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Stink Training…How to use exercises you suck at to balance your physique and build muscle fast

It’s a little known fact that you tend to use the exercises you’re good at a lot more than the exercises you stink at…and I think the reason why is pretty easy to figure out!

But here’s the thing…when you always avoid doing the exercises you stink at, you’ll never improve on the weaknesses that this type of avoidance training creates.

Heck, I’m guilty of the same thing…I’m terrible with incline barbell presses so I rarely use them.

What I’ve done to combat this is do a program where for 4 weeks, I limit myself only to the exercises that I’m terrible on…not ones that are painful on the joints or anything like that…just the ones that I have poor leverage, I can’t use much weight on, I don’t really enjoy but I know I should do…that kind of thing.

And lo and behold, after this 4 weeks of training, I’ve improved my weak points and have seen improvements in my “regular” exercises.

So for the next 4 weeks, you’re going to select ONLY from a list of exercises that you’re not strong with and that have been weak points for you. Your list might be different than my list but I’m going to give you a rundown of what I use.

Now this is a pretty simple program…divided into push-pull days. We’re not doing any crazy techniques or schedules, because honestly, your body is going to be challenged enough just because you’re doing exercises that it hasn’t adapted to because you rarely do them!

A key with this is to check your ego at the door. The first step is admitting you stink at these exercises and that you know you’re going to have to cut back on the weight and build yourself back up.

The results will be a much stronger overall physique and the joy of going back to the fun stuff after 4 weeks. Heck, you may even start to LIKE some of these exercises once you start not stinking at them so bad!

Some Exercises to Choose From:

Thighs – front squats
Back – wide-grip pull-ups or wide-grip barbell rows
Chest – incline barbell or dumbell bench press
Shoulders – standing barbell presses or dumbell presses
Hamstrings – snatch grip stiff-legged deadlifts (same exercise but with a WIDE grip)
Biceps – incline dumbell curls or reverse grip barbell curls
Triceps – overhead dumbell or barbell extensions
Calves – pick your poison! choose your worst one

As I mentioned above, the exercises themselves will vary according to what you, personally, suck at.

So take those exercises you rarely or never do (but you know oyou should) and do ONLY them religiously for a month.

Here’s a simple sample program – the number to the side is the number of sets to do. Take 90 seconds rest between sets.

Day 1 Day 2 Day 3 Day 4 Day 5 Day 6/7
Chest – 4
Shoulders – 3
Triceps – 3
Thighs – 4
Back – 4
Hamstrings – 3
Biceps – 3
Calves – 3
Rest Chest – 4
Shoulders – 3
Triceps – 3
Thighs – 4
Back – 4
Hamstrings – 3
Biceps – 3
Calves – 3

You can plug this type of “stink training” into pretty much any program, though, so don’t worry if this style isn’t for you.

The core concept of forcing yourself to train your weakest links is really what I’m after here.

And I have to say, after doing this type of training a few times, I actually look forward to it. I go in knowing I’m going to stink at the exercises but I also go in knowing that because I hardly ever do those exercise, I’m going to gain strength in them pretty quickly. It’s almost like being a beginner again…almost :)

The key thing to realize (and to get over) is that you’re going to look weak when you start training exclusively with the exercises you stink at. It builds character…


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1 Comment

  1. Kevin Stock

    March 7, 2013 at 1:15 am

    Hits close to home! (I used the excuse my body just wasn’t built for squats – shorter torso, long femur = bad combo for good squat form) And because of this my leg development was far behind the upper body. Made 2013 the year of squats and have already significantly balanced out the proportions. Great article Nick (as always)!

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