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Why women should include negatives in their upper body training

September 9, 2015
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I’m a big fan of using negatives to get stronger. I find especially for women this makes a huge difference in helping them develop better upper body strength and get better at movements like pull ups, muscle ups, push ups, etc. Women naturally have less muscle mass in their upper bodys than men, and because of this it takes extra work and time to dedicated to these movements to develop the adequate strength needed to be proficient at them.

Firstly, what are negatives? Negatives are the eccentric phase of an exercise. For example, the part of bench press when you lower the bar down to your chest, or the part of a pullup where you lower yourself from the top of the pull up bar.

The reason why negative training works so well is because it is much more demanding on the muscles. It fatigues them far more than you could by doing normal concentric reps. It damages the muscle fibres to a greater extent, so there is a higher possibility of greater muscle growth. Which means you will get stronger quicker in the movement you are trying to improve.

Here is a video of negative pull ups:

And here is a negative ring muscle up:

You can use negatives with most upper body movements like chin ups, pull ups, push ups, bench press, muscle ups, dips, ring dips, etc. You can also use them with squats, deadlifts etc.

Of course you don’t want to go overboard in your negative/eccentric training, because it will cause more muscular damage than normal and will require more recuperation and recovery time. You might also find you get extremely sore from doing too much eccentric training. But it could be a good idea to add in a few sets of eccentrics to your training sessions. If you are struggling to get better at a certain movement or you feel you have plateaued, including negatives could be a good solution.

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