T Nation

Heavier Lifters & Small ROM


I'm a beginner at the gym so I always listen to what somebody has to say and see if its true, but today a man at the gym said that when doing a seated db shoulder press to have my upper arms level to the floor and no lower. After he left I watched him and everything he did he only went half way.

The weight was heavy but I don't think he would make it if he went down all the way. Also later I overheard him say he couldn't go up in weight for the past few months.

Ive heard of not extending all the way on somethings like a curl so that your muscle is always under stress but this got me wondering. The guy was good sized but I would think if you only go down about half way benching would you really be doing any good?


Your right, and you should throw a dumbbell at his head.

Always use full range of motion as the primary exercise for that body part, and partials to overcome a sticking point. The only reason they say "don't extend your arm all the way" for curls is because it keeps tension on the muscle and not on hyperextending your arm.


benching and DB shoulder presses are two different things. benching you should always