How to Identify Deficiencies, Imbalances & Weaknesses

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Training isn’t about how much you can do or how long you can go. More is not better. Better is better.

If your goal is to do something extraordinary, start by doing what’s necessary. Even if it’s awkward, or painful to the body or your pride.

 

SSt

To help you identify YOUR specific weaknesses so that you can train better, we made you this comprehensive strength test. Take the test now, for free!

 

Remember, the most experienced athletes get pinned down and frustrated by their weaknesses from time to time too. It’s natural. We all want to grow and make progress. But all you need do is what you can do.

Small steps amount to big strides forward. So, be consistent and determined. Keep chipping away, seeking out those small adaptations.

Once a week. Every week. And just a little bit better each time. Keep that rhythm and as Julien says, you’ll soon find yourself standing on the shoulders of giants.

Enjoy the show. And please, share with a friend who’s in need of a beatdown. :)

Cheers,

Chris

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76 Responses to “How to Identify Deficiencies, Imbalances & Weaknesses”

  1. Mitchell

    Is their a book or anything I can get my hands on to learn more from Julien, or am I just going to have to make a trip down to see the man for a weekend? Two episodes and all I want is more.

    Reply
  2. Nishant

    A book describing this man’s thoughts is necessary. If not that, at least nis book reccomendations will do.

    Reply
    • Chris

      He’s a genius, so, that list is long. I think we’ll do a whole lot more with him, potentially even some educational stuff. That and I think he’s also got some more programming stuff cooking. Stay tuned.

      Reply
    • nMork

      He needs to take these thoughts and organize material from it.

      The perspective is just phenomenal.
      Those were 2 fantastic episodes.

      Reply
      • Chris

        I think he has some materials coming later this fall. Should be killer.

        Reply
  3. Dean Howard

    Very informative, probably my favourite podcast to date.This is a longshot but is there anybody with the same principles as Julian that I may be able to contact within the UK? just wondering if maybe you had discussed similar coaches to him around the world.

    Reply
    • Chris

      There’s one Julien I’m afraid. But great minds are all over. Look for principle-ed people.

      Reply
  4. Michael Chavarria

    Need more “input” these episodes were very eye opening. Is there any book, videos, etc. by Julian so I/we can start to implement some of these strategies into our daily routines? Keep up the god efn work bro’s I enjoy all that you dudes put out there for us!

    Reply
    • Chris

      You’ll have to visit him for now. More stuff is in the pipeline. Stay tuned with StrongFIT.

      Reply
  5. Lauren

    Everyone will laugh at this question- but I was told not to do declines as a woman because it will make your chest flat. Is this true?

    Reply
    • Chris

      It works the entire pec muscle under load. So, that’s an odd thing they told you.

      Reply
  6. R Campbell Sproul

    You all are on a huge tear of great episodes. This one was so great, it still stood out from all the other great episodes you’ve put up recently. Jean is brilliant and you all did such a fantastic job of picking his brain, I may need a week to digest all these nuggets and pearls. Thank you.

    Reply
  7. Reid

    Y’all need to make a “burn the questions” t-shirt. This was an awesome episode, but that was a serious knowledge bomb there at the end!

    Reply
  8. Stephen

    Guys, what were the exercises that Julien put you guys through to help find your key log? I’ve seen and heard the one-leg RDL, bear crawl prowler pull, overhead yoke carry, and rope pull. Is there anything else we are missing?

    Also, there a couple deficiencies that he mentioned were rampant among crossfitters, weak hamstrings, lack of supinated training, and absence of sagittal plane loading. What else should crossfitters be on the lookout for? What might be lacking from the majority of our training programs?

    Thanks, best episodes to date.

    Reply
    • Joseph

      Yes I would love to hear an answer for this… Especially load and distances for the said movements.. He also mentioned percentages ie 30% of deadlift for dumbbell row. I would like to see more standards similar to this.

      Reply
    • Chris

      He has LOADS of them. We only had a few hours. One missing one…Z Press seated. Which is a brutal move.

      Reply
      • Barbara

        Oh, thank goodness my box did do something right. We tested the seated Z-press as well and it was a whole new kind of pain. Also echoing the same sentiments as the rest of the commentators. Starting out relatively young in the CrossFit game with a lacking sports background leaves me a fairly blank slate for either building good or bad habits. This way I know what I need to be wary of for the coming years of training. Thank you!

        Reply
  9. Levi Cardinal

    Great series guys. So much good knowledge that can be taken to training. Still trying to process it all for now though… As always, keep up the amazing work. Mad respect for the show!

    Reply
  10. Anthony

    Guys, these episodes with Julien were incredible. Thanks so much. I’m going to be visiting him and supporting the show–keep up the amazing work.

