Achieve Your Ideal Physique - Accentuate the Negative
Many factors go into achieving your ideal physique. Training splits, intensity, mindset, focus, and meal-planning all play a role in helping sculpt muscles. In this post I want to focus on the specifics of repetitions while lifting.
I mentioned the importance of tempo in a previous blog; slow and controlled is often a good way to make progress. But I don’t think the entire rep needs to be performed at a slower pace; I’ll explain.
Although my goal is to strategically building muscle, I still want to maintain and improve my overall strength and power. Striving for both goals can be tricky but it can be done! During my compound lifts toward the beginning of my workout, I perform the concentric (upward) portion of the rep with speed and power (and good form, of course). I control the eccentric/negative portion of the rep and try to keep tension on the target muscle group for a few seconds per rep. I feel that this not only helps improve my strength, it also helps improve my mind-muscle connection. Most compound lifts are great for this. My favorite at the moment is the push jerk. I find that I’m able to do much more weight by powering through the concentric portion of the rep and slowly lowering the weight down. With other lifts, like the squat or bench, it can be helpful to have a partner assist with the concentric portion of the lift, while you control the negative.
This method can also be used with isolation movements if done with care. There’s a fine line between using momentum to push/pull through the last few tough reps and using momentum during the entire exercise. Great changes can come from one or two extra reps at the end of an exercise when your muscles are fatigued. PEAK ATP is particularly helpful in reducing muscle fatigue and improving muscle recovery time. Since I started taking PEAK ATP, I noticed that I have been able to crank out more reps than usual and as a result I’m leaner and stronger!
Thank you for reading! Until next time… train hard, y’all!
-Erin Stern, IFBB Figure Pro/USATF Competitor