I have recently integrated a technique that I picked up at my local gym into my weight training. We have been calling it “forced negatives.” I’ve never seen it talked about or used by anyone except us. I’m interested in what your thoughts were on these.
Let me explain how we do them. We will use a preacher curl for an example. First, we get adequate warm up starting very light with about two to three sets of about six to 10 reps of easy intensity. Then we begin. You will need two people for this movement. The trainee curls a light to medium weight up to the top position and the spotter pushes down on the bar as the trainee fights the force as hard as they can. The idea is for the trainee to push and fight as hard as they can while the spotter pushes with enough resistance so the bar continues to move down under slow controlled motion. We usually do one or two sets like this at the beginning of our bicep routine since it is so intense. The DOMS are intense with this, and we don’t do this more than once a week due to the damage it may cause.
I was just wondering your thoughts of this technique.
Well, what is your goal? If your goal is to achieve "intense DOMS," than I'd say you've achieved it. However, I'm simply going to assume your goal is hypertrophy. Regardless, there are a few items that are a concern here:
A standard preacher curl bench places maximum load on the elbow joint where the joint is mechanically in its weakest position,,, a possible problem. (Please read the PTontheNET.com article "Strength Training for Biceps.")
The Bicep (relatively speaking), is a small two headed muscle. For hypertrophy there's an old saying, "Stimulation NOT annihilation."
Research has shown that within the scope of the complete muscle contraction spectrum (concentric/isometric/eccentric), the ECCENTRIC phase develops the greatest amounts of tension. Combine this point with your partner's added intensity, along with the mechanical and physiological points in #1 & #2, and the concern is excessive joint/tissue wear & tear.
ASSUMING your goal is hypertrophy (muscle size), it is important to remember in this day and age, with all the information that is available to fitness/performance professionals, It must be universally understood that traditional hypertrophic goals make up only a small segment of a well balanced Fitness/Performance periodization plan, and by no means qualify "FITNESS," (hence the old phrase: "perceivably fit, but unhealthy"). (Please read the PTontheNET.com series on "Essentials of Integrated Training.")
There's no doubt, using negatives will dramatically increase intensity. How much is needed/necessary is perhaps the real issue. For many, to achieve optimal results (weight loss, muscle gain, increased performance, etc.), the exercise routine should only be as intense as the individual's lifestyle factors can accommodate for...(nutrition, circadian stressors, personal/professional issues, etc.), and should therefore merely COMPLIMENT these factors.
The moral of the story is ABSOLUTELY AVOID OVERTRAINING AND EXCESSIVE SORENESS WHEN EVER POSSIBLE.