Negative Only Training

Question:

I read an article by Arthur Jones, and he claimed negative only training gave him the best gains. Like, far and away his best gains. Is he right?

Answer:

I think it’s fair to say negatives have some value, but not as a standalone training method.

In that respect, they’re not unlike static holds, super-slow training, partials aka power factor training or “breaks” as the old timers used to say.

All of these methods can be exploited, but once you pigeon hole yourself into any one of them, you’ll come up short of optimal IMO.

Jones correctly discerned that you can lower more weight than you can hold, and of course you can hold more weight statically than you can lift (concentric).

That can really tax your body though, and I have yet to meet anyone that could do it long term.

I know of nobody that uses it exclusively as a training method.

Which is to say, I think there’s merit in all parts of a repetition and not just in any one part of it.

Here’s the pattern I see (and fell for, many times in my training career).

You try something new (let’s say HIT/one set to absolute failure), and you get great gains.

Far better than whatever it was you were doing.

You then become married to this approach, proclaiming it to be the one (and only one) way.

Of course, it isn’t long before that fallacy is revealed – whatever you’re doing, your body will eventually adapt to it.

This brings up the need to know many methods, and even more importantly how to string them together to make gains snowball.

I have a half dozen or so such methods I use, and they take anywhere from 5 to 45 minutes to use.

Without those, you will forever be a ship without a compass – doing figure 8’s in the open sea, virtually guaranteeing you’ll never get to your destination.

Bottom Line

You need to identify multiple ways to gain, use them in a cohesive and logical framework and always be working through them. Anything else is just running the clock.

Hope that helps.

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Coach Rob Regish

Coach Rob Regish

Rob Regish is an internationally recognized name in the field of health and fitness. He's been a weekly contributor to Superhumanradio.net for almost a decade, answering listener questions from around the world.

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