The Best Way For Women (and men) To Get Stronger
Negative accentuated exercises:
Negative accentuated exercises means going slower during the eccentric (negative) portion of an exercise. The negative portion is also called the lowering phase, examples are:
- lowering a barbell from the top of the curl position to the bottom (arms straight)
- lowering the bar from the top of the bench press exercise down to your chest
- during a pushup – when you lower yourself from the top position to the ground
Look at most people and they totally neglect this portion of the exercise with sloppy technique:
- during bicep curls – they let the bar fall from the top to the bottom instead of controlling it on the way down
- during bench press – they let the bar fall to their chest and sometimes let it bounce off to make the next rep easier
You are actually stronger during this phase of an exercise (the negative/lowering phase) than you are during the actual lifting of the weight.
- In a bicep curl – you can lower more weight than you can curl upward
- in the bench press – you can lower weight than you can push up from your chest
- etc, etc…
If you are stronger during the negative phase this means that there is the potential for more size and strength gains if you focus on that phase of the movement.
this holds true for any exercise – this concept (negative accentuated exercise) is one of the most important in all of weight training, whether you are trying to gain size, strength or increase the number of reps you can perform in a particular exercise.
For now just concentrate on lowering the dumbbell/barbell slower during the negative phase of all exercises. You will find that you won’t be able to perform as many reps but your muscles will be more exhausted after a set. In a later article i will go into more advanced negative accentuated techniques.
Don’t get carried away: start out slow with negatives, they place increase strain on ligaments and tendons, therefore don’t do a bunch of them the next time you workout out, do a few sets per muscle group where you really focus on the negative phase then perform the rest of your sets as you normally would. Eventually all of your sets should be done in the negative accentuated manner. You should notice some soreness the day after if you do them correctly.