3 Things Missing from Your Strength Program
Written by Keith Hansen
June 28, 2018
Strength training programs are typically designed to increase your performance in the Big Three: squat, bench press, and deadlift.
And they do that well.
But they aren't always the most well-rounded programs for aesthetics or injury prevention. There are some things these programs fall short on, and if you have the time there is more training you should add.
I'll go over the three most common gaps in strength training programs and tell you how to fill them.
At some point along the line, we were all convinced that squatting and deadlifting were enough work for the core. But keeping your core isometrically contracted in a neutral position isn't enough.
We also started to believe that using a belt didn't hurt your core training but enhanced it. When squatting and deadlifting your core is heavily engaged. When you use a belt you are better able to engage your core muscles hence why it increases your ability to lift heavier weights. But how many times have your abs or obliques been sore from compound lifts?
Your core strength will increase with compound lifts, and it's the reason you won't find prescribed core work in The Seriously Strong Beginner Program.
But the issue is that compound lifts will only take your core strength so far. Your core can move in all three planes (forward/backward bending, side to side bending, and rotational twisting), and if you want to maximize its development you must train it that way.
If you really want to bulletproof your core from injury and develop a six pack with ripped obliques you need dedicated core training. Lucky for you we've created a free core training guide, The Serious Guide to Core Training.
MediaL Delt Work
The deltoid muscle group has three parts (delta=triangle, triangle=three sides). The anterior deltoid is worked well when doing any horizontal pressing and vertical pressing. The posterior deltoid is worked well with all horizontal pulling and vertical pulling exercises.
But none of those moves will develop the medial delt to its potential, and that's a shame. Because the medial delt is the muscle that is responsible for creating boulder shoulders.
Traditional bodybuilding routines have a dedicated shoulder day because the medial delt is a crucial element to any physique gunning for the stage. But strength training programs neglect this muscle as purely aesthetic. And sure, most of us want to be strong, but all of us want to be sexy.
Here's your fix: include 60-100 reps of medial delt isolation work 2-3 days per week. It can be done on off days but I'd tack it right onto the end of your prescribed strength training work. It won't take anything from your core lifts, but it will give you the physique you're after.
Don't know which are the best medial delt exercises? I've got you covered.
Read The 6 Best Exercises for Boulder Shoulders
Just like the core we've been led to believe compound exercises will do everything you need to develop your grip. Weightlifting straps have been demonized as grip killers (have you seen World's Strongest Men? Those guys use straps). Weightlifting straps, like weightlifting belts, are enhancers. They allow you to lift more weight for more reps, but they are not a substitute for focused core or grip training.
I've written on this before to tell you the real reason your grip is weak.
Let me go over it again: isometric contractions (the kind we use when gripping a bar) do not lead to significant muscle growth. And without muscle growth your strength will be limited.
Here's the fix: buy a gripper (I recommend the Captain's of Crush by Iron Mind), watch this video on how to use one, and train your grip 3x a week on off days. If you deadlift 200lbs get the 60lb gripper, 300lbs=80lb gripper, 400lbs=100lb gripper.