    Reply
  11. Aaron

    I am always impressed with the caliber of information in the BBS podcast but these 2 episodes have been the most enlightening for me and my favorite… plus I just really enjoyed “the Beat Down”. However now I’m scared to go trane because I don’t want to make my bad habits worse :)

    keep it up guys!
    thanks

    Reply
    • Chris

      You are aware, and that’s all that matters. Keep thinking about what you’re doing.

      Reply
  12. Mark

    After listening to one of the last podcasts/videos, I know that I need to build my squat, which is very low. I have only truly been working out/crossfit for almost a year and I’m now 34 yo. I decided to look up some squat programs as you guys have suggested, and the one that popped up was Smolov. And I’m now 5:04 into part II of Julien’s podcast and he says that’s a no-no, especially for a newbie like me. So, what do you suggest I try? I need to get stronger, but don’t know what program I should be following.

    Thanks,

    Mark

    Reply
    • Neil

      5-3-1 Wendler program is a great one for good basic stregth. Again after this show, I think its mort important to make sure you are squatting correctly before starting any sort of heavy lifting program. Just my 2 cents.

      Reply
      • Mark

        Thanks Neil, I will give it a shot. Seems pretty simple enough for me to follow.

        Reply
  13. Stephen Caserta

    Julian talked about taking one day and focusing on accessory lifts to strengthen weak areas. What types of lifts? How do you determine your weak areas that need work?

    Reply
    • Chris

      You need someone else’s eyes on you. You cannot do this yourself. Drive to LA to visit Julien. Or, find the best coach in your area and go visit. That’s a priceless move.

      Reply
      • NJosC

        I did exactly that after watching that episode and went to a PT of one of the pro soccer teams here in Barranquilla; then i went to a orthopedic physician . The result: i have 1,5 cm leg discrepancy and that was the “key log” for a bunch of problems with hip and shoulder placement, lower back pain…. Thanks a lot guys.

        Greetings from Colombia.

        Reply
  14. Connor Duncan

    Ive been listening for a while now and these two episodes have been far and away the best and most useful, really liked the content definitely want to hear more from him.

    Reply
  15. Togo

    I can appreciate his approach to training and makes perfect sense to me as a crossfitter. I hope to see more of Juilen. An episode where he would work on an individual and their deficiencies would be awesome! Good shit boys

    Reply
  16. Ty

    These two episodes were Nuckingfuts !!! Fantastic info , I only wish he had a book to be able to learn from. Does strongfit have a daily podcast or daily “plug the holes” type exercises posted somewhere. Again guys these were great episodes.

    Reply
  17. Jake

    First off I’d like to thank all of you for always sharing so much great information. Parts 1and 2 were loaded with so much and gave me a lot to think about the way I move forward with my training. I’m 10 months post op of tearing my left labrum and a year before tore my right. I’m interested in learning Olympic weightlifting and without a gym or coach near I’m not sure where to start. I know I have a lot of work to do first but was wondering if you could point me in the right direction or offer any guidance on my next move. Thank you

    Reply
    • Chris

      At least for a few sessions, find a great soft-tissue person and a WL coach who can assess you and provide some SPECIFIC information. That’s the only way to do it right. Only so much can be done virtually. Best of luck

      Reply
  18. James Meacham

    Great show and great information. It really demonstrated the importance and need to think long term and balanced with strength and conditioning and not become completely one sided whether it is Crossfit, powerlifting, weight lifting, bodybuilding, etc… Good stuff.

    Reply
  19. Daniel

    Hi Chris:

    I have a bad right shoulder that started for a couple of years ago. Some years later I started to have left hip/back pain. I have been to a lot of PTs and chiros only to get short term relief.

    When I press heavy(standing press) last rep to failure I tend to engage my left side lats/oblique (it even happens when doing seated dumbbell presses) and lean to the left.
    I also have a slightly twisted/rotated pelvic (left hip a bit more forward) when I clean or snatch I shift my weight to my right hip (this is not noticeable when I squat because I can control the movement).

    This spring I started to have knee pain so I went to see another PT: We started to find what was causing the issue. It was not my knee that was the issue nor was it my psoas they just compensated. What he found was a dysfunction in the transverse abs and we have been working on activation and strengthening in this zone. After each activation session I feel so much stronger. Last week He also worked on my right shoulder and I managed to smoke a 2rep PR in the overhead press on my prev. one rep max(I have not even been working hard on my ohp).

