Before I herniated a disk in my lower back, I wasn’t really afraid of injury at all. I didn’t think it could happen to me.
If you ever wake up with aching hips and throbbing knees, you probably know a good bit about soldiering on. Deep down, we all have an idea where our weaknesses lie:
- “My overhead position is so shaky. My wrists always hurt.”
- “I don’t feel very stable squatting with heavy weights. I just grind it out.”
- “I can’t do a single leg toe touch without falling over.”
To see these weaknesses quantified right in front of you is something else though. It takes away the opportunity to hide, at least for me. Instead of just saying, “Man, my Push Press and Bench are pretty low. I need to start working on them.”
You can say, “If I want to perform well and stay injury free — I could add up to 48lb to my Bench Press and 25lb to my Push Press. Wow…I better get to work.”
When I was sidelined for 9 months from this back injury, I wish a resource like No Weaknesses was around. The worst part was that every time my classic lifts were on the rise — something would break down. My wrist, my hips, you name it.
Injuries are apart of the game. But let’s face it — they suck the fun out of training. No one wants to have trouble getting out of their car (my back would light up from this simple task). Or be in pain from vacuuming (true story). If you have kids, I’m sure you want to be able to play catch or simply keep up without hurting yourself.
At that point, I realized that putting up massive numbers is meaningless if you’re struggling with day to day tasks.
“The person that can stay in the game the longest without a major injury will eventually win the game.” – Travis Mash
This book is not just for competitive athletes. It’s for anyone who trains LIKE an athlete. Most of us in the CrossFit and Weightlifting world are doing exactly just that. You show up and grind it out 3-5 times a week. Why not adopt the mindset of one?
Don’t Know Where To Start? Just Plug Your Numbers In
The spreadsheet alone made it a no brainer to buy the book. It has everything you could possibly need.
- Calculated 1RM
- Ratio vs Back Squat 1RM
- Minimum Ratio (90%)
- Your Ratio
- Lift to Improve
- Goal Improvement
We’re not going to be perfectly balanced. That’s not really the point either. The idea is to be within 10% of what your ideal ratio is.
If your lift is not within the “Minimum Ratio of 90%”, the “Your Ratio” box will light up red.
Think about how this takes your guesswork out of the way. Of course, this isn’t meant to replace the eye of an experienced coach. But when you combine the two, it’s a very powerful tool.
No need to think about what accessory work you should be working on. Simply look at the biggest numbers in the “Goal Improvement” box — and get to work.
What do I do?
Now that you have very clear goals, you can cut out all the fat. If you’re like me and don’t have endless hours to train — I’m sure you want to maximize every single minute of your training.
If you’re a nerd like me, you’ll want to the why and the how. This is something I’ve always admired about Travis’s work. He won’t leave you in the dark. He also won’t bombard you with technical knowledge in a way that will leave you scratching your head.
Not only is it easy to digest, but he will meet you exactly where you are. Travis breaks down every single test to explain why we’re doing it. And exactly what to focus on to crush those weaknesses.
There’s a vast selection of exercises that you can start applying right away. In the Common Aches & Pains section, you can honestly chip away at a lot of this stuff in your living room.
Travis Cooper injured his lower back 4-5 months before 2014 World Championships. Doing more Back Squats wasn’t helping his situation. By quantifying where he was at, there was a focus on Deadlifting from Day 1. You can hear Zach Greenwald talk about this here (14:06).
You would think that going into a meet from just Deadlifting and laying off the squats, he would perform poorly.
Instead, Cooper went on to set an all-time personal record in the Snatch (145kg/319lb) and hit a 183kg/403lb C&J. Talk about the magic of targeting your weaknesses.
I adopted the No Weaknesses mindset with my athletes as soon as I heard Travis talk about the idea for this book. I wish I had the ratios back then.
I simply asked myself what Travis Mash, Julien Pineau, or Zach Greenwald would do:
- “What are the built in deficiencies within this given sport?”
- “What can I use to fill in the holes?”
- “What is the minimal effective dosage?”
Lo and behold, 6 Weeks of about 20-30 minutes of assistance work brought some of the following results:
Kevin is a CrossFitter who works out about 4-5 times a week. His passion lies in training for triathlons. As his Ironman training was winding down, he decided to take the leap and try this out:
“I do a lot of biking. During longer rides, I usually experience low back pain. In the past couple weeks, I have seen a noticeable decrease in back pain during my rides lately. I saw a very noticeable difference in doing both ring and especially bar muscle-ups last week. I have not done muscle-ups for well over a month. Usually when I take that long off, I struggle to get 1-2 ring muscle ups and struggle to even get 1 bar muscle-up.
