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Negative reps or eccentric reps are a great way to increase strength and develop muscle fast. However there are a few rules that need to be taken into consideration when doing negative reps. Probably the most important of these rules is to make sure that you have a training partner or a spotter.
Although there is a way eccentrics or negatives can be done without using training partner but you will need a good Smith machine and a power squat rack. Sport science tells us we are 60% stronger on an eccentric contraction compared with any concentric contraction.
When training with negative reps you are taking advantage of the extra leverage you have from the lengthening muscle in order to increase the weight that you lift. If you are training by yourself on a Smith machine you would then select a weight that is around 105% of your 1RM and lock it into the top of the bench-press with elbows locked out.
You then unhook the weight and slowly take the barbell down to your chest taking between 3 to 6 seconds to get there. If you do not have a training partner you would then lock the barbell just above your chest and remove the weights so that you can get the Smith machine back to the start position.
Training with a partner who is also doing negative reps makes this process a whole lot easier as when you get the barbell down to your chest your spotter just needs to help you get the weight back up to the start position. It needs to be stressed that a good warm-up is vitally important to avoid injury.
Negative reps can be performed on any of the compound movements and can also be done on isolated movements. One needs to have a training partner who knows what they are doing and how to spot correctly when you are doing a movement like squats or deadlifts.
You should never do more than 3 sets of negatives for a body-part in one training session as it can easily lead to too much muscle breakdown and require more than 48 hours to repair correctly. The power rack mentioned above can be used the same way as the Smith machine but always make sure that you have safety rails set correctly.
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