Sunday, 19 July 2009

Training Negatives: Muscle and Strength

Training negatives is one of those training techniques that I never see people do when in the gym; this however is something I don’t understand as trainings negatives is a big positive.

What is negatives training?

For those that don’t know, when you lift there are three areas of the lift and these are:

  • Positive: Contracting the muscle, as in curling a barbell to the top of a biceps curl.
  • Static: Not moving, holding the weight in one position.
  • Negative: Extending the muscle, as in lowering the barbell down.
So training the negative is not lifting the weight to the top but just carrying out the part of controlling the weight down to the bottom of the lift. This is done by using a training partner who will lift the weight to the top for you.

Why should we train the negative section of the lift?

Well the body has a defense mechanism whereby it is always stronger on the negative than on the positive. Imagine that you could lift something up but didn’t have the strength to put it down that would cause us to sustain all sorts of injuries.

The key to why negative training works is the fact that because of the above you can lift more on the negative than you can on the positive. In essence if you can biceps curl 35 kg normally then with someone lifting the weight for you and you just controlling the negative you will probably be able to handle 40kg to 45kg in weight. It is this key reason that you will find your overall strength increase as your body gets used to lifting a bigger loan on the negative.

It is important to note that with negative training you should not complete this week in and week out as its taxing on the body. The suggestion is to use it in 6 to 8 week cycles with a good break in between and only using one exercise of three sets per muscle group workout.

Below is an example of the negative biceps curl.


b0ll0cks said...

Great article, I used to always focus part of my workout on the negative. This was a good reminder at how important it is.