Muscle Contraction – Are You Working Out Hard Enough?

Muscle Contraction – Are You Working Out Hard Enough?


What’s up guys? Jeff Cavaliere, ATHLEANX.COM. If you’re looking to get as big and as strong
as you possibly can, you have to understand muscle contraction, Because we know that muscle contraction, obviously,
is where it’s all at. If we’re trying to workout, we’ve got to get
our muscles to contract. But what is it about contraction that drives the results that we
see, or the lack of results? Well we have to understand one thing first,
you’ve probably heard people talk about all or none contraction. I’ve talked about all or none contraction
before. But when you look at an entire muscle belly, it’s not the entire muscle that’s contracting
all or none. You can get a graded contraction of a muscle,
you get an all or none contraction as a motor unit. Which is one single nerve that runs to a bundle
of muscle fibers of the same type, it’s either a slow twitch or a fast twitch fiber, that when they reach a certain threshold with
this stimulus of this nerve impulse, that will contract all or none, ok. But the number of motor units that are recruited
to do a job is going to be proportional to the task at hand. So if I had to curl a piece of paper or this
pen, up to my head, then I wouldn’t need as many motor units participating, and therefore, participating is overall contraction
of my bicep, as I would if I had to pick up this 80 pound kettlebell, I can’t even get
into the picture here. Ok, so the idea is, the participation, yeah
is obviously influenced by the amount of weight that you use. That’s why a lot of people will argue for
lifting heavy weights. That’s one of the best and efficient ways to make yourself stronger
and to get bigger,and guess what? They’re right but there’s another component
here that I think is entirely overlooked when it comes to the overall results that you’ll
see when you’re working out. If we know that a graded contraction can occur
in a muscle, and we know that the number of motor units are going to be recruited based
on the task at hand, well there’s something else that we have to
consider, and that’s the effort level that you’re providing when you do your workout. Because we know that effort is mostly determined,
guess where? Up here in our heads. It’s what kind of effort do you want to create
and devote to the activity that you’re participating in. So if we look at this footage here of me doing
a Standing Row, you can see that, yes I am doing the wrong movement in this first case. I am pulling my arms behind my body, my upper
arms back into extension, I’m retracting my scapula. I’m doing everything that the muscles
of my back are supposed to do. I’m going through the motions, so to speak,
I’m going from point A to point B. But when I actually put intent behind it, and I haven’t
changed the weight. The weight is exactly the same. When I put
intent behind what I’m doing and I try to recruit as strong of a maximal contraction
as I can, you can see there’s a lot more going on here
in my back. I’m recruiting a lot more motor units to do the job. I’m eliciting a much stronger contraction
and therefore that, in conjunction with heavier weights is going to provide the best results
that you can possibly get. But it starts again, up here in your head.
And the same thing applies here. You can see that I’m doing this Cable Crossover variation, that yeah, I can pull the weights across my
chest, I can go into adduction with my upper arms, which is a function of the chest. I can extend my arms out in front of me, a
function of the chest, but what happens when I actually put some effort behind it. Clearly you can see there’s much more work
being done by that muscle. That muscle’s being overloaded much more significantly
than it would be if I’m just moving from point A to point B. So now, what’s the point here? Start moving
with more than just an intent to move from point A to point B, we talk about it all the
time. Start moving like it’s the only thing that
matters at the moment. Like your family’s life depends on it. Start to contract, don’t just move from here
to here but go from here to here and push as hard as you possibly can. Actually start worrying about your effort
level and I tell you, you will start to see some really really big changes in the way
you look and how strong you get. And again, we can force that by using heavier
and heavier weights because we’re going to have to push harder to move them, but even there, get that weight to the end
and then squeeze as hard as you possibly can. Focus on the contraction when you’re there. Guys this is just another example here of
what we say Putting the Science Back in Strength but a lot of is also Putting Common Sense
in what we do. You know that you can go to the gym and halfass
it and guess what you’re going to get? Halfassed results. But if you put in a serious effort and you
give it your best, I can guarantee you that’s going to be the
spark and the stimulus to see great things from your hard work and your hard training. We train hard with ATHLEANX guys. If you haven’t
already, head to ATHLEANX.COM right now, get our ATHLEANX Training System. In fact we’ve devoted an entire phase of our
NXT Program to exactly this. Eliciting stronger and stronger contractions
by upping that intensity level with a very specific way that we do it, with triple contractions
at the end. But that’s over at ATHLEANX as well. In the meantime leave your comments below.
Let me know if you like this video if you found it helpful. And of course, whatever else it is you want
to see, tell me, we’ll make it guys, three videos a week. I’ll be back here soon to bring those videos
to you as you request them. See you soon guys.

