Partial/Variable ROMS = Muscle Growth

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  1. Quote Originally Posted by datBtrue View Post
    Thank you so much for this.

    I KNOW that partial pullups and pulldowns really work. I am no stranger to scapula retractions either BUT I need to hear it again & again to keep from slipping into full ROMs (especially pullups).

    You are spot on bro. The reason a lot of guys say they get a lot out of wide grip pullups is because that forces them by accident to get into the position you describe and although still not the ROM you describe they at least are forced into some sort of partial range only.

    Good advice bro. Now I've got a Mullet voice inside my head to compete with the P.E. teacher voice ...who will win out? vs =
    I just did Heavy Partial Pulldowns today! My back is still pumped. It is an incredibly easy concept: The point of peak contraction (peak force, peak torque, or whatever you will) is the precipice of tension - that is, either increasing or decreasing flexion will remove you from the peak. It only makes logical sense to train your muscles exclusively in that period (if we are speaking strictly about sarcoplasmic hypertrophy).

    Here is an easy way to conceptualize (for others in the thread):

    Each lift is necessarily four quadrants in respects to both the ascension and descension; the initial phase (either starting to ascend or descend), two middle quadrants where the tension is the greatest (you are resisting the load the greatest and thereby applying the peak amount of force here), and the completion. By completing a full ROM -aside from the initial ascension on the first rep - you are relieving tension off the target muscle at two points, and diverting that kinetic energy to antagonist muscles, and joints.

    Partial reps exclusively work the muscle during the two middle quadrants; ensuring peak force is continued throughout. They are not completed with poor form, but rather perfect form in a continuous motion such that tension on the target muscle remains constant.


  2. Quote Originally Posted by Rodja View Post
    Word. Most that have shoulder problems could get rid of them by simply narrowing your grip on BP. Doing that and adducting the shoulder blades throughout the entire motion are paramount for avoiding injuries.

    Alot of people just dont do this, they take the bench for grant just assume that its a pressing movment , not taking any form into consideration. This is hardly ever mention in any discussions for benching.
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  3. this sounds interesting and im eager to try and go for the 'feel' and finding the right spot for myself.

    however ive always thought partial ROM was the sure way to injure yourself and pulling muscle and such...partial ROM is new to me, so are there special stretches you should do? im still a bit nervous to try it as i have had an injury to my triceps earlier this year.

    i grew up lifting and hearing about how partial ROM will make your muscle head shorter (something like that) and eventually it will tear easily. another myth?


    that staggered leg press looks awesome by the way.

  4. Quote Originally Posted by comacho View Post
    ...however ive always thought partial ROM was the sure way to injure yourself and pulling muscle and such...partial ROM is new to me, so are there special stretches you should do?
    Stretches why?

    There is less stress on joints and connective tissue so those injury points are not vulnerable.

    By-the-way never do heavy stretching between sets as this will reduce the built up tension in the muscle and make you more vulnerable to injury as well as reduce your load capacity. Wait till after the workout if you do them.

    Quote Originally Posted by comacho
    im still a bit nervous to try it as i have had an injury to my triceps earlier this year.
    Understandable that an injury would do that to your mind set. But what is it about locking out your triceps and stretching them beyond their work range that makes full ROM "safer"?

    Quote Originally Posted by comacho
    i grew up lifting and hearing about how partial ROM will make your muscle head shorter (something like that) and eventually it will tear easily. another myth?
    Wow...we are from different generations. I grew up worrying about the Soviet Union raining on missles my head & wacking off to my poster of Farah Fawcett:

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    Quote Originally Posted by comacho
    that staggered leg press looks awesome by the way.
    ...yep and its even more effective then it looks. The helper leg works at a completely different angle so it is almost like a superset.

    I'll bet if you start out using that exercise for partials it WILL just feel right. I think you are visualizing squats and there is just too much going on in that exercise to do partials exactly right straight away.

  5. i will incorporate the partials to all my movements...but dammit its hard to visualize, i tried to do it in front of the mirror lastnight and i was sweating my ass off just to get the feel right, hopefully with weights it will feel better.

    oh buddy, the joy of learning how to lift again,,,sh1t! ahahhaha

    so any movement, skip out the beginning and the finishing movements right? focus the middle part of the movement and keep the tension there throughout...

    should i search for partial ROMs on youtube for visual demo?lol
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  6. Quote Originally Posted by comacho View Post
    i will incorporate the partials to all my movements...but dammit its hard to visualize, i tried to do it in front of the mirror lastnight and i was sweating my ass off just to get the feel right, hopefully with weights it will feel better.

    oh buddy, the joy of learning how to lift again,,,sh1t! ahahhaha

    so any movement, skip out the beginning and the finishing movements right? focus the middle part of the movement and keep the tension there throughout...

    should i search for partial ROMs on youtube for visual demo?lol
    You're over thinking and worrying too much.

