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  • Damn!

  • If only I was doing that sooner.

  • What's up, guys?

  • Jeff Cavaliere, ATHLEANX.com.

  • How many times have you said that before?

  • Or something like it.

  • Like, “I wish I knew that sooner”, or “I wish I was doing that earlier”.

  • I’m going to tell you, today I’m going to dedicate an entire video to the 8 exercises

  • that I wish I was doing a lot sooner in my lifting career.

  • Not just in terms of the gains I could have seen, but more importantly, the spirit in

  • which I could have seen them because I wasted a hell of a lot of time.

  • So, weve got 8 things to cover here.

  • Without further ado, let’s get right into it.

  • This first exercise might be fresh on your mind because we actually covered it in depth,

  • here on this channel just a couple of weeks ago.

  • This is a variation of a lat pulldown.

  • This is what we call therocking pulldown’.

  • No, not the bad version of the rocking pulldown.

  • I’m talking about the one that actually delivers gains.

  • This is a vertical pull that still allows us to get that extension of the arm back,

  • behind the body.

  • Remember, one of the biggest limitations to the lat pulldown as it’s done normally is

  • that you don’t really get good extension behind the body, which is limiting the effectiveness

  • of the lats.

  • But by doing it this way we can actually overcome that.

  • As you guys know, I always over deliver here on this channel.

  • So, I’m not just giving you 8.

  • It turns out I’m going to give you 9 because I have another back exercise here that I really,

  • really wish I was doing sooner.

  • It’s a high pulley one-armed row.

  • You can see when I do this I have all the elements I need to get a better lat contraction,

  • and better lat activation.

  • I’m actually able to get my arm up way out in front of my body, getting that lat on a

  • stretch that nothing else really provides because my arm is not just up over my head,

  • but out in front.

  • Then I can get that rotation and extension back behind my body that we were talking about

  • with the rocking pulldown.

  • But both of these exercises, I really believe, have led to some of my best gainseven

  • in recent yearsfrom doing this instead of the classic alternatives.

  • This next one is actually more than just an exercise.

  • It’s a training concept that I wish I had adopted and used a lot sooner in my training.

  • It’s developing my straight arm scapular strength.

  • I believe when it’s maximized youre going to realize hidden strength you never knew

  • you had.

  • Especially if it carries over to some of the big exercises like the deadlift, but more

  • importantly by improving the stability of your shoulders.

  • It’s going to allow you to have a lot more training longevity by protecting and strengthening

  • your joints.

  • All you have to do is look at this guy for proof that it actually works.

  • This is my fitness idol, Sylvester Stallone.

  • Here he is in his 70s, including a heavy dose of straight arm scapular strength work in

  • his training.

  • For reasons of why he continues to inspire me, I placed an exercise on my Instagram page

  • that he follows, that was our example of a more advanced version of straight arm scapular

  • work.

  • That’s the headbanger pullup.

  • Of course, a couple of days later, who shows up banging them out?

  • Sly himself, doing an amazing job.

  • I’m telling you guys, this is tough stuff.

  • And here he is never backing down from a challenge.

  • The key thing is, you’d better start doing the same.

  • You can do it with a very simple, straight forward exercise here, like the straight arm

  • pushdown.

  • It doesn’t require a big cable setup.

  • You could do this with a band if you want to.

  • The key is, you keep your arms straight, you drive down, and you stabilize with the scapula.

  • Youll feel this exercise working properly if you don’t feel it in your triceps.

  • If you start to bend your elbows and the triceps start taking over the work, then youre

  • not doing it properly.

  • You could take this to an even more advanced level with some bodyweight exercises like

  • the front lever raise.

  • But the fact is, guys, I don’t care how you do it, you have to include straight arm

  • scapular work as an entire training concept into your training.

  • And you will not regret it.

  • I really, really wish I had started this a lot sooner.

  • Apologies in advance on this next exercise, but the best way to demonstrate it is to use

  • those thigh high shorts that Jesse popularized just a couple of videos ago.

  • Now, I promise you, I made him wash these first.

  • This is the glute ham raise.

  • The benefit of this exercise is that it’s targeting the glutes.

  • I have to be honest, guys.

  • A long time ago when I first started training I never realized the importance of this muscle

  • group.

