I want to propose that we start viewing inroad as another variable as opposed to the constant that it is viewed at present. I also want us to start viewing muscular friction as something real and measurable, and to relate TUL and intensity to our training in a slightly different way. To this end I want to quote A.J.
Arthur Jones describing a Negative Accentuated set
"If your fresh strength using both legs was 100, you would normally exercise with resistance of 80, and would fail when you could no longer lift the weight with both legs; would fail with a remaining strength of about 79. But with a negative-accentuated style of training you would use a lower level of resistance; instead of 80 percent of fresh strength you would use only 50 percent. With a usual exercise, using resistance of 80, each leg would lift, and lower, 40, but with negative-accentuated exercise, using resistance of 50, each leg would lift only 25, but would lower 50. Resistance would be lower during the positive work, but higher during negative work.
Performed properly, at a slow speed, you will fail during the positive part of the exercise; will fail when both legs can no longer lift the weight. Having reduced your fresh positive strength by more than the 50 percent; a level of fatigue far higher than the 21 percent loss of fresh strength produced in most exercises. But having failed to lift the weight with both legs, if somebody will lift it for you, then you can still lower the weight under full control with only one leg. Before the exercise your negative strength was 40 percent higher than your positive strength, but that ratio of negative to positive strength changes as a result of fatigue, changes because of an increase in muscular friction; friction that reduces positive strength while simultaneously increasing negative strength.
Negative-accentuated exercise is one of the safest styles of exercise, does not expose the subject to high levels from impact; but does produce the high level of fatigue required to stimulate increases in strength, and produces this level of fatigue within a brief level of time."
Another quote by AJ.
"Tests of positive strength are always an understatement of true strength, reduced by friction in the muscles, while negative tests produce an overstatement of true strength, increased by muscular friction. If the level of friction was known, then perhaps meaningful results could be produced by adding to a test of positive strength, or by subtracting from a negative test… but the level of friction, as a percentage of muscular force, changes as a result of two factors, speed of muscular contraction and momentary level of fatigue."
Another quote by Arthur Jones.
"Proper exercise stimulates increases in both muscular size and strength; but we still do not know exactly why this happens, or how it occurs. But it appears that two factors are involved: the level of fatigue produced by the exercise, and the time required to produce that level of fatigue. Within reasonable limits, a higher level of fatigue is better, but only if it can be produced within a short period of time."
We view inroad as a constant. Some of us believe that there is an optimal TUL.
We also view the relative strengths of positive to negative as a constant factor and ignore the effects of friction. Arthur discovered that this is not the case and I was easily able to duplicate his results.
When performing negatives we usually select 140 % of our normal cadence and perform the exercises with usually good results. Some of us believe that it is the heavier weight that causes the gains others just because it is a negative.
I want to suggest that the inroad is far greater than we suspect. At least in the positive sense. You may fail when your negative strength is equal or less than the weight that you are lifting but when you fail your positive inroad is usually 50 % or less. when compared to your 1RM. A far greater inroad number than the usual 80 % in the normal cadence. The ratio of 40 % greater negative to positive ratio is no longer valid when fatigued.
Arthur points out that having a greater inroad is better if you can do it in a reasonable time period. Therefore set extenders may give you some better results because the inroad is higher but because the time factor went up then the benefits are compromised. TUL is not kept in an optimal range.
Viewed another way a negative-accentuated set is a way of increasing the intensity while keeping the TUL in check.
Notice that I said increasing the intensity. In the first rep of 140 lbs negative lift and 100 lbs of a positive lift are the same intensity. However near the end because of muscular friction you lose very little negative strength and a lot of positive strength, therefore the weight that you would use at the end of the set in a NE set is far greater than what you could use in a positive lift. Therefore the momentary intensity is far greater.
This could be the reason that 4-6 rep range is better for me as an FT person. It is a way of increasing intensity and shortening the TUL. Now the results are better than doing 7-8 reps because only two of the factors are improved namely: intensity and TUL. However inroad is reduced because I fail at a higher weight and less inroad.
On the flip side I used to inroad farther when doing higher reps. Therefore the inroad factor was better but TUL and intensity were not optimized.
Therefore I propose that we attempt to optimize these three variables to create the best cadence.
Just like the 80 % test removes the fibre type variable from the equation and gives us an optimal rep range. The NE test will also remove our fibre types from the equation as well.
Select a weight that is 50 % of your 1RM and perform the NE set. The number of reps and subsequent progress will reveal the optimum volume, reps, and frequency that your body requires.