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The Weakest Link

There is a proverb that says “A chain is only as strong as its weakest link.” While that proverb is proven to be quite true both literally and figuratively, we’d like to expand upon that and say that your body is only as strong as its weakest area.

We have talked about strength training before, and now we circle back to that topic again. Your body will only be as strong as its weakest muscle. Perhaps it is your legs, and squats will help. Maybe it’s your arms, and doing pushups will strengthen you. Or it could be your abdominals, and planks will increase that muscle’s ability.

Whatever your weak spot may be, you know it best. Many people will avoid working on that area because, well, to be quite honest, it’s difficult. It hurts. It doesn’t feel good. And so the muscle remains weak, because one must work hard at strengthening it. We know it’s hard to push through the difficult exercises, so here are a few tips to help you. Once you know what your weak area is, develop a plan to help strengthen it.

-It is better to do a few good “reps” of an exercise properly to strengthen an area than it is to do a lot of reps (just to say you did them) and do it poorly. That won’t fix the weak muscle. As you do a few, the next week you can add another, and so on. You will see that muscle grow in its ability in time

– Don’t ignore the other muscles while you try to strengthen the one. While focusing on making a certain area of your body stronger is a positive training piece, you still need to work the other areas, too. Make sure you make time in your plan for all of it, even while focusing on the one to grow stronger.

– Join a group! Some of us have found that joining a group helps. Just like there are running groups, you can find yoga, TRX, circuit training, etc. to help build your strength training abilities. Being around others who are also trying to strengthen their weak areas helps us grow as athletes. The others likely have tips to help, since maybe their strong muscle is your weak one and they can help you identify ways to improve. And they might see you improve in ways you can’t identify yourself. And it’s likely you can help them with their weak area, too. There is proven strength in numbers. It can be difficult to point out your flaws, but most exercise groups offer encouragement and growth.

– Find a plan and stick to it. Incorporate exercises that will make a difference. If you can’t/don’t want to join a group, develop an idea for your training plan that will help you week to week improve and stick to it.

Whatever you do, don’t quit and don’t let that weakest muscle defeat you! Use it to become your strongest asset, because overcoming a weakness makes one feel all the more encouraged to be stronger and better. And once you strengthen your weak muscle, in the process, what is already strong will only become stronger. You only gain from the hard work. Like much of the process of running, making that weak muscle stronger is mind over matter. Don’t let that weakest link break your chain! Let your determination fix that weak link and grow stronger as a person and a runner because of it.