WHAT IT IS:
An advanced method in which, with the help of a spotter, only the eccentric (negative) portion of each rep is performed—and at a very slow pace. Traditionally, strength athletes have performed negatives as stand- alone sets, but this technique can also be used at the end of a regular set to train the muscles past failure.
WHY YOU SHOULD DO IT:
Negatives provide a unique shock to your muscles and are very effective at increasing strength as well as muscle growth. Most people disregard the eccentric portion of the rep, thinking that the muscle is working only when you’re lifting the weight, not lowering it. Not true. Resisting the weight on the negative is a crucial aspect of strength and is actually the part of the movement most closely associated with muscle soreness in the days following a workout. And that soreness equates to increases in muscle size and strength.
HOW TO DO IT:
The specifics of how to do negatives is crucial. First, you’ll need a dependable spotter. After reaching failure on a set doing regular reps, you’ll do two to three negatives in this manner: Your spotter will help you lift the weight through the positive portion of the rep. Then, for the negative, you’ll do all the work, lowering the weight slowly for a count of three to five seconds. The spotter will again do the positive, and so on. But even though you’ll be lowering the weight on your own, your spotter will need to be highly attentive while you do so in case your muscles give out and you can no longer resist the weight.
SAMPLE NEGATIVES CHEST ROUTINE
- Barbell Bench Press | SETS: 4 | REPS: 8* | REST: 2-3 min.
- Barbell Incline Press | SETS: 3–4 | REPS: 10–12* | REST: 2 min.
- Flat-Bench Dumbbell Flye | SETS: 3 | REPS: 12–15* | REST: 1–2 min.
*Do two to three negatives on the last two sets.