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5 Huge Workout Cheats (WHY YOU CAN’T BUILD MUSCLE!)


What’s up, guys? Jeff Cavaliere, ATHLEANX.COM. Would you get pissed if I called you a cheater?
Now, don’t take offense because we all are to some degree. See, if you’re working out and you’re lifting
weights, you’re cheating. And it’s not because you’re consciously trying to do it, guys. I made a point a couple weeks ago in a video
we did on ab training and specifically how our hip flexors take over for our abs where I said one comment, that our bodies
are masters of compensation, and I think it might have blown by that too quickly. See, the fact of the matter is our bodies
are so damn smart. And in order to get them to respond to our
training, we have to force them to not be so efficient with what we’re doing in the
weight room. We have to make our workouts inefficient from
a standpoint of, we can’t let our bodies tell us the movement patterns they want to move
in because guess what? They’ll cheat. They’ll cheat around your strength
deficits. They’ll make every single move we do easier. So what I wanted to do was just showcase a
few of them to show you just how our bodies take over and make exercises that should be done one
way make us do them completely different and at the same time they rob us of the results
that we should be seeing while doing them. So, right away, if you’re going to do your
shoulder training, you can pretty much guarantee that unless you’re consciously examining how
you’re doing each rep, you’re probably cheating on those reps, and
I can tell you you’re probably costing yourself some shoulder size in the process. First of all, I call it the Traps Trap. When
we’re doing a Side Lateral Raise, what likely happens here? What we know, and you can always
analyze this part of the exercise, you’re just trying to work that dumbbell from
somewhere down at your side to out at your side because you know that’s how the exercise
is executed. But we don’t know how we get there and what
muscles are helping us do it. And a lot of times, anything that’s in the area of the
muscle you’re trying to work will try to contribute. In this case, the traps take over to a large
degree. The Traps Trap is that while I’m trying to get this dumbbell up, I let my traps shrug
and help pull up. You can see that just by shrugging, I’m able
to elevate this arm higher, but it’s not really focusing on the side delt that I’m trying
to really have do the exercise. So, we don’t want that to happen. That cheat
is one that’s not going to help you in the long run. So what we try to do is let the arm stay,
I’ve demonstrated this in a previous video, stay low and almost like it’s going under
a fence. Try to reach up and under the fence. If you at least do that, you’re depressing
the shoulder on this side, try to keep the trap out of it, and reach
up and out. You can still bend a little bit at the arm, but that is even a little bit
of a cheat. I’m ok with it because you have to adapt by
allowing for a little bit heavier weight if you do that because you’re basically shortening
your movement arm here, ok. But, if you’re going to keep it straight out
then obviously now you’ve got more gravity here pushing down on your arm that way it
becomes essentially heavier, ok, so, that’s 2 cheats in 1. Next is another area of the shoulder. It’s
the front delts, and we’ve done this before, too. If we’re going to do a Front Shoulder Raise
right here out in front of us, we know what’s the target. The target is to get that dumbbell from here
up to here, ok, somewhere in front of our body here. But guess what? We can do that if we’re having troubles because
we don’t have a strong enough front of the shoulder. We can do that by bringing it about that far
up, and then doing that with our back. And guess what? Now I got, it’s a parallel,
but did I get there with the muscles that we wanted to work and do the job? No. So, we’re getting our lumbar spine to say,
‘Hey, I’ll help out. I’ll bring this up. You just worry about getting the momentum started. So, get a little bit of momentum, and then
I’ll kick in by going into extension.’ But yet again, not what we’re looking for if we’re
trying to build up our shoulders. And we’re not going to pick on the shoulders
only, guys. This is literally going to happen on every single exercise unless you’re consciously
worrying about how you’re doing the exercise and focusing
on doing it right because the body wants to take over. So, even on triceps, how many of you have
seen guys do their Tricep Push Downs like this? They lean over the top and they’ll do
that. Well, again, naturally your body is going to want to do this. Why
is that versus maybe staying upright here and doing your Tricep Push Downs here? Well, first of all, your elbow will travel,
and along your elbow joint, will travel a longer movement arch. And again more distance traveled that you’re
moving the weight is going to be more work for your tricep to do that. If we hover over the top of it and start from
here, our travel is much shorter. We’re only going about 30 or 40 degrees of motion. But
that’s not it. On top of that, when we get in this position,
we’re basically doing an exaggerated, almost like a dip, like a really close, instead of
having our arms here, we got our arms in here and we’re getting
our chest to contribute to this Tricep Push Down. So, we’re here. We push down. Yeah, those
guys can load up the weight stack because they’re really using much more than just their
