When to Cheat to Build More Muscle
The Summer months are here now, and that means it’s time for some Cheating.
Call me crazy, but I think people put too much emphasis on STRICT lifting technique.
I’m not saying that you should deviate from the technique so much that you put yourself at injury.
For instance, I think multi-joint movements like the Squat, Deadlift, and their complex variations should be done with excellent form at all times.
But when it comes to isolation movements, exercises where there’s much fewer joints moving and less risk for injury, I think it’s perfectly fine to cheat a bit on your technique in order to bring about more gains.
Here’s why you shouldn’t be afraid to cheat sometimes on your form:
1 – When you go super strict, it limits how much weight you can use.
Eventually, you’ve got to move up in weight a bit, if you want to bring on more muscle growth. But if you’re always staying super strict, it makes it hard to bump the weights up.
For an example of when I like to modify the technique in order to lift more weight, here’s a combo set of Plate Front Raises and Dumbbell Side Laterals. I deviate from the strict form on the Front Raises, because I’m using a 100lb Plate, and I bend my arms a bit to improve my leverage. I still try to lower the plate under control to accentuate the negative.
As you can see, I bend my arms here a bit to be able to get the plate up – just a small adjustment away from textbook form in order to get a lot more weight, and put a lot more loading on the front delts. Believe me, my front delts were SERIOUSLY SORE after this workout – way more sore than the previous few weeks when I worked with much lighter weight.
(2) When you keep everything strict, it limits how many reps you can do.
Appreciable volume is a must in order to build muscle. In fact, I like to stay between 8 and 15 reps on my movements where the goal is building muscle and not sheer strength.
There’s a couple ways to dial back the level of strictness in your lifting, in order to get more volume. Here are my favorites:
Go Heavier and Cheat from the Start: This method pulls from the idea above, of using more weight. Grab something that’s a good 5 to 10lbs heavier than you normally do with pristine form, and use some body english right from the start in order to bump up the volume and feel the pump sink in.
Regular Weight and Cheat at the End: With this one, you’ll start out with your regular “textbook” form, and then if you burn out before you hit your goal number of reps, then stop being a form policeman, and get the rest of your reps.
This is really just a handful of ways you can ease back a little bit on the form, in order to kick-start your gains again by increasing the weights you’re using and the volume you’re hitting in your workouts. I’m sure you can think of a few more.
The way some people talk about lifting, it’s as if the Form Police are there shaking a nightstick at you, watching every rep you do, ready to pounce on you if you deviate even the slightest from perfect form.
That’s all in your head. Don’t feel the need to stay strict on every single set and rep you do.
Naturally, there’s a time and place for everything. You don’t want to get in the habit of ALWAYS using cheat form.
Use cheating as a way to break through plateaus, test yourself with higher weights, and challenge your endurance in higher-rep situations.
I think you’re gonna see that it can help you out a great deal and can bring on some last-minute size increases, now that the Summer is here.
All the best in your training.
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This Training is Intense
This post will show you how to incorporate a new style of training that can be used as a finisher for your chest, back, arm day, or wherever else you’d like to place it in your training.
I’ve recently re-introduced myself to a pretty cool new training method that I call Upper Body Crushing.
I originally discovered this type of training when I was researching for and outlining my Nail Bending eBook. I was looking for ways simulate the movement pattern of crushing steel down to the minimum two inch distance between the handles, and learned about chest crushing a #4 gripper using upper body strength
What I found out at the time was I was already bending steel that was harder to crush down than the handles of the #4 gripper. However, it did get my mind going and I happened upon a couple of ways to use the same concept only a bit differently in order to increase my upper body strength.
Upper Body Crushing is the coordinated firing of the muscles of the front and the back of the torso as well as the shoulders to squeeze the palms of the hands together in order to hold something isometrically.
To visualize this, think of squeezing as hard as you can on a basketball, with your palms as if you are trying to make it burst.
When doing so, the pecs, delts, lats, teres major, triceps and biceps are all firing very hard, creating what has been referred to as a Circle of Strength. Bending Steel is much easier to do if you can complete this Circle of Strength.
Eric Godfrey coined this term long ago on his steel bending site and I referenced it in my Nail Bending eBook. I was saddened to find out that Eric’s website seems to have disappeared from the ‘Net. I know Eric was, the last I knew, in the Armed Services, and I surely hope everything is alright with him.
