Nowadays there doesn’t seem to be a day that goes by without some fitness guru showing you some exercise and all the benefits of it. But unfortunately, since they are not professionals evidence that sometimes some of the fads they may be advertising may not be accurate or even healthy. With that said, some fads like negative reps are backed up by real science and have a lot of benefits if you are trying to get in shape!
Negative reps are the portion of the repetition where your muscles are extending, not contracting. Think of a bicep curl. The positive part of the rep is the bit where the weight is moving up towards your shoulder. The negative part is where the weight is being lowered back down again.
Pushups are another excellent exercise with which to practice negative reps. The negative rep is accentuated when you lower yourself in a controlled manner down to the floor because you want to avoid hurting your head, and it also provides extra training for your muscles.
Ellington Darden has a PhD in exercise physiology and has written a book called the Body Fat Breakthrough. In it, he talks a lot about the importance of negative reps and how they can help you to lose weight. He says that by using negative reps, he has helped many of his clients lose up to 30 pounds in 30 days.
Reading Ellington’s books, you might come away thinking that negative reps are a magic bullet, able to transform your body in a matter of weeks. But, as it turns out, the reason they are so beneficial has more to do with how they complement the positive part of the movement. Although the science still isn’t settled, many exercise experts think that during the positive phase of the action, the muscle becomes engorged with blood to provide the energy the tissue needs to perform the contraction.
In the negative phase, less energy is required, and so the muscle has a chance to open up and take on more nutrients. It’s in this phase that the muscle is most prone to micro-tears the small lesions in the muscle exercise scientists think results in adaptation and increased size and strength. So adding a slow negative portion to the rep might be the secret of how to get a summer body.
How To Perform Negative Reps
As a general rule of thumb, the negative part of the movement should last about twice as long as the lifting phase. For instance, if you’re doing pull-ups, the upward period might last one second and the downward phase, two. Don’t be surprised if you can’t do as many reps when you include a slow negative: that’s normal. It just shows that you’re working your muscles more effectively.
There may also be benefits of including slower negatives. Ellington recommends that his clients spent at least 20 seconds lowering themselves down to the floor while doing pushups. This helps to attack all parts of the chest muscle, ensuring that it is adequately worked and develops evenly.
When training it is always about quality over quantity because if you are not doing exercises properly you will never see results! If you are unsure if you are doing exercises properly doing them in front of a mirror, or consulting an expert may help! If consulting an expert is not an option for you playing along to a workout video may also be an option to help with making sure you are doing exercises correctly! If you have any questions about why negative reps will transform your body please leave them in the comments below.
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Life with Spina Bifida is a personal blog that is all about my life with a disability, chronic pain as well as encouraging hope and positivity for those who are suffering. You are not alone!