ON THE BENEFITS OF SUBORDINATE EXERCISES
BOTH IN REGARDS TO THE DEVELOPMENT OF THE BODY AS WELL AS THE WELL-BEING OF THE MIND
BY DONNY SHANKLE CPT
“Familiarity Breeds Contempt.” Anonymous
(Part 2 Conclusion)
By concentrating on slowing down the eccentric phase you are storing energy, increasing muscle strength, and repairing muscle tissue. Negatives allow you to train with a maximum weight without expending a great deal of concentric power. As the bodies neuromuscular system returns to normal the muscular system can still be trained to adapt to the heavy workload. This is called storing your energy reserves, later to be transferred to concentric explosion. The better you get at storing this energy with slightly heavier weights than what you can snatch and clean and jerk the stronger your body is becoming. As you continue to work eccentrically with these heavier weights the bodies muscles and connective points (tendons) increase in strength tremendously. Also, by eccentrically lowering heavier weights in training you are also establishing confidence with these weights. Lastly, muscle soreness can often be alleviated my flushing the area with blood. When you slow down the eccentric phase of an exercise you are causing your body to resist and work harder against the weight. This action will increase your body temperature, metabolism, and raise the level of blood circulation to the muscles that are resisting. So not only do negatives store potential energy by minimizing concentric power output and make you very strong but, they also keep you healthy.
When you are performing negatives during a pull first bring the bar up to the hips. Next draw your shoulders back and raise your chest focusing on keeping your back tight. As you lower the bar to your knees concentrate on bending at the hip and let the bar slide down your thighs until it gets right below the knee. To keep the bar close to you contract your lats hard and curl your wrists in up until you get to about mid-thigh. Keep contracting the lats hard until the bar gets below the knee and then proceed to bend at the knee letting your hips take the strain. Continue to slowly lower the bar close to your legs until the bar is back to the floor. As you set the bar down do your best to do so gently and try not to make a sound. Throughout the entire negative keep your eyes straight, back straight, and from start to finish fight hard to keep your breath held in. The entire negative should last anywhere between 6-10 seconds.
Pulls are not the only exercise you can practice negatives with. Another negative I like to do is lowering the bar slowly back to my shoulders after I have jerked it. Do this for the same amount of time as you would during the pull. After you have either pressed or jerked a weight overhead, lean back slightly and clench your glutes together. Slowly begin to bring the bar back down to your shoulders and repeat. Squats in the power rack are also another great way to train negatives. Doing so is a great way to strengthen your hips and keep your back from from rounding during a clean. Set the pin in a power rack at the height of your sticking point during a squat. Place your bar across these pins and squat under it in a front squat position. After you have stood up with the bar take in a deep breath and slowly lower the bar back down to the pins focusing on keeping your elbows up and back straight. There are numerous other exercises you can do negatives with all of which will increase your strength immensely. To be a great weightlifter strengthen every possible way to control the bar including concentrically, eccentrically, and isometrically which we will discuss next.
ADVANCED WAY: Some negatives like lowering during a pull can be made more difficult by standing on a board.
DURATION: 15-20 minutes
PLACEMENT IN TRAINING: Once or twice a week directly after snatching or clean and jerking heavy. For example, if you have maxed out for the day with a 130k snatch, add 5 more kilos to the bar and practice negatives with this weight.