Workout Tips

Lift Doctor: Negative Reps for Positive Muscle

Add more intensity into your workouts and overload the muscles being engaged.


“How often should I incorporate negative reps into any given muscle group?” – Michael Villa

Negatives are a great way to add more intensity into your workouts and overload the muscle groups engaged in the exercises you are performing. Negatives are performed by controlling the tempo of the repetition and slowing down the lowering phase of the lift to an approximate 3-5 seconds rep count. 

Eccentric or lowering phase – lengthening the muscle under tension

Example: Lowering the bar to your chest for bench press

And because we can eccentrically lower and control approximately 25% more than you can lift (concentric phase – shortening the muscle under tension, example:  locking out a bench press), heavier weights can be used for negatives. 

The majority of muscle fiber damage – or microtrauma – occurs during the eccentric phase. This damage causes the muscles to adapt, which will build bigger muscles and help you to get stronger. This is why lifters who are trying to build more muscle, use negatives to overload the muscles a different way and push through plateaus in the gym.

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