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  • Fay Ellis

Gain more muscle with negatives


Do you pay any attention to the negative phase of your repetition?


Here's a quick paragraph taken from Delavier's Strength Training Anatomy Workout II describing the negative portion of a rep.


"When a contracted muscle (imagine a barbell curl at the top) is not ready to lengthen back to it's stretched position, and the muscle is moved forcefully by a weight, the confrontation of these two resistances causes alot of cellular damage. This is exactly what happens during the negative phase of a repetition (the phase where weight is lowered and during which the muscle resists the pull of the weight) and, to a lesser extent, when you perform stretching exercises. This weight-muscle confrontation damages the fibres, forcing the body to repair itself and then to grow.

The stretching tension is a powerful signal for growth. To exploit the potential for growth, you need to accentuate the negative phase for each repetion."


Did you know that the resulting damage from the negative phase can be more traumatic for the fibres than the positive phase?


Now this doesn't mean that you should slow down or have forced negatives on every single rep. Like with anything, the more you do something the body will get used to it and will likely lessen the response.


You SHOULD however, when not specifically trying to make it work harder, always have a controlled negative


Slowing down a negative can also give you a more powerful positive phase as you store elastic energy - a bit like an elastic band being stretched and released. This is highly beneficial to athletes like Powerlifters.


So how can we accentuate our negatives during bodybuilding style training to help bring on new muscle growth? Here are a few ideas for you to try.


Perform these during the last and hardest set of a particular exercise, you could do this for 1 or 2 different movements in your workout. We throw them in every now and again and it works wonders. There are a wide range of exercises you can try these movements with!


▪️ Slow down the negative phase of the repetition (imagine say 3-5 secs negative for a bench press) and drive up fast on the positive. If you are more advanced you can also sit at the stretch for a couple of seconds for each rep, this will reduce the number of reps you do but will create a nice anabolic response.


▪️ Forced negatives. For this you will need to grab an (experienced) training partner and get them to lightly push against the weight during the negative phase.


▪️ Negative only reps. For this you can either go to complete positive failure on a set and have your training partner carry on lifting the positive portion for you and you control the negative. Or, you can start the exercise with a heavier weight than normal and have your partner assist with the positive from the get go and you control all the negative aspects of the lift.


Obviously you might be limited with which exercises for this particular choice, e.g you may not have someone to do heavy positives for you on a leg press.

It has been proven that we can hold more weight during the negative phase than during the positive phase but make sure you always lift safe.


▪️ Add bands to an exercise. This will actually make the negative portion faster as the band pulls the weight back down and you are forced to work harder to control the negative.


There will be a crossover with increased time under tension and controlling your negatives, both creating an environment for increased muscle growth.


💡A few tips:


You may find that you feel more sore than usual so make sure you 1) use an intra workout drink 2) eat to repair and grow 3) stay hydrated 4) stretch after your session.


If you need a hand and want to try these whilst training here please grab myself or Chris and we'll be happy to help.


Fay


💪🏾


#bodybuilding #motivation #gym #musclegain



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