If you read my previous article on ‘’cheating’’ in the gym using the acclaimed ‘’cheat system’’ then you will know I am a huge advocator of using negative repetitions (the phase of the repetition at which you lower the weight). By focussing on the negative portion of a repetition I believe you can unlock new levels of growth! Just today I was showing a new gym user how to do this with a leg extension machine. After making them spend at least 2 seconds during the negative phase they instantly felt the target muscle (quadriceps) fall under a lot more tension! The beauty of doing this is that you can increase the stress/tension on the muscle without using more weight! This is great for those who are guilty of using too much weight with poor form. No egos here!!
Recently I came across a way to overcome the common issue with negative training, a lack of a training partner because without one it is pretty hard to do! However, I was reading a piece written by the awesome Dr Jim Stoppani which addressed this issue. He wrote about using unilateral exercises (one side at a time) and spotting that side with the free hand. Stoppani even used the example of pressing on a smith machine with one side, I have tried it for the last 6 weeks and I have to say it helped a lot when my training partner wasn’t there! In hindsight I wish I had come across this or learnt about it before because it can be very hard to take the muscle beyond failure if you are training alone. Recently I have in fact been doing some exercises purely as a ‘’negative’’ workout with no focus on the concentric contraction. The progress is noticeable in strength and within my weak muscle groups, overall I rate this approach!!
Below I am going to share with you an example routine I have been using.
One arm pure negative pull down X 3 6-8 120 seconds rest
Latt pull down X 3 6-8 120 seconds rest
Barbell bent over rows X 3 6-8 120 seconds rest
One arm dumbbell row X 3 6-8 120 seconds rest
The unilateral exercises are the ones I spot myself with whilst the two handed compound exercises are the ones I focus purely on doing negatives, nothing else. This isn’t for everyone and it certainly isn’t for every week, but as a means to break through barriers I have come to love this!
What are you waiting for? Give it a go and get negative!