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Started By HIT (northwest, wa5, england)

Started on: 3/7/2004 10:51:42 AM, viewed 3766 times
Static and negative reps..Efficient or not?

Hello all,

I have been giving some consideration to the use of static training and negatives..as a means to increase the growth stimulation received from a given exercise.

* If an exercise taken to failure, be it positive, static or negative, is that not 100% effort being given on that exercise by the muscles involved – without the regards to how the exercise is performed i.e. positive, static or negative?.

* I believe the static give the illusion of training harder i.e. they allow the use of heavier weights. But this is only because in the static hold the muscle is being placed in a stronger position due to the leverage advantage, of near lock-out in movements like the bench-press, squats etc. And it goes the same with the static hold in the contracted position, the force the muscle has to produce to hold a weight is allot less than is needed to lift the weight against gravity, evidence of this is that we can hold more than we can lift. Obviously as we are not working as hard against gravity, the lowering of a weight is again some-what easier than holding and allows for allot more weight than the static, and again giving the impression of more weight and harder work, but in fact it is obviously easier to hold than lift a weight and easier still to lower a weight than hold it. So if you were to lift lower or hold the same weight the muscle would work harder lifting than it would lowering or holding, that weight therefore lifting would be the more efficient.

* The only positive I see with static training is it could eliminate a weak point in a given movement and would allow slightly more inroad, but I do not know if this would be more beneficial i.e. stimulate more growth because the extra inroad may take away from maximum growth production. Because I do believe it is about maximum stimulation with minimum inroad, we all know that in reaching positive failure we have PASSED the break-over point of which growth is stimulated, anything less than positive failure may not stimulate maximum growth and anything above maybe excessive inroad and may hinder growth production.

* I also believe that controlled positive reps are much safer and less stressful on the connective tissue on the joints and the joints themselves than static and negative reps. The massive amount of weight used in both the static and negative, prove to me that they are both an inefficient way to train with greater risk of injury.

* I find it hard to believe that the muscle has different levels of functional ability i.e. positive, static and negative strength. The muscle contracts to produce movement and I believe it can hold more weight than it can lift simply because the tension placed upon the muscle is greater than holding, I don′t believe the function of the muscle changes or improves when holding something as opposed to lifting it.

I believe it is simply not the improvement of the muscles ability to function better in the static or negative rep, it is just the same as taking a crane cable, some cables will have the capability to hold 1000lb but would snap if it tried to lift the same weight, but having said that the same cable could probably lower 1500lb without the risk of it breaking. With the same cable you can improve the amount it can lift by making an improvement in the leverage i.e near lock-out static′s – I believe it is the same in a broad sense with the muscles of the body.


This Topic has 44 Replies: Displaying out of 44 Replies:

massman (albuquerque, nm, U.S.A.) on 3/7/2004 12:35:36 PM

I will first refer to some material from HDII, first on page 94

" Technically, a bodybuilder is a bodybuilder, not a weightlifter."

Page 95

As Arthur Jones pointed out, the only postion where potentially 100 percent of a muscles bulk could be activated is in the fully contracted postion.

Page 95-96

It is not cast in stone that a bodybuilder must limit himself merely to lifting weights, Remember, the skeletal muscles all have three levels of ability. The first is the positive, or lifting of the weight from the fully extended position to the fully contracted position, and is the weakest of the three. The second level of ability is the static, or holding of the weight at any point of the range of motion such as the top, fully contracted postion: static strength is considerably greater than positive strength. The third is the negative strength, or the muscle′s ability to the lower the weight, Negative strength is by far the greatest…

The degree of growth stimulation is related to the degree of inroad into functional ability. When a person trains to positive failure, it might be said he made only one third of an inroad into functional ability; therefore, he stimulated one third possible growth….However, the greater the degree of inroad into functional ability, the greater the inroad into recovery ability; therefore, a decrease in the number of sets may be required to compensate for that greater inroad.

Page 97

Training to positive failure leaves considerable static and negative strength intact.

I think that is enough for now, in your first three paragraphs you just about completly contradict both Mike Mentzer and Authur Jones in all of thier research combinded and stated in summation on pages 94-96. You say the static gives an illusion, they say it is fact, later you say the negative gives the impression….. they say it is by far the greatest.

In you third paragraph you say we all know that in reaching positive failure we have passed the break over point of which growth is stimulated,any thing less than positive failure may not stimulate maximum growth and anything above maybe excessive in road and may hinder growth production. My first question would be how do we know that we have passed the break over point with positive failure only? as Mike states on page 97 there is still considerable static and negative strength intact. I must agree that anything less than positive failure is right, but that does not mean that something more than positive failure may be needed as stated above. Also the fact it could cause greater inroad into recovery ability cannot be denied. The key word is could and with such abbreviated training as you (and to a lesser degree ) I perform there should be plenty of time for recovery and growth stimulation to complete.

In your 5th paragraph you say that you believe controlled positive reps are safer… What about controlled negative reps, I perform these and no connective tissue or joint pain what so ever. The last sentence of the 5th paragraph, says because of the massive amount of weight used in both the static and negative , prove to me that they are both an inefficient way to train with greater risk of injury. First "the massive amount of weight" is a relative term and I do realize in relation to the positive it could be considered "massive" I believe that the trainee has to have some responsiblilty as to the amount of weight being used in both static and negative reps.That being said the risk of injury becomes greater each time the trainee increases the weight being used, it is just part of it as they say.