    However. After listening to the podcasts and coming to the conclusion that you and I suffer from the same.(more or less) shoulder issue hip issue. I tried out a few things.
    A) I suck at one legged RDL
    B) I did two legged RDL last week, I have short and weak hammys can’t even touch the floor with hands. However day after working on RDL. NO stiff back. Just massive soreness in hammys
    C) I did the z press today with barbell. I felt just as strong in both sides. However when I had my legs straight I could not engage my lats and took tension in lower back. When I bent my knees a bit I felt that I was sitting on my seat bones and had really good connection on both sides of my lats. And the press was strong on both sides(need to check with dumbbells to)
    D) So due to C I tried the standing press and noticed the same, straight legs, not lat activation in the press, little knee bend lats engage fully (so the issue is that the hips are more inline over my shoulder when I bend the knees, do I also need to say that I have a really bad jerk drive since my hips shift forward when I dip deep and in the start when legs are straight the hips are behind my shoulders)

    I don’t know if me key log is the transverse abs or my shoulder or my hammys, however sine you have more or less the same issues, what did Julian point out as your key log?

    I live in Sweden so it’s quite a trip to go visit Julian, if it would have been closer I would have gone there tomorrow

    Thank you for your time and KEEP UP THE GOOD WORK. This is the best podcast I ever listened to. You Guys ROCK!!!

    Regards
    Daniel

    Reply
    • Chris

      Well, it sounds like you’re making progress, Daniel. Do not try to fix it all now. Have a longer view. Keep up your ab strengthening and activation. And overall, perhaps just keep focusing on assistance work…without too much analysis of self. Work the abs. The hamstrings under tension. Work your rows with various grips and treat them the same as squats and pulls (seriously). You will be A-OK.

      Reply
      • Daniel

        Good points Chris, I was thinking that way to.

        So what I will do is to make my assistance excersises = main stuff, and threat my snatch and C&J as assistance work:)

        Reply
  20. Sean Grady

    These episodes with Julien were really inspiring. I wish I could work with him. I would love to find out where my deficiencies are. At 62 it can be much harder to correct some things. My body does not respond as quickly as before.
    One thing I must say, even though I hate to bring it up. Please Chris, don’t talk so much. Once again you interrupted your guest and talked over him. If we were sitting around and had all evening to talk around, it wouldn’t be an issue, but with limited time for the podcast the guest and what they have to say has priority. Please!

    Reply
  21. robby

    great podcast boys! id love to see some sort of frequent colab with you guys and Julian.

    quick question:

    https://youtu.be/rLSl8x602MA <——-here he mentions a set of approaches for off season skills work. Chris, my man, what does this entail?

    keep up the good work!

    Reply
  22. Joseph

    I would like to know they specific workouts and assessments he used on you guys… Especially load and distances for the said movements.. He also mentioned standard percentages ie 30% of deadlift for dumbbell row. I would like to see more standards similar to this.

    Reply
  23. Louis-Philippe

    Very cool 2 part series, Chris I’m digging the new intros with the narration that you guys have been putting out.

    Reply
  24. Mark

    Have been listening to you guys since genesis. Nothing but a great show and website. Props. However, you are overloading our information with lots of training information. On one podcast you will say that you have to train smart and not overload. “More is not better”… and then another podcast you will talk about the “Everyday Squat” approach. Which is all fine and dandy, until we hear that its not good to be on a program… and then be on another… or to add much more into that program. “Programs are built in a certain way, and not meant to be played around with much…”

    I get it, you are all hear to just provide content of information. We love it. We truly do. Keep at it. However, I think its time to teach us a bit more about fishing.

    Your giving us a bunch of fish. We need to know how to put it together. We want to be better at Crossfit or Weightlifting, so we follow programs. Well, teach us the Do’s and Donts… the focus on scheduling… and recovery. I just think we are missing the connecting dots of it all.

    Reply
    • Mark

      Oh man what bad spellings and grammar. Regardless, I think a podcast in how to manage our training would be great. Not necessarily teaching us how to program, though a podcast on that discussion would be cool, but more on knowing when to join a program. Why to join a program. What we can add into that program and what we should avoid. If we are on an Olympic WL program just to be better at WL and not competing, can we add in that heavy squat everyday even if the program does not call for it. Stuff like this.

      Putting it all together

      Reply
  25. Eric

    Loved the podcast. Julien is brilliant and with out question dedicated to his profession. The first part of the podcast I had an epiphany when you discussed how an upper body issue can result in long term lower body issues.

    I separated my R-Shoulder many years ago playing rugby and have never full regained 100% strength in that shoulder. It wasn’t until I saw a Chiro that filmed me and put me under load that it became blatantly apparent as to my R-Knee issue, that has plagued me for over 2yrs. When I unrack the bar, the bar appears high on the right side but as I lower the bar my right side gets crushed, which pushes my hips out of alignment, shutting off my right glute and jolts my R-Knee down and over my tows while collapsing in. This put all the pressure on my Quad and my R-Hammy as suffered drastically. I have an obvious muscle imbalance between my hammys now. But like you said Chris, it felt normal to me.

