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.