The Joint Ventures' Blog

Getting Positive Results From Negative "Eccentric" Workouts

Wednesday, May 22, 2013

Ever wonder why you workout 3-4 times per week, but you just don’t seem to be getting stronger?  I hear this all the time:

Why can’t I put that extra weight on the bar?

Have you ever tried eccentric training?

Eccentric training, or “negatives,” in weight lifting terms, is a way to build more muscle through overload, to get you to that next weight level, bulk up and even increase the strength of your tendons and your connective tissue (good for chronic tendon pathologies/pain).

Eccentric training is asking the muscle to engage while lengthening, rather than shortening, as done in traditional (concentric) training.  In other words, you need to let the weight down slowly. 

With a partner this can be done very easily.  While doing bench press, place that extra weight on the bar and then use a spotter (as a spot only) and slowly lower the bar to your chest over about 4 seconds and then use the spotter to help bring the bar back up.  Try the same with Biceps curls, using a spotter to help you bring it up, and then slowly lowering the bar on your own.

But what if I work out alone?

This can be done by allowing your other limb to be your help, or spotter.

For example:

1: Leg press – use both legs to straighten knees and hips and then only one leg to allow the knees and hips to bend back down to the start position.

2: Biceps Curls – Use the other hand to assist in bringing the weight up and then slowly lower with 1 hand.

3: Heel raises – off a step with or without weights, raise up onto both toes and then bring one foot off the step to slowly lower the leg into a calf stretch

4: Chest Press (warning do not do with bench press, only a chest press machine) use both arms to press the elbows straight and then take one hand off the handle to allow the elbow to bend on one arm, slowly back to the start position.

Eccentric or negative training can be done safely and effectively, but has the potential to cause more soreness so always consult a health professional to determine if eccentric training is right for you especially if you are dealing with injuries of the musculoskeletal nature.  If you have more questions about this type of training, please contact me at

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