Cheat Your Way to Massive Gains

Properly placed cheat reps can take you from good/big to great/huge

Want bigger arms, a thicker chest and back, and legendary legs? Read on. Many of you already use cheat moves, and for the super huge and ripped, this information may not be new, but I’m still willing to bet you can find a few take-away points to build the perfect physique.

For those not using cheat reps, I ask only one question: “Why Not?” The mention of the word “cheat” to most athletes basically starts with “no way” but ends with “how can I get away with it.” While I’m not suggesting that cheating in athletics is acceptable, I willfully admit that it’s a part of sports. Whether intentional or not, a little cheat here and there can go a long way, and has made a positive difference in the out- come and end result. At first pass, cheating, in anything, has a negative connotation to it. When you dive a little deeper into the mechanics of a good cheat with respect to building muscle, somehow the negative quickly becomes a positive.

In lifting weights, there is no need to hide or feign ignorance; besides, no one cares anyway. And for the naysayers who argue that cheating could be dangerous or doesn’t work the muscles, I have only one comment: “Do you even lift, bro?” A well-planned cheat cannot only help increase strength and power, but can push plateaus to break, and help increase hard-to-gain size. The key, however, is to cheat with a purpose, not just randomly throw weights around.


The obvious way to prevent cheating is to end your set before you need to cheat. For those who do not lift much or don’t want to work hard, this option works fine. But for anyone looking to add serious size, a few cheat reps are your best bet, as they represent the immediate ability to prolong a set without any help and little extra time. Being able to get another rep to the hardcore lifter means one step closer to their goal. In a 10-rep set, each rep is 10%, so being able to add another two or three reps can make a big difference over the long haul. Most importantly, cheat reps allow you to either lift slightly heavier than normal or keep your weight the same throughout the set. While dropsets will allow you to get that extra volume, and are a great way of getting extra reps, it requires lightening the load. However, while cheat reps keep the weight heavy, if you have to cheat too soon in your set, you will lose the targeted rep range that you’re looking for.

Cheat reps should be performed on no more than the last two reps of a planned set and serve an even greater benefit when they’re added after your target rep range has been met. In other words, if your target rep range is 12 and you’re cheating before Rep 10, the weight is too heavy, but if you get 13 or 14 reps by adding a cheat, you are dialed in perfectly.


You gotta love having rules for something that you really shouldn’t be doing. But in weight training, you really should be adding a cheat, especially if you’re working out alone. The following are the 8 Commandments for Cheating:

  • THOU SHALT NOT CHEAT TOO SOON - The weight is too heavy if you need to cheat from Rep 1.
  • THOU SHALT NOT CHEAT ON EVERY SET - Cheating too much can lead to overtraining and poor technique.
  • THOU SHALT NOT CHEAT ON COMPLEX EXERCISES - Big benching, squatting, and other multi-joint lifts like the power clean need to be careful that technique is not compromised.
  • THOU SHALT NOT LAUNCH WEIGHTS HAPHAZARDLY - A controlled cheat improves strength and size, a launch simply completes a task improperly.
  • THOU SHALT NOT CHEAT UNLESS YOU HAVE TO CHEAT - Complete your set to the best of your ability and add when you have to.
  • THOU SHALL WORK HARD ON EVERY REP OF EVERY SET, SO A CHEAT IS JUST A CONTINUATION OF A HARD-FOUGHT SET - If this needs explanation, you really need to consider why you go to the gym.
  • THOU SHALT NOT ACT LIKE AN ASS IN THE GYM - Okay, so this has nothing to do with cheating, but I think it’s worth mentioning. Don’t make us meatheads who do care what we’re doing look bad.

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