Another way to think about it is what I call Hydraulic Tension. Think of it as squeezing that basketball harder and harder with all the might of your upper body, only instead of exploding into it, think of gradually increasing the exertion while moving very slowly over a distance. This is Hydraulic Tension and even though movement is sometimes imperceiveable or nonexistent, this pressure heats the steal until it is weakened enough to cause it to give way, at which point movement starts and the steel is soon finished off.
Like I said, this article is not about Steel Bending, although these training methods can be used by those who dabble with feats of strength to improve their abilities at bending nails and bolts as well as long bars.
Upper Body Crushing actually hits all of the muscles of the torso hard, and it hits them all at the same time, so you have a large area of musculature being hit at one time, which in turn can increase the number of calories you burn, and the amount of muscle building hormones you generate in your body.
But what’s great about this style of training is that there is little to no eccentric action of the musculature. This means there will be less microscopic damage and you can perform the lifts more often without worrying about DOMS or how it will affect you the next time you work these body parts.
Also, because you can use relatively small objects with this training, it enables you to incorporate movement of the lower body as well, so you have the option of performing movements such as squats and deadlifts, thus further increasing the amount of musculature being brought into play, and with it the number of calories burned and the amount of athleticism triggered.
Examples of Upper Body Crushing
Below are several examples and illustrations of how to perform various Upper Body Crushing movements.
The Kettlebell Crush involves grasping a kettlebell by the bell in a double palm grip and holding it for time. You will instantly feel the demand that a movement like this has on your body when you perform the Kettlebell Crush, especially if you are using a very heavy kettlebell. If you do not have a kettlebell, you can also use a block weight, a medicine ball, or other similar object.
Kettlebell Good Morning
The Kettlebell Good Morning involves grasping a kettlebell by the bell and lifting it from a bench or floor and taking it up to the standing position. From there, a Good Morning / Waiter’s Bow movement is performed for repetitions, bringing the lower back, glutes and hamstrings more into play. This one is tough, so prepare to get some sweat going with this one.
Banded Kettlebell Crush Squats
When inverting a kettlebell for this style of training, the handle becomes an excellent anchor point for a JumpStretch band. Once one end of the band is choked to the handle, the other end can be looped around the feet and then the squatting can begin. Again, make sure you are squeezing tight and save a rep in the tank. This way you can set the kettlebell down under control and the band tension doesn’t pull the kettlebell down on your foot or something like that.
Pre-Exhaust Crush Tosses
To perform a Pre-Exhaust Crush Toss, take the implement you are using, whether it is a kettlebell, medicine ball, block weight, etc., and first perform hydraulic tension Kettlebell Crushes for a predetermined length of time and then perform a chest pass using just your upper body. You will feel the fatigue set in from the pre-exhaust crushing big time, especially in the insertions of your tricep and your delts.
Video Demonstration of Upper Body Crush Lifts
Go Get Your MUSCLE!
Right there is just a handful of ways you can incorporate Upper Body Crushing into your routine. As I pointed out before, this type of training can be a great finisher for your chest, back, shoulders, or arms day. If you don’t break your sessions up by body part, and you go for more of a full body approach, then some of these variations will be perfect for you as well.
Give these a try and let me know what you think. I think you’re going to like them as a finisher. They also work great as the last lift in a series, such as with giant sets and compound sets.
All the best in your training,
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P.S. If you are interested in using this technique for strengthening your crush-down for bending, I suggest using a narrower implement that more closely resembles the width that the nail or bolt will be when finishing it off, such as a board, pinch block, or other narrow implement. For more innovative ideas on how to improve your steel bending, check out the Nail Bending eBook = > How to Bend Nails
P.P.S. Subscribe to my YouTube channel:
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Ultimate Forearm Training for Baseball | How to Bend Nails | How to Tear Cards | Feats of Grip Strength Explained | How to Build Your Own Equipment | How to Lift Atlas Stones | The Sh*t You’ve Never Seen | Sled Dragging for Athletes | The Road to the Record DVD
Tags: big bench, big chest, big shoulders, how to build muscle, kettlebell, kettlebell training, upper body strength, upper body training
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