100 Replies to “Muscle Contraction – Are You Working Out Hard Enough?”

  1. Jeff I'd like to see some Olympic lifts brought into some of ur videos it may not be ur style but I think these types of lifts are really important, they have really help me being involved in football(soccer) I feel the benefits along side my training!

  2. This is true about heavy weight…but it also applies to high reps as well. As your recruited fibers are fatigued, more are recruited to continue the work until no more can be recruited and you reach failure……therefore high reps can accomplish the very same effect as long as you go to failure. Intent is the same in both cases, and i agree that it is effective.

  3. Great video. This exact question has been on my mind for quite some time and I've played around with it in different workouts. For instance, I can do Lat Pulldowns with excellent form for 8 reps at 120lbs and feel nothing special in my back (other than a general feeling of being tired) OR I can do 15 reps with 40 lbs really focusing on only pulling with my Lats and not with my hands and arms (although on some level they must be pulling or the bar wouldn't come down more than a few inches due to scapular retraction) and I'll get an killer pain in my back and extreme DOMS for three days. What the heck!!! ….so which way is the most efficient at bringing me my back growth????…I guess the middle ground would be only working with the "heaviest" weight that still allows me to feel my back?…is this the answer?

  4. Great video as usual I think you should do a video on Cross Fit I know I and a lot of people would find that really interesting.

  5. Hello Jeff… i would like to hear your comment on this.. sometimes during hard workout, muscle cramps occure.. this often happens for small muscle like biceps or calf.. the problem is when that occure in the middle of the workout sets. should i stop or continue? even if i decide to continue, the weight lefted will be dropped significantly because of too much tension inside the muscle. is it good sign or bad sign? many thanks 🙂 

  6. Seeing the contraxions in his cable crossover made my own pecs contract just from watching it hahhaa Love it Jeff!!! 

  7. hey jeff great vid as always, have you any small motivating ideas for morning training as staying consistant at 6:30am everyday is geting harder, cheers

  8. Hi Jeff, I've worked hard for the last 5 months which allowed me to lose nearly 70 lbs I think I have about 20 lbs left to lose and will hopefully get there soon. My problem is my skin around my stomach region. I wanna be tight and it ain't looking good. Could you do a video on tighten skin or any advice at all about this topic. I dont wanna achieve so much and just have a flap or excess skin to show for it.

  9. Hi Jeff. I have meralgia paresthetica 🙁 Could you please do a video about this? I got it when I was in my squat position.

  10. I can't get my arms to grow. They have always been skinny .I finally got some muscle but for all the work they should be bigger. Is it genetics or am I doing something wrong?

  11. I'm having a really hard time losing belly fat. I'm lean everywhere else except my stomach area. Do you have any advise?

  12. So I think what he really means is that one has to not only to contract the muscle but to squeeze the muscle hard , am I right or did misunderstood this?

  13. Not sure where to post this question. This is unrelated to the video, but I want to know, what's the difference between a kettlebell and a dumbbell? What are the advantages of one over the other?

  14. Hey jeff, great video, can you do a video on muscle imbalances in the upper traps? When I look in the mirror, my left trap is way bigger than my right trap…… I do a lot of trap exercises with dumbells, so I don't understand why my traps are uneven. Thanks

  15. I've been lifting since middle school, but this last year when I do chest, I seem to tear fibers.  I get red streaks on my chest and near my shoulder/armpit on my pecs, is this from not enough stretching prior toe working out?

  16. it is something that i always thought about but that damn thought never pops in my head when im at the gym….maybe this video will help

  17. Hey, when i flex my abs my bottom rib bone like shows a lot! Is it 'cause i dont workout my abs enough or is it 'cause of eating to little?

