What does Negatives mean?
Lifting weights is associated with a concentric or muscle shortening contraction i.e. the positive portion of the lift. Isometric contractions take place when a muscle develops tension but its length does not change. This could range from attempting to lift an unmovable object to statically holding a weight in place. Eccentric Training means muscle-lengthening contraction; in the gym world, it is known as a negatives.
In bodybuilding, athletes are always looking for the best way to get better, faster, and stronger.
Truthfully, the technique you’re seeking is one you probably already know, one that can get you the results and the physique you want with a shallow learning curve: negatives.
Negative, or eccentric, training is a technique in which you simply extend your time under tension in the eccentric portion of the repetition. The lowering or extending phase of a muscle contraction, as opposed to the concentric (positive) lifting and contracting phase.
Negatives are a great way to add more intensity into your workouts and overload the muscle groups engaged in the exercises you are performing. Negatives are performed by controlling the tempo of the repetition and slowing down the lowering phase of the lift to an approximate 3-5 seconds rep count.
Do negatives help build that muscle though?
If you want to grow muscles, you have to overload them, and adding intensity and time under tension with negative training can ignite the protein-synthesis process in the body. Negatives also recruit more fast-twitch fibers (which have greater growth potential). Several studies that compared concentric and eccentric contractions in terms of hypertrophic gain declared eccentric training the champion. Research shows fast-twitch fibers increased 10 times more negatives.
Training at a higher intensity means greater stress placed on the body. Greater stress means greater adaptation, more motor units recruited, a higher release of growth hormone. Along with an increase in the synthesis of protein in the body. Eccentric training or negatives amp up metabolism for up to 72 hours after workouts, meaning increased fat burning and a muscular body.
Focused negative exercise, the kind that occurs when you first do the slow lowering of a Push-Up, etc. This can cause microscopic tears, which ignite the protein-synthesis process. Also, negative training was significantly more effective in increasing muscular size. As well as provides more strength than positive-style training.
Whether you decide to incorporate dedicated eccentric training in your program. You can still get many of the size-and-strength benefits by simply slowing your reps down. Also, if heavy negatives sound too dangerous, consider using self-spot on exercises that allow for it. Dumbbell curls, for example, or machines that have self-spot mechanisms built-in.
Read more about exercises from our page.