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Negitive Weight Training Is PositiveBy Chris Mason
O.K., so the title is really corny. The title may be corny, but the principle is not. Negative exercise is the best training method there is. It can be difficult to perform because you need at least two partners to do the concentric (lifting) phase of every movement for you. If you have two willing partners, round them up and get to the gym! Wait, better read this article first.
I will first describe negative exercise. To perform negative exercise you must first warm up in a standard fashion. Next, you load the bar with 40% more weight than you would normally use for 8 repetitions (specific number of repetitions may vary for you, but 8 is a good number to start with). Let us use the bench press for our example. Get into the standard position to perform bench presses (body positioning, grip etc.). Have one partner stand on either side of the bar. When you are ready, ask your partners to unrack the weight and hand it to you with your arms in the locked-out position. Begin the exercise by slowly lowering the weight to your chest. Take 8-10 seconds to perform the eccentric (lowering) portion of the movement. Once you have touched your chest with the bar your partners will lift it off of you and then hand it back to you in the locked-out position. Continue this until you can no longer control the descent of the weight (obviously good spotters are a must). Try to get 8 repetitions in this manner, if you cannot then continue to use the same resistance in your training sessions until you can. Once you get 8 repetitions increase the weight by 5% during your next training session.
The reason that you can lower more weight than you can lift is friction. Intramuscular friction impedes your strength when you lift a weight, but aids it when you lower a weight. Most trainees can lower 40% more weight than they can lift in proper form. The same average trainee can hold (statically) 20% more than they can lift and 20% less than they can lower. So for example, if you can curl 100 lbs, you can lower 140 lbs, and you can hold statically 120 lbs. Standard training can reduce your positive strength greatly, but hardly affects your negative strength. That is why negative training is so much more demanding on the muscles, it can far more greatly fatigue the muscle the standard training.
Negative training can be performed with any weightlifting exercise. For each bodypart you should pick 1 exercise and perform 1 set to failure. This type of training is very intense and can fatigue the muscle to a greater degree than you can possibly imagine. If you train in a negative fashion, you can train each bodypart once per week at the most, and possibly once every 2 or even 3 weeks. According to Jose Antonio, PhD, "It is known that eccentric contractions produce greater injury (the kind of injury to fibers which is good) than concentric or isometric contractions." Arthur Jones also stresses the incredible strain this type of training places on the body. The past couple of sentences should cause a light to go on in your head. Greater muscle damage means greater growth stimulation, greater stimulation (if recovery and overcompensation is allowed) means greater gains in size and strength. The gains that can be made on a negative only program are comparable if not greater than those from anabolic steroids!
Negative training may also be the key to activating hyperplasia (increasing your number of muscle cells). It has not yet been proven possible, but negative training would be the best method to activate it. According to Jose Antonio, PhD, muscle damage causes satellite cells to act. These cells produce immature muscle cells. If these cells combine, they can form a new muscle cell. That would be hyperplasia. Negative only exercise would be the best impetus for this because it causes the most damage to muscle cells. Again, hyperplasia in humans hasn't been proven, but if it is possible, negative training is the way to cause it.
In summary, negative training is the best possible method of training. You must severely limit the sets you perform and the number of training sessions. If you do so, you will get bigger and stronger than you ever imagined!
Now you can go to the gym!
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