The 6 Best Lifts for NEW Muscle Growth (GUARANTEED!)


Today I’m going to show you six seldomly performed
exercises that are going to help you patch up those weak links in the big exercises that
are making up the foundation of your training program. More importantly, I will help you see all
new gains from them. What’s up, guys? Jeff Cavaliere, ATHLEANX.com. Today I want to show you six exercise that,
again, you probably aren’t doing. There’s one you should be doing every day. That’s a hint. But they serve an important, complementary
role to your main, foundational exercises. If you’re not doing them, I feel that you’re
leaving some gains on the table. In every one of our bigger lifts there’s a
tendency for the weak link in that lift to hold back the overall progress you’ll see. However, if I told you that these exercises,
I’ll show you are going to help you address those weak links, I think you’d want to listen. That being said, I want to break down the
following exercises. A deadlift, a squat, an overhead press, and
a weighted pullup. So, let’s start first with the deadlift. When it comes to the deadlift there are two
exercises that apply here because I feel that there are two issues we have, just trying
to get the bar off the ground. That is: do you have adequate leg drive through
the ground to get the bar going? And second, once you do, do you have adequate
upper body strength and stability to keep the bar where it’s supposed to be? Especially on that proper bar path tied to
your body on the way up. A lot of times we lack one or the other. If we were lacking in the upper body stability
and strength, then what you’d want to do is this right here. This is the chest supported row. Not only did I put this up on Instagram a
few days ago, but I also shared that this is something I struggled with a great deal,
when I started the lift a long time ago. I felt like I had the ability to drive through
the legs to generate force into the ground to get that bar going in the opposite direction. But I didn’t have the ability to keep that
bar nice and tight because the weakness through my upper body and shoulders allowed the bar
to drift down, forward, and away from me, making me lift a lot harder. So, what this does is demands that you learn
how to pull from a no-momentum state without the help of your legs. You can see I’ve practiced this a lot and
tried to get myself a lot stronger on this so I could pull with no legs. So, when I got back into the position of a
deadlift and had the benefit of my legs, I’d be able to pull a lot more. The next thing is that some people don’t
have the ability to drive into the ground, or as I’ve pointed out before in our deadlift
tutorial video, they don’t even know that the legs are really supposed to be driving
that initial part of the movement. At least to the level of the knees. It’s like a standing leg press. So, you want to be able to train your body
to know that the leg drive is important. But when that’s established, how do you do
it with an exercise? How do you get better at that? This is where I like to break out the reverse
lunge or the dumbbell lunge, in general. What the lunge makes you do, if nothing else,
it makes you learn how to drive hard into the ground through one foot at a time here. The fact is, I like to do mine with a step
back, in reverse because it takes the anterior stress off my knee. So, for somebody that has knee pain or discomfort,
particularly from patellar tendonitis, the step backward takes off some of that strain. But it doesn’t diminish the main benefit
this exercise provides and it teaches you how to push hard through that forward leg,
so you can get all the momentum of your body back up to a standing position. Again, if you had taken this into a forward
lunge there’s even more demand. When you step forward and have all your momentum,
plus the weight going forward, and now you’ve got to push to drive back and get back up
to a standing position; you will quickly learn, if you don’t know already, that you need
to learn how to push with great force through your legs, one at a time, into the ground. So when you come back into the deadlift and
setup with both feet able to contribute now – again, with that tight upper back – you’ve
got a great combination to help you rip that bar off the ground and get it going in the
right direction so you can complete the lift. Next, sticking with the leg movements here,
we’ve talked about the squat. You guys have heard me talk before about the
value of the glutes when it comes to performing the squat. Again, the sticking point in a squat is most
likely going to be the bottom of the lift. You’re not half repping it. You’ve got to go down low enough to not only
see benefits from the exercise, but more importantly, you need to be able to activate the glutes. Set them up to contribute to the lift. Put them on a stretch. The only way to put them on a stretch is to
get deep enough. But when you’re deep what’s the consequence? A lot of times you can’t get out of the hole. This is a great exercise to help you do that. This is a variation of the glute-ham raise
because we’re not completing it to the point where we’re doing the hamstring curl. What we’re doing is preloading the glutes
by putting us into relative hip flexion here at the bottom of lift, weighting it if possible. You may not be able to. If you can’t, you can go without. You can work your way up with dumbbells. The fact is, you can overload this exercise. But with that pre-stretched glute, the main
driver of getting out of that position into hip extension has got to be the glutes. You want to focus on initiating the contraction
by squeezing your butt cheeks together. I know the low back is going to want to contribute,
just like it would in the bottom of a squat. That could become a very faulty movement pattern
when you take it into your squat. You want to teach your body that, like everything
else, we start from the ground up. We drive our strength and force through the
ground first and it goes up the kinetic chain. Therefore, the glutes are going to encounter
that force first and you want to make sure they’re doing that. So, you squeeze and initiate every, single
repetition by the squeeze of the glutes. Let the low back contribute after. Hold in full extension and come down. If you do a few sets of these guys and start
working them into your routine you’re going to have a stronger lower back. More importantly, you’re going to be neurologically
wired to utilize your glutes right at the moment they’re needed the most. Moving onto the upper body. One of the foundational pressing exercises
you should be doing is an overhead press. With that being said, we know there is some
variety in how we can perform that exercise, depending upon how much of the lower body
we want to involve, and what the purpose of our training is. If you’re trying to be more powerful and explosive,
you’d want to incorporate the lower body because we know how much that can contribute to generating
force, like we just said, ‘from the ground up’. But we also have the alternative to try and
strict up our form, to try not to get the lower body to contribute. But here’s the thing, our bodies are pretty
