A common mistake that people make when exercising is to simply yield to gravity in what is called the “Negative” portion of a lift. This means that when we are lowering whatever weight we are using back to the starting position, it might look to an observer as if it were dropped. This essentially will limit your progress in any lift, and dramatically slow down whatever goal you are trying to achieve by exercising.
Just to clarify, if we were to use a pushup as an example, when you are pressing your body away from the floor, that would be the positive portion of the lift, and lowering your body back to the ground would be the negative.
The negative portion of the lift is effectively the most important part of the exercise. There are two ways you can get stronger: either your brain can send a stronger signal, making the muscle stronger; or you can build more movers into your muscles (build muscle). The most common way to get stronger is the second method, and that is very difficult if you do not properly train the negative.
But I’m a woman, why would I want to build muscle?
Muscle is good for both men and women. Muscle burns calories, improves sensitivity to insulin (think the opposite of Type II Diabetes) and increases longevity. It also is what gives women that firm and toned look (women can’t naturally look like Arnold).
So here’s what you do. Whenever you are exercising, make sure that the negative portion of the lift takes as long, or longer than the positive. Make every single portion of the movement purposeful and specific. That will maximize your results, no matter what exercise program you’re on. Enjoy.
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