T Nation

Full ROM vs. More Volume

As of recently, I’ve been wondering why doing exercises through ROM is ever necessary in order to build muscle mass when instead one could just do exercises with minimal ROM possible while gradually increasing the amount of weight and/or repetitions in a given weightlifting exercise. What’s the reason behind this?

Some movements are great with partial ROM, especially to hammer out a set past failure like side raises.

But full ROM if I’m not mistaken is preferred because of the “pre-stretch” of the muscle. A pre-stretched muscle going through a longer ROM will have more fibers activated and technically a tad more TUT.

There is a time and a place where a smaller ROM and heavier weights can be beneficial, but your line of thinking can also be erroneously taken to the extreme.

For instance, let’s take the bench press as an example.
-a full ROM (from lockout, down to touch the chest under control and then back to lockout) is the general protocol and is a great strength building (and for some mass building) exercise
-using a slightly abbreviated ROM (never going to full lockout, and maybe even only performing the bottom 1/2-2/3 of the motion, to keep the chest under constant tension) can help some people increase the muscular demands/stimulus on the pecs
-stopping just short of the chest, performing floor presses/board presses/pin presses can alleviate shoulder pain for those with a history of shoulder issues, increase triceps involvement, and help power lifters who lift in gear strengthen the top ROM

However, minimizing the movement to going from lockout, bending the arms slightly, and then returning to lockout (like you see tons of guys do in commercial gyms when “benching”) is not going to give you the results you are seeking. That’s “ego lifting” and not something you should engage in on a regular basis (if ever).

A bunch of years back a guy by the name of John Little wrote a book basically taking this concept to it’s logical conclusion and developed a system called “Power Factor Training” which involved the use of minimal ROM combined with maximally heavy weights. He made some relatively convincing logical arguments for his theory and even used some anecdotal examples of people who had used heavy partials in their training and were successful. Unfortunately, the theory/program doesn’t go crap for muscular gains and to this day I know of not a single successful bodybuilder who built their physique using this method (or even one who used it successfully for a period of their training).

There is more to muscle growth than just number of reps x total weight used.

great answers guys

I do partials for incline benching as in touch my chest and go no higher than 6". That way I can target my upper chest. I feel it more than doing full ROM. The upper chest ROM isn’t all that much where mostly your delts and tris take over in the upper half of the movement. My opinion.

Good answers in the above.