Negative repetition

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

A negative repetition (negative rep) is the repetition of a technique in weight lifting in which the lifter performs the eccentric phase of a lift.[1] Instead of pressing the weight up slowly, in proper form, a spotter generally aids in the concentric, or lifting, portion of the repetition while the lifter slowly performs the eccentric phase for 3–6 seconds.


Negative reps are used to improve both muscular strength and power in subjects.[citation needed]

Due to its mechanical properties, this form of training can be used for both healthy individuals and individuals who are in rehabilitation. Studies have shown that negative repetitions or "eccentric phase training" combines a high amount of force on the muscle with a lower energy cost than normal concentric training, which requires 4–5 times the amount of energy. This justifies why this type of training is more beneficial and less of a risk to subjects rehabilitating or with a limited exercise capacity.[2]


Eccentric training is often associated with the terms "muscles soreness" and "muscle damage". In 1902, Theodore Hough discovered and developed the term DOMS (delayed onset muscle soreness),[3] after he found that exercises containing negative repetitions caused athletes to have sore muscles. Hough believed this was causing a rupture within the muscle; when he looked further into the subject, he found that when performing eccentric exercise that exhibited soreness, the muscle "quickly adapts and becomes accustomed to the increase in applied stress".[4] The result of this was that the muscles' soreness not only decreased, but the muscular damage did too.

Health benefits for the elderly[edit]

It has been proven that eccentric resistance training improves the functional mobility of older adults. Studies have shown that eccentric training of the lower body, in particular the knee extensors, are essential in preventing falls in older adults and helping them maintain their independence.

A study conducted focusing on eccentric training for the age group 65–87 years of age showed that, over 12 weeks, they had strengthened their knee extensors by up to 26%.[5] With this evidence, it is reasonable to suggest that negative repetitions can help improve the health of older adults.

Treatment of Tendinopathy[edit]

Studies have shown that eccentric training may be successful in the treatment of certain tendonitis. Studies have shown that the use of eccentric training for twelve weeks may be an alternative to therapy for people suffering from Patellar Tendinopathy (Jumper's Knee).[6] Eccentric training has also been proven successful in the treatment of chronic Achilles tendonitis, using a twelve-week eccentric calf muscle program various studies have shown the ability for people to return to normal pre-tendonitis levels.[7][8] The reasoning behind the benefits of eccentric training for tendinopathy is still unclear.[9]


  1. ^ "Definition of Eccentric Weight Training". Retrieved 2015-04-16.
  2. ^ Isner-Horobeti, Marie-Eve; Dufour, Stéphane Pascal; Vautravers, Philippe; Geny, Bernard; Coudeyre, Emmanuel; Richard, Ruddy (2013). "Eccentric exercise training: modalities, applications and perspectives". Sports Medicine. 43 (6): 483–512. doi:10.1007/s40279-013-0052-y. PMID 23657934. S2CID 2678369.
  3. ^ "DOMS: the good, the bad and what it really means to your training".
  4. ^ "Eccentric training" (PDF).
  5. ^ Gault, Mandy (November 1, 2013). "Aging, Functional Capacity and Eccentric Exercise Training". Aging and Disease. 4 (6): 351–363. doi:10.14336/ad.2013.0400351. ISSN 2152-5250. PMC 3843652. PMID 24307968.
  6. ^ Bahr, Roald; Fossan, Bjørn; Løken, Sverre; Engebretsen, Lars (2006-08-01). "Surgical Treatment Compared with Eccentric Training for Patellar Tendinopathy (Jumper's Knee)". The Journal of Bone and Joint Surgery. 88 (8): 1689–1698. doi:10.2106/JBJS.E.01181. ISSN 0021-9355. PMID 16882889. Retrieved 2015-04-16.
  7. ^ Fahlström, Martin; Jonsson, Per; Lorentzon, Ronny; Alfredson, Håkan (2003-08-26). "Chronic Achilles tendon pain treated with eccentric calf-muscle training". Knee Surgery, Sports Traumatology, Arthroscopy. 11 (5): 327–333. doi:10.1007/s00167-003-0418-z. ISSN 0942-2056. PMID 12942235. S2CID 4064152.
  8. ^ Gravare Silbernagel, K.; Thomee, R.; Thomee, P.; Karlsson, J. (2001). "Eccentric overload training for patients with chronic Achilles tendon pain - a randomised controlled study with reliability testing of the evaluation methods". Scandinavian Journal of Medicine & Science in Sports. 11 (4): 197–206. doi:10.1034/j.1600-0838.2001.110402.x. PMID 11476424. S2CID 36942476.
  9. ^ Roos, EM; Engström, M; Lagerquist, A; Söderberg, B (October 2004). "Clinical improvement after 6 weeks of eccentric exercise in patients with mid-portion Achilles tendinopathy – a randomized trial with 1-year follow-up". Scand J Med Sci Sports. 14 (5): 286–295. doi:10.1111/j.1600-0838.2004.378.x. PMID 15387802. S2CID 6682148.

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