    Take a look at your physique. You have built it up so you know plenty already. This is just another tool to add to your toolbox. Don't sweat it!

    Somewhere (maybe a PM) you talked about the kids in the gym doing partials ...bro those kids aren't doing anything close tp PROPER partial ROMs.

    On squats they put way too much weight on the bar and go down by bending their back & then they lock their knees to take a break. On bench these guys use way too much weight and ONLY go 1/3 of the way down and then lockout to take a break between reps.

    On curls swinging the bar is not a proper partial ROM.

    So forget those images.

    What is proper is using a weight you can do at least one full range of motion with & control the negative ...like pulling back on a sling shot. Work the range of motion that puts the MOST stress on the target muscle.

    It isn't always middle range. Tricep bench press partial ROMs mean you go down till elbows are parallel to the body and not below and then push up to almost lockout.

    Here is a visualization for you.

    Standing Barbell curl - Imagine the motion of curling up...curl all the way up and form a tight contraction...at that point look at your elbows....I'll bet they drifted forward away from the body.

    Now do the same curl motion till you reach peak contraction BUT keep your elbows to your side. Where do your wrists end up? ...at about the nipple line. THAT is the top ...there is no benefit only negative consequences to curling your wrists higher. Now continue with your full ROM curling motion...i.e. let the elbows drift forward and bring the wrists up to your shoulders.

    You are going to argue that tension is STILL on your biceps...you can feel it because it is still a ball of muscle BUT if you reach over and touch the working shoulder muscle with your off hand you feel a lot of tension in that front delt. Thats because the elbows rose and some of the tension comes off the biceps and on to the shoulders.

    At the other end...
    Now if I handed you a 40 pound dumbell and told you to hold it at the bottom of the full ROM I'll bet you could hold it there for 5 minutes maybe an hour until your grip fails. But if I tell you to curl it up a couple of inches and hold it ...how long do you think you could keep it there? Certainly not an hour and probably not even 5 minutes ...your bicep will fatigue before your grip does.

    Anyway...

    ...I suggest you just ease into partials on an exercise or two or a bodypart and start off by working the middle 80%.

    Some of the most successful exercises we do are partials just by their very nature. Thats why they are so effective.

    For instance wide grip pullups are so good because at the bottom the tension doesn't really come off the lats.

    Also leg presses have a limied range of motion as the knees approach the chest...that range isn't low enough to hit the hams & glutes so the tension stays on the quads.

    Probably 98% of our motions in life whether it is carrying groceries or pulling a book off a shelf is a partial not a full ROM.

  7. thanks for the examples sire,

    i tried partial ROMs on my EDT's last night (those who dont know its from t-mag, 15min superset between two exercises back to back no rest other than water and writing numbers down)

    i did it for incline bb press (in the power rack bars on the bottom position but higher than usual point) with wide chins

    another edt after that was flat db neutral grip press with db bent row

    i used the same weight as before but this time really went for the feel and the range where my tension breaks and i tell you that the previous full ROM EDT was hard but this was harder, not much of shoulder burns nor tri burns (oh they were super pumped though) but chest and back had this weird fullness and thick pump that lasted longer than usual. I think they will be much more sore. No usual dull pain on elbows nor my front shoulders joints.

    im getting it man, slowly, these movements were easier to 'feel' and find out where to stop. so i will slowly work on other movements.

    today is shoulders/bis/tris, should be interesting on spider curls.

    pretty excited about this new approach, new for me at least.
  8. Post Elaboration


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    An Examination of Strength and Concentric Work Ratios During Variable Range of Motion Training, Ross A Clark, Adam L Bryant, and Brendan Humphries, J Strength Cond Res, August 14, 2008

    From the Intro:

    A resistance training program utilizing the full range of motion (ROM) may not be optimal for enhancing muscle force levels. In this respect, previous studies have shown that full ROM exercises consist of a large deceleration phase (2,5,9), resulting in a substantial proportion of the movement being performed at force levels far below maximal. What makes this submaximal performance during the exercise so detrimental from an athlete’s point of view is that it occurs toward the terminal range of the movement (ROM), which is often the critical phase for athletic performance.

    From the Discussion:

    The results of this study reveal that both the load lifted and peak force output increase as the ROM of the bench press exercise is decreased toward terminal elbow extension. These findings are somewhat supported by the study of Mookerjee and Ratamess (8), who reported that concentric velocity did not decrease dramatically during partial ROM exercises despite an increase in the load lifted.

