Cheat for Gains

Cheat for Gains


Many people don’t understand the difference between cheating and bad form. If you want to maximize your strength and mass gains you MUST learn the difference !

  • Cheating is an advanced lifting technique that can help you get stronger and more muscular.
  • Bad form gets you injured, inhibits your strength and mass gains .. or both. Bad form can be the incorrect range of motion or flight path.


Cheating is a way to do forced reps but there are many other methods of doing forced reps.  Forced reps are when you cant possibly do another rep at the current weight, you reduce the load slightly and do a few more.  Forced reps are an awesome advanced technique to use that can help you break thru plateaus.   There are many methods of doing these forced reps.  You can have a training partner help you on the last few reps.  In some exercises you can self-spot with a bit of creativity.  For example in doing bicep curls, just do them one arm at a time and spot with your free arm.  In doing pullups, you can use a chair.  You can also do drop sets to get those forced reps.   Lets cover cheating though as a way of doing forced reps:

  1. Choose a weight that lets you get at least the first 3-4 reps with perfect, slo-mo form – two seconds up and two seconds down.
  2. After you have done as many slow, perfect reps as you can, go into “cheat mode”.  The goal is not swinging out a bunch of useless reps.  The goal is to cheat to get the bar up using a knee bounce or a swing, then to lower the weight as slowly as you can.

That is cheating and its GOOD.

Bad Form

To the untrained eye, cheating and bad form look the same but they are entirely different.  Many people fall into bad form slowly in an attempt to continue their “strength gains”.  They still think they are using the same, flawless form they were as beginners using light weights but they are not.   This is why it is important for everyone, regardless of experience level, to have a friend video them performing all exercises and do a motion analysis of the videos.   95% of the time, bad form is caused by using too much weight.  Watching videos of yourself lifting and doing a motion analysis makes you *think* about what you are doing and why.

My favorite example for bad form is the barbell curl.  Many beginners are convinced that the most important thing in curls is to lift as much weight as they can for as many reps as they can and nobody is going to convince them otherwise.  This is what they look like when they do them:

That is BAD FORM, not cheating. The barbell curl is supposed to be an isolation exercise, if you want to do a compound exercise then do deadlifts, not circus-curls.

How to tell the difference between cheating and bad form

There is an easy test to know the difference between cheating and bad form. If you cant do at least your first three reps with 2s up 2 second down timing then you are using bad form, not using the amazing advanced technique of cheating.