Sunday, 26 February 2012

Forced negatives

Forced negatives! Sounds brutal right? Without beating round the bush, it is and it will destroy you! So what is it? Quite simply you load the bar or machine with up to 100% of your 1 rep max and fight the resistance all the way down (1 arm or leg a time)
Before I show you one of my favourite chest and back workouts using this principle lets take a look at the benefits of training this way.  I personally like to use forced negatives as a shock tactic for whenever I feel a body part needs that little bit of extra work. I wouldn’t recommend training this way non stop for over 3 weeks as you will soon run yourself into the ground and risk over-training.
Research has shown the eccentric portion of the rep induces most of the microtrauma to the fibres which in turn stimulates the body to grow them bigger and stronger than before. This would also suggest why you feel intense DOMS the following morning from using heavy negative reps. Negative reps also put stress on the tendons and supporting structures of the muscle which is great for strengthening them and bullet proofing your body against injury.
 Some important points I want to make before you head down to the gym to try it are firstly be as accurate as you can when selecting your weight for the negative reps. To work out a good starting weight you need to work out 60% of your 1RM for that particular lift and work up, adding 10% each week. Remember, that because you’re working unilaterally 60% of your 1RM on one limb would be more than it can handle because the other limb isn’t there to help out. As you get closer to your one rep max I recommend having a spotter present.
Second point is to control the negative portion, taking at least 4-5 seconds to fight the weight and then reset the bar with both arms and repeat negatives for reps.  In my workouts I also include ‘flush sets’ which is a lighter weight/higher reps to finish and flush the muscle with blood for maximum nutrient delivery. Lastly warm-up properly and TAKE CARE, you never know when an injury could occur in the gym. Forced negatives work on a variety of exercises so get experimenting!
Here is my chest and back workout using the forced negative principle. It doesn’t look much written down, but try it and I guarantee the intensity and shock factor won’t disappoint you.
exercise
sets
reps
notes
Smith machine bench press
2
3-5 negatives per arm
Reset the bar with both arms, then fight the resistance all the way down with 1 arm
Cable fyle
3-4
12-15
lighter weight/higher reps to flush the muscle with blood for maximum nutrient delivery
Unilateral lat pull down
2
3-5 negatives per arm
Pull the handle down to the top of your chest with both hands then fight the resistance all the way up with one arm
Seated cable row
3-4
12-15
lighter weight/higher reps to flush the muscle with blood for maximum nutrient delivery












Forced negatives example on a smith machine bench press
Take 4-5 seconds to lower the weight, 1 arm at a time, fighting the resistance all the way down (remember to set the safety’s at an appropriate height)

Reset the bar with both arms and repeat for reps.