By Bryan Haycock Flex
DEFENSE Use a full range of motion for maximum benefit.
PROSECUTION A partial range of motion is just as effective.
- Researchers at the University of Southern Mississippi compared full and partial ranges of motion and found that both were equally effective at increasing maximal strength.
- Partial range of motion allows the use of more weight, which can help bust through plateaus.
- Using a partial range of motion tempts lifters to use too much weight and bad form, increasing the risk of injury.
- A 2012 study comparing full and partial ranges of motion showed comparable increases in both size and strength for both methods.
Partials have gotten a bad rap.
No one will disagree that good form is important to avoid injury. But what this evidence argues is that moving the weight through a joint’s full range of motion is not necessary to increase both strength and size. Truth be told, I see several professional bodybuilders using a partial range of motion. There is an exception to this, however. When training for competitive strength events, make sure you train the way you will compete. If a competition squat is thighs parallel to the floor, then train down to parallel.
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