If you’re experiencing a plateau in your training it might be a good time to mix things up & try some NEGATIVE REPS. The majority of damage done to the muscle, which in turn results in growth when resting, is done on the negative or lowering phase (eccentric phase, lengthening of the muscle) of the rep. All too often we bust our butts lifting the weight only to drop the lowering phase too quickly. The eccentric phase should be executed with a controlled & concentrated movement.
Negative reps are performed by slowly lowering the weight 2 – 3 times slower than the speed you lift the weight.
Take a barbell arm curl for example. Start with your arms extended by your side. You may take 1-2 seconds to lift the weight but on the way down you slowly lower it for a 4 – 6 count. After 10-12 reps your arms will be screaming for you to put the bar down. You will need to use lighter weight than normal in this instance but the time under tension more than makes up for this.
Here is another way to use negatives. The muscle is stronger in the eccentric phase & can therefore handle more weight. If you have a training partner they can assist you with lifting a heavy weight that you normally would not be able to on your own & then you perform the negative phase unassisted. WARNING: This is very intense & injuries are more common with heavy weight so make sure you warm up thoroughly & never go beyond what you can sensibly handle with good form.
Using this technique on the last set of each exercise should be enough to stimulate growth without damaging the muscle.
Use this for a 4 week block aiming to increase the weight each session & get ready for some growth.
Remember to make sure you are eating enough healthy nutritious foods to give your body the fuel it needs to grow!