Eccentric Contractions for Positive Muscle Growth
If you’re looking to gain strength quickly after an injury, negative training is one of the best ways to accomplish it at a faster pace. It is also a great way to break through a plateau in your training or increase the effectiveness of your workout.
What is a negative training or a negative rep?
Eccentric contraction, or more commonly known as negative training, involved loading a weight in only the down or muscle-lengthening phase.
Concentric muscle action occurs when the muscle contracts (shortens), such as when you raise the bar during a bicep curl. Eccentric muscle action happens when the muscle contracts (lengthens) in a controlled manner.
Microtrauma takes place during the eccentric phase; this muscle fiber damage forces the muscles to adapt, building bigger muscles and increasing your strength.
How do you incorporate negative reps in your workout?
The first thing to note is that you only need to do fewer negative reps than you would do positive ones. You can simply add two to three negative reps to the end of a normal set to get a better result from your workout.
Also remember that you need to go through the range of motion slowly. Take at least five to six seconds to complete each rep, and work the entire motion all the way through. Focus on your form to allow your muscle to work effectively during the entire negative rep.
Your body can safely lower more weight than it can lift. When you plan your negative reps, start with a weight that’s 5% heavier than you normally would and slowly work your way up to 40% more than you can normally lift.
Three sets of negative reps per muscle group is enough for that target area in one day. Do not push yourself too much as you will breaking your muscle down too much, making it difficult for your body to recover and build strength optimally.
Actively fight gravity in each rep
Don’t just lower the weight as you would in a normal rep, push (or pull, depending on the exercise) as hard as possible against the weight. Fighting the weight optimises your results. If you don’t feel sore the next day, you probably weren’t fighting the weight.