By no means am I talking about being a negative nancy or a dick. Definitely not talking about raining on people’s positivity parades. If you’re about that then I ain’t got time for you. What I am talking about is working in the Negative. That area that few of us dabble with because it’s fcking hard! It can make the lightest of weights seems like you’re setting new PRs. I definitely try to never skip leg day… but a Negative day?! I might consider it. But at the end of the day, “being negative” without a doubt has its benefits.
What is the Negative?
It’s a deep dark place reserved for those of strong mind and body. A place that when done right, will elicit tons of expletives and a deep burn that will make you question life. Those bold enough to explore unchartered territories and unlock untapped beaucoup gains.
Ok, Ok. Perhaps I’m over-hyping and over-delivering. But, personally, I think being negative or working in the negative is fcking hard…
- The Negative is the eccentric portion of a lift. In other words, the lowering of a weight and heading back to your starting point
- Think the down phase of a squat or lowering of a bicep curl.
- The lengthening phase of your muscles
Why is Being Negative Good?
Because it’s really fcking hard. The human body doesn’t like things that are challenging and difficult. It’s initial desire is to be as cool as the other side of the pillow… aka incredibly super comfortable.
- It is an advanced technique. When the standard 8 – 12 reps protocol isn’t working
- You are stronger on the eccentric portion than you are in the concentric phase
- Gravity… it’s undefeated
Microtrauma, which is muscle fiber damage, will go down during the eccentric phase. The repair cycle is when the gains happen. Mmmmm…
Ok, less creepy Dan. We are capable of lifting potentially 25% more weight in the eccentric portion than we are in the concentric phase. We have always been told, form over everything. Part of form is controlling the weight instead of letting the weight control you. So think about a squat, which is so technical. Don’t you think it would be incredibly beneficial from a technique standpoint to be able to lower 225lbs, 315lbs, 405lbs (whatever your working weight is) at a pace of 3 seconds or slower?! The amount of muscle activation needed is insane. It’s fcking hard for sure! But I guarantee you’re going to feel every muscle needed to perform that firing.
Transfer that effort into the concentric phase… You’re looking at easier reps thanks to that muscle hypertrophy you have just created.
I won’t get into the fancy scientific jargon. Simply put, negative training leads to massive gains. There is a ton of scientific research out there both old and new backing the positive effects of Negative training. Perhaps you’re into reading scientific studies… (get a cup of coffee and check this one)
The two pieces of advice we have;
- Do your research on negative training
- Have a spotter
As it is an advanced method, it’s not something to just jump into. And as you’ll probably be doing weights that are much heavier than normal, it massively helps to have someone making sure you don’t hurt yourself.
Are you currently incorporating negative training? We would love to hear your feedback!
Cheers to Being Negative!!!