Last week I was able to string together several ring muscle-ups (3-4) and also do a number of bar muscle-ups with ease. I was very surprised and pretty psyched. I have also noticed much more stability in my shoulders during HSPU and Handstand Holds. I have seen a pretty significant decrease in elbow soreness. The first couple weeks, it was very painful in my left arm, this week there was little to no pain.” – Kevin P.
Donna is a fighter. She was one of the top ladies in the master’s division for Mid-Atlantic Regionals a few years back. Then her weaknesses started catching up to her. She ended up having to get a shoulder surgery, which was devastating. She wasn’t able to train how she wanted to.
“I’m not sure what words describe it best, but I used to feel kind of all over the place when I Snatched. Maybe it would work that day maybe it wouldn’t. My parts didn’t feel like they were connected. I feel so much more secure now. My Overhead Squat feels very secure. I used to feel kind of shaky. I think things are moving as one. Core and glutes feel really strong. My elbow tendonitis is even getting a little better. Biggest thing is very secure in the overhead position!
Had to let you know, I know it’s not a lot, but 3 strict handstand pushups today. 71/2 months since surgery. They said I’d never do them again — thanks!” – Donna S.
Pat is also someone who I’ve wanted to adopt the No Weaknesses mindset for quite some time. He’s always doing a number of races while supplementing with CrossFit workouts. He’s a pretty dedicated dude and shows up to my Olympic Lifting classes regularly. I knew if he focused just 6 weeks on some “bro work” I had in mind, he would see a massive transfer.
“I am excited about the future. I’m hoping continue using this accessory work continue to gain strength and see how much better my lifts can get. I’ve already seen PRs in my Jerk, Clean & Jerk, Cleans, Power Cleans and I think these numbers can only go up.
I think this is a testament to how the variety of exercises come together to just work. When I looked at the list put in front of me, it was a little intimidating. And I really had no idea how something like Suitcase Deadlifts would do anything that regular Deadlifts couldn’t. But it was just one of times where I had to trust the process and go with it. I think the part that resonated most was to not be afraid to try new movements because they each can have a benefit.” – Pat C.
Danielle is a boss. She works out solely for fun and recreation. But when she resonated with this mindset I was sharing with people, I lit up. I wanted to see what would happen.
“I joined the team to gain upper body strength to help with Kipping Pullups and Toes To Bar. I am certainly not a gymnast so I have been struggling with that since I began CrossFit.
I definitely benefited from the program in strength and stability. I am more stable in the bottom of an OH squat and my 1RM went up 15 lbs. My Back Squat increased significantly as well. I am also more comfortable doing Kipping Handstand Pushups. I would recommend this approach to anyone who wants to gain core strength to increase their lifts and help feel more stable doing other movements.” – Danielle D.
Save Time — Trust Those Who Walked The Path Before You
Travis has seeked out some really intelligent people to influence his new book. I mentioned in my podcast with Travis how crazy the concept of a book really is.
“Human beings have been recording their knowledge in book form for more than 5,000 years. That means that whatever you’re working on right now, whatever problem you’re struggling with, is probably addressed in some book somewhere by someone a lot smarter than you. Save yourself the trouble of learning from trial and error–find that point. Benefit from that perspective.” – Ryan Holiday
The concepts don’t need to be reinventing the wheel, often they aren’t. These best practices have been around forever. For any author, artist, coach, or anyone who creates a body of work — they often pour their years of experience and synthesis from heavy reading into a few hundred pages.
For just a few bucks and a little bit of time, you can tap into this and absorb as much as you can. What a steal.
I know you’re thinking what I was in the back of your mind. I knew that I needed to work on my upper body strength and stability. I knew that my squat was really strong. It kept my ego pretty nurtured.
But weeks went by, months went by, and I’ve noticed how my true weaknesses have been holding me back. Don’t make the same mistake I did.
Plug in your numbers and become a master of the mundane. Get your body stable and ready for battle with this roadmap.
When your PRs start to roll in and the aches and pains start to fade — I’ll be waiting for a thank you email.
“It was written by athletes for athletes and people who want to train like athletes. These pages contain thousands of gym hours, research of our own, and our own time spent with chiropractors and therapists. We did our research for this book, but nothing in here is anything that we guessed at. We have experienced all of it.” – Travis Mash
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Related and Recommended Reading:
- Correlation between Elite Male Weightlifters’ Trunk and Knee Isokinetic Muscle Strength and Special Performance
- Muscular Imbalance Testing With Coach Mash
- Address Muscular Imbalances To Get Jacked
- Structural Imbalance Correction Begins
- Insight On The Low Back: Asymmetries Is Where It All Begins
- It’s Not All About Snatch and CJ
- Myth Busted: Why Bodybuilding Can Get You Stronger For CrossFit While Building Lean Muscle
- Why Emphasize The Eccentric?
- Muscle Imbalance: Injury Risk?
- How To Fix Glute Imbalances