7 Subtle Exercise Fixes for BETTER Gains (WORK INSTANTLY!)

7 Subtle Exercise Fixes for BETTER Gains (WORK INSTANTLY!)


What’s up, guys? Jeff Cavaliere, ATHLEANX.com. The only thing that could kill a great exercise
is making a big mistake while performing these great exercises. Today I want to cover seven of the best exercises
that you could be doing and should be doing but show you how to make sure you’re not
making these common mistakes along the way. What are we talking about? Guys, the exercises that work. The squat, the deadlift, a lined tricep extension,
a barbell row, an overhead press, an ab wheel rollout, and a lateral raise for your shoulders. All these are common exercises that you’re
going to see if you go into any gym today. Lot of people are doing them. However, you’re likely to see the very same
mistakes I’m going to show you here today. I’m going to knock them out one by one and
show you what you should be doing instead, and make sure you’re avoiding these common
pitfalls. Let’s kick it off with one of the bigger
lower body exercises. That is the squat. As a matter of fact, it’s going to have
something very much in common with the other big, lower body exercise the deadlift, which
I’ll follow this up with. With the squat, see if you can notice a difference
between these two squats. One of them may look right to you and one
of them may not. If you think the one where I’m overextending
is right, then you need to fix that. A lot of people think when they get to the
top of the squat, especially when they want to get over activation of the glutes, or feel
a really good squeeze in their glutes, they really try to get into hip extension. But what you’re doing there is really not
providing any additional benefits for the squat. If you think about how your body is loaded,
it’s loaded from the top down. We call it axial loading. What you’re doing there is a translation
move, side to side. So, you’re not effecting the fact that the
weight on your body is loading you downward and you’re just carrying that weight side
to side. You’re not loading that additional extension. However, what you are doing is placing additional
shear stress on your lumbar spine that’s not necessary. When you do the squat what you want to do
is what I showed you on the other side. You want to make sure you come straight up
and down. Not only are you going to be saving your back,
but at the same time you’ll have a more efficient movement pattern because a squat
should be executed on a straight bar path, up and down. You can see that’s possible when I’m not
moving my body and translating it front to back. So, become more efficient in the movement,
save your back at the same time, and you’re making sure you’re getting this right every,
single time. Next up is the deadlift and as I mentioned,
it’s the same problem happening here. We tend to try and overextend the lift at
the top of the movement, with very little extra benefit for the exact reasons I just
laid out on the squat. Your loading is still up and down. The bar is subject to gravity, and the forces
are acting straight downward. having this translation force front to back
is not giving us any extra benefit. As a matter of fact, once we lifted the weight
up out of the hinge and got into a straight, vertical position here, leaning back more
is not getting us any benefit. It’s giving us the same detrimental effects
that the squat was, in terms of shearing on the spine. What we want to do is get to vertical. A lot of times what people will do is try
and trick themselves into thinking they’ve completed a rep. They’ll take it from here, they’ll get
up, they’re not even there, they’re still in that cat-back posture, and then they do
this, and they come underneath, which is a posterior pelvic tilt. But they’re still not even in full hip extension. They’re deceiving themselves by leaning
backward to think they’re lifting the bar up even more, thinking they’re completing
the rep. That’s not the case. Make sure you finish the rep by going into
full hip extension, completely vertical, stop there, and go back down for your next rep. Exercise number three is not a big lift, but
it’s no less popular as you see people using this every day in the gym. It’s the ab wheel rollout. However, they’re turning this move into
something it’s not supposed to be. They’re turning it into a hip flexion and
extension movement. We’re not trying to train the hip flexors
here, guys. We’re not trying to train the hips at all. As a matter of fact, what I want to do is
