Hidden Source of Strength (GET BIGGER FASTER!!)


What’s up, guys? Jeff Cavaliere, ATHLEANX.com. Today I’m going to uncover a hidden area of
strength for you. And I don’t say hidden because I’m trying to be gimmicky here, it’s
hidden because mostly likely – and don’t feel bad – you’re one of the ones that’s
overlooking this critical element if you want to see impressive strength gains and really
realize your true upper body and lower body potential for that matter. What we’re talking about is straight arm scapular
strength. Now I know scapula, you’re throwing in any freaking term here and half of you
guys want to get out the door and leave the video. I promise, stick around, I’ll make
it work your while. It’s actually a very critical component of your overall strength picture
and it has to stop being overlooked as of today. Okay, so what are we talking about? Well,
it’s executing movements out of this straight arm position. The key factor is that if you
can’t stabilize your scapula, keep them in place while you move your body around them,
then you’re never going to have the ability to perform your bigger lifts like bench press,
like the deadlift – which is critical to having straight arm scapular strength – correctly,
or even to their full potential. Therefore, that’s going to be the weak link.
Maybe not your legs in your deadlift. Maybe not you lats, or your chest in the bench press
or in the pull up or anything like that. It’s going to be your scapular strength and that’s
where you have to plug that leak so we can get you stronger. So how are some of the ways
that we can do this? Well, we can kind of start on the easy end with some bodyweight
movements. This is just sort of like the planch, tuck
position, or a modified beginner planch tuck position that we do just sitting on the end
of a bench. All you have to do is keep your arm in, again, straight at the elbow, right
here beneath you and try to lift your body up off the bench. That’s it. Now, for those
who never worry about straight arm scapular strength, obviously you’re not training with
ATHLEANX because I make sure that we include a lot of this, even in our beginner program. But what you want to do is just be able to
get yourself off the bench and feel the muscles engage around your entire shoulder girdle
and see if you can hold it there. It can be 15 seconds if you’re starting out. 60 seconds
if you can. Try to work up to 2 minutes, all right? Are the triceps working here? A little
bit, but your elbows are locked out. Most of the work here is going into the scapula
and the scapular stabilizers and that’s the point. You can then take it down to the floor. Again,
bodyweight version; any of us can do it. You’ll allow your shoulder blades to kind of pinch
and retract together. Get into the plus position here, using your serratus to plus your shoulder
blades apart from each other and then you want to lean your body forward, which is going
to test that straight arm scapular strength. Your shoulders will work, your entire shoulder
girdle, once again. Then you rock yourself back, allowing to collapse,
and repeat the process. See if you can bang out 10 of these, 15 of these, 20 of these.
The goal is, obviously, to take wherever you are now and start improving that. We can take
it up a notch. We can go down into this inverted row position. Here, it’s actually like a modified
very beginner version of a front lever. Now, we’ve talked about the front lever raise. I’ve done a whole video on that before. I’ll
link that over here for you. That’s obviously an extreme example of straight arm scapular
strength. It’s why most people that can do those tend to have a lot more relative upper
body strength and overall strength for that matter. They can do some pretty impressive
things. Gymnasts come to mind, first and foremost. But you want to be able to modify that here
because you may not be able to do that right away. You do that by rocking back while you do this
straight arm hold. So you’re not trying to push through your quads here to get your body
up, you’re using your straight arm scapular strength to pull yourself up, okay? Focus
on the legs just being there as an assistance. They’re not there to drive you, okay? Now,
we can make it even more difficult. We can go to the weighted version. Now, I’m not saying that this movement is
difficult, but if you weight this heavy enough – as I always advocate – then you’re going
to get a lot out of this movement and it’s a critical component, and one of the major
staples of ATHLEANX training; and that’s a straight arm push down. You don’t have to
do it with a cable machine. We don’t require you to have that to do ATHLEANX. You could do it with a band at home. The further
away you stand the more resistance you’re going to have. But the idea here is, yes,
you’re using your lats, but they wouldn’t be able to optimally function if they didn’t
have the stabilization of the scapula first. That’s what this exercise does. This translates
directly over to a deadlift. You can see me deadlifting here from a previous video. The deadlift requires that you have straight
arm scapular strength to stabilize the bar and stabilize the entire upper body so you
can execute the lift without loss of energy from the ground all the way up to the top.
Your quads will be able to execute with more strength because they’re not being diverted
or lost through this weak and loose upper body. So if you can execute a straight arm push
down here, then you could do a lot more with the deadlift. Probably more instantly than
what you think you’re even capable of. Finally, an advanced version of this straight arm scapular
strength concept is a head banger pull up. So you get up to the top of the pull up and
you don’t have to worry about going up and down anymore. Now you want to worry about
going in and out. In and out. Obviously, this is very difficult
and complex. You’re not actually getting completely – or I’m not getting completely out to straight
arm, but the idea of getting out there and resisting the temptation of my body to just
cave and fall out is demanding heavy doses of straight arm scapular strength. So as you
see here, guys, there’s a lot of examples of how you could do it at all levels of difficulty. My job as a coach and as a physical therapist
is to A: make sure that you’re doing these first and foremost because if you’re not you’ll
never reach your true potential, I can promise you that. And B: I want to make sure that
you’re doing them the right way in the right progression. I lay it all out for you in our
ATHLEANX training system. No matter what program of ours you’re on, you’re going to be doing
straight arm scapular strength work because I realize just how important it is to the
overall picture, and hopefully now, after this video you see that, too. Again, if you’re looking for that program
– or any of our programs – they’re over at ATHLEANX.com. In the meantime, I hope you
found this video helpful. Let me know below by leaving your comments and let me know what
else it is that you want to see and I’ll do my best to cover it here in the weeks and
months ahead. All right, guys. I’ll see you back here soon.

