This is Iron thumb. As you can see this is my first post here on this Blog. I write about bodybuilding on my original blog and today what we are going to discuss my favorite technique for muscle-growth: The negatives.
What the damn hell does” negatives” mean? It basically refers to the technique wherein you emphasize the negative-portion of the movement; for example you’re doing bicep curls, you will raise the weight at a normal phase and as usual you get the isometric contraction at top of the move; but this time around you need to lower the weight twice as slow (three times would be better).
Other people call it “negative-accentuated training” but it has been around for a while already; even before that NE term was coined. The scientific term for the negative phase of the rep is “eccentric” contraction- while the positive portion would be the “concentric” contraction.
We will now examine why it is important to include “negatives” into your program. To be honest I not only advocate just including it, but really integrating it as a default form every time you lift. We will take a look into the research done by Jarrod A. Call and his colleagues; they conducted a four part experiment using mice specifically trying to find out the effects of eccentric contraction exposure to dystrophic muscle fibers, comparing it at the same time to normal muscle fibers.
Dystrophic muscles by the way are caused a genetic aberration wherein there is constant muscle weakness and damage.
It is well known in the medical community that eccentric contractions cause a great degree of micro-tears after execution and they tried to find out through their study if negatives would help or worsen the disease process (of dystrophy).
To make things short; what they found out is that eccentric contractions actually helped the dystrophic muscles get better strength and growth. Yes they did incur some damages initially but then they recovered quickly afterwards and they got back better and stronger than before.
In summary, a significant amount of strength is lost when dystrophic muscles perform eccentric contractions. However, the dystrophic phenotype in mdx mice is not worsened when eccentric contractions are performed on a regular basis. In fact, muscle torque and force improved after multiple bouts of eccentric contractions, showing that substantial strength gains are possible without the presence of dystrophin. ( J Appl Physiol 111:1768-1777, 2011)
So it works and helps dystrophic or ABNORMAL muscles grow and gain strength. The paper actually also indicates that the more the muscle fibers are exposed to damage the faster they recover- as in the case of dystrophic muscles that were exposed to damage “eversince” therefore eccentric training just helped it achieve unbelievable gains.
Take note though that eccentric training will do more damage to your muscle cells therefore you might want to eat more meat and protein if you want to apply this intense type of training. And you will notice that you will be able to do lesser reps but don’t worry- they are more than double the worth of more reps done haphazardly.