I’ve noticed that some of your programs involve negative- rep training, but I train alone. How can I do negative reps on an exercise like the bench press without a spotter?
—J. Benson, Jacksonville, FL

I like negative-rep training (slowly lowering the bar) because it causes more muscle-cell breakdown than the positive portion of a rep. More breakdown leads to more growth.

If you train alone, try doing one arm at a time on the Smith machine. Roll a bench up to the machine, lie down on the bench, and unrack the bar from the safety latches. Slowly lower the bar to your chest using just your right arm. Once the bar touches your chest, use both arms to press the bar back up to the start position. On the next rep, switch it up. Alternate arms in this fashion on each rep. Use a weight that is about 120% of your one-rep max on a normal Smith-machine press. You should be able to do 3–5 reps with it while resisting for 3–8 seconds on the way down.

The Workout

Try the following chest workout to spur some new muscle damage, which will result in greater muscle growth.

Excercise Sets Reps Reps
One-arm Smith Machine Negative Bench Press 3 3-5 2 min
Bench Press 3 3-6 2 min
Incline Dumbbell Press 3 3-6 2 min
Decline Flye 3 6-8 2 min

Quick Tip

You can use the Smith machine to do one-arm negative reps for other exercises, such as: incline bench press, close-grip bench press, shoulder press, and the drag curl.