July 2005 (noted below) now look ridiculously light is testament to one thing : Poliquin is definitely on the right track.
Structural Balance Test
As with nearly everyone else who read the Charles Poliquin article ‘Achieving Structural Balance‘ that Alberto linked to recently, I was forced to find out my own current stats. As I rarely do the exercises listed (apart from the weighted chin-ups and the occasional close-grip bench) I decided to devote tonight’s workout to finding out a few near-maxes.
The results :
Bench press (close grip) 10@20/44, 5@30/66, 5@40/88, 5@50/110, 3@60/132, 3@65/143, 3@70/154, 2@75/165
My usual grip is a little over 15″, so I moved it in a bit for this workout. Felt pretty good – might keep the narrower grip.
Bench press (incline – 45deg) 5@40/88, 2@50/110
Haven’t done this for months, and the last couple of times were only at a 15 degree angle. Looks like time to start working those shoulders nice and heavy.
Behind-the-Neck press 10@20/44, 5@30/66
Yep, definitely time to work those shoulders.
Preacher curl 10@20/44, 5@30/66, 2@40/88
Not bad, although I would like to get past 2 reps.
Reverse curl 5@20/44, 1@30/66
External rotation email@example.com/14
Think I’ll have to try a few of these when I’m fresh. Even so, I wasn’t going to get all that much heavier.
Overall it looks as though shoulders are my weakness (at least according to this article). Expect to see a lot more shoulder hammering in future workouts.
The current situation
Whilst the weights have certainly increased, I haven’t tested my maxes in some of those lifts for quite some time. After re-reading this, I’ll devote an upcoming workout to doing just that.
The lower body
One of the things I noted at the time – and which would still be extremely valuable – is a similar reference for the lower body. If anyone has their own thoughts on this, I’d love to hear them.
A final thought
Poliquin’s article really brought home just how important it is to identify your weaknesses, and correct them. A few small changes to your routine can make an enormous difference.