    These findings suggest that VROM training may help to overcome one of the major limitations of full ROM resistance training, terminal deceleration toward the end range of the movement....

    Notes:

    2 - Elliott, BC, Wilson, GJ, and Kerr, GK, A biomechanical analysis of the sticking region in the bench press, Med Sci Sports Exerc 21:450–462, 1989.

    "A possible mechanism which envisages the sticking region as a force-reduced transition phase between a strain energy-assisted acceleration phase and a mechanically advantageous maximum strength region is postulated."

    5 - Lander, JE, Bates, BT, Sawhill, JA, and Hamill, J. A comparison between free-weight and isokinetic bench pressing. Med Sci Sports Exerc 17: 344–353, 1985.

    "A "sticking region" was defined as the portion of the free-weight activity when the subjects' force application was less than the weight of the bar."

    8 - Mookerjee, S and Ratamess, N. Comparison of strength differences and joint action durations between full and partial range-of-motion bench press exercise. J Strength Cond Res 13: 76–81, 1999.

    9 - Newton, RU, Kraemer, WJ, Hakkinen, K, Humphries, BJ, and Murphy, AJ. Kinematics, kinetics and muscle activation during explosive upper body movements. J Appl Biomech 12: 31–43, 1996
  9. Post Very Good Study


    Comparison of Strength Differences and Joint Action Durations Between Full and Partial Range-of-Motion Bench Press Exercise, Mookerjee, S and Ratamess, N., J Strength Cond Res 13: 76–81, 1999

    Intro:

    Muscular strength has been shown to vary throughout the range of motion (ROM) of a given joint (2, 4, 17, 24, 25, 26). Possible mechanisms for this phenomenon may be due to the muscle length–tension relationship (17, 24), moment arm length (17), and muscle activation and mass (25). Variations in strength can be depicted as strength curves (17), which permit the identification of areas of highest force output. Most of the literature focuses on isometric strength for single- joint movements, and limited data are available for dynamic, multijoint resistance exercises.

    Dynamic partial range of motion (partial ROM) training is an advanced strength-training technique frequently utilized by athletes in many sports. Zatsiorsky (33) has described the accentuation principle, where the intent is to train in the range of motion where there is demand for maximal force production. One form of this type of training is designed to overload the musculoskeletal system with supramaximal loads (greater than 100% of one repetition maximum [1RM]) in the area of the ROM where maximal force is produced. It is believed that adaptations occur in response to the extreme overload via a decline in neural inhibition (28).

    Studies on the bench press show an area of the ROM where maximal force production occurs (5, 18). For a dynamic lift, this ROM is beyond the "sticking point" near full elbow extension (5, 18). Wilson et al. (30) found that this area for an isometric bench press was at an elbow angle of 120 degrees.

    Most studies on dynamic partial ROM training were performed on clinical population samples in which subjects had limited ROM (9, 10). These studies showed that partial ROM training increased isometric strength at the specifically trained ROM and in full ROM (9, 10). Similarly, other studies using isometric training have demonstrated angular specificity of strength improvements and a spillover of strength of 6208 from the trained joint angle (14, 15, 24).

    Sullivan and colleagues (23) studied moderately experienced, weight-trained subjects during the barbell curl exercise. They found partial ROM exercise produced greater torque compared to full ROM exercise. However, data on dynamic, partial ROM traininginduced differences in muscular strength in advanced subjects is limited and needs to be addressed. Therefore, the purpose of this study was to (a) investigate strength differences following an acute exposure to full and partial ROM bench press exercise using 1RM and 5RM (five repetition maximum) and (b) describe elbow joint action durations during full and partial ROM bench press exercise at 1RM and 5RM.

    Discussion:

    The initial finding in this study was the occurrence of a statistically significant difference in partial ROM bench press performance in advanced subjects who performed both full ROM and partial ROM bench press exercises. Following two testing sessions with 4 days during which subjects continued to train (only avoiding use of the bench press and any supplemental exercise), subjects’ partial ROM bench press increased by 4.8 and 4.1% for the 1RM and 5 RM, respectively (see Figure 1). Individuals who train exclusively in a full ROM may fail to optimally train in the area of the ROM where maximal force developement occurs. This is possibly due to the load requirement for the full ROM bench press being limited by the "sticking point" (5).

    ...

    Loads used for the partial ROM bench press exceeded that of the full ROM bench press. During the second testing session, loads were 10.7 and 17.6% greater in the partial ROM for the 1RM and 5RM tests, respectively. These results corroborate previous work (5, 18, 31) on the bench press where this ROM was described as the area of maximal strength. The results also support the findings of Sullivan et al. (23), who reported greater torque production during performance of partial range of motion barbell curls.

