I’m not really sure if I’ve done much talking on the blog about negatives before, but I sure use this type of training to create more intensity into my workouts and it’s freaking awesome. It’s about time I share it with you guys!
Negatives overload the muscle during exercise which increases the overall intensity of the exercise you’re performing. The key to negatives is controlling the tempo of the negative phase during each repetition.
Read all about tempo HERE if you’re unfamiliar with it, because you’re going to need to know how to control your tempo in order to perform negatives properly.
Basically negatives are called negatives because you want to slow down the eccentric phase during the exercise being performed to a slow tempo. The eccentric phase is also known as the negative phase. Depending on the range of motion, the tempo could be slowed down anywhere from 3 – 6 seconds.
Most of the time when I workout, I perform sets of 4 or 5, depending on the style I’m working with, but when I use negatives I usually stick with 3 sets. This way I still have optimum recovery time between workout days after breaking down so much muscle tissue. Negatives are quite intense and it’s hard to get out 4 or 5 sets while performing them properly. 😉 You’re going to be feeling quite sore the next day so I’d recommend sticking with 3 sets.
During the eccentric phase is when the majority of the muscle tears happen. This is what causes the muscles to adapt, recover, and ultimately builds bigger and stronger muscles. This is exactly why negatives are a great way to change your workouts and add intensity to help your overall physique. (and results!) Plus, more muscle means your body will burn more calories, and then you also get to eat more. Big smiles there!
Have you ever been to the gym and saw someone, ok, usually a guy, who’s lifting those big ass 75lb dumbbells for bicep curls but then drops them before obtaining his full range of motion? Well I always think it’s funny when I see them, because they’ve totally lost the whole eccentric phase in that last rep they had to try so hard to do. Basically, doing nothing to the muscle. Come on guy!
EXAMPLE OF A CHEST & TRICEP NEGATIVE WORKOUT
In the past I posted this Oh My, My, Pumping Up Those Chest & Tri’s Workout. It’s a superset workout which consists in completing 4 – 5 sets for each superset. To show an example of how you can incorporate negatives into any workout, I’ve taken the exercises from that workout and created a negative workout for you to try!
Complete 3 sets of each of the following exercises.
Rest 30 – 45 seconds between each set.
CABLE CHEST FLY x8
CABLE CHEST PRESS x8
CABLE FRONT RAISE x8 (per arm)
CABLE PULLDOWN x10
DB SKULL CRUSHER x10
DUMBBELL TRICEP EXTENSION x10
+ place your hands at the edge of a bench, fully extend your legs in front of you with your heels on the ground and toes up (if you’re at home, you can do this on the floor or a set of stairs)
+ bend both elbows together, lowering your butt down towards the floor, using a tempo of 5 – 6 seconds
+ use your triceps/shoulders to push yourself back into the starting position
CABLE CHEST FLY
+ stand with one leg in front of the other, bending the knee in front and engage your core
+ slightly lean forward, keeping your back straight and hold a handle in each hand
+ fully extend your arms in front of you with palms facing each other and holding them close together
+ open your arms, slightly bending your elbows, bringing your hands about parallel to your side (careful not to open too wide) use a tempo of 5 – 6 seconds
+ squeeze your chest muscles and pull the bands/machine back to starting position
CABLE CHEST PRESS
+ stand as you did during the chest fly exercise, engaging your core
+ bend your elbows to a 90 degree with your fists facing forward, hold a handle of the band/machine in each hand
+ face your palms to the floor
+ using your chest muscles, push the resistance/weight directly in front of you, bringing your palms close together, fully extending your arms
+ slowly release back to starting position, with a slow tempo of 6 seconds
CABLE FRONT RAISE
+ stand on the middle of the band, holding a handle in each hand, face your palms towards your body with your arms fully extended by your side
+ using one arm at a time, lift the weight, bringing your hand to about shoulder height
+ slowly lower using a tempo of 4 – 5 seconds, release and immediately perform the next rep on the opposite side
TIP: if you’re at the gym, using a cable machine, perform one side at a time and stand next to the cable extension, with it on its lowest setting.
+ hold a handle in each hand, palms facing each other, starting with your upper arms close to your side and a 90 degree bend in your elbows
+ pull the weight down towards the floor, using your tricep muscles
+ slowly release back to starting position, with a slow tempo of 4 – 5 seconds
DUMBBELL SKULL CRUSHER
+ lying on a bench (or the floor) hold a dumbbell in each hand with your palms facing each other
+ you can do whatever you prefer with your legs (fully extending if you’re on the ground, bending your knees if you’re on a bench or the floor, or bending your knees to a 90 degree on a bench with your feet flat on the floor)
+ fully extend your arms directly above your chest, bend your elbows to a 90 degree lowering the dumbbells towards your head, using a slow tempo of 5 – 6 seconds
+ use your triceps to push the weight back up into the starting position
DUMBBELL TRICEP EXTENSION
+ hold a dumbbell in each hand, fully extending your arms above your head with your palms facing each other
+ bend both elbows together, lowering the dumbbells behind your head, using a slow tempo of 4 – 5 seconds
+ bend your elbows to a 90 degree, and use your triceps to push the dumbbells back into starting position
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I wish I had the pictures for this workout still, because I would have changed each gif and slowed the eccentric phase so you can see the negatives being performed properly, so please, use your imagination and slow the eccentric phase to about 4 – 6 seconds for each exercise.
Have you tried negatives before? Do you complete a full workout using them or do you have some killer finishers using negatives? I’d love to hear!