When it comes to building strength and muscle, negatives are often underestimated. However, all bodybuilders and strength athletes make use of negatives to maximize their gains. After all, what are negative?
Whenever you lift a weight in the force of contracting the muscle you are performing a positive movement, but as you lower the weight by extending the muscle you are performing a negative movement. Negative repetitions put greater stress on the tendons and more supporting structures than the muscles themselves, which is good because you want the strength of the tendons to increase along with those of the muscles. There is no miraculous training There is no magic diet. What exists is focus perseverance and most importantly never give up!The 3 phases of the exercise:
- Positive: Contracting the muscle. Rising the weight.
- Static: No movement. Just holding the weight on top of the movement.
- Negative: Extending the muscle. Going down the weight.
Negative series squats
These phases are the same for all exercises. In this article we will focus only on the negative phase of movement, ie the extension of the muscle. In the direct thread the negative will be the weight drop, in the bench press will be the phase where we bring the bar to the chest.
As your strength varies between the 3 phases
The amount of weight the muscles can handle varies greatly in all three phases. Let’s use the bench press as an example. Let’s say your maximum repetition (1 RM) on the bench press is 100kg. Obviously this is the maximum weight you can move during the positive phase of the movement. But if it were just to lower the weight, you would see that you get stronger and can lift more than 100kg. Most people can hold up to 20% more weight in the static phase (just standing still) and even more in the negative phase. This is where things get interesting, the amount you would just get down to the chest on the bench press could be 40 to 50 percent more than normal. This means that in the negative phase you are 50% stronger.
Why are you stronger in the negative phase?
The reason you are stronger in the negative and static phase is that your body does not want you to lift anything heavier than you can really handle. It is a basic body defense system. For example, if it were the opposite (50% stronger positive and 50% less downhill), you would be able to lift a very high weight above you, but from the moment you are lowering the weight would go straight to the floor ( or upon you), because you would never have the same strength to lower a weight. Understood ?
How negative training works.
Negative training is just one of several approaches to gaining muscle mass. Like many other techniques for hypertrophy, negatives work by overloading your muscles, shocking you, and fooling your body into thinking that you are lifting more weight in the positive phase.
Negative training allows you to lift a load that exceeds your body’s limit. This type of training is particularly effective if you are facing a plateau or having trouble increasing training loads.
There are three basic styles of negative training. All are effective and can be used in conjunction with your current workout:
- Pure Negative Series
As the name suggests, in pure negatives, you will do only the negative part of the series and nothing more. Only the descent of the exercise.
- Negative Finishing Series
In this technique, you will do the series normally and when you can’t take it anymore, you will finish the series with another 2 or 3 negative repetitions.
- Negatives with supersets
Just like a normal superset, but using negatives.
- How to make the negatives.
- Bench Press Negative Series
The right form and proper charge to perform negative repetitions is not always well known. Each repetition with emphasis on the negative part should take a little longer than the negative phase of a normal repetition. Depending on the range of motion of the exercise, this could take anywhere from 3 to 6 seconds.
The initial load used for eccentric training should be approximately 105% of your 1RM for this exercise. As an example, if you can lift 100 kg in exercise only once, use 105 kg for negative repetitions.
You can increase this load if you are able to do more than 6 repetitions at this weight (6 repetitions is the maximum number you should do in negative training – if you can do more repetitions, then you are not using enough weight for this method is fully sufficient.
The real key to efficient negative training is how you lower your weight. Don’t just drop your weight the same way you would in a normal repetition.
You have to actively and consciously fight gravity by pushing (or pulling, depending on the exercise) as hard as you can against weight.
If you do not fight weight, your results will not be optimal. If you have done eccentric training in the past and have not felt extremely sore the next day, then you probably were not struggling with weight. Try this tip and feel the difference.