Negative reps, i.e. reps that focus on the eccentric part of the movement rather than the concentric, are supposed to result in more intensive damage to your muscle, and have also been shown to give better results than concentric-only exercise.

However, a lot of people seem to think that you shouldn't do these kinds of workouts too often, certainly not every time.

I see two different ways of doing eccentric workouts. One is to load super-one-rep-max weight and lower it, for example when squatting with safety bar, or doing negative reps for pullups when you're not strong enough to do them the regular way.

The other way would be to use slightly lower weight than usual and use very slow eccentric movements, subjectively, this feels like it's very taxing on your muscles as well, it certainly makes you more tired, but is it as effective?

In either way of doing them, how often would you suggest that you do this? Once per week?

2 Answers 2


I do slow-eccentrics in every workout, in the last set of one exercise only. John Meadows has articles implementing high intensity techniques into training; and this is an example of it. For example, you can implement 3-second negatives in a dips-like movement while working triceps.

Of course, everyone is different in recovery department. I think you should start slow, and build up progressively.


Training elements should fit into a broader and more comprehensive program.

If you have a well documented program with a history of solid results and it calls for negatives, then do negatives.

If you just want to do them because they make you sore or an article on bodybuilding.com said they're great, that's fine, but it's a far cry from them being an essential component for strength training.

If you look at the major strength programs (Texas, Bill Starr, Mad Cow, Starting Strength, 5/3/1, German Volume Training, etc) I don't think a single one calls for negatives.

Barring people getting starting with pullups or other such exercises where there is simply no way to do the concentric until sufficient strength has built up, I don't think there is any evidence to show that negatives are more useful than concentric exercise.

I'm sure there are rare occasions (like someone getting started in pullups) where eccentric activity can help to prepare for real exercise, but on its own negatives are second class citizen to proper strength training.

  • Stop ruining my illusion of discovering something new :P I have seen at least one study that showed that eccentric exercise was more effective than purely concentric, but if I recall correctly, a combination was even better. Doesn't it make sense though? Harder exercise -> more damage -> more recovery (to some extent), then also negatives (more damage) -> more recovery? Or is the damage of a different kind? Damage in different muscle fibers perhaps?
    – Mårten
    Jan 29, 2015 at 7:01

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