    ...

    The partial ROM technique facilitates training with higher loads than is possible with full ROM movements.

    Notes:

    1. CALLAWAY, C.W., W.C. CHUMLEA, C. BOUCHARD, J.H. HIMES, T.G. LOHMAN, A.D. MARTIN, C.D. MITCHELL, W.H. MUELLER, A.F. ROCHE, AND V.D. SEEFELDT. Circumferences. In: Anthropometric Standardization Reference Manual. T.G. Lohman, A.F. Roche, and R.M. Martorell, eds. Champaign, IL: Human Kinetics, 1988. pp. 39–54.

    2. CAMPNEY, H.K. AND R.W. WEHR. Significance of strength variation through a range of joint motion. Phys. Ther. 45:773–779. 1965.

    3. CARPENTER, D.M., J.E. GRAVES, M.L. POLLOCK, S.H. LEGGETT, D. FOSTER, B. HOLMES, AND M.N. FULTON. Effect of 12 and 20 weeks of resistance training on lumbar extension torque production. Phys. Ther. 71:580–588. 1991.

    4. CLARKE, H.H., E.C. ELKINS, G.M. MARTIN, AND K.G. WAKIM. Relationship between body position and the application of muscle power to movements of the joints. Arch. Phys. Med. Rehab. 31: 81–89. 1950.

    5. ELLIOTT, B.C., G.J. WILSON, AND G.K. KERR. A biomechanical analysis of the sticking region in the bench press. Med. Sci. Sports Exerc. 21:450–462. 1989.

    6. ELORANTA, V., AND P.V. KOMI. Function of the quadriceps femoris muscle under the full range of forces and differing contraction velocities of concentric work. EMG Clin. Neurophysiol. 20:159–174. 1980.

    7. ELORANTA, V., AND P.V. KOMI. Function of the quadriceps femoris muscle under the full range of forces and differing contraction velocities of concentric work. EMG Clin. Neurophysiol. 21:419–431. 1981.

    8. FLECK, S.J., AND W.J. KRAEMER. Designing Resistance Training Programs. Champaign, IL: Human Kinetics, 1987.

    9. GRAVES, J.E., M.L. POLLOCK, A.E. JONES, A.B. COLVIN, AND S.H. LEGGETT. Specificity of limited range of motion variable resistance training. Med. Sci. Sports Exerc. 21:84–89. 1989.

    10. GRAVES, J.E., M.L. POLLOCK, S.H. LEGGETT, D.M. CARPENTER, C.K. FIX, AND M.N. FULTON. Limited range-of-motion lumbar extension strength training. Med. Sci. Sports Exerc. 24:128–133. 1992.

    11. HORTOBAGYI, T., AND F.I. KATCH. Role of concentric force in limiting improvement in muscular strength. J. Appl. Physiol. 68:650– 658. 1990.

    12. JACKSON, A., T. JACKSON, J. HNATEK, AND J. WEST. Strength development: Using functional isometrics in an isotonic strength training program. Res. Q. Exerc. Sport 56:234–237. 1985.

    13. KITAI, T.A., AND D.G. SALE. Specificity of joint angle in isometric training. Eur. J. Appl. Physiol. 58:744–748. 1989.

    14. KNAPIK, J.J., R.H. MAWDSLEY, AND N.V. RAMOS. Angular specificity and test mode specificity of isometric and isokinetic strength training. J. Orthop. Sports Phys. Ther. 5:58–65. 1983.

    15. KNAPIK, J.J., J.E. WRIGHT, R.H. MAWDSLEY, AND J. BRAUN. Isometric, isotonic, and isokinetic torque variations in four muscle groups through a range of joint motion. Phys. Ther. 63:938–947. 1983.

    16. KOMI, P.V. Training of muscle strength and power: Interaction of neuromotoric, hypertrophic, and mechanical factors. Int. J. Sports Med. 7:10–15. 1986.

    17. KULIG, K., J.G.ANDREWS, AND J.G. HAY. Human strength curves. Exerc. Sports Sci. Rev. 12:417–466. 1984.

    18. LANDER, J.E., B.T. BATES, J.A. SAWHILL, AND J. HAMILL. A comparison between free-weight and isokinetic bench pressing. Med. Sci. Sports Exerc. 17:344–353. 1985.

    19. MADSEN, N., AND T. MCLAUGHLIN. Kinematic factors influencing performance and injury risk in the bench press exercise. Med. Sci. Sports Exerc. 16:376–381. 1984.

