Just recently we covered the benefits of implementing partial reps in your training but let’s review another one of my favorite intensity builders; negative reps.
Negative rep training, also known as eccentric training, involves loading a weight movement in only the down or muscle-lengthening phase.
As you know you can only build quality muscle mass if you can generate progressively stronger muscular contractions, so this calls for an emphasis on finding ways to increase your workout intensity.
Don’t confuse this with how long you train because as you increase your training intensity you will actually shorten the time needed to achieve maximum muscular growth.
How’s that for maximizing your time in the gym?
Let’s face it, our time is precious and the time we spend in the gym should be as effective and as productive as possible.
In this post we’ll focus on the role that negative reps have to play in intensifying your training time and impact.
At the most basic level, human muscles have three types of strength:
1. Positive strength – the ability to raise a weight.
2. Static strength – the ability to hold a weight.
3. Negative strength – the ability to lower a weight.
Many bodybuilders concentrate primarily on their muscles’ positive and static strength but equal focus should be given to negative strength, or lowering the weight, if true muscle failure is to be achieved.
You can emphasize this aspect of your training by completing a set of negative reps after reaching positive failure.
Depending on the exercise, you’ll need one or two training partners to lift the weight to the top position so you can lower it under your own control. Once you can no longer control the descent, the set ends.
For example, during a shoulder workout let’s say you’re doing a negative shoulder press, you would start with the barbell or dumbbells in the top position (the weight would be more than you could lift on your own if you had to push it back up), lower that heavy weight under control to the bottom position of the exercise, then have a partner help you return the weight back to the top position.
Now, the real key to get the most out of negative repetitions is by actively fighting gravity by pushing or pulling as hard as you can against the weight.
Take extra precaution with leg exercises and avoid negative squats to protect the knees.
If you’re new to bodybuilding you should not incorporate negative reps into your training until you have established good form and control. If you are a seasoned bodybuilder you can be very creative in how you incorporate negative reps into your workout routines.
In a nutshell, adding a set of negative repetitions to some exercises is a powerful way to intensify your workout so you can maximize your muscle growth and development.
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About the author
Marco Carbajo is a bodybuilder, entrepreneur, writer, author, speaker, trainer, and founder of Bodybuildingblogger.com, the premier online source for bodybuilders all over the world providing top level workouts, supplements, nutrition, news, resources, and motivation.