  • But now, as a trainer to professional athletes, the glutes literally sit right up there with

  • the core, in terms of their importance and function.

  • As a matter of fact, I would argue it’s even more important than the front side of

  • the core muscle because theyre the ones that are trying to help us counteract that

  • downward force of gravity.

  • So, the key element this exercise provides is, it allows us to integrate the glutes and

  • the hamstrings, into one movement and prioritize the glutes as the main drivers, letting the

  • hamstrings accessorize, and help out.

  • What we see with this exercise, what youre trying to do, is get the glutes to do the

  • work they don’t want to do.

  • If you haven’t focused on glute training your glutes are likely taking a back seat,

  • literally, to what the job is at hand.

  • Then that forces the hamstrings to take on a load that they can’t handle.

  • That’s when hamstring strains occur.

  • So, if you do this exercise youre likely going to see that your hamstring injury rate

  • will go down, and your overall posterior chain is going to be stronger.

  • You have to get these two muscles to work together if you want to optimize the performance

  • of your lower body.

  • Especially if you want to start training more like an athlete.

  • Let’s stick with the legs.

  • For that matter, let’s stick with those shorts, too, as we break out this next exercise.

  • It’s the squat.

  • Before we actually talk about the fact that I’m squatting onto a pair of dumbbells,

  • I want you to focus on the width of my feet.

  • You see, I think it’s really, really important that you find the width that works for you

  • early on in your training and stick with that.

  • I was always the type to follow what the magazines said, and it was always the classicfeet

  • at least shoulder width apart, toes out, and start squatting’.

  • But it never felt right to me.

  • It always felt like my knees, which were already sore from sports, were getting more, and more

  • aggravated from doing that.

  • Until I actually started to narrow my stance.

  • I determined my ability to narrow my stance based on that natural jumping position.

  • If I was going to jump right now I’d be a lot more narrow.

  • A little bit inside shoulder width.

  • As a matter of fact, if I were to roll and do a rolling getup from the floor I would

  • find that my knees, and my feet would take a much more narrow stance.

  • So, for me, that’s what’s natural.

  • I encourage you to find that because if you keep trying to squat from an unnatural position

  • it’s only going to do more harm than good for those knees.

  • To take that a step further, I also wish I was doing box squats a lot sooner as well.

  • Because of the fact that my patellar tendons were always on fire from some of that damage

  • from playing sports, I was always reluctant to allow myself to really let the quads take

  • on the brunt of the force as I dropped down to a squat.

  • I would really shortchange my depth every, single time, which was contributing to more

  • anterior force into my knees, and only aggravating the situation.

  • But by providing something down there for meas a proprioceptive feedback for my

  • butt on every, single repit allowed me to comfortably let those tendons relax, let

  • the quads take on the brunt, and get better results from doing it.

  • Back up to the upper body.

  • Actually, a variation of an exercise that I did do for a very long time since the beginning

  • of my training, but not this way.

  • This is the dip.

  • We know that the dip has the capacity to help us build our shoulders, our chest, and our

  • triceps.

  • But it’s actually got broader abilities.

  • It can help us develop more scapular strength and stability through our upper body, and

  • also integrate more of these core muscles that are right here, nearby, begging to be

  • trained.

  • So, we have a little bit of a three-way dip circuit.

  • It’s something I covered in our holy trinity of ab training because, yes, youre going

  • to hit those muscles.

  • The fact that you go down into a dip, when you come up to the top you add that all-important

  • plus portion that engages the serratus anterior that’s going to provide the stability to

  • your shoulder blades, once again.

  • You see how important that concept is.

  • Then from there, if you tuck your pelvis up here, into a posterior tilt you engage the

  • abs.

  • Now when we come back down you twist a little bit, causing that oblique activation of the

  • obliques themselves, and then you start to involve them when you repeat the movement.

  • You go right, you go center, you go left; the fact is, this is still going to give you

  • those same benefits to all those bigger show muscles that youre doing the exercise for

  • in the first place.

  • But adding in this critical component that’s providing that stability and longevity to

  • your training.

  • Let’s stick with the shoulders and chest here for the next exercise that, again, I

  • wish I had started doing a lot earlier because I like the integration that this exercise

  • allows.

  • This is a crush grip dumbbell press out.