In your 6th paragraph you say you find it hard to believe that the muscles has different levels of ability… This contradicts everything you have discussed in almost your entire post, you have said positive, static, and negative throughout the whole post. and it also completely contradicts what Mike said on pages 95-96 listed above. Also in your 6th paragraph you say"the muscle contracts to produce movement and I believe it can hold more weight than it can lift simply because the tension placed upon the muscle is greater than holding… this again contradicts what is said on pages 95-96. as does the rest of paragraph 5.

I do not claim to have anywhere near the knowledge that you, HIT, or many others on this forum have, I especially do not have anywhere near the vast experience and or research hours, days, years, decades, that both Mike and to a greater extent Arthur have under thier belt, I can only go by what has been written by the people listed above, as I have reason to believe that they would not lie or print something that they did not believe 100%. Mike had over 2000 in the gym training clients and with this much experimentation and over all exposure to any and all forms of training, it becomes difficult to believe something that contradicts the research of these two gentleman.


HIT (northwest, wa5, england) on 3/7/2004 2:17:43 PM

Yo! massman!

Page 54 HDII

′..only one set of an exercise carried to failure is all that is required to stimulate an optimal increase in strength and muscle size..′

Page 55 HDII

′..Since the person already triggered the growth machinery into motion by reaching momentary muscular failure on the first part of the set ANY more exercise after this is not just wasted effort, it is counterproductive. Any exercise beyond that is unnecessary in that it does not serve to effect further growth stimulation it is undesirable because it effects a further inroad into recovery ability, using that much more of the body′s resources for compensation..′

It is not cast in stone that a bodybuilder must limit himself merely to lifting weights – or holding or lowering a weight it is only necessary to give 100% intensity in any of the above to guarantee production of growth.

The point at which you could no longer do a full positive rep we will be working at 100% intensity, the point at which you could no longer hold a weight in the contracted position or any other position in a static rep would represent 100% intensity, and at the point you could no longer lower the weight under control in a negative would also represent 100% intensity. The point at which the muscle fails in any given exercise or movement represents (as defined by Mike and Authur) 100% intensity of effort. No matter which static, positive or negative. If you change from positive to static you only extend the set.

The fully contracted position – there is no such thing.

The Myth of the Position of Full Muscular Contraction

Arthur Jones, the founder of Nautilus, has often stated that the only position in which one is capable of contracting and thus stimulating all of the fibers in a particular muscle is the position of full muscular contraction. This is incorrect for several reasons. First, unless a person is a genetic freak possessing a neurological efficiency of 100%, they will never simultaneously contract all of the fibers in a given muscle regardless of position. A maximal contraction does not mean every single fiber in a muscle is involved, it means that on has recruited all of the motor units or groups of muscle fibers one is capable of and they are firing at the highest possible rate. It has been assumed that average neurological efficiency is between 20-30%. Second, there is a difference between a motor unit firing, or attempting to contract, and actually being in the fully contracted position. Maximal fiber recruitment is not dependent upon maximal muscle shortening.

A motor unit, or group of muscle fibers sharing a common innervation, can be firing at an extremely high rate and producing force, without actually shortening, the same as you can apply a maximal amount of force to an extremely heavy object without actually moving it. A muscle can contract with the same amount of force in the mid-range of a movement as it can when completely shortened (possibly more due to interdigitation of myofibrils in this position), which would indicate that an equal percentage of motor units would be active in both positions. Due to leverage and other factors the muscular force output would be different in those two positions, but the actual force of muscular contraction and thus fiber recruitment would be the same, and thatŒs what counts. There is nothing special about the position of full muscular contraction.

The degree of inroad is related to growth, but as Mike states above any unnecessary inroad is counterproductive.

To answer your first question, How would we know we had passed over the break-over point? Because according to Mikes definition of intensity we would have trained at 100% intensity, you cant get more than 100% so you would have passed the point at which growth would have been stimulated. Anything after you have reached failure would be a set extension unnecessary inroad.

You are right I did mention that the muscle does not have different levels of ability i.e power production, I believe the power production remains the same whether your lifting, holding or lowering. How then do you propose the muscle has increased power production in the contracted position than it would in the positive part of the rep? I believe it would not, it is just simply because you are holding the weight not lifting.

I mentioned positive, static and negative – only in reference to lifting, holding and lowering a weight.


hope this clears up the points I have made..if not post back!!

Vincent (Geneva, Geneva, Switzerland) on 3/7/2004 2:52:43 PM

When you do negative you use more weights, remember the colorado experiment, the best (re)gains ever. And it was possible because they trained in negative only fashion (over 100% 1RM).

Most studies show that heavy eccentric reps produce more strength/growth than anything esle…. because the loads are much heavier.

massman (albuquerque, nm, U.S.A.) on 3/7/2004 4:36:42 PM

HIT Thank You for writing back, I am at a loss, you are correct, it is right there in black and white, have you and I found a contradiction? or am I missing something else? These different statements on these different pages certainly oppose one another, The pages you reference are in the section another kind of defintion and the pages I reference and in the praxis section, if that means anything? Should the definintion and the actual application and or practice be the same? The more and more I sit and think about this I would have to say Mike would have ended up at the point of the pages you have referenced, although this does not detract from the contradiction listed above. I remember in some of his last writings he was more and more convinced about just how little in terms of volume (as long as the intensity is there) it takes to turn on the growth mechanism and just how much stress that puts on the body. any light you can shine on this would be a great help.

On a side note what rep speed are you using? 4/3/4, 4/2/4, 2/2/2?


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