take my hips out of the movement. This is and anti-extension ab movement. I’m trying to prevent the overextension
of my spine as I lengthen my body out because we know as I lengthen the moment arm I’m
going to be more subject to the force of gravity, more subject to its wanting to cave in my
lower back, letting my abs give out, and bring me down to the ground. That’s what we’re trying to fight. So, it doesn’t have anything to do with
our hip flexors. As a matter of fact, we’re going to get
our body out there, lock it in, and then try to curl in through flexion of the spine, and
then back out to a neutral position to avoid overextension. So, take your hips out of it. If you find yourself rocking back and forth,
you’re doing it wrong. Get your butt in one position. Try to keep it in one position and let the
upper body do the rest of the movement out and in the entire time. Exercise number four is one of the better
tricep exercises you could do, as long as you’re doing it right. It’s the tricep extension. You can do this either with an easy curl bar,
or you could do it with dumbbells, as I’m showing you here. The key is how you’re performing the lift. The key is where you’re starting and stopping
the movement from. I feel like a broken record when I talk about
the force of gravity, but when we’re lifting dumbbells and lifting weights in general,
most often we are fighting the force of gravity. Which is what makes it so damn difficult. What we have to understand though, is when
our arms, or whatever the moving part, is parallel to that force of gravity we don’t
have nearly the work being done in those muscles anymore, and we’re not subjecting our body
to the same amount of stress. When we’re trying to build muscle, we want
to subject ourselves to stress. That’s why it’s so uncomfortable. However, you can see in this first version
of the tricep extension here, when I extend my arms all the way straight up over my body
like many, many people do it’s very easy at the start and stop of the exercise. I could stay here for a long period of time
if I wanted to. Not in the case where I make this slight shift
on the elbows backward. Start and stop all your reps on this exercise
with your elbows angled backward from vertical by about 20 to 30 degrees. Instantly, I now have to fight to hold those
dumbbells up against the force of gravity because it’s no longer acting straight down
on my arm. It’s acting down on my arm at an angle,
as you can see here. That makes all the difference. Subjecting the triceps to a lot more tension
on every, single rep over time, set after set is going to have a bigger benefit to you,
and a better benefit on your triceps in the long run. Make sure you get this right, guys. It’s a very quick and easy change to make. Moving on here, I always say it’s impossible
for me to separate the physical therapist from the strength coach when we look at exercises
because we know if we do them incorrectly the repercussions will mount up quickly. So, what we’re looking at here is a popular
shoulder exercise that is done wrong so often. Probably because it even has its own catch
phrase. That is ‘pour the pitcher’, when you do
the exercise. You do not want to pour anything, guys. If anything, you want to try and un-pour what
you’re pouring. Why? Because when we get to the top of a lateral
raise, if we’re letting our pinky get higher than our thumb, i.e. pouring an imaginary
pitcher of water, what we’re doing is putting our shoulder into internal rotation with elevation
at the worst time possible. Especially realizing you don’t need to do
that to adequately stimulate the shoulders. What you want to do instead is the opposite. As your arm comes up to the side, you want
to make sure your thumb stays higher than your pinky. It’s not a dramatic move, but what we’re
doing is taking inside the shoulder joint, an internal rotation moment, and we’re turning
it into an external rotation moment. That is something that’s critical because
that little extra amount of space clears room for the glenoid humeral head inside the socket
to get up there without likelihood of impingement. You don’t want to risk impingement. I know there are different types of acromions,
there are different types of bone structures that would allow some to get away with it
more than others. However, when you’re going to rack up rep,
after rep, after rep hopefully year, after year in the gym make this small change, guys. I promise you, the benefits will be well worth