  • When you think about what’s going on here, were trying to train the front delts, and

  • were trying to train it in a bit of an explosive manner.

  • But we also needfor the safety and health of our shouldersto have that stable platform

  • from which were pressing off.

  • We can get it from the chest.

  • Under normal circumstances when we have our arms out, in front of our body here in a front

  • shoulder raise, we have a little bit of this triangle action going on here.

  • Two dumbbells out here, coming into a single point here on the chest.

  • But if we can get an active contraction of the chest by squeezing our hands on that crush

  • grip, on that dumbbell, we broaden that contraction, broaden the base of stability out so now our

  • shoulders can work with more strength and power.

  • That’s what’s going on here.

  • Not to mention the fact that these muscles prefer to work together, right here in close

  • proximity to each other, are getting that opportunity for, maybe, the first time.

  • You can see that, one more time, it’s not just these muscles, but the entire upper body

  • starts to kick in and stabilize.

  • So, youre getting the benefits of building those front delts, but at the same time youre

  • getting a lot more stability throughout the entire upper torso while doing it.

  • Before you get carried away and get so front-side dominant, you must do this next exercise,

  • if youre not already doing it.

  • As a matter of fact, I’ve made an entire video about this being the one thing you should

  • do after every, single workout if you want to start working on addressing those imbalances

  • that you likely had from not focusing enough on it.

  • This is the face pull.

  • Guys, I’ll actually link that video for you at the end of this one because I feel

  • it’s that important for you to watch.

  • The face pull allows us to work those over looked, underutilized muscles of the posterior

  • chain, actually involving external rotation to hit the rotator cuff, youre getting

  • the rear delts, youre getting the mid-scapular muscles to fire; youre hitting all those

  • muscles that often times don’t get the attention they need.

  • I really, really feel like there’s one thingeven if there are kids training here at

  • 11, and 12 years oldif they did this exercise with tubing they’d be doing themselves

  • a great service to set themselves up and set the stage for great gains down the road.

  • If you haven’t already started incorporating this, guys, you need to start doing this exercise.

  • Finally, we have something that’s more of a concept than an exercise, but I am going

  • to show you a few exercises here.

  • By the way, I think this pushes our total well past 8, but it doesn’t matter.

  • If were getting the benefit here that’s all that matters.

  • This is something we call an overcoming isometric.

  • Now, I’ve talked about this before, and I’m going to reiterate it again here.

  • This is something that I didn’t start doing personally until the last couple of years

  • and I think it’s made a dramatic impact on my muscularity.

  • I wish I had started a lot sooner.

  • What were doing here is taking an exercise, setting it up at any specific angle for that

  • exercise, and focusing on moving an immovable object.

  • In this case, if were working on our chest, I’m really trying to pull across my body

  • as hard as I possibly can without these things moving.

  • But what were working on here is the efficiency of motor fiber recruitment.

  • As I pull, and I pull, and I pull, and I pull I’m getting this building recruitment of

  • more, and more muscles fibers to the task at hand.

  • Not enough to actually help me overcome it, but this will translate back when you go to

  • these non-isometric exercises and try to exert more strength.

  • The strength you build from doing this is going to carry over into the actually application

  • of the exercise itself, which allows you to get increased hypertrophy over the long run

  • because of that applied strength.

  • Anybody that tells you that isometrics don’t build strong don’t understand the power

  • of isometrics.

  • Again, we don’t have to just do it to the chest itself.

  • We can do it here in a bicep variation as well.

  • Remember, when you take whatever angle of the exercise youre going to use, youre

  • only going to get a specific benefit above, and below that.

  • You need to experiment a little more within that range to get the complete benefits throughout

  • the range of motion.

  • But the concept is still the same.

  • I really, truly wish this is something I had started a lot earlier in my training.

  • So, there you have it, guys.

  • There are the 8 things that I personally wish I had implemented into my training a lot earlier.

  • The fact is, because of this video I’m hoping that a lot of you won’t have to make the

  • same mistakes, or oversights that I did.

  • Guys, if youre looking for a training plan that puts the science back in strength and

  • now, hopefully overlooks nothing to give you guys the best results, the fastest; that’s

  • the ATHLEANX training program.

  • It’s available over at ATHLEANX.com.