You lift weights, but you’ve probably never paid much attention to lowering them.
So start now: Eccentric training, which involves focusing on the lowering(or “negative”) phase of an exercise, can potentially trigger greater strength gains than concentric (lifting-focused) training, says Dr Ellington Darden, author of The Body Fat Breakthrough.
“Your muscles can handle more weight during the lowering phase,” he says. “And if you draw out that phase to a minute, you can recruit up to 40 per cent more muscle fibres and enjoy a surge in muscle-building hormones.”
The result: More power and strength in significantly less time.
You’ll be completing only 2 reps in total (one per move), but they’ll probably be two of the hardest reps you’ve ever done. “Take 1 minute to lower yourself for each exercise, and rest 2 minutes between them,” says Dr Darden. If you can’t last longer than 30 seconds, your eccentric strength needs a lot of work.
1. Negative Chin-up
Grab the bar using a shoulder-width underhand grip, and hang at arm’s length with your ankles crossed behind you. Pull your chest up to the bar. Lower yourself slowly, 1cm at a time.
2. Negative Dip
Grab the bars of a dip station and lift yourself so your arms are straight. Lean forward slightly and lower your body slowly – 1cm at a time – until your upper arms are below your elbows.