the change in slight positioning here. Moving on, we’re back to the bigger lifts. In this case, the overhead shoulder press. Once again, guess what? I care about your shoulders. Why? Because we can make one, small change on this
exercise and reap all the benefits that this exercise provides, as one of the best upper
body exercises we can do without the detrimental effects that come to the shoulder joint by
doing it incorrectly. How are we going to do this incorrectly? How are we going to screw up our shoulder
joints here? By going too wide on the bar. What do we that have to do – it’s not
necessarily more than anything of what the implications are on the shoulder joint by
going that wide. When I take my hands out like this, what it
does is takes my elbows out with it. If I go wide on the bar the elbows go out
with it. The further back my elbows get, to the point
where we could exaggerate it to do the overhead press behind the neck, we know we’re fighting
the natural angle of our shoulder joint, called the scapular plane, which angles forward about
45 degrees. To get optimal desired movement in your shoulder
you want to have your arm angled forward about 45 degrees from straight horizontal here. So, we could do that, just by narrowing up
our grip on the bar. You might find that you’re even a little
bit stronger in here because your body is tighter, you have more core strength and stability
from below, and you get some tricep activation and assistance as well. So, we want to make sure we’re narrowing
up that grip. What it does is takes those elbows from that
wide position, putting them out in front of the body, mirrors that scapular plane, and
allows us to press up nice, and strong. Guys, it’s not going to sacrifice your form,
it’s not going to sacrifice the way you can press, but it’s going to save you in
the long run. So, make the switch. And last, but not least, we get into the barbell
row. Another great compound movement here, and
a great pulling exercise if done correctly. Once again, we’re caring about those shoulders
and we’re talking about elevation here. You’re probably thinking ‘elevation? But you’re bent over here.” Guys, it’s not about the position of your
body in space, necessarily. It’s more about the position of your joints,
in relation to other parts of your body, regardless of your position in space. The barbell row is a perfect example here. If I go extra wide and pull up on the bar,
I’m limiting a couple of things. Number one: I’m limiting the amount of adduction
that my arms could get to my sides. How close I can get my arms to my sides for
better lat activation. We know that the best lat activation is going
to come from having our arms in tight. Not only that, we know the best carry over
effect to some of the other big exercises, like the deadlift, is when we can get our
arms adducted tightly into our sides. Which is why concentrate so much in ATHLEANX
on straight arm pushdowns. Regardless, better lat activation is going
to come from having your elbows in. The way we can do that is have our grip narrower,
once again. Not only that, we look at that position. If I’m up here doing the row – I mentioned
elevation before – you can see it. Just because I’m bent over doesn’t mean
that I don’t have elevation of the shoulder here and, once again, with internal rotation
with the weight being pulled downward, and my hands and shoulders being pulled downward
into internal rotation. We can get our arms in here, a little bit
tighter, elbows closer to the sides, and pull. If anything, our arms are now traveling with
more desire to be externally rotated as I pull up into extension this way and open my
chest up. Again, one, small change might make a world
of difference for you and it’s not going to compromise the results you see from this
powerful exercise. There you have it, guys. Seven exercises that are being done everywhere
and now being done by you. Hopefully right every, single time. Guys, I say it all the time. You’ve got to train hard, you’ve got to
train smart, and if you do, you’ll train forever. If you’re looking for programs that do that
for you, laying it out step by step, all our ATHLEANX programs are available over at ATHLEANX.com. In the meantime, if you’ve found the video
helpful leave your comments and thumbs up below. Let me know what else you want me to cover
and I’ll do my best to do that for you in the day, and weeks ahead. And if you haven’t already, guys, please
click the subscribe button and turn on your notifications, so you never miss a video when
it’s published. All right, guys. I’ll see you again soon.

