Workout Mistake – The Big FAT Strength Lie!


What’s up, guys? Jeff Cavaliere, Today we’re going to talk about strength. As we always do here, putting the science
back in strength. As a matter of fact, in this case, dendrology. The science of trees. I just looked it up on Google five minutes
ago. The fact is, I’m going to teach you to become
tree experts. We’re going to start here by looking at
a couple of pictures. Tell which of these two trees is stronger. Is it the first tree or the second tree? I’m going to give you a minute her because
this one’s a little tough. Is it Tree A or Tree B? Which tree is stronger? Here’s the thing, I kind of tricked you
because you really can’t give me answer because you can’t comment on the strength
of the tree unless you know its root system. The real strength of the tree is the strength
of the root system. I could take that big, giant tree and have
it lying on the ground real fast if I cut all the roots beneath it. The same thing happens here when we talk about
strength. A lot of people will have you focusing on
the size of the tree without ever focusing on what really matters. That is the root system. What is underneath it? What is the real pillar holding everything
up? When you look at this, which is a common demonstration
of what people like to depict when they talk about training and strength, you look at strength
at the bottom. It’s the biggest, most important, most critical
area of this pyramid holding everything else up with everything else built off it. Look, as a strength coach I’ll tell you
that strength is a really important component of all your abilities. We can argue for all of these. We know hypertrophy is something that could
benefit from strength. The stronger you are. Some of the easiest ways to build muscle,
especially early on in your training, is to build your strength. We know that strength gains will precede size
gains. So, we know that. We know a little more now that eccentric stress
and metabolic stress are other ways we can do this without having to be so strong, but
we know that’s one of the fastest ways to get there. Progressively overloading more weight to the
bar or dumbbells when you lift them. We know power is something that will benefit
from being stronger because it’s not just about the application of acceleration and
speed to the movement that you’re doing, but it’s also dependent upon how much force
you can generate. So, we know that being stronger her is going
to benefit your power. Likewise, as we become more specialized here
– speed, agility, quickness – all those athletic skills are improved with strength. If I have to cut to move in a direction quickly,
or if I have to accelerate off the line quickly a lot of that is going to be impacted by my
ability to generate force through my legs, into the ground to do so. So, we know the stronger my legs are, the
better this is going to be. Then we get all the way to the top here with
the really specialized skill work. Let’s say, hitting a baseball. We can’t all just hit a baseball. But we know if we’re stronger we can hit
one farther. If we’re kicking a football for a living,
we know we can kick it farther and harder if you have more strength. But the problem is this: this, while being
so critical, is not the root system. If I can do something to this to negatively
impact it then I haven’t gotten to the true roots. What we need to do is – I need to get you
guys there; the roots. That’s where your long-term gains are going
to lie. Your ability to realize your true strength
and all the things that are built off it are going to depend upon you uncovering the real
root system that’s undercutting what you’re doing right now because it does. Often. People are going to say right off the bat
– I’m looking at this list. Mobility, flexibility, stability – “There
goes Jeff again, PT. He can’t stop being a PT.” No, I can’t because I realize just how important
it is to the full picture. I realize, as a strength coach, this matters. The sooner you realize this, the less likely
you are to get hurt along the way to trying to build your big tree and grow your tree
so everyone can be impressed with how big your tree is. And the more likely you are to do it without
having to have – maybe to even realize true strength capacity, as we’ve talked about
many times before. Not built on a cracked foundation. So why does this matter more? Why is this supporting strength? All you’ve got to do is look at them. First of all, mobility and flexibility kind
of go together, but they’re slightly different. For those that don’t really know, flexibility
is really about the capacity of your muscles to lengthen across the joint. So, we know when muscles are tight you can’t
really experience true range of motion or full range of motion because of the tightness
of those muscles. Likewise, mobility is really more talking
about the quality of the joint and how much of the available range of motion your body
can experience or go through, depending upon the integrity of that joint, or even the structures
around it. But they’re both going to impact your range
of motion. So, we know one of the easy ways to determine
this is, if you have limited range of motion from a length-tension relationship standpoint,
you can’t really experience the full-strength capacity on a lift. If I’m quarter-squatting I’m never loading
