Today, you’re going to learn how to perform THE perfect muscle building rep.
And you’ll be able to use this new strategy each and every workout for increased muscle building potential.
You will not just blindly perform reps over and over as many programs have you do.
WLC wants you to understand what each portion of a repetition does and why it’s important for building muscle.
The Four Phases of the Perfect Muscle Building Repetition
There are four phases to each repetition you perform:
- The positive or concentric is the actual lifting of the weight. Your muscles contract during the positive portion of every rep to lift the weight.
- The very top of each rep is where you get a peak contraction from the muscle.
- The lowering of the weight is the negative or eccentric portion of each rep. Negatives have proven to damage muscle tissue to a greater extent than the positive portion and therefore have greater muscle building potential.
- At the bottom of every rep, you get a maximum stretch in the target muscle group. This stretch position is very important for building muscle!
The negative portion of every rep is the most important for building muscle along with the stretch position at the bottom of every rep.
You must remember that and be aware of that for each rep that you do.
With the WLC System workouts, you will know that every time you perform another rep, you get the huge muscle building potential of the negative.
Why the Negative or Eccentric Portion of Each Rep is So Important
The goal of every negative repetition is to stretch the muscle in a contracted position.
This stretching of the muscle in a contracted state really provides a muscle building stimulus because the muscle tissue is damaged more during negatives.
Why is it so important for you to get a peak contraction on every rep and a full stretch on every rep?
The peak contraction gives you a stronger contraction. The peak contraction is then taken into the negative portion of the rep. The negative is then taken down to a full stretch position at the bottom of every rep.
Stretching the muscle in a contracted position is the goal of every rep.
Your job is to ensure you do every rep perfectly. Do not cheat on any reps. If you do, you are only cheating yourself.
Don’t do half reps. Do not stop short of a peak contraction. Do not stop before reaching a full stretch position. Feel the muscle working the entire time. Concentrate through every rep of every set.
Use the 10 weight lifting secrets we discussed in the weight lifting section of the site to get even better results. They will really help you throughout your weight training workouts.
The Correct Speed of Each Rep
I see nonsense every day regarding the time you should take to perform each rep. For example, I hear that you should spend 3 seconds completing the positive portion of a rep and 3 seconds completing the negative.
Others tell you to do the positive portion of the rep in 2 seconds and the negative portion of a rep in 1 second. All of this talk is nonsense.
Do you know why setting specific time periods for a rep is nonsense?
First off, you shouldn’t be thinking about counting the number of seconds while you are trying to focus on working the muscle group.
You should be thinking about feeling the muscle work and envisioning the muscle expanding and growing while you are performing each rep.
Do not underestimate the power of visualization.
Visualization of the muscle group working and expanding will give you a mind to muscle connection that you are looking for. Before you start each set, focus your mind on the muscle group you are working.
I guarantee that when you learn to really focus on the muscle group working that you will build more muscle than ever before.
Another reason setting exact time periods for a rep is nonsense is due to the fact that all exercises have different ranges of motion meaning some exercises naturally take longer to complete than other exercises.
As an example, let’s compare the Squat to the Calf Raise. With the calf raise, the total movement is maybe 4 to 5 inches. You lift the weight 4 to 5 inches and lower the weight 4 to 5 inches. That’s it.
With the Squat, the weight probably moves 3 to 4 feet. So, do you think the Squat and Calf Raise should take the same amount of time to perform? Of course not.
So, what is the optimal speed for each rep?
For every rep of every set, you should try to lift the weight as fast as possible on the positive rep while feeling the muscle work. You must lift every rep in a controlled manner.
For lighter weight and higher rep sets, you will lift the weight fast and controlled. The weight will move faster with lighter weight.
When the weight gets heavy, the speed with which you lift will naturally slow down, but you should still attempt to lift it as fast as possible. The weight will not move fast, but the effect on the muscle will still be there.
At the top of every rep, you want to ensure you get a peak contraction of the muscle. Don’t underestimate the importance of the peak contraction of each rep. For example, when you do Pull Ups, get yourself all the way up to the top. Don’t cut the rep short! Never sacrifice the peak contraction in order to get more reps.
Let Me Stress This Again… The Negative is VERY Important
The negative needs to be the focus because the negative is the most important part of each rep when it comes to building muscle. You will control the weight all the way down on the negative.
Never let the weight fall — this isn’t Olympic style Weightlifting. Control the weight.
Do not perform very slow negatives either. You simply want to control the weight on the way down. Do not intentionally slow the negative down to turtle speed. You don’t want to tell your body that the negative is an isometric contraction. There’s no need to go very slow on the negative.
At the bottom of every rep, you must ensure you get a full stretch.
For example, let’s talk about the Squat for a second. I’m sure you have seen people doing squats in the gym. The majority of the population has no idea how to do squats properly. In order to get a full stretch in the legs at the bottom of the squat, you must go below parallel… even if it’s only slightly below parallel.
Think about that for a second. If you go below parallel, your quadriceps will get a full stretch. When you cut the movement short, you get no stretch in the target muscle group.
The majority of people do half squats and even quarter squats. The proper way to do squats is to have the top of your legs go below parallel compared to the floor. This keeps the stress off of your knees. Your body was built to perform squats in this manner.
Many doctors will tell people that squats are bad for your knees. Squats are bad for your knees when you do them with improper form. When you do them correctly, squats are great for your knees because they strengthen the muscle mass around your knees and do not add any stress at all to the knee joint.
So, do all exercises correctly by getting a full stretch at the bottom of every rep. The squat was only an example. You will build more muscle, and prevent injury by doing exercises with proper form. Proper form includes getting the full stretch on every rep.
Using Less Than Perfect Form
For some exercises, you always need to use perfect form. Many of the big compound exercises such as squats and deadlifts require flawless form every time. Never cheat on those exercises.
Some exercises, though, can use loose form during the end of a set when the weight gets difficult to lift. Using loose form on some exercises allows you to lift more weight and get the weight up to the top in order to perform more controlled negatives.
Never be so strict and limit yourself from doing more controlled negatives. Remember, the negative has the most muscle building potential.
Let’s look at an example of using loose form…
Let’s say you are doing alternate dumbbell curls. You alternate lifting the weight between arms. If you’ve never done alternate dumbbell curls before, you can really lift heavy weights because you can use leverage to your advantage.
You can shift your body weight from one side to the other to give you a mechanical advantage.
Using loose form on alternate dumbbell curls can really help you to build more muscle. As an example, (1) you use 45 pound dumbbells and complete 8 very strict and perfect reps OR (2) you use loose form and perform 11 reps with perfectly controlled negatives.
Which method is better?
The set with loose form created a greater muscle building stimulus than the set using perfectly strict form.
I want you to be aware that using less than perfect form on some exercises will result in a greater muscle building stimulus. You always need to be careful and avoid injury by using good form. Bad form will result in injury, so never lift with bad form.
When I say loose form, I am not talking about bad form. Loose form simply means that you don’t have to be so strict that you limit the amount of weight and reps that you can perform. You increase the amount of muscle you build by using loose form — let your body move naturally.
Some people believe that you can’t move a millimeter during certain exercises or you are cheating.
These are the people that limit their gains because they are just too strict.
Our bodies do not naturally stay perfectly strict while lifting. You can put more stress on the muscle group by not being perfectly strict on certain exercises.