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 - 4:47

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
1
Barbell Curl
4 sets, 6-10 reps
2
Preacher Curl
2 sets, 8-10 reps
3
Alternate Incline Dumbbell Curl
2 sets, 10-12 reps
4
Incline Dumbbell Curl
2 sets, 12 reps
5
Reverse Barbell Curl
4 sets, 6-10 reps
6
Triceps Pushdown
2 sets, 8-10 reps
7
EZ-Bar Skullcrusher
4 sets, 6-10 reps
8
Incline Barbell Triceps Extension
4 sets, 6-10 reps
9
Tricep Dumbbell Kickback
2 sets, 12 reps
Day 2
1
Barbell 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.
6 sets, 6-10 reps
2
Leg Press
3 sets, 8-10 reps
3
Leg Extensions
2 sets, 10-12 reps
4
Seated Leg Curl
2 sets, 8-10 reps
5
Romanian Deadlift
2 sets, 10-12 reps
Day 3 (rest or optional workout)
1
Hanging Leg Raise
3 sets, to failure
2
Crunches
3 sets, to failure
3
Plank
3 sets, 60 sec
4
Standing Calf Raises
4 sets, 12, 12, 20, 20 reps
5
Seated Calf Raise
3 sets, 15 reps
Day 4
1
Barbell Bench Press - Medium Grip
4 sets, 6-10 reps
2
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.
4 sets, 6-10 reps
3
Decline Smith Press
2 sets, 8-10 reps
4
Incline Dumbbell Flyes
2 sets, 10-12 reps
5
Butterfly
2 sets, 10-12 reps
6
Standing Overhead 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.
6 sets, 6-10 reps
7
Upright Barbell Row
2 sets, 8-10 reps
8
Side Lateral Raise
2 sets, 10-12 reps
9
Front Dumbbell Raise
2 sets, 10-12 reps
10
Seated Bent-Over Rear Delt Raise
2 sets, 10-12 reps
Day 5
1
Bent Over Barbell Row
6 sets, 6-10 reps
2
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.
4 sets, 6-10 reps
3
Wide-Grip Lat Pulldown
2 sets, 8-10 reps
4
Seated Cable Rows
2 sets, 10-12 reps
5
Pullups
2 sets, to failure

Reverse Movements | Partial Movements | Isometrics

About the Author

Jimmy Peña, MS, CSCS

Jimmy Peña, MS, CSCS

Jimmy Peña is the founder of PrayFit and has been the exercise physiologist to Tyler Perry, Mario Lopez and LL Cool J. Find out more here.

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