FRIENDS WITH BEN­E­FITS

Men's Health (UK) - - In This Issue - JACK, HORLEY

How work­ing out with a spot­ter can lift you out of a weight-train­ing plateau

Un­godly morn­ing alarms and ter­mi­nal shower queues might seem a fair trade-off when you’re set­ting PBS on a weekly ba­sis. But when you’re rack­ing up the same old weights on au­topi­lot, fitting in your reps can feel like per­form­ing a thank­less task.

Well, do not fear: it would seem that lift­ing was never the an­swer any­way. Re­search from the Univer­sity of Jyväskylä in Fin­land found ath­letes who hit a strength plateau were able to re-start their progress sim­ply by fo­cus­ing on the ec­cen­tric (low­er­ing) part of the move and adding 40% to their usual lift­ing weight. “Hu­mans have a greater abil­ity to pro­duce force when low­er­ing a load com­pared to lift­ing, so it seems log­i­cal to train with greater ec­cen­tric loads,” ex­plains study au­thor Si­mon Walker.

Cru­cially, lone wolves might need to re­think their stance – to make this work for you, you’ll need a good spot­ter. Pile on the plates and have them as­sist with the lifts while you prac­tise the slow, down­ward phase of moves such as chest presses and front squats. And should any­one cast a dis­parag­ing eye at your ef­forts, we’d re­tort with a vari­a­tion on the pop­u­lar bro-ism: “Do you even lower?”

MAKE YOUR NEXT SES­SION SOME­THING TO SHOUT ABOUT

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