I am SO sore. I honestly can barely comb my hair. This is after just three sets of 15-20 “negative” pushups. Haven’t heard of “Negative-repetitions” or “Negatives?” Well, I’ll try to explain it. Then you can watch a short video I made as a demo.
What is a “Negative” Rep?
Without getting too technobabble-y on you, most weight-lifting moves focus on the ‘concentric’ movement, which means that the main working muscle shortens when you lift the weight. A “negative rep” concentrates on the “eccentric” movement, or the muscle-lengthening direction. It tends to be done quite a bit slower, and with control (that’s the hard part) and can often utilize more weight than you are used to lifting for that move.
In fact, it’s not uncommon for muscle-heads to help spot each other while performing “negatives” because the weight they can use is too heavy to manage the concentric movement alone. You can satisfy your bodybuilding-lurker curiosity by perusing this feed about ‘negatives.’ While grunting in front of your laptop is encouraged, you do not have to be an aspiring body-builder to benefit from ‘negatives.’
Here’s an example: Bicep curls. You would consider the “up” motion to be the normal “working” direction, right? (And the resting/recovering motion to be ‘down’). With a ‘negative,’ it’s the opposite: you get the weights to the ‘up’ position any way you can, but then you really concentrate on slowly, SLOWLY lowering the weight, making the “down” movement the ‘working’ direction. This is very different to the normal way of lifting! And your muscles know it. Apparently, ‘negatives’ have the effect of muscle-growth, as well as increased strength.
Back to my inability to coif… I am currently barely able to raise a brush to my hair because I’m sore in my:
- anterior deltoids (front part of shoulder)
- middle deltoids (side part of shoulder)
- tricep (back of the arm)
- ‘lats’ (your upper back muscles on the sides of your scapula)
- pectorals (aka your chesticles)
….All this from ONE exercise. Luckily I LOVE being sore after a weight-training session.
Here’s the video: Forgive my impromptu ending. It just proves that I’m a goofball.
How to do a Negative Pushup: the video version:
How to do a “Negative” Pushup: the written version.
First of all, the good news: you don’t have to Push Up at all! I have torn rotator cuff tendons and I can’t do more than a few ‘normal’ pushups at once. Performing ‘negatives’ is one of the best ways to really work all the areas that would otherwise go unloved due to my injury.
- Get to a plank position any which way (lie, cheat, steal)
- Lower yourself very, very slowly - with control - to the ground (at first, you will simply plummet to earth, but you’ will get better & stronger with practice)
- To really hit your triceps, keep your elbows near your ribcage, rather than splayed out.
- Repeat Step 1.
- If you are new to this move, perform 5-10 repetitions. Advanced trainees can go for 20 or so.
- If you are feeling spunky, repeat above sequence two to three times.
- Style your hair and sleep on it carefully because it might be days before this is once again possible.
Speaking of yoga, I made a video for Lindsay over at Lindsay’s List for her Tuesday Trainer series. You can check it out here. You’ll want to scroll back through her other TT posts too - they are informative and good fun!
Q: Have you ever tried “Negatives?” Yoginis: how about those chaturangas? Do you like feeling sore after a good weight training session?
By the way, I apologize to those of you who have tried to leave comments on my blog, but couldn’t! I have no idea why Blogger is acting up this time, nor why some people can leave comments and others can not!