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Anatomy of a Repetition

Updated: Apr 11, 2021


The Positive (concentric) Phase

  • This refers to the lifting of the weight and the shortening of the involved muscles.

  • The Positive phase of every repetition should take at least 3-4 seconds to complete.

The Negative (eccentric) Phase

  • This refers to the lowering of the weight and the lengthening of the involved musculature.

  • The negative phase of every repetition should take at least 5-6 seconds to complete.

  • Your negative strength is about 30% greater than your positive strength

The Upper Turnaround

  • When the weight is in the highest position and you are moving from the positive into the negative.

  • The upper turnaround should be performed especially slow and controlled

The Lower Turnaround

  • When the weight is in the lowest position and you are moving from the negative into the positive.

  • The lower turnaround should be performed very slowly with particular emphasis on moving extremely slow through the first inch of the upcoming positive repetition.


The Ken Hutchins Repetition Schematic

Below is a very useful visual adapted from Ken Hutchins (founder of the Super Slow Exercise Guild and Renaissance Exercise) Repetition Schematic. If you start at the bottom of the schematic you can see the entire cycle of the repetition. The slowest points of the repetition are at the bottom and the top. Controlling the turnarounds should be your primary focus if you want the safest and most effective repetitions... and everything good or bad comes out of your repetition... so master your turnarounds.


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