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Comments

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  2. What's your thought on close grip bench? My pops was strong af, and he used wrist to wrist close grip pretty much? Do you feel any benefit to pushing our max limits, between "good" and "bad" form? I want to say there is no bad form, only ineffective form and risky form. But if done right, can not we accomplish great benefit from some sort of "overextension" or test of structural integrity? if monitored correctly…like what is the safest way to be unsafe so we can simulate combat or sport even more closely?

  3. And the raisins are still good. Watch what foods you are dissing. I do not need the indigestion over here for the US military and the conservatives.

  4. My last hockey trophy. On the TB1 take down, took down the finals. I had to play defensive as a forward, and the taunt-slash-evade worked with some hot shot forwards I captained when they were beat and under pressure. We won game 1 2-1 on a last second come-back, and broke the opponents in game 2, which occurred immediately after game 1.

  5. Hi Jeff. I would love for you to do a video for people with shoulder impingement. About 5 months ago, I went a little to heavy on "skull-crushers" tricep extensions and one dumbbell got away from me, pulling my right hand back and out. My MRI showed "possible labral tears" but since they didn't use contrast, they couldn't confirm. However 2 exams by doctors have ruled out labral tears and I still have a lot of strength in the joint. But I have irritated (and have pain) where the biceps tendon inserts into the shoulder. So I've stopped doing military press and have had to modify where my elbows are during the bench press to take some stress off the shoulder. But now, my scapular muscles that wrap around the shoulder have tightened up to "protect" the joint which has the effect of pulling my humerus up into the labral socket even more than normal. So when I go up (like in a military press), I'm experiencing some impingement in my shoulder. So I can do delt flys, but stop the motion shorter than I used to do. I'm doing some stretches twice daily shown me by a PT to try and loosen those compensating muscles and reduce impingement problems. But could you create a video that shows (1) what to do to reduce impingement problems, and (2) how you need to modify exercises when you have an impingement? Thanks. I have subscribed to some of your courses in the past and got a lot out of the 12-week basic program which I did with my nephew. Thanks for all the great help!

  6. Sure on one of your earlier deadlift vids you say to push hips forward at the end of the movement to help counteract the pelvic tilt. Opposite to what you say here.. I may be wrong.. keep up the great work by the way.

  7. Now I'm pretty sure that on some other video you recommended to do that over extending for glute activation on squats and deadlifts.

  8. Hey Jeff, do you have an app that you use to log in your workouts? Some of the apps i've seen don't have your workouts, nor it will not allow me to customize it. Any recommendation?

  9. Hi Jeff. Could you do an official checklist for the box squat? Since I Saw the video with the onde-legged monster and you, i train the box squat a Lot. But the videos available Seem to Theis Owen diffferent angles and none of Them seem scientificly backed like yours

  10. With the squat and deadlift, could the mistakes in this video be a reason for lower back pain whilst doing these exercises?

  11. I need an Athlean-X workout dvd or streaming workout. I workout alone at home. I use Beachbody workouts, but I know Jeff would do much better workouts.

  12. All my numbers are going up except my bench press.I am stuck and don't know what else to do to get over 200! Anyone have any suggestions?

  13. Dammit it's almost midnight and here I am watching this feeling the need to go to the gym to try these out but it's closed 😩

  14. I have had a mild slip disc 6 years back..since then i have been going through lower back pain intermittently..i have stopped doing weight training..how can i strengthen my lower back to star lifting weights

  15. i did a wide grip of barbell roll last night… and my shouder feel uncomfortable and a bit pain afterwards. i understand what happens now. Thanks Jeff.

  16. I'm surprised you didn't fall to the ground from sciatica pain on the "wrong" part of the video… esp. in the deadlift one. That's happened to me like three times… ouch. Instant debilitation. However, I started watching Jeff's videos and it hasn't happened since. Thanks! 🙂

  17. I find that the ez bar the best for bent over rows. It helps keep my hands in the right place.

  18. Hi Jeff love your videos very interesting, i have a problem with the squats, i get pain on the inside of my knees. I stopped with the weights for now but i still get pain. What am i doinf wrong? could you make a video about knees please? Thank you

  19. I am anxious to give this a try because my shoulders, especially the right have been KILLING me. Thanks for taking the time to explain and demo these techniques.

  20. Your videos are amazing! Do you make the 247365 t shirt for females? I'd love to get one! I am a personal trainer and group ex. instructor…you explain things so clearly!! Thanks, keep them going!

