Bodybuilding Video

Jim Cordova Explains the Importance of the Negative in Weight Training

The gym is one of the few places where focusing on the negative can make you twice as successful. To understand what I mean, you first need to know what lies behind every repetition that you perform.

Every repetition consists of three phases. The concentric phase which is lifting the weight to transition or peak contraction phase, which is the midpoint, and eccentric phase which is lowering the weight. In other words, each repetition consists of a positive, midpoint, and negative.

The positive portion is easy to identify as it’s what you’re most familiar with. It’s the primary action of the exercise that you perform. For example, during pulling movements the positive portion of the rep occurs when you pull the weight toward your body. The negative occurs when the weight moves away from and back to the starting point. During pushing movements, the positive portion of the rep occurs when you push the weight away from your body and the negative occurs when the weight moves towards you.

Most people tend to focus only on the positive portion and pay little mind to the negative. You want to do the complete opposite. Generally, the negative portion of every repetition should move slower than the positive. At the very least you should move at the same pace as the positive. Never should you move faster by allowing the weight to fall back to the starting position. Doing such is asking for an injury simply because you’re allowing the muscle to relax and then suddenly contracting it to catch the weight.

Whenever you perform an exercise you’re going to want to focus on the negative especially since it is just as beneficial as the positive. Arguably, even more so. You may have noticed that when you perform a slow controlled negative repetition it tends to burn more and is very intense. That should tell you something. It’s very effective in terms of stimulating muscle growth and development. In fact, the negative portion of a repetition has been shown to have a greater impact on the hormones that lead to muscle growth and development, even more so than the positive. The negative has been shown to produce more micro trauma in the muscle. In other words, it breaks the muscle down more. The whole objective of resistance training is to break down the muscles so that they grow back stronger and more developed.

Lastly, by focusing on the negative you become twice as efficient during your workout since you’re essentially doing twice the work. Focusing on the positive is only half the repetition. So focus on the negative and I guarantee it will have a positive impact on your results.

Bodybuilding Video

Shoulder Training with Jim Cordova and Strengthening the Rotator Cuff

Jim Cordova is a world-ranked drug-free bodybuilder that demonstrates excellent intuitive wisdom in his workouts. In this video he details his secrets to massive delts and powerful healthy shoulders.

He sticks to the basic exercises when training shoulders and mixes a variety of factors, such as rep range, frequency, volume, and exercise order, just to subject the muscles to new forms of tension.

He starts most shoulder workouts with presses, though occasionally starts out with the side delts first. When performing presses, he sticks to the standard upright angle. High incline presses really hammer the delts as it’s a very natural movement. Generally, he does not lockout when performing presses but rather keeps the weight moving maintaining constant tension on the sweet spot of the muscle. This blasts the muscle and brings it to failure much earlier. He does this for many sets to failure. Keeping the weight moving subjects the muscle to even more stimulation than locking out or squeezing does and will cause you to fail much quicker.

Cordova might train his shoulders only once every two weeks during a power building phase. At other times when focused more on development and a good pump he will not go so heavy and workout shoulders twice a week.

A excellent overlooked exercise is the single armed upright row with a dumbbell. It’s an outstanding exercise for a great pump in the side delts. It’s also easier on the rotator cuff as there is less of a chance of shoulder impingement and is much more natural.

Jim Cordova claims that working the rotator cuffs has helped not only his shoulder training, but the training of every other part of his upper body as well. When using a lot of power and force in the major shoulder exercises, the major muscles tend to really assist in the functions that the rotator cuff would ordinarily perform. This in turn causes the rotator cuffs to weaken and atrophy. This puts you at jeopardy of tearing a rotator cuff muscle even during the most mundane tasks of daily life. To prevent this Cordova does 4 or 5 exercises for the rotator cuff muscles. He claims this has worked very well and that his shoulders feel much stronger then they did prior to rotator cuff training. Those tiny muscles need to be worked thoroughly just as the larger muscles do. Strengthening these tiny muscles will make you stronger in the all the core lifts which will allow you greater progress.