Whether your goal is to increase your muscle strength, break past a plateau, or simply become more defined, negative reps are an important element to any effective training regimen. For those who don’t know what they are, let’s explain what a negative rep is. You see, most people lift weights the old fashioned way: they slowly lift the weight and quickly bring it back down. A negative rep is completely backwards. Instead of bringing the weight down quickly, you are doing it much more slowly. Basically, you are “fighting gravity” by keeping the weight from falling.
Let’s take a look at an example: Let’s pretend you are performing a bench press. Typical form would be to keep your arms extended and your feet flat on the ground. Then you would work hard lifting the weight up and quickly bring it back down to prepare for the next rep. With a negative rep, you are quickly shooting the weight up and slowly bringing it back down. The slower you bring the weight back down, the more effective the exercise is going to be.
The Benefits of Negative Reps
Let’s take a moment to discuss why negative reps are an important aspect of physical training. For one, they add an even great amount of stimulation to your current workouts. Note that these can be used on any exercise. As you do them, you’ll become more exhausted, quicker. This means that you’ll be achieving a much more intense workout and thus, making more progress. Also, negative reps also force you to be more in control of the weight. As a result, you’ll need to develop much better technique to perform them.
Negative rep workouts allow you to overload your muscles with much more resistance than they are normally used to doing. Therefore, this is an excellent way to break past a plateau and gain confidence as you are able lift more weight and gain more muscle mass. In general, negative reps should last longer than the “Positive” segment of the exercise.
Tips for Effective Negative Rep Exercises
You should try to make a negative rep last between 4 and 6 seconds. Anything less than that and you can’t label it as this exercise. If you aren’t able to make your negative reps last this long then you should consider lowering the weight so that you can better manage it. It is important that you have a spotter when you are performing negative reps- especially if this is your first time doing them. They can be physically demanding even on the fittest individuals.
Some professional lifters use negative reps as a form of discipline. For example, if they are not happy with a certain aspect of their form during a set, they’ll perform a negative rep to ensure that they received the most out of their workout. Negative reps are extremely powerful and have been a staple in bodybuilding for a long time. They can help you become stronger, lose weight, or simply provide you with something different to do.