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To get stronger, you don't always have to be so positive!

Discussion in 'Gator Country Health and Fitness' started by Dreamliner, Feb 6, 2012.

  1. Dreamliner
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    Dreamliner Well-Known Member

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    I should have learned this from the experience of my trainee Kristi. She went from barely being able to hang from a chinning bar to doing reps, in a matter of weeks, simply by getting herself into the top position and then controlling her descent.

    As I related, I've been working on a one-armed pushup for months now. I first sought to really nail down my standard pushup form. Then, I tried the recommendation of doing one-armed pushups against the counter, then lower, to a table, etc. But these seemed to be taking forever.

    I then went down to the floor and started doing uneven pushups. One variation is where you put one hand on a soccer ball and try to bear more and more weight on the hand that's on the ground. But this seemed a bit subjective to me. And here again, it left me wondering how long it would take to accomplish the real thing.

    Then I decided to try what worked for Krist - negative reps. Twice a week, I performed just a few negative pushups, five to begin with and working to ten. I surmised that at which point I was able to do ten controlled negatives on one side, I ought to be able to do a bonafide one-armed pushup.

    After all the time and uncertainty attached to other strategies ... this took me roughly three weeks. I had gotten to where I could do seven negatives with my right arm when ... I came right back up!

    Take-home: negatives may be a fantastic way of accelerating strength gains. Indeed, they may be the fastest way.

    Caveat: for me and others, they can be VERY exhausting. That's why I started with only five total negatives, twice a week. Same for Kristi. You certainly CAN jack yourself up if you throw caution to the wind.

    Further note: no, I didn't just get in the up position and then lower willy-nilly. There is a technique for the OAP. In brief, it involves keeping everything tight, elbow pressed to side, hand 'corkscrewing out' a bit, and feet spread a bit for balance. In particular, the lat on the working side is key. Knowing I that, I just 'reverse engineered' it a bit.
  2. 96Gatorcise
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    96Gatorcise Well-Known Member

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    Simple law to remember dream. You can always lower more weight (eccentric contraction) negatives or lengthen muscle belly under tension then you can lift (concentric contraction) shorten the muscle belly

    as you have discovered in your chins, same works for increasing you bench or squat

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Muscle_contraction
  3. Dreamliner
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    Dreamliner Well-Known Member

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    Indeed, I knew this from my Nautilus days. That was almost before I knew what a condom was supposed to do. The striking thing for me was why negatives *as an approach to one-armed pushups* was virtually absent. In fact, in all my searching, I only found ONE reference.

    Of course I'll never know how much my previous training contributed. But it was stunning how much more effective the negatives were than the previous approaches. Although, to be fair, I can understand why people would want to avoid them.

    When Kristi was practicing her negative pullups, she wanted to do them three times a week. We very quickly dialed back to five singles, twice a week. And after she finally got a legit pullup, I had her rest a few days before commencing to build up reps. Same with me.
  4. 96Gatorcise
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    96Gatorcise Well-Known Member

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    people avoid them for the same reason you stated before, they make you sore, really sore because they make you use more weight then you can concentrically contract. Hence you breakdown more muscle fiber then you normally would.
  5. Dreamliner
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    Dreamliner Well-Known Member

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    Strangely, or perhaps not, they just made me more tired than sore. In my experience - and this is echoed by others - pecs and quads are more apt to get sore. But the one-armed pushup is less a pec exercise than, I would say, a triceps/lats exercise also requiring better-than-average core stability. The pecs, I would say, play a comparatively minor role.

    Now, I will say it's hard on the lumbar spine. Dr. Stuart McGill measured compressive forces at 1,250 pounds during the OAP. Aches, strain and fatigue are the primary aftereffects for me.
  6. 96Gatorcise
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    96Gatorcise Well-Known Member

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    got ya, negatives tear me up.

    Also you may want to add biceps chins. Chin yourself to the top then lower only down far enough so that you elbow and shoulder are parallel to the floor then pull yourself back up to the top using you bi's. Do these weighted if to can bust out 10-15
  7. Dreamliner
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    Dreamliner Well-Known Member

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    Why the biceps chins in particular ? I can tell you that I pin my medial epicondylitis on pullups, specifically flexion at the top. So, whereas I enjoy pullup variations, I do them sparingly these days. And for the moment, front lever progressions are my only 'pulling' movement.

    I may have cubital tunnel syndrome. Why not ? Everybody else is gluten intolerant. I've got to have something exotic. :wink:
  8. ThomasGoldkamp
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    ThomasGoldkamp New Member

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    I guess I've been doing this sort of naturally in my workouts for a long time. It started when my buddy and I used to do burnout curls. We'd go dumbell curls from 50 all the way down to exhaustion.

    More recently, I've just been getting on a machine and starting at 140 or so, getting to the top of my curl motion and then letting the weight drag me down as slowly as possible. Drop to the next weight and repeat all the way down to 20. It looks silly when you're really straining to keep 20 pounds from pulling your arms down on a curl, but it sure as hell works. I try to close with one of those sets for every workout I do, be it curls, tricep extensions, etc.

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