triceps to do that. So, is the cheating effective? If you want
to look like you’re moving a lot more weight. But for me, that’s not necessarily the end
game here. The end game is to get you looking and performing
better by generally building the accurate strength in your triceps. So, yeah, even back, too. Again, every single
muscle group a culprit. On a typical One Arm Row, what do you see? You see guys maybe start off with good intentions
of lifting the dumbbell straight up, straight down, get our elbow up as high as they can
back behind their body, but the weight starts to get heavy. So, our
body says, ‘Whoa. I can’t do this alone. I need some help, and the only way I can do
that is if I start rotating my body. If I rotate off of this arm, then I know that
I’m actually making myself feel like the dumbbell is traveling further but I could have stopped
here.’ ok. Stop here and then rotate and I feel like
the dumbbell just went up another 6 inches, when it did nothing because we didn’t actually
extend our arm behind our body any further. So, we get it to here and we’re rotating like
that. Up and rotating, and you see guys do Rows like that instead of keeping flat, keeping
their shoulders square to the bench. That would be your visual key. If I can keep
my shoulders squared to the bench and then pull back with my elbow, then I can ensure
that all the work is being done by my back, ok,
and obviously the bicep instead of allowing this shoulder to open up, or the straightening
out of this down arm. Another place cheating is rampant is here
at the Pull Up Bar. Why? Because, again, we know what the goal. A Pull Up is so simple.
We’ve got to get our body up to the bar. But it’s not just about doing that. It’s about
getting our sternum up to the bar, getting our chin over the top of the bar, and it’s
not about just getting our chin to the bar. So, we’ll see as people that will approach
the Pull Up Bar, and they’ll just try to get their chin up so their lats won’t get them
there. And they’ll do this. They’ll reach. They’ll reach as far as they
can go. And they’ll come up and reach at the top. And up and reach at the top, and it’s
horrible. It’s not a good rep, ok. If you want to do these what you want to do
is, you want to actually make sure that you engage the lats first, and you know the secondary cheat is actually
trying to pull down with our forearms. That’s the other thing. You’ll try to pull
your forearms into it to get your body up, but instead, you should really just be getting
a thumbless grip. Hook your hands on the bar, take the forearms
out of it, and then try to initiate here through the back down by pulling with the elbows. From there, always keep your head straight
forward. If you keep your eyes straight forward, once
your eyes cross the level of the bar, you’ll know you’ve reached your chin up there because your chin’s obviously lower than your eyes.
So, if your eyes go up there, the chin will be right at the bar. So, if you go here and
we lock in the elbows, pull down. Up to the top. Once my chin and my eyes are
over the bar, my chin is at the level of the bar, and we’re good. Ok. Here. And down. Cross the bar with my vision. So, there you have it guys. There are just
a few examples of how we become masters of compensation and overcome even our weakest
link if we let our bodies do that. Remember, our bodies are much smarter than
we ever give them credit for, and they’ll always be smarter than us because we can’t
consciously always know what we’re doing wrong. But our bodies will always know the easiest
way out, and if you think that this is limited to the newbies, the guys in the gym for the
first time, no. It gets worse when we talk about professional
athletes. Why? Because professional athletes are so athletic. They have such innate athletic abilities that
oftentimes they’re better at hiding their own weaknesses. And as a Strength Coach, it’s my job to try
to pull that out of them and figure out where they’re compensating because again, they’re
compensating, too. They’re just like everybody else. But that’s just guys talking about overcoming
strength weaknesses. It gets worse when we start talking about overcoming injuries and things that we take
into the weight room with us because the same thing will happen there. One joint hurts ya’, you’re gonna’ find a
way to shift it to somewhere else, and that’s NOT what we’re looking for. Guys, if you want to start training with a
complete program that gets you from not just point A to point B, we talk about it all the
time, it’s about getting you from A to B the right
way using the right muscles at the right time in the right sequence, then guys, ATHLEANX is what you should be using because
this is how athletes train. This is how we train like athletes. And you can do that guys by heading to ATHLEANX.COM
right now and getting our ATHLEANX Training System. In the meantime, if you do these things yourself,
and guys I’m guilty of every single one of those or I wouldn’t have known to show them
to you. If you’ve got your own, make sure you let
me know in the comments below. What is it that you struggle the most with? I might be able to give you a tip like I did
with some of the exercises here to help you overcome some of those popular cheats. In the meantime, if you found this one helpful,
let me know below and I will make more videos for sure in the coming days of whatever else
it is that you’d like to see, or you’ll find most helpful. Thanks guys.

