If you have ever hit a plateau, or you feel that your workouts are no longer challenging you, try incorporating negatives into your routine. A negative contraction is simply going slow on the “down phase” of a strength training exercise. For example: on a pull-up, pull your self up at a normal speed, but then on the way down control your body for a slow 4-count. If you are doing a leg press, push and straighten your legs at a normal speed, but return to the starting position at a slow steady speed. This is a good way to push through a plateau on a particular exercise, or you can use this technique on an entire workout.
Try this routine for a full body workout:
Four-second Negative Workout
For each exercise, perform one set of twelve repetitions. On each repetition, do a four-second negative.
- Squat (barbell or dumbbell)
- Chest Press (barbell, dumbbell or machine)
- Pull-ups or Lat Pull-down
- Leg Press
- Shoulder Press (barbell, dumbbell or machine)
- Low Row Machine or Bent-over Row
- Leg Curl
- Parallel Bar Dips or Bench Dips
- Upright Row (barbell or dumbbell)
- Leg Extension
- Arm Curl (barbell, dumbbell or machine)
- Arm Extension (barbell, dumbbell or machine)
- Abdominal Machine
- Back Extension Machine
Start by taking a one- to two-minute rest between exercises and every week decrease the rest period by five seconds.