  21. The squat with the barbell behind the neck seems similar to the behind the neck shoulder press which you put in the iron grave yard in your 4/16/2014 video "Top 5 Worst Exercises." Wouldn't doing the exercise with the barbell in front of you (on your chest) be better?

  22. is there a big mistake in the bench press, or the 3 main deltoid movements that can hurt the C5-C6 -C7. seems like when i really start to make gains, i start to get numb fingers, elbow and or tri. and pain in the rhomboid? Thank you.

  23. I am training to become a personal trainer and something just keeps bothering me. It is not only good positioning that results in good training for the muscles but the breathing in and out. When should I breathe in and when out? When doing abs on the ground for example, I know that I should breathe out when contracting the muscles as in when you come up. And breathe in when going back to the ground. But maybe you can make a video with some examples of some exercises?

  24. We want a continuing education class from you so I can take what I learned and what I teach from you and get my credits when I need to get my credits. Please look into offering something my school will except just submitting in something.

  25. When I bend a bit more back in a deadlift, I feel more squeezing in my lower back and I feel good. Well, the squeezing is not that much like an idiot would do, but a bit is helping me to feel more in the lower back and actually getting stronger. Now I do not know about the benefit. Do I crack my lower spine more than I have benefits?

  26. Hello! It would be perfect if you publish a video about how to avoid knee pain during exercises when you have knee’s injury 🙂 Thanks in advance.

  27. Hi could you dictate me a workout routine? because i do every muscle daily with no rest(no resting day) and i heard that is better to focus on one or to muscle/day. Thank you.

  28. I want to say thank you for your free information and care to informing me on how to correctly achieve these exercises shown here. Thank you.

  29. yes you do sound like a broken record. Gravity doesn't exist, there's only density and buoyancy… Nothing more… Nothing less…

  30. Wow, that explains why my back hurts. I've been over extending because that's what I was taught by "the pro's". Thanks for explaining this. Hopefully I haven't done any permanent damage.

  31. 1. SQUAT , straight back up & down
    2. DEADLIFT , get to a vertical position coming up
    3. AB WHEEL ROLL OUT , take out hip flexors.. avoid overextension , do not rock back and forth, let upper body do everything
    4. TRICEPS EXTENSION , elbows angled backwards , fight against the force of gravity , do not extend triceps in a vertical position
    5. LATERAL RAISES , keep thumb higher than the pinky , avoid “pouring the pitcher” & avoid the pinky being higher than the thumb
    6. OVERHEAD SHOULDER PRESS , do not widen your arms on the bar, have your arms at a 45’ degree angle from straight horizontal , narrow up the grip on the bar , you’ll find yourself stronger here
    7. BARBELL ROW , do not go extra wide on the bar , get arms abducted tightly on your sides , get arms narrow on the bar
    (hopefully this helps, i usually see funny comments instead of what’s going on in the video)

  32. After listening to Jeff Cavaliere all I can hear in my head is "internal rotation" "external rotation" "anterior pelvic tilt" lol

  33. I just got the max size program, and on the deadlift how to video, you tell us to do the butt thing. Wich is the wrong way….🤔 Guess you are also learning every day. Great vid.

  34. Question. Do I need to use the big plates for Deadlifts? Or can I use smaller plates. I asked this because Im a beginner and I thought that I cannot lift bigger plates yet, but I also thought that if I use smaller plates I might mess up my form and destroy my lower back… Thanks in advance.

  35. Agree with everything except the laying tricep extension. If you want to move maximal weight, you can't do 100% time-under-tension. You'll get stronger with the technique, but also fatigue faster and be forced to use lower weight (for whatever the rep scheme is).
    (side note: I'm of the powerlifting persuasion, but open to all forms of training if there's value and merit.)

  36. I‘m not a friend of general rules. Functionality depends on life, job, hobbys etc. E.g. a bagpacker should do back squats. A hiker or parcourer should do pull/muscle ups.

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