Partial/Variable ROMS = Muscle Growth

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  1. 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 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 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? 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 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 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.


    ...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.

  2. 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.

  3. 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....


    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
  4. 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


    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.


    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.


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  5. 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.

  6. 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.

  7. 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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