The Road To #GAINZ Is Down Hill

“Gainz” is the slang term for creating improvements in muscle size, muscle strength, muscle definition, and/or general goals. If you’re into social media, then you can browse twitter for #gainz and you will find tweets like these

And these

And these

A lot of people are chasing the most desirable of gainz. Unfortunately, most of these pursuers of progress have more twitter #gainz then they do real life gainz.

Willie Davis, a famous football player once said, “The road to success runs uphill.” This is a really popular quote, because it epitomizes the idea that progress comes from hard work. I love that idea. It’s like being a Christian. If you truly believe in Jesus, then you will follow his teachings. The road to success may be an uphill battle, but the road to bigger stronger muscles is a downhill one.

I don’t say this philosophically, I mean it literally. Going down will increase the size and strength of a muscle. Let me explain.

Lifting weights requires two types of contractions (muscle flex). There is the concentric contraction, which is the shortening of a muscle which in turn produces movement inverse that to gravity. There is also Eccentric contraction, which is the lengthening of a muscle which in turn produces resistance to gravity but not inversely. Confused? That’s okay.

Imagine that you’re doing a bicep curl. When you pull the weight up you’re performing a concentric movement, and when you lower the weight down it’s eccentric. See, that was easy.

If going uphill is concentric, then going downhill is eccentric. This brings me back to my earlier quote. According to ASEPS Exercise Physiology, both soreness and increased muscle growth come from eccentric movement. Think back to the last time you did a curl? Did you slowly lower the weight, or did you just slump your arms down quickly? 

So, now that we know what causes extra growth how can we apply this? Good question tribe Endu. There is an exercise movement called negatives. This occurs when a lifter slowly lowers a weight for a count of several seconds. Perhaps you’ve heard of this, and perhaps you’ve implemented this into your workouts. Sadly, negatives are primarily done for the GUNZ (biceps).

What a waste.

It’s common knowledge that a bigger muscle is a stronger muscle. Without heavy eccentric movements, and possibly negatives, sweet gainz are being forgone. Now, before you begin doing negatives with every rep heed this warning – DON’T

Negatives sound promising, and they are. But the poison is in the dose. I recommend only adding a single negative exercise to your workout AFTER your first heavy exercise (unless you’re a competitive body builder. Then you can add it whenever.)

Here is a list of lifts that you can add to your workouts:

Negative squat 3x3 (go down for a 5 second count)
Negative hang clean 5x2 (go down for a 5 second count. Slide the bar past the knees)
Negative Bench press 3x5 (go down for a 5 second count)
Negative Preacher Curl 3x6 (go down for a 5 second count. Pause for 2 seconds at the bottom)
Negative Skull Crusher 3x6 (go down for a 5 second count.)

Not everyone needs to do negatives to get better. But the gain train is leaving station, and most of us need to do negatives to earn our ticket. So quit tweeting about gainz, and start getting them.

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About Me

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BS, MS - exercise Physiology
EPC - Board Certified Exercise Physiologist

Published Thesis
The impact of three different forms of warm up on performance

The Effects of Glucose Supplementation on Barbell Velocity and Fatiguability in Weightlifting - A pilot study"

The Accute Effects Of Different Squat Intensities on Vertical Jump Performances
The Accute Effects of Different Squat Intensities On Jump Performance

Graduate from Midwestern State University, founder of Endunamoo Barbell Club, and Endunamoo Strength and Conditioning. Working to help athletes physically reach their goals and achieve scholarships while spiritually pouring into as many people as possible on all platforms.