    With that said, I have taken a step back, checked my ego and working to fix all the issues. The Chiro did a lot of ART work on my quad to break all the crap that has built up over the years and we are focused on improving each problem area. Glute activation before squats, using a band above my knees while squatting had be a Godsend. Building core strength to stabilize my hips better, yoke walks, and adding Z-press, dumbbell rows, and single leg RDL’s to help slowly fix all my imbalances. I know my R-Shoulder anatomically will never be the same but I can get it as close as possible as it once was before. This will take time but will be better served over the long run.

    Thank you to the Barbell Shrugged team for finding people like Julien and bring his talent as a Movement Specialist to light. I am extremely grateful for this knowledge and will with out a doubt visit Julien and the StrongFit team in person. Again, Thank you.

    Reply
  26. Silvia

    Very informative guest and great topics! Appreciated learning about the importance of using varied grips for rows and the “key log” concept.

    Reply
  27. GMB

    Best Podcast to date. Really enjoyed Julien’s insights, like any good book, article, etc. he was able to put things that were jumbled in my head into eloquent and actionable terms. Please do what ever it takes to get this guy to speak more often. If possible, could he give some basic programming to fill the holes in most Crossfit programming? Thanks for your time. …gb

    Reply
  28. Christy Lynch

    This two part series was very eye opening. This guy is a amazing! He needs to write a book. I will definately be trying some of these accessory items to my training. You guys need to put him and Kelly Starrett in the same room and just hit record.

    Reply
  29. Jama Anders

    Chris,

    Great final question! Burn the questions. Focus on the task ahead and crush it. Love it. Thanks again

    Reply
  30. Ade B

    Guys those two episodes were a joy to watch. Julien puts these issues across in way that makes it real easy for the average person and I love his “burn the questions!”. That really is the way to go.
    Thanks

    Reply
  31. Peter

    First, some feedback from a new listener from Poland: I’m loving the podcast and watch an episode every day. Lots of wisdom in each one, especially when you invite people like Julien.

    Now a quick question: do you think it’s possible to overdo horizontal pulls? Personally, I find that rowing is possibly the only compound upper-body movement that I can do daily and fairly heavy (but with limited volume with only 3 to 5 sets) without negative impact on anything else. I do them differently each time (BB, DB, KB, supinated, pronated, neutral, deadstart or not, etc.) and don’t even get sore from them anymore. Is it OK to do it like this, as long as there are no negative consequences? I’m thinking that if I can squat every day (thanks Cory Gregory!), I can also row everyday. Does it sound right? :-)

    Reply
    • Chris

      Is your strength going up on these pulls? If so, great. If not, less might be more.

      Reply
      • Peter

        So far, it is going up. Newbie gainz probably :-) I’ll keep it in mind though, that if I start hitting plateaus, I’ll back off with the frequency.

        Reply
  32. Joe Bracamonte

    I am a huge fan of Barbell Shrugged podcast and can admit to have watched all your episodes but these 2 episodes with Julien Pineau were amazing!!! I think I have watched them already about 10 times as I cannot believe the knowledge that flows out of this guy head!!! These 2 episodes have made me rethink things about the CrossFit training methods and the hole philosophy behind CrossFit. I must admit that Julien showed and explained me the reasons of some of the injuries I have sustained. Everything makes sense the way he breaks it down. Hope he decides to write a book some day as I would be getting one.

    Also I must admit I had a blast seeing Mike, Chris and Doug getting their assess kicked….I would pay to see the entire footage of you guys getting tortured.

    Reply
  33. Paul

    Chris, I just bought your book ‘Progress’ on kindle last night – looking forward to getting stuck in.

    Do you have any numbers regarding the critical mass Julien talked about?

    Keep up the awesome work guys – I’ve learned so much from you all.

    Reply
    • Chris

      Critical mass will vary from person to person. Basically, it’s whatever YOU require to reach the next level. I know you want an answer, but this something you have to determine for yourself. There’s only one system just like yours. Get to know it. And, make the time to go visit Julien if you can. Great time.

      Reply
  34. Matt

    I have watched and listened to these two episodes 3 times, and I am still taking gems from them each time. Definitely given me a lot to think about with my training. I have added a day dedicated to working on some deficiencies. It also gave me some new insights into my PT practice. Thanks for all the great episodes!

    Reply
  35. Dan

    Hey guys, long time podcast listener, first time commenter. This series is the first podcast from anyone that I’ve watched, and immediately gone back and watched again. So many “*click* ohhhh” moments in these two hours.

    Great job, hope to see lots more like this in the future!

    Reply

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