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Old 10-29-2013, 03:46 AM   #1
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Default Cheating

Whenever I'm really pushing myself with my strength progression, I will do whatever it takes to get it done. If that means I will have to cheat a little, I will. Of course, it must still always remain under control. The important thing is to get the weight up to reach your goals, no matter what.

I believe that if you are always super strict on form, you're never really pushing 100%. I believe that it's better to train with heavier weight with less-than-perfect form than to do lighter weights with strict form. I don't mean cheating as in actively performing shallow squats, bouncing the bar off the chest on the bench press etc. Rather I mean that if the form degrades a little, it doesn't matter as long as it's coming up.

That's what I have found the most effective with my own training so far. When I'm not close to my ultimate limits I will perform the lifts as perfectly as I can. When I am close to them, then the focus shifts to just getting it done at all costs. Instead of being like "oh, my form wasn't textbook perfect, now I must reduce weight" I'm like "great, I got it done, add weight!". When the body is used to higher loads, then the sub-maximal weights will be much easier to perform with excellent form.

A lot of guys in the gym insist on always striving for the perfect form before they dare to increase the weight, and that's why they make very slow progress. In my opinion form can never be perfect, so as long as it's "okay" one should strive to add weight on the bar. Besides, increased weight means a different center of gravity, and the form will change so it's an ever-evolving process.

On some exercises it's easier to cheat than others (barbell rows, curls, etc.) and I will add momentum. On others it's almost impossible to cheat (deadlifts). On lifts such as the bench press, overhead press, squat etc. I also don't cheat.

What is your opinion on the optimum amount of cheating versus strictness?
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Old 10-29-2013, 06:01 AM   #2
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I personally have found im stronger when using good form, I used to squat just to parallel and do anything to get the bar up which usually was a weird good morning thing since ive worked on form im far stronger and more confident. Also my lower back is far healthier. Then again if im squatting and need an extra rep and i know form is gonna breakdown im going for it anyway.

I see what you're saying though, most people do this breath in and count to 3 on the way down and breath out and count to 3 on the way up BS. But this crap is taught by a lot of personal trainers who have no idea what they are talking about! I once saw an elderly women in the gym for her first time and the PT had her doing calf raises on the leg press

With the rows, i much more prefer pendlay rows then 45 degree rows. They hit my back far better and dont cause lower back pain! Id suggest giving them ago even if its your light workout! Leave you're ego at the door. I was 45 degree rowing around 75 kg but they were hurting my back so i deloaded too 60 kg pendlay rows now im pendlay rowing 83 kg ( yes its not that much ) easy, my back has defiantly grown and it has nice carryover to the deadlift IMO. Though im not always strict on these its harder to cheat compared to traditional rows.

Just my 2 cents as they say

George Leeman and Pete Rubish do cheat rows but they are more cheat pendlay rows and these dudes are STRONG and in there early 20's!!

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Old 10-29-2013, 08:15 AM   #3
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Your form is going to break down at 85%+ so if you're really going to push yourself, you're going to have to break form. No one's form is perfect and using good technique will make the weight easier to lift, but if your upper back is rounding on a max DL or you start to good morning on a max squat, you better push through that shit
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Old 10-29-2013, 08:48 AM   #4
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I was actually working on an article on this exact subject. Unfortunately after 3 drafts I just couldn't get it down on paper the way I wanted.

I believe that people have things backwards. Most people are obsessed with good form on curls and isolation movements, but don't put nearly the same effort into performing compound lifts with great form.

In training, big lifts should be done almost perfectly all the time. But if you find that you can't prgress on things like rows, curls, and OHP's without a little help from some extra movement, you should do what it takes to get it done until you reach the point where the muscles you're trying to train aren't doing most of the work anymore. That's the time to drop back down and start progressing back up again.

I agree overall, however. Sometimes to place maximum tension on a muscle you need to include some cheating in your form.
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Old 10-30-2013, 06:10 AM   #5
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All your answers are appreciated.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Soldier View Post
I was actually working on an article on this exact subject. Unfortunately after 3 drafts I just couldn't get it down on paper the way I wanted.
That's too bad, I would've loved to read it. I was just rambling

Take my rowing form for instance; I cheat on them and a lot of guys at my gym probably think I'm a douche for doing them like that. Think of them what you may, but when I do warmups I can do them strictly and they are still pretty heavy. It's not as if the target muscles just suddenly relax and stop working when a little cheating is added into the mix. On the contrary I think it can serve to better overload them sometimes. If I only did them in a strict manner, I'm pretty sure I couldn't progress nearly as fast. When I push the progression up, also the amount I can do strictly increases similarly.

Of course, things should still be done within reason. One must not hurt themself.
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Old 11-04-2013, 10:49 AM   #6
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'Good' form is only really important for injury prevention. You can still make adaptations using what most people would consider bad form. It's just stuff like rows you might get injured. All the super slow bs with these ultra slow negatives seems really silly imo.
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Old 11-04-2013, 10:59 AM   #7
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I do the same type of rows as Pete. I don't believe in babying rows. I also don't believe in the near standing up rows.

Fiber recruitment improves as the reps mount, so I would say that once you have performed all the quality reps you can, it's ok to do 1-2 cheat reps for certain exercises just as a recruitment failsafe.

With that said, there aren't many exercises I feel comfortable cheating on. For most lifts I would rather stick to progression and play it safe.

With each exercise the question is: is the risk worth the reward. No one can answer that but you.
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Old 11-04-2013, 11:02 AM   #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by BendtheBar View Post
I do the same type of rows as Pete. I don't believe in babying rows. I also don't believe in the near standing up rows.

Fiber recruitment improves as the reps mount, so I would say that once you have performed all the quality reps you can, it's ok to do 1-2 cheat reps for certain exercises just as a recruitment failsafe.

With that said, there aren't many exercises I feel comfortable cheating on. For most lifts I would rather stick to progression and play it safe.

With each exercise the question is: is the risk worth the reward. No one can answer that but you.
Do you think it's good to be strict on isos like curls and calf raises?
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Old 11-04-2013, 11:07 AM   #9
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Quote:
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Do you think it's good to be strict on isos like curls and calf raises?
Those are 2 exercises I tend to cheap on, so good question.

For curls I tend to start strict and use more english on the second or third set. There is nothing inherently wrong with straight cheat curls as long as they are performed with controlled aggression and not with such horrible form that you risk injury.

For standing calf raises I tend to rock a bit on the last few reps to cap off a set.

As long as these movements are performed intelligently, cheating is ok. Explosive movements - what we call english - simply bring additional muscle groups into the picture to complete a rep.

Think of this - reverse barbell curls vs. power cleans. Same style of movement, but one is isolation, one compound. The more you cheat, the more you bring into play other muscle groups. This is not inherently bad if done in a sane way.

Are they more effective than strict reps? That is debatable. Are they a good tool at the end of a set when fiber recruitment is peaking? I think so.
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Old 11-04-2013, 11:09 AM   #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by BendtheBar View Post
Those are 2 exercises I tend to cheap on, so good question.

For curls I tend to start strict and use more english on the second or third set. There is nothing inherently wrong with straight cheat curls as long as they are performed with controlled aggression and not with such horrible form that you risk injury.

For standing calf raises I tend to rock a bit on the last few reps to cap off a set.
I saw this video by bios3training (don't know if you've heard of him) but he said doing stuff like partial bench presses is pretty good for improving control of negative reps. Like the Spoto Press. What do you think of this? It makes sense but then again you might as well to full ROM
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