T Nation

Slow Negatives: When and Why?

"Muscles undergoing heavy eccentric loading suffer greater damage when overloaded (such as during muscle building or strength training exercise) as compared to concentric loading. When eccentric contractions are used in weight training they are normally called “negatives”.

During a concentric contraction muscle fibers slide across each other pulling the Z-lines together. During an eccentric contraction, the filaments slide past each other the opposite way, though the actual movement of the myosin heads during an eccentric contraction is not known.

Exercise featuring a heavy eccentric load can actually support a greater weight (muscles are approximately 10% stronger during eccentric contractions than during concentric contractions) and also results in greater muscular damage and delayed onset muscle soreness one to two days after training.

Exercise that incorporates both eccentric and concentric muscular contractions (i.e. involving a strong contraction and a controlled lowering of the weight) can produce greater gains in strength than concentric contractions alone.[3][4] While unaccustomed heavy eccentric contractions can easily lead to overtraining, moderate training may confer protection against injury"

  1. Brooks, G.A; Fahey, T.D. & White, T.P. (1996). Exercise Physiology: Human Bioenergetics and Its Applications. (2nd ed.)… Mayfield Publishing Co.
  2. Colliander EB, Tesch PA (1990). “Effects of eccentric and concentric muscle actions in resistance training”. Acta Physiol. Scand. 140 (1): 31�??9. PMID 2275403.

OK, so who here uses these regularly during training (at least one exercise or 3-4 sets) and has seen decent results?

Currently I do a slow negative on hamstring curls and calves, other than that I haven’t used them much. They make me sore as hell, but is it beneficial?

Is it benefitial… yes. Manual eccentrics are the shit for mass (i do preacher 1 arm curls where i push the weight down in the negative). Just dont abuse it. Again this is just a detail in the big picture, which is to lift heavy in heavy exercises, get stronger, variety, diet and recovery.



and save them for single joint exercises, like the ones you described above.

i’ve used supramaximal negatives on my arms, and they make me very sore. at the time i thought that it was ok cuz these are small muscle groups and dont heavily use the CNS. i was WRONG. after about three weeks, i was burnt out.

so be careful if you use them.

Lowering under control need not mean lowering slowly.

Use them on push presses all the time. Helps greatly with the strict standing military press strength. Doing them with heavily weighted dips and pull ups is also effective. I don’t personally dig the partner assisted eccentrics as much.

As a different form of overload, they are most definitely beneficial. I’m specifically refering to use of overload beyond your normal working weight, and also use of extending a normal working weight set beyond concentric failure with self assisted negatives. I never did see anything beneficial about using a normal working weight and just lowering the load slowly to “emphasize” the eccentric.

[quote]ab_power wrote:
Currently I do a slow negative on hamstring curls and calves, other than that I haven’t used them much. They make me sore as hell, but is it beneficial?[/quote]

Yes. When? Just about every rep of every set. Some are merely “controlled”, others are slow, and others still are super slow.

Slow and super slow eccentrics are less productive in terms of muscle damage than fast eccentrics. Subsequent adaption response will likely be greater in those using fast rather than slow eccentics as well.
Int J Sports Med. 2006 Aug;27(8):591-8.
Greater muscle damage induced by fast versus slow velocity eccentric exercise.
Chapman D, Newton M, Sacco P, Nosaka K.