  18. Hey Jeff. I've been really focusing on contraction lately, doing all exercises with a clean, slow, focused rep. I've been noticing gains through this method and wanted to know in what circumstances would I ever need to do "fast" movements? Surely I can just train every muscle with say a 5 second up 5 second down rep to really feel the contraction? Please answer you're the only trainer I trust!!!

  19. this is why we lift heavy. by lifting heavy this happens by itself. lift light, and you have to force yourself and contract your muscles like a maniac. so lift heavy, above all.

  20. Love the Video and the channel. Contraction is the key to size and definition. So good to see you make a video to detail why. Great work

  21. Hi Jeff, love your videos, here's a serious video request. How can you work out your arms / shoulders / chest / back if you hand is broken or you're missing a hand?  In my case I have no left hand, so I generally use cable machines and straps.  Competitive rugby player on one of the best teams in the country.  Thank you in advance.

  22. I was thinking about getting your xero program do build some muscle (I don't have anything around me and prefer bodyweight). Is there anything you can do to persuade me into getting it?

  23. I loved this video. I don't lift as heavy as a lot of my friends but I'm always bigger and more lean, because I focus more on range of motion and intensity. 

  24. I would love you to go thru some of the old training methods, like Mike Mentzers heavy duty workouts and dissect them?

  25. Absolutely many people don't contract or initiate the move with the target muscle. For example with low row, lot's pull straight with the arms without retracting the scapula.

  26. Am I understanding it right as it the same as trying to lift with explosiveness, is there any difference? Also trying to focusing on the muscle that we are working?

  27. Wise Words, it is all in the mind, I am putting amount Weight at the back of the queue now. It is all about contraction now and partial reps (Matrix)

  28. I always have this question but I can't never get the answer I want. The question is: For example, last night I only got 5 hours of sleep but I want to go workout today. I don't feel sleepy. Do you recommend me to stay home and recover my hours of sleep and workout tomorrow or is it ok to workout today? I would really appreciate your help, I'm a big fan.

  29. Good knowledge of muscle contraction. That's exactly what an action potential is. You explained it crystal clear, thanks dude

  30. so are you saying you simulate lifting heavy with light weight by force contracting each rep ? assuming lifting heavy already contracts maximum fibers without the thought of contraction… ?

  31. See my problem is I don't know how to contract my muscles I have tried but I can't do it I've watched so many videos on how to contract my muscles and I've tried and I just can't learn

  32. yes hello any tips on or why muscles look big but they r not hard… I know a smaller man that his muscles were small but very hard he was like a brick wall

  33. How do I get a better contraction? Ive watched your videos that helped but no matter what I lift, and it seems how hard I pull, the muscle tissue doesn't contract nearly as complete, and as far as yours. I'm just. Confused

  34. what if I wanna work on my slow twitch muscles and get bored easily? I do rep ranges from 10-20, 8 when I bump up the weight. but I need tighter arms, bigger back + lats, and smaller quads. I'm quad dominant, like most women my bottom half is bigger so balance is super important.

  35. This is what always confuses me when he talks about Contraction. I tried to understand the video, but just can't really connect by what he means by it. I understand pushing farther than it should. I been getting into working out and all my stuff looks like I'm half assing it. I'm not really getting the shakes like he is, even though the weights are heavy. Like, if I'm doing a flex, do I keep trying to push that barbell as close to me as possible? When I try to do it like my life depends on it, it just results in moving my muscles faster…

  36. this is something i never knew when i tried weight training in my 20`s. none of the books i read on doing the exercises stated to flex the Muscles nor did they mention water intake or eating more food. it was no wonder i was hurting myself so much. i also did not know about diet and water intake!! all 3 points would have helped me immensely, if i had known about them in my youth!! thank you so much for sharing this info Jeff, with love from Wes!!! hugs!!!

  37. When do I know to squeeze? If don't know what u doing u can hurt the joints. You should do a video on how to squeeze each muscle.

  38. It’s funny because this seems like a very obvious and simple concept. But it is something that is forgotten by a lot of us

  39. should i flex ,tide up my muscle in the concentric and in the eccentric contraction ?

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