Jimmy Pena's Power Rack Series, Part 1: Reverse Movements

Fight negative energy with reverse movements in the power rack.

Intro | Reverse Movements | Partial Movements | Isometrics

"Reverse" movements eliminate the built-up negative energy that makes the positive (concentric) contraction easier to perform. What does that mean? Take a normal squat. You begin by unracking the weight, then slowly lower your body as if sitting in a chair before exploding upward to a standing position.

During that downward phase, you build up negative energy—also called "the stretch-shorten cycle" in more technical terms—which helps you powerfully press out of the bottom of the squat. If you remove that energy and begin each rep from the bottom, you start from a dead stop. (That's where the name deadlift comes from, by the way; the deadlift is a prime example of a pure reverse movement.)

Power Rack Training Series Reverse Movements
Watch The Video - 04:47



To try a "reverse" squat, once you press upward to a standing position, squeeze your legs and glutes as normal, then return the bar to the safeties. Don't tap and go, as you would naturally have the tendency to do; instead, allow the bar to settle on the safeties. You can even separate your traps from the bar ever so slightly to completely remove all tension before you begin the next rep.

You'll quickly realize it is much more difficult to begin each rep without the benefit of the negative energy built up during conventional reps. Training this way will cause you to be that much stronger once you go back to conventional squatting, combining the elastic recoil from the negative portion of a rep with your newfound positive strength.

Day 1: ARms
Biceps
1
Standing Barbell Curl Standing Barbell Curl
Remember to allow the barbell to settle on the safety bars, releasing the negative energy. From set to set or workout to workout, be sure to vary the level of the safety bars to train as many angles as possible.

2

Preacher Curl

2 sets of 8-10 reps
30-60 seconds rest
Preacher Curl Preacher Curl

3

Alternating Dumbbell Curl

2 sets of 10-12 reps
30-60 seconds rest
Dumbbell Alternate Bicep Curl Dumbbell Alternate Bicep Curl

4

Incline Dumbbell Curl

2 sets of 12 reps
30-60 seconds rest
Incline Dumbbell Curl Incline Dumbbell Curl

5
Reverse Barbell Curl Reverse Barbell Curl

Triceps
6
Lying Triceps Press Lying Triceps Press

7
Incline Barbell Triceps Extension Incline Barbell Triceps Extension
Remember to allow the barbell to settle on the safety bars, releasing the negative energy. From set to set or workout to workout, be sure to vary the level of the safety bars to train as many angles as possible.

8

Press-down

2 sets of 8-10 reps
30-60 seconds rest
Triceps Pushdown Triceps Pushdown

9

Reverse Grip Press-down

2 sets of 10-12 reps
30-60 seconds rest
Reverse Grip Triceps Pushdown Reverse Grip Triceps Pushdown

10

Cable Kickback (shown with dumbbell)

2 sets of 12 reps
30-60 seconds rest
Tricep Dumbbell Kickback Tricep Dumbbell Kickback

Day 2: legs
1
Barbell Full Squat Barbell Full Squat
Remember to allow the barbell to settle on the safety bars, releasing the negative energy. From set to set or workout to workout, be sure to vary the level of the safety bars to train as many angles as possible.

2

Leg Press

3 sets of 8-10 reps
2 minutes rest
Leg Press Leg Press

3

Leg Extension

2 sets of 10-12 reps
1 minute rest
Leg Extensions Leg Extensions

4

Leg Curl

2 sets of 8-10 reps
1 minute rest
Lying Leg Curls Lying Leg Curls

5

Romanian Deadlift

2 sets of 10-12 reps
1 minute rest
Romanian Deadlift Romanian Deadlift

Day 3: Rest or Abs/Calves
Triceps
1

Hanging Leg Raise

3 sets to failure
30-60 seconds rest
Hanging Leg Raise Hanging Leg Raise

2

Double Crunch

3 sets to failure
30-60 seconds rest
Tuck Crunch Tuck Crunch

3

Plank

3 sets of 60 seconds
30 seconds rest
Plank Plank

Calves
4

Standing Calf Raise

4 sets of 12, 12, 20, 20 reps
1 minute rest
Standing Calf Raises Standing Calf Raises

5

Seated Calf Raise

3 sets of 15 reps
1 minute rest
Seated Calf Raise Seated Calf Raise

Day 4: Chest/Shoulders
Chest
1
Barbell Bench Press - Medium Grip Barbell Bench Press - Medium Grip

2
Barbell Incline Bench Press - Medium Grip Barbell Incline Bench Press - Medium Grip
Remember to allow the barbell to settle on the safety bars, releasing the negative energy. From set to set or workout to workout, be sure to vary the level of the safety bars to train as many angles as possible.

3

Decline Smith Press

2 sets of 8-10 reps
1-2 minutes rest
Decline Smith Press Decline Smith Press

4

Incline Dumbbell Fly

2 sets of 10-12 reps
30-60 seconds rest
Incline Dumbbell Flyes Incline Dumbbell Flyes

5

Pec Deck Fly

2 sets of 10-12 reps
30-60 seconds rest
Butterfly Butterfly

Shoulders
6
Seated Barbell Military Press Seated Barbell Military Press
Remember to allow the barbell to settle on the safety bars, releasing the negative energy. From set to set or workout to workout, be sure to vary the level of the safety bars to train as many angles as possible.

7

Upright Barbell Row

2 sets of 8-10 reps
1-2 minutes rest
Upright Barbell Row Upright Barbell Row

8

Dumbbell Lateral Raise

2 sets of 10-12 reps
30-60 seconds rest
Side Lateral Raise Side Lateral Raise

9

Dumbbell Front Raise

2 sets of 10-12 reps
30-60 seconds rest
Front Two-Dumbbell Raise Front Two-Dumbbell Raise

10

Bent-Over Lateral Raise

2 sets of 10-12 reps
30-60 seconds rest
Seated Bent-Over Rear Delt Raise Seated Bent-Over Rear Delt Raise

Day 5: back
1
Bent Over Barbell Row Bent Over Barbell Row

2

Rack Pull (do reverse movement, shown here without rack)

4 sets of 6-10 reps
1-2 minutes rest
Rack Pulls Rack Pulls
Remember to allow the barbell to settle on the safety bars, releasing the negative energy. From set to set or workout to workout, be sure to vary the level of the safety bars to train as many angles as possible.

3

Lat Pull-down

2 sets of 8-10 reps
30-60 seconds rest
Wide-Grip Lat Pulldown Wide-Grip Lat Pulldown

4

Seated Row

2 sets of 10-12 reps
30-60 seconds rest
Seated Cable Rows Seated Cable Rows

5

Pull-Ups (use machine if you can't do 8 reps)

2 sets to failure
30-60 seconds rest
Pullups Pullups
Note: Back day is also the best place to practice the conventional deadlift. After all, the deadlift is what we base all of the reverse movements on, just as long as you settle the bar before each rep.


Intro | Reverse Movements | Partial Movements | Isometrics