    20. POLLOCK, M.L., S.H. LEGGETT, J.E. GRAVES, A. JONES, M. FULTON, AND J. CIRULLI. Effect of resistance training on lumbar extension strength. Am. J. Sports Med. 17:624–629. 1989.

    21. RUTHERFORD, G.M., AND D.A. JONES. The role of learning and coordination in strength training. Eur. J. Appl. Physiol. 55:100– 105. 1986.

    22. SALE, D.G. Testing strength and power. In: Physiological Testing of the High-Performance Athlete. J.D. MacDougall, H.A. Wenger, and H.J. Green, eds. Champaign, IL: Human Kinetics, 1991. pp. 76–77.

    23. SULLIVAN, J.J., R.G. KNOWLTON, P. DEVITA, AND D.D. BROWN. Cardiovascular response to restricted range of motion resistance exercise. J. Strength Cond. Res. 10:3–7. 1996.

    24. THEPAUT-MATHIEU, C., J. VANHOECKE, AND B. MATON. Myoelectrical and mechanical changes linked to length specificity during isometric training. J. Appl. Physiol. 64:1500–1505. 1988.

    25. TSUNODA, N., F. O’HAGAN, D.G. SALE, AND J.D. MACDOUGALL. Elbow flexion strength curves in untrained men and women and male bodybuilders. Eur. J. Appl. Physiol. 66:235–239. 1993.

    26. WEIR, J.P., L.L. WAGNER, AND T.J. HOUSH. The effect of rest interval length on repeated maximal bench presses. J. Strength Cond. Res. 8:58–60. 1994.

    27. WILLIAMS, M., AND L. STUTZMAN. Strength variation through the range of joint motion. Phys. Ther. Rev. 39:145–152. 1959.

    28. WILSON, G. Strength and power in sport. In: Applied Anatomy and Biomechanics in Sport. J. Bloomfield, T. Ackland, and B. Elliott, eds. Boston: Blackwell Scientific Publications, 1994. pp. 110–208.

    29. WILSON, G.J., B.C. ELLIOTT, AND G.A. WOODS. The effect on performance of imposing a delay during a stretch–shorten cycle movement. Med. Sci. Sports Exerc. 23:364–370. 1991.

    30. WILSON, G.J., B.C. ELLIOTT, AND G.K. KERR. Bar path and force profile characteristics for maximal and submaximal loads in the bench press. Int. J. Sport Biomech. 5:390–402. 1989.

    31. WILSON, G.J., A.J. MURPHY, AND J.F. PRYOR. Musculotendinous stiffness: Its relationship to eccentric, isometric, and concentric performance. J. Appl. Physiol. 76:2714–2719. 1994.

    32. WILSON, G.J., G.A. WOOD, AND B.C. ELLIOTT. Optimal stiffness of series elastic component in a stretch–shorten cycle activity. J. Appl. Physiol. 70:825–833. 191.

    33. ZATSIORSKY, V. Science and Practice of Strength Training. Champaign, IL: Human Kinetics, 1995.

  10. I have actually implemented all Partial ROMs in a modified DC protocol: I am going M/T/T/F in my split, utilizing many static hold techniques, peak contraction, as well as Partial ROMs for every lift (aside Decline BB, Dead, Squats). I must say, Partial ROM Front Squats (static hold at parallel to just prior to lockout with no momentum) are very intense!

    Dat, do you find, though, that in order to complete a Partial ROM that some exercises require a touch of momentum? I say this not in respects to a young kid wrenching his back, but rather in the momentum that Pros use.

  11. Quote Originally Posted by Mulletsoldier;
    Dat, do you find, though, that in order to complete a Partial ROM that some exercises require a touch of momentum? I say this not in respects to a young kid wrenching his back, but rather in the momentum that Pros use.
    For the most part I don't pause between eccentric & concentric. I reverse the motion in an area that will generate the most force when I start my "exposive" concentric.

    As far as momentum I would call it rhythm. One way I like to make sure the rhythm is beneficial and not pure momentum is to think about the eccentric as pulling a rubber band back (so it is controlled) and the concentric is like letting the rubberband go (it is explosive).

    Weights are so heavy that it is not possible to stop and hold it at any place in the motion. If I did I couldn't start the motion again.

    But the weight has to be on the target muscle only so that as it fails I could either stop or squeeze out a few more even smaller range of motion reps. Kinda how a bouncing ping-pong ball as it loses energy bounces in short increments before it comes to a stop.

  12. Great explanation; rhythm is a much more adequate description than is momentum! It actually perfectly captures what I meant to say!
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