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The Negative Phase

La Petite Maison Verte: The Negative Phase

Wednesday, February 22, 2012

The Negative Phase

Good Morning!

This morning's breakfast consisted of:

1 cup plain 2% greek yogurt
1 teaspoon honey
1/4 cup shredded wheat
1/4 cup Kashi Go Lean
1/4 cup frozen blackberries, thawed

Mmm.  Creamy, crunchy, a little sweet and a little tart.

Plus, coffee and water.

We picked up Trader Joe's 2% greek yogurt when we were in Naples last weekend.  I have to say I prefer Fage!  It's thicker and creamier and tastes more luscious.  Trader Joe's yogurt is fine but it tastes "heathier" - and not in a good way.  I don't have a container of Fage handy to compare the nutritional stats.  Hmm. Anyone else feel this way?

Not sure why but my photos are not coming out clear lately - they look kinda shaky or something.  I think my lens might be messed up again.  Ugh.....

Yesterday's workout was pretty difficult for me.  It was Jamie Eason's 12-week trainer, Day 16: Back and Biceps.

3x10 each exercise, 1 minute rest in between sets

Close Grip Underhand Lat Pulldown
Wide Grip Lat Pulldown
Seated Cable Rows
Bent Over Dumbbell Row
Back Extensions
Dumbbell Curls
Incline Dumbbell Curls
Alternating Hammer Curls

By the time I got to the last few reps of the hammer curls on my right arm my biceps were toast.  I literally could not raise the weight up past the halfway point in the range of motion.  Rather than just giving up at 7 or 8 reps,  I did the last few reps as negatives or eccentric repetitions.

Negative or Eccentric Training is a technique used in strength-building whereby the positive or concentric phase of the activity is performed with assistance - either self-assistance or with the help of a partner (often when very heavy weights are involved and for bilateral exercises, those where both hands are involved in holding the weight) - and the eccentric or negative phase is performed individually.  In order to complete the eccentric phase, the weight is slowly returned to the starting position.  In the example of my hammer curls that I could not complete on the right side, I used my left hand to help raise the weight in my right hand into the flexed or curled position.  Then I used only my right arm to sloooowly lower the weight back down to the starting position, fighting gravity to control the movement.
Eccentric training is frequently used during strength-training or bodybuilding when one has hit a plateau, that is, they are unable to increase their weight or reps for a given exercise.  Only completing the negative phase of the motion allows you to utilize a heavier weight than you would be able to lift actively, so you are completing a more intense challenge with your muscles and thereby will have larger strength gains.

Phew.  Did I lose anyone?!  Sorry if that explanation was confusing (or perhaps you would use the word boring?)  I just didn't want to mention doing negatives and then not explain what the heck that means for anyone who may not know.  Here is a good resource if you want to learn more about eccentric training. 

Today's workout is Chest and Triceps - boo!  Probably my least favorite of all the workouts.

But I have some really good recipes to share today, including a delicious vegetarian meal we had last night.  You'll definitely want to check back this afternoon for that one.


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