MMA Training Workouts With NEGATIVES?

Wear a clean shirt please.

Today we’re going to talk about negatives and their value in your MMA training workouts.

This all came about because last blog post I shared a funny story that happened to myself and Claude at the gym.

I also asked for YOU to post your gym etiquette breaking stories and got some hilarious responses.

But this one from Mark takes the cake:

“Once I had a guy ask me for a spot as he was doing “negatives” on the bench. He loaded up the bar with 225, I thought it to be light for negatives, but later I was very gratefull he only used 225.

He got down on the bench and when he gave me a signal I lifted the bar off the rack. He slowly lowered the bar to his chest, I grabbed the bar and began to lift it up, as I struggled with the weight I couldn’t figure out why it was so heavy, I finally got it where I could rack it.

He said “a couple more”, I politely told him I couldn’t because I was exhausted. I looked in the mirror, my face was purple, eyes bloodshot, every vein in my neck was sticking out.

I asked him, as I was gasping for air, how he does negatives, still trying to figure out why the weight was so hard for me to lift, after all I was “spotting” not working out. Standing there not even looking like he had just completed a set, he informed me the correct way to do negatives was when the spotter pulled the weight up, he would be pulling down as hard as he could!!!

I saw a couple of guys laughing and found out they had spotted him before.”

I’m sure glad I wasn’t spotting this guy!

Anyway, this story raised the question, “Are negatives good for MMA training?”

Here’s the simple answer…


Negatives are definitely NOT good to include in your strength and conditioning routine for MMA.

First of all, you’ve got to understand what real negative training is (not what the delusional guy in the story above thinks it is).

Negative training or eccentric training is generally associated with picking a weight that’s heavier than you can lift, for example, my 1RM Bench Press is 245 lbs, so I’d pick 260 lbs.

Then, you slowly lower the weight, usually taking 4-6 seconds to lower it and get a spotter to help you lift it, then repeat.

A serious amount of muscle damage results with negatives, leaving you sore and weaker for days to come.

Some studies show that eccentric training can result in decreased strength for 7-10 days after the session!

As a mixed-martial artist, you need your strength to do your MMA training – if you’re too sore, this will make your MMA training sessions less valuable since you’ll be limited by the soreness, and even worse, you might screw up your technique, because sore muscles may result in a different muscular recruitment pattern, since your brain doesn’t want to use these damaged muscles.

The lesson is, DO NOT use negatives in your MMA training workouts!

It might be good for bodybuilding but it serves no value to you as a mixed martial artist.

And that’s a wrap. 🙂

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8 years ago

How about negative pull ups and chin ups if you can’t do them yet?

8 years ago
Reply to  Greki

That’s OK for sure and a good way to progress.

Vic Magary
9 years ago

Man I love it when someone takes a stand and gives a definitive answer. Black and white without any wiggle room. . . NO, do not use negatives for MMA. Can’t get any clearer than that – thanks Eric!