Negative Reps – Advanced Weight Lifting Technique
Studies have shown that the eccentric (or lowering) portion of the exercise is often what’s responsible for breaking down the muscles and stimulating muscle growth.
Negative reps, or negative training, is the use of a slow, controlled eccentric aspect of a lift to stimulate muscle growth, or to train/prepare the central nervous system (CNS) to handle heavier strength loads. The eccentric aspect of a lift is the returning of the weight to it’s starting position, normally in preparation for another rep. But in the case of negative training, this returning of the weight, or eccentric focus, does not involves positive reps (it could involve forced reps).
Examples of negative training are:
- Bench Press Negatives – A slow lowering of the weight from an arms extended position to your chest. A spotter(s) will help you lift the weight back up, and several more negatives may be performed.
- Barbell Curl Negatives – With the barbell near your chest and your biceps in a contracted position, you slowly lower the weight until your arms are fully extended.
Negatives can be use as a stand alone technique, apart from a set, or at the end of a set after a trainee has already taxed themselves near failure.
Negatives work by overloading your muscles, shocking your muscles and tricking your muscles body into thinking you are moving a heavier weight on the positive phase.
This type of training is particularly effective if you’re plateauing and having trouble increasing weights in your workouts.
You should not replace your workout with negatives, but integrate them into your current routine to add intensity and mix things up a bit.
To a certain extent, you can use almost any exercise for negative training. But the best exercises to for negatives are:
- Bench press
- Wide grip pull up (jump up on the bar and lower yourself down)
- Bicep curl
- Bicep preacher curl
- Close grip bench press
- Smith machine shoulder press