100 Replies to “Hidden Source of Strength (GET BIGGER FASTER!!)”

  1. Thank you for this video I purchased your athlean x zero program. I am now to the point that I can do push-ups and we'll just wanted to say thanks and will start the program tomorrow.

  2. What is a good lifting cycle? I have heard many different tips from different sources. Even some of the well known sources differentiate with cycles. So I was wondering what you personally think is best.

  3. You mentioned something about "our beginner programs" but I don't see any on the site (all of the DVDs are advanced). Does someone have to contact you directly to see what those consist of?

  4. I broke my right collarbone when I was 14 (27 now) and I always had unequal scapular stability because of this (bad on the left, hilarious on the right lol). I incorporated straight arm pushdowns and noticed the benefits in general (better posture) as well as improved deadlift form although I never stopped and realize these two things are intertwined. Definitely incorporating these into my workouts! Great vid as always!!

    Now that I'm on it, because of my broken collarbone, the socket of the joint makes it hard to press without losing stability and hurting like hell because its narrower, it would be greatly beneficial to me.

  5. Nice..   Just started working out again after 15yrs+ off.  I'm getting a lot out of your videos.  This one particular will take me some time to build up that scapular muscle group.

  6. Jeff is fuckin 40 age aint shit his strength is a 24 year old at his prime real fuckin shit. WHAT 40 YEAR OLD IS BANGING OUT FRONT LEVERS WTF?

  7. Hi Jeff! Would you please make a video about workout for tall guys. i am 6 ft. 2" and i think tall guy´s like me are different in physics ( longer movement ways, less weights..)
    i´ll appreciate a lot, if you would! thank you!

  8. Are there risks of putting excessive strain on the front delts leading to possible injury to the rotater-cuffs through any of these exercises? And if so are there ancillary movements that can be done to help prevent such an injury as it might occur? Great Channel by the way… Thanx.

  9. Thank you so so, much Jeff! Thank you for sharing your knowledge. It is incredibly helpful. Fabulous darling;-)

  10. These exercises have similar movements as a shoulder front raise, can you do that to work out your scapula too?

  11. should i be doing as many sets as it takes to reach failure everytime for every lifting move? or can you still grow without going to failure?

  12. Have done the exercise 1 (on the bench) and the push-up-variation for 2 weeks. In the beginning i tought "what is this crap", but after 2 weeks it feels like i can lift a house. Its a strange but good feeling of strongness in the upper body i feel. Hard to explain 🙂

  13. Hey Jeff I have winged scapula I was curious if you could make a video on what exercises require retracting your scapula or even reply to this

    Thanks !!

  14. i can't progress with pull ups …despite of doin' em every day ..can't do more than ten reps …any advice would be welcome

  15. This guy is the best fitness coach. Most of the time only calisthenics athlete talk about straight arm strength. But this guy covered it all in 6 minutes. Massive Respect…..

  16. hey Jeff, training the scapula doesn`t scare me at all!! i never really knew what the scapula was, even though you covered in before in other video`s!! if i thought training the scapula would help me with being able to perform a pull up, i am so there it isn`t funny!! i want to be big and strong just like you Jeff, you are my hero after all!! thank you so much for sharing my friend, with love from Wes!! hugs!!!

  17. I swear I can’t do this right, I always feel that straight arm pull down in my triceps but I keep my arms completely straight. Are there any other workouts that jeff didn’t list here that a beginner could do?

  18. Hello dear Jeff,

    Because u talking about strength and power in above video, can you please tell us how to manage for trade guys. I am a chef and many guys around the world are in different trade work(physiclly demanding construction, plumber, etc) but we want to build ideal physique offcourse. You have made many precious and informative video on exercise and diet. If you have not covered then, can u please tell what to consume in terms of food, pre-work out, manage strength and Energy. Is there a way to come over the exhaust and tiredness after working 8 hours a day and then hit the gym, and Sleeping from 7 to 8 hours max and follow same schedule everyday. Besides all the other excerise problems, this is my current and main issue.

    How to preserve or enhance energy around working class people and still gain the results. Its gets really tiring after work already, being a chef 🙁

  19. Hi. I'm really glad that you have covered trainings for most of body parts, but I couldn't find a work out for fingers and palms. PLEASE MAKE A VIDEO ABOUT FINGER STRENGTH.

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