Hello everyone! Did you know there’s a simple way to get more out of your workout that many people never think about.
It’s called doing negatives or eccentric training. A lot of people only know about the advantages of concentric training which is when your muscles contract.
When your muscles contract the muscle fibers shorten. However, when you release the tension in your muscles the muscle fibers lengthen. By slowing down the lengthening process, you can increase your muscle strength over time.
Most people don’t do this though, and instead lengthen their muscles quickly or let gravity do it. The process of lengthening your muscles slowly is basically eccentric training. It’s sometimes called doing negatives or negative training.
Now, you shouldn’t do negatives with every workout because you can get fatigued fairly quickly. Most likely your muscles will be more sore than usual and you’ll need a longer recovery time. I wouldn’t suggest doing more than 6-8 eccentric movements more than twice a week.
If you do it more than that just be aware your recovery time will probably be longer after working out. The great thing about eccentric training is you can do it with many exercise movements. Below are some common exercises you can do negatives with and how to do each one.
1. Push-ups – When going down, lower yourself slowly while counting to 4, you should be on 4 in the down position, then push yourself back up.
2. Crunchies – Lower your back slowly down to the ground counting to 4, you should be on 4 when your back touches the ground, then raise your trunk back up.
3. Dumbbell Curl – Bring the weight down slowly with a 4 count, then raise the dumbbell back up.
4. Weighted Squat – This can be down 2 ways. Whether you use a barbell across your back or dumbbells in your hands it works the same.
As you lower yourself down to the squat position do it slowly while counting to 4. Once you’re in a squat position, raise yourself back up.
5. Overhead Press – To do this, you curl the dumbbells up first. Then you lift the weights over your head, while turning your palms outward at the same time. When the weights are over your head, bring them down to shoulder level slowly with a 4 count. Then resume lifting them over your head.
These are just a few exercises you can do eccentric training with. Just about any exercise that involves your muscles lengthening can have negative reps done with it. Below are some of the benefits of eccentric training.
1. Strength – Your overall muscular strength is increased within the fibers and tissues.
2. Joints – Your ligaments and tendons become stronger during the muscle lengthening process.
3. Flexibility – Since your joints become stronger this leads to improved flexibility.
4. Balance and Coordination – Having stronger muscles and joints also helps with better balance and coordination.
5. Power – By having better muscular strength you’ll be able to have more power in explosive movements.
6. Injury Recovery – Recovering from injuries can be shortened by having better overall strength and stronger muscle fibers.
Summary – As I mentioned before, eccentric training shouldn’t be done all the time. You should do it within your workout program occasionally to stimulate muscle strength. It’s very easy to incorporate because you can do negatives with many exercises.
So the next time you’re doing an exercise with fairly easy movements, go ahead and do a few negative reps. I’m sure you’ll be able to feel the results later, in a positive way. The ACSM (American Council of Sports Medicine) did a great article on eccentric training you can see here.
If you have any comments or questions please let me know in the comments section and I’ll get back to you. Thanks for your time and don’t forget about the negatives!