This workout tip from a four-time Mr Olympia winner bodybuilder blew my mind

Jay Cutler explains how the smallest changes in technique can increase workout efficiency

Muscular man exercise with dumbbell lieas on bench in red-blue gradient light in dark gym hall
(Image credit: Getty Images)

I'm always keen on learning new workout methods, especially if they help me grow the biggest lats possible. And I can't imagine anyone more qualified to dish out workout advice than four-time Mr Olympia winner Jay Cutler, who still looks huge, despite being nearly 50—talking about getting fit over 40!

One thing I like about Jay is that you can tell he still works out; just look at the circumference of his arms in the video below. They are massive! Jay has never been a petite guy: in his professional years, he weighed around 260 lb/118 kg when in contest (leanest) and 290 lb/132 kg off-season (peak bulk). I'm sure he's not far off from that weight even now.

In his latest Instagram post, Jay explains how to use a predominantly chest-focused exercise – the dumbbell pullover – to grow big pats. That's right; you'll be able to use an exercise to build big pecs and widen your lats. How crazy is that! Plus, as a bonus, the movement will also stretch your abs and improve shoulder mobility.

Watch the video:

As you can see, all Jay does to achieve the desired results is change his grip on the dumbbell. Usually, you want to hold the weight plate at one end when doing dumbbell pullovers, but by gripping the handle instead of the plate, you activate your lats more. It sounds like a small change – it really is – but this is all it takes to build muscle efficiently.

Jay also mentions the "stretch", similar to how Armold Schwarzenegger believed that a deep pecs fly helped him widen his chest. Bodybuilders will always say the quickest way to build muscle is to use the full range of motion and move the body in a slow and controlled fashion, maximising muscle activation.

Get more out of your workouts by strengthening the Muscle-Mind connection

A minor tweak such as this one only works if you have a decent muscle-mind connection (MMC). MMC is the reason why bodybuilders have such defined muscles as opposed to powerlifters and strongmen who are generally just huge (they also have big muscles, just look at The Mountain). Diet also plays a crucial role but having a strong MMC will enable lifters to use lighter weights yet see better results than others trying to power through their workouts.

And this is not just bor science. A study in 2016 concluded that "resistance-trained individuals can increase triceps brachii or pectoralis major muscle activity during the bench press when focusing on using the specific muscle at intensities up to 60 % of 1RM", where 1RM stands for one-rep-max.

Why bother building a strong MMC? You can just go heavy and achieve the same result, right? Using MMC, you can train with lighter weights which puts less strain on your joints and can even help you recover faster. You can and should go heavy from time to time but for a non-professional lifter, working on MMC is more critical than throwing an extra weight plate on the barbell at each workout.

Matt is T3's Fitness Editor and covers everything from smart fitness tech to running and workout shoes, home gym equipment, exercise how-tos, nutrition, cycling, and more. His byline appears in several publications, including Techradar (opens in new tab) and Fit&Well (opens in new tab), and he collaborated with other fitness content creators such as Garage Gym Reviews (opens in new tab).