my quads up or my glutes up at the bottom of a lift, or as I approach parallel. I’m not getting far enough. But it’s more important than that. I want you guys to try this with me. We know that we can influence muscle activation
capabilities by impairing one’s joint motion via either flexibility impairments, or limitations
in mobility. So, if I said, “Stand up, turn your feet
out, and then squeeze your glutes as hard as you can”, you should feel your glutes
tighten a lot. Now, relax, take your toes, and just point
them in a little bit. Now try that again. What happened? You can’t tighten your glutes nearly as
much. You can’t generate as much force and tension
through your glutes as you did just five seconds ago. Nothing changed. The strength in your glutes didn’t change. You didn’t get weak five seconds later. What happened is the available range of motion
at the joint changed. The joint positioning changed. We know that joint positioning influences
muscle activation capabilities and force generating capabilities. This is a micro chasm of what happens. If you don’t focus on maximizing the available
mobility and flexibility with the joints involved in, let’s say, a squat – I’m not saying
your toes are pointed in. I’m saying that’s a representation that
altered mechanics at a joint in the hip are going to influence the output of the glutes. It matters. I just took your strength and cut it out from
underneath you. It wasn’t the root system. It was the tree, but it wasn’t the roots. These are the roots. But before you do what I think you might do
– a lot of us say, “Jeff, I know. But that’s why I go and foam roll, and I
put a cross ball on my ass for 45 minutes before every workout”. Which I’ve talked about before, guys. It’s a waste of time. You don’t need all that. A little more specific is good. But the fact is, that’s not going to fix
your problem either because what happens there is you add more range of motion to a system
that’s lacking the most important thing. That is stability. You’re probably thinking, “Well, what
is stability? Isn’t that strength?” Stability is different than strength, guys. Stability is something you can feel. If you are – let’s keep it going with
the example of the squat. If you’re at the bottom of the squat, it’s
how well you can maintain proper body positioning at the bottom of the squat without compensation. It’s that unwavering of the knees because
the tendency of the knees to start cave in, or the hip to give in on one side versus the
other. We’ve talked before about de-segmentation
of the body as you come up from the bottom of a squat. The back comes first, the hips come up, and
it looks ugly. It’s visible to those that watch you. We can see a lack of stability, but you can
feel a lack of stability. So, what you need to do is figure out ways
that you can build stability as your base. One of the best ways to do it with the squat
is with the incorporation of a pause at the bottom. Command your reps. Get to the bottom of a squat and command it. Hold it. Establish that you have control at the bottom
of the squat. Then when you do, come up as one, solid unit. If you breakdown, de-segmentize – if that’s
a word – those segments start to break down. The hips come first, the back lurches forward,
you do not have proper strength. I don’t care what you say. I don’t care how big your tree is; you don’t
have good strength. You have faulty strength built on a weak foundation. You need to be able to come up – I’ve
used this tip before, guys. I call it “The Best Squat Tip Ever”, I
believe is what we called the video. You need to be able to move as one unit. Your chest and your hips. Your pelvis and your chest must move up together. If you want to see an example of that, here’s
a great video for you to watch. Do you look like this guy? Because if you don’t, you should aspire
to. This is bar path. This bar path is staying directly over mid
foot. This is another concept we’ve talked about
here and why it’s so important. Not necessarily because we’re looking to
draw lines on a video, but because we’re looking for that stability. We’re looking for that command of the body
under load, in all circumstances. When you build your strength upon a stable
foundation, now you can start to realize some real impressive strength, and that strength
can be funneled upward to improve all these other elements as well. There are way too many guys focused on this
now. I guess the demonstration of this, at the
expense of this because this is the stuff that nobody wants to talk about. A lot of times, guys that call themselves
‘coaches’, or want to be coaches want to look above the surface. They refuse to look down below. So, this pyramid should really look more like
an iceberg. If you want to do this properly, the iceberg
sits below the surface, but this is the stuff you need to focus on because these are the
roots. I can cut these roots and that would impair
everything else above it. If I went after any of these and I impaired
them, everything above this is going to be impacted. We want to build strength from the roots up. I hope you guys are now aware of that and
will start incorporating some of that into your training. If you’re looking for programs that do – we
don’t overlook any of this stuff because it matters, as I’ve said. All our programs at ATHLEANX are designed
to do just that. 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, guys, click ‘subscribe’
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