100 thoughts on “5 Huge Workout Cheats (WHY YOU CAN’T BUILD MUSCLE!)

  1. please Jeff sir make video about puffy nipples I m boy I have puffy nipples I have fat also around chest what should I do??

  2. Disliked. People do pullups to get stronger forearms, lats, shoulders, biceps, not just lats. If you want to train just lats you might as well do the front lever. This is not cheating.

  3. but scott herman said that if you cheat you can build muscle because when you cheat your body have to adapt and build more muscle in order to make the exercise more easy

  4. When i do my shoulder work outs i purposely use my traps because i want them to grow too. Is that bad? Should i do other work outs for my traps??

  5. Found this channel 3 months ago. down 30 pounds and leaning wayyyy out. motivation, purpose and science make this channel the one stop shop for all lifting advice. Thank you Jeff!

  6. So… if I'm cheating in my reps, then I can focus on doing them properly. But I am quite sure if I do that I will get tired sooner than currently I do. Solution would be… doing less reps? aim same number of reps with less weight? I just started to train more regularly about 10 months ago. I would like to keep at it in the right way.

    Awesome channel!

  7. I struggle most with squats. I am able to do 110KG deadlifts(1rm) but my form deteriorates in even 10 Kg squats. I simply don't understand how a squat is done.

  8. Essentially he's right, it's not about how much weight you can lift. It's about how much weight you can lift correctly.

  9. How to avoid cheats on BICEP curls. In your program there are a lot of dumbbell standing curls. What I've found is that after set 6, my left arm starts travelling forward (without me even realizing it) as it attempts to lift the weight. I'm guessing it's much weaker than my right and that's how it's compensating. As I bring my upper arm forward it seems like it's moving the weight up even though it's really not. My question would be, how do I fix that? How do I prevent it from happening since I've just discovered I do this after years of conditioning my muscle to function this way? How do I build up my left bicep to have similar strength as my left? <–I think second most important question here. If I work my left to failure, then my right still has another 4 reps in it (6 L / 10 R)? So should I stop the exercise once my left goes to failure?

  10. The reason I come here to watch Jeff's videos is because he fucking drops the cold truth, you like it or not. Keep it real, you have awesome content!

  11. i almost never went to gym… i pretty much just go calisthenics cause they wont let me in the gym D:< but still calisthenics pretty good

  12. I love how Jeff isn't afraid to tell us the truth, to tell us what we need to hear. On the 11th I was 217.6 lbs and now im 207.4 lbs, and even gaining muscle while loosing fat.

    Don't ever change Jeff.

  13. I seen a guy at the gym curling 80 lbs dumbbells and he was using his back more than his bicep. I had to hold back the laughter

  14. The front raise is also a physics issue. Lets say your delts are strong enough to lift those dumbbells but lets say those dumbbells are 15s so that's 30 lbs. Now imagine holding 30lbs with your arms outstretched in front of your body, where does that put your center of gravity? Pretty sure it moves it forward. So what do you think'll happen if you insist on keeping your body straight? You will fall forward. The only way to not fall forward is to lean back but then your rob yourself of the benefits of the exercise. Good thing there's another solution, split your stance, just like you would on the top of a lunge. This is why we can do heavier lateral raises with one dumbbell without issues because we intuitively widen our stance to accommodate our center of gravity shifting to the side but we often don't think to do the same thing when we have the weight in front of us.

    Try it with front raises, military presses, bicep curls, and pretty much every standing exercise with weights in front of your body. You might just realize that you're stronger than you thought.

  15. Me vs my muscle. I got to conquer my muscle and weights.
    Sometimes I intentionally cheat when I perform exercises. Why? It's physics, bitch. You got to confuse the gravity.

  16. but isnt cheating like the first example (shrugging) kind of like turning an isolation into a compound? cant you load up more and end up with more benefit? I've always been told isolation stuff is fluff for the end of a workout to burn certain muscles out

  17. I do bicep curls and when I’m done I feel pain in my low back. What am I doing wrong and how do I fix this.

  18. You have my utmost respect Jeff. But in complete honesty I don’t really know why you don’t cater to the obese who are trying to lose weight and build muscle. Your videos are mostly targeted at either seasoned lifters who want to squeeze that last bit, or thin individuals who want to put on muscle. I’d suggest you be more inclusive. I’m obese who’s working hard in the gym and dieting religiously and, as much as I love your channel and videos, I feel your advice would only apply to me after I’d become in a good shape. Don’t look down at obese hard working people. Thanks!

  19. Work out is my main Hobby's until my death but I am not going to supper star or monster work out. thank you.

  20. Hi jeff I'm 46 and new to this fitness. I've been researching your videos on you tube for information and where to start and what to do..I'm just on my first week of training and I'm using your YouTube videos to help me and my technique. Just want to say thank you for uploading these.been a revelation so thank you. [email protected] ….

  21. Thank you so much for this video. I don't have many friends who go to the gym and I just started going myself so this helped a lot.

  22. I feel like I cheat because I can't reach full extension with my right elbow. Can gains still be made without full extension on tris chest shoulders?

  23. I just bought the ATHLEAN-X training system this week and its great to get started in the gym, but man does it also hurt to work your body in this Athletic way that most of us simple are not used to doing. Also in all honesty I am so happy to be supporting Jeff because he is THE REAL DEAL and having him in my head when I train helps. I will probably never meet Jeff Cavaliere but still I feel that I cannot let him down when training after the system he has laid out for "me" and that maybe a strange kind of motivation but if it works it works. Cant wait to see where the road leads next.

  24. maybe this has been covered in other videos, but what are your guys opinion about resting weeks? like once a month or once every two months?

  25. I know its an old video, but when doing single arm dumbbell rows, the last hard reps I find myself lowering my chest to bring that arm further back. I keep my shoulders parallel with the floor and don't rotate as you mentioned. Is this a form of cheating I should stray away from as well?

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