damn smart. As soon as you put yourself on your feet,
they’re going to find ways to rely on ground reaction forces to accomplish what it is we’re
trying to do. So, what we can do, if we’re trying to get
ourselves even stronger in this exercise, is sit our asses down. Literally. On the ground. Like you see me here in a Z-Press. The Z-Press is one in which our legs are literally
removed from the equation here. They’re just out in front of us not contributing
to the force generation of the lift. Now we have to use the strength of our shoulders
to get this barbell up. It’s another one of those chest supported
row, no-momentum type setups where we’re demanding that the muscles we believe are being compromised
by the more quick to participate lower body, and we’re making them do all the work. So, if you’re finding that you’re not lifting
as much on the overhead press as you feel you probably should be, you’re probably not
as strong as you think you are, directly where you need the strength the most. And that’s where this exercise comes in perfectly. So, when it comes to the upper body pulling
exercises, a foundational movement for you – at least one of them – should be the
weighted pullup. We’ve talked about the benefits of this movement
many, many times before. However, it’s how you address your weaknesses
in trying to get stronger in this exercise that’s probably holding you back some because
the area you’re going to want to work, more so than the areas that you can see moving,
should be the areas you cannot see at all. That is this foundational strength and stability
of your shoulder blade. As I’ve talked about here before, the glenoid-humeral
joint is an interesting joint. It’s got a lot of mobility to be able to allow
our arms to get into a whole lot of positions. From all the way down here, to all the way
up over our heads. It’s obviously valuable when it comes to performing
a pullup. We also know that the shoulders themselves
have a lot of strength capacity, i.e. on the overhead press, to allow us to do some things
when we move them through space. Obviously, the lats as well. But it’s the strength of the scapular stability
that is going to ultimately undermine your ability to do a weighted pullup if you’re
not strong enough. Why? Because, as I’ve used this analogy many time
before, if you try to jump as high as you possibly could, and you try to do it off this
hard surface here, or off a lot of sand, I can tell you right now you’re not jumping
higher off the sand than you are here. That’s because the base where you’re trying
to generate force from is moving. It’s giving. It’s weak. Not like this firm floor. So, if you want to do something for yourself
that’s going to help you get better at the pullup, you’d do these. These are weighted scap pulls. All you’re trying to do here is a straight
pullup. In other words, your elbows are not bending. You’re just allowing the weight of your body
to pull your shoulders into upward rotation, and then you’re trying to drive them down
and back by doing nothing but pulling down with those lower traps. Really trying to squeeze and strengthen the
stability of those scapulas from the bottom up. The movement here is very, very small. Maybe you can’t handle weight. That’s fine. I can tell you if you’re incredibly weak in
this area, even a bodyweight variation of this is going to be challenging. And if you’re somewhere in between there’s
nothing stopping you from going over to a lat pulldown machine and using the weight
that’s in between the two with the same mechanics and idea in mind. You want to try to initiate that pull straight
down through the scapula. Learn to stabilize them because once they’re
stable, once you have that stable base, once you’ve gotten rid of the sand and replaced
it with a stable base, now you want o generate force? Go for it. You’re going to be able to do a lot more things
and you’ll find a lot more reps when it comes to the weighted pullup. Finally, I don’t know how I feel about this
exercise because I feel like it shouldn’t be one of those that’s a surprise to you. If you’ve watched this channel for any length
of time you’re going to realize “Jeff? He kind of likes face pulls.” As a matter of fact, they make their way into
this video another time for a very good reason. If you could think of one exercise that’s
complementary, that’s an accessory movement that you’d want to include, that could benefit
all your lifts – in fact, all the lifts we talked about here – what would it be? You know the answer. It would be the face pull. You can see me doing it here. The variation I’m showing you here is where
I add the additional press to the top because it requires additional stability of those
mid-scapular and lower scapular muscles to perform this the correct way. There’s not an exercise you’ll perform that
won’t benefit from this movement and getting stronger in this movement. This is not meant to be done with just 5lbs. You’re supposed to get stronger at this movement. The fact is, you’ll be doing it frequently
so you won’t have to worry about frequent jumps in weight. Just go for an overall progression in the
weight that you’re using. Try to get stronger here. How could it help? Well, think about it. Is this going to help you in your pullups? Of course. Is this going to help you with stability on
the deadlift? Of course. Is this going to help you with maintaining
the tightness in your upper body throughout the squat? Of course. Is this going to help you perform an overhead
press with proper mechanics? Of course. Is this going to help on the bench-press to
maintain tightness through your upper body on the exercise? Of course. Guys, the face pull is one of the best exercises
you can do. Do not forget about it and start including
it after all your workouts like I’ve asked you to do before. So, there you have it, guys. There are some additional lifts that I believe
you should be doing, especially if you’re finding yourself struggling to break through
some plateaus on your bigger foundational lifts. You can’t keep banging your head against the
wall, guys. There’s a saying. “If you keep doing what you’re doing, you’re
going to keep getting what you’re getting”. You want to have some strategy to allow you
to breakthrough and I believe these exercises give you a strategy to breakthrough in a powerful
way. They’re addressing those weaknesses in the
kinetic chain that are likely holding you back. If we can strengthen the weakest link, we’re
going to make you strong all the way through. If you’re looking for programs that address
these weak links and build them into everything we do, so we can minimize how often they appear,
and how significant they are when they do appear, head to ATHLEANX.com and get our training
programs. 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. If you haven’t already done so, please click
‘subscribe’ and turn on your notifications so you never miss a new video when I publish
one. All right, guys. I’ll be back here again in just a few days. See ya.

100 Comments

Add a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *