How to Do Negative Reps Without a Partner

Step-by-step Instructions

Here is what you need to do...
Step 1

If you're looking for a way to switch things up in the gym and get a massive pump at the same time, negative reps are for you. They don't require much weight, and they give your muscles a burn like nothing else in the world. However, negative reps almost always result in muscle-failure, which means having a partner to spot you or save your ass is often helpful. That being said, negative reps can be done without a partner for every exercise; curls, squats, military presses, dips, and on and on and on. Below I'll talk about a few of the more difficult negative-rep exercises and how to go about doing them without a partner/spotter. Read on friends and grab yourself a bit of lifting education

Step 2

For most of the exercises that you do negative reps with, having a partner is virtually useless. Bicep curls, for instance, will eventually burn so badly that a partner helping you continue to lift the weight would basically be working out his own muscles rather than yours. Not only that, but dumbbells from the curling position are easy to drop when you're done. For all of those easy-to-drop exercises, don't stress a bit about not having a partner. It's the next few exercises that we'll look at that you'll need to make arrangements for if you don't come to the gym with someone to spot you.

Step 3

Any kind of benching and squatting will almost always require that you have a spotter- more so when you're doing negative reps. The weight will become unbelievably difficult to lift, and if you don't have a spotter you might wind up injured or stuck with the weight uncomfortably on your person. The best way to prepare for this situation is with a good pair of spotter bars. I've linked a great set below that will never fail you and will last almost indefinitely. Placing these bars just below the lowest point of movement will allow you to perform reps with a full range of motion, while still protecting you for the moments when you can no longer lift the weight back up.

Step 4

The other way to protect yourself is by stabilizing your bones and joints. For any kind of benching, I recommend wrist wraps. The pair that I've linked below are made of a comfortable material that is sure to give you extra stabilization, preventing your wrists from getting injured and your lifts from getting ruined. Similarly, the knee wraps that are linked below will work to keep your knees intact during squats (especially negative-rep squats) which put a lot of extra pressure on your knees. This material, too, is comfortable and you will not even realize that you're wearing it, which gives you more of an opportunity to focus on your lifts rather than what you're wearing.

Special Attention

Difficulties people often experience or parts that need special attention to do it right.

Doing negative reps without a partner puts you at risk for feeling the consequences of failure during a set. A partner is great for helping you lift the weight back to its rack at the very end of your set, which eliminates most of the potential for injury. By following the advice above, you will sufficiently compensate for the loss of a partner.

Stuff You'll Need

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This Student Author's Background

Funny or interesting story about this topic...

I was training a fella who loved doing negative reps on his benching. They gave him an insane pump, and he felt like the best results came from that kind of muscle failure. As a trainer, it's my duty to be a spotter that won't let his clients down. This one particular time, however, I found myself looking away and watching another part of the gym. When I looked back down, I saw my client's face, red as a cherry, veins popping out of his neck and forehead, and the barbell slowly making its way down without him being able to stop it. Luckily, I reacted just in time, and was able to bring the weight back up for him. For me, and probably for him, this was a prime example of why doing negative reps without a partner can pose the potential for some sticky situations.

When did you first do this & how did you get started?

I first started doing negative reps when I was a freshman in college. They're a hell of a lot of fun, and they really make you feel like you kicked your own ass in the gym. I don't always get to work out with a partner, so for me, figuring out how to do negative reps on my own *safely* was a must. Now I'm taking my knowledge and giving it to the lot of you. Use it well, be safe, and as always, happy lifting

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