The back can be a tough muscle group to develop for a lot of people…stubborn to build and hard to feel working when doing back exercises. If this is the case for you, it’s time to give yourself some strong medicine to FORCE your back to get bigger, better and stronger.
And the method I’m going to talk to you about today is negative training…
Negative Training is also known as Eccentric Training, which basically means a focus on and overload on the “lowering” phase of an exercise. In this case, it’s going to be the lowering phase of the Seated Cable Row for your back.
Negative Training is excellent for building strength in a target muscle – it can work well for increasing muscle growth as well.
The technique I’m going to show you here is a way to do negative training without using loads heavier than what you can normally handle for a TWO arm version of the exercise.
You’re simply going to lift the weight with both arms then remove one hand and lower it with just one. This is a GREAT way to do negative-focused training on your own, without needing a partner to help you get supra-maximal weights back into position.
I find the back, because it’s really able to take a beating with training, can handle this type of negative training and really thrive on it. Most people don’t realize how strong their back really is and how strong it can get with targeted training until they really work at it.
This technique is really simple…set a moderate weight on the stack and use a V bar handle. Do a normal Seated Cable Row with both arms.
Notice how the chest comes out when you’re doing the row…this helps activate the lats. And get those shoulder blades pulled together behind you to maximimally activate the lats.
Another important tip: breate IN as you’re pulling the handle towards, NOT out. Breathing in expands the rib cage, which pushes the chest out, which helps force the shoulders back, which helps activate the lats…and do that for just about EVERY back exercise you do.
At the peak of the movement, take one hand off the cable handle and brace your other hand on your other leg to give your torso some stability.
The weight should be heavy enough that it pulls your arm straight while you ACTIVELY resist this. You should be actually TRYING to do a row with your one hand but the weight is heavier than you’re able to do so it pulls your arms straight against that.
One of the key mistakes people make with negative training is that you’re not just lowering a heavy weight…you’re FIGHTING to keep the heavy weight from lowering. Just this small mental tweak will make a BIG difference in how you approach your negative training and in how effective it’ll be for you.
The arm will be straight at the bottom.
Now get your other hand back on it and it do another row with both hands.
Take the other hand off and brace it on your leg. Your torso may rotate a little bit to counterbalance the resistance.
Once your arm is straight, get your other hand back on the handle and go again.
Do about 3 to 5 reps on each arm with this technique – if you can do many more reps than that, you’re not using heavy enough weight. Negative training is meant to be done with heavy weight that doesn’t allow for more than 6 or so reps.
So if your back development and strength has been stuck for awhile, give this technique a try…you’ll be impressed with how well it really allows you to dig into the lat fibers and force some new strength increases and muscle growth.
Nick Nilsson is known in the fitness industry as the “Mad Scientist of Muscle,” and for good reason! For more than 28 years, Nick has been creating unique, new exercises and training techniques and putting together some of the most innovative muscle-building and fat-loss programs available anywhere.