A lot of times people like to look for weaknesses too early on. The reality in most cases is, that you just have to practice the exercise more, perfect your technique and get stronger.
In his prime Ed Coan may have had specific weaknesses and addressing them would have enabled him to go to set new PR’s. For most people who are at a beginner to intermediate strength level it’s really just going to come down to getting better at the exercise and using a lighter, more manageable weight.
If I put 20% more weight on the bar than you can handle, even if you are a 30 year squat master, your knees will cave, spine will round, etc. Sometimes it’s not weak hamstrings or poor core strength or whatever else everyone wants to take a stab at. It’s just that you haven’t really mastered the exercise yet.
This is normal in strength training because there are 5999 articles written per minute on how to fix things. But you need to realize that people in the industry (I’m guilty of this as well) have to find something new to write about.
If you’ve been squatting for years and have built up to the point where you’re able to hit a few reps with 365 but have been stuck there for a while, then, yes, you may want to start looking for specific weaknesses. Maybe at that point you can focus on hamstrings or a perceived upper back weakness.
But if you’re squatting 225 you shouldn’t be focused on anything in particular. It’s probably not your adductors or thoracic extensors. You just need to get stronger and dedicate the time (in the gym and at the dinner table) required to do so. It’s patience, time and consistency that will help most guys who aren’t moving massive weights just yet. Not a specialized cycle of glute bridging or high frequency oblique work.
All that’s well and good when you’re strong. When you’re not you should keep it simple and focus on the basics.
If I started playing golf tomorrow and was constantly slicing the ball the “guy-who-reads-about-training-on-the-internet-all-day-long” mindset would be to think that I have some kind of weak right glute or that my lumbar rotation was off or that I was too internally rotated or that my forearm flexors were too strong for my forearm extensors.
Or any of a million other ridiculous things. If I brought that up to my instructor he’d think I was clinically insane and say, “Dude, it’s your first day. You suck. There’s no specific reason why. It’s brand new to you and you’ll have to practice for a year before you’re halfway decent.” When it comes to getting good at a squat or deadlift and being able to do so with a high level of proficiency while moving some serious weight you simply have to be willing to put in the time. People wouldn’t expect to hit the ball like Tiger Woods in a month. But they expect to be able to squat like Ed Coan in that amount of time.
That’s not the way it works.
Worry less about overanalyzing what your weakness is and instead focus on mastering your technique with a weight you can actually handle. Then put in the time. You WILL get strong.
PS. For a basic, fail-proof size & strength building program click HERE.