Cheating? Proper cheating...

by James Camastra ...

We’ve all heard of cheating, thrusting the weight up while arching your back, when resistance training. There is a proper way of cheating while doing common resistance training exercises that when used correctly can decrease chances of injury, increase strength and muscle mass and improve vertical power.

While doing standing bicep curls, overhead presses and front and lateral shoulder raises it is best to use your legs to cheat or assist in the lift, not your back. Do as many reps as you can while standing with heels on the floor, knees straight and upper body erect. When the next rep can not be done while maintaining this position, pause, squat, thrust (straighten knees, extend hips, come onto toes and complete the upper body movement at the same time), return arms to starting position while keeping knees straight and repeat if possible for 1-5 reps. Lowering the weight with just the arms and not bending the knees will take advantage of the eccentric (negative) muscle action that is so important in developing muscle size and strength. The squat should not be deep, slight and simple, just get your butt back, bend the knees a little and thrust. Important: the heels should return to the floor quickly (do not stay on your toes).

The thrust, quick triple extension at the ankle, knee and hip, will help develop lower body power, an important component in many sports.  Getting those few extra reps beyond failure and lowering the weight slowly will increase muscle size and strength.

IMPORTANT: Do not arch your back and send your hips forward with straight knees. This is bad form and what we are trying to avoid with this technique.  Watch the following videos to learn proper cheating techniques...