Negative Reps Until Failure

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Slow negatives are well-known in the bodybuilding community because these movements cause the most micro-tears within the muscles, and the muscles grow the most when they are regenerated after receiving this kind of damage.

However, this time you will read about negatives like you never did before –possibly. It's important to know that there's a huge difference between slow negatives and negative reps. They're two different workout techniques.

Slow negatives are just about paying attention to the negative parts of exercise movements and drastically slowing them down to cause more micro-tears. These are parts of the whole movement (positive-static-negative).

Negative reps do not contain positive or static movement phases, they are just negative reps. But that's still what we are going to show you because that is still not new (there was an athlete in bodybuilding's early years who only trained with negative reps – you get an A+ if you can name that person!).

But let us tell you in advance. The technique we're about the reveal is not for the faint of heart and is definitely not for beginners. You need at least 5-6 years of experience before you try it out, in case you reached a plateau or you're looking for the charm of novelty. You may use the help of a training partner or a spotter. It will be horribly grueling, but it will kickstart your bodybuilding progress.

The conception

In general, it can be said that:

  1. we're the weakest in the positive phases of the exercise because that's when we have to fight with gravity the hardest
  2. we're stronger during the static where we have to just hold the weight
  3. we're the strongest during the negative, as here the gravity works for us, not against us

It's really easy to see how this phenomenon occurs in real life, for example, while doing Barbell Scott Curls.

What's the problem? Well, you just never go to failure in the negative, just in the positive. When you reach failure in the positive, you might think you gave your all, your muscles are already exhausted, you can't do any more reps, so you put down the weight to take a rest and do the next exercise later. But you are wrong. There's still some power left in you – in the negative phase.

So do this: when you reached failure in the positive phase and are unable to reach peak contraction anymore, tell your spotter to lift the weight in the positive, and from a top position lower the weight by yourself.

Important note: take over the control at the top (static) position, hold the weight on your own, because if you don't, the weight will put huge stress on your muscles, joints, and ligaments too rapidly, which may lead to a serious injury.

Reach failure in the negative: only stop when you can't control the negative anymore. Only then you can really say that you fully exhausted your muscle fibers.

Obviously, there are some exercises where your spotter can't really help you lift the weight instead of you in the positive, for instance, deadlifts and squats. It's better to avoid this technique with exercises that are risky in terms of injury. On the other hand, you don't always need a training partner to perform negative reps until failure. Find one-arm exercises where you can help your working hand with your resting hand – there's plenty.

We did not invent this "crazy" technique, as it was developed by the one and only Dorian Yates. One final note: let your muscles rest and properly regenerate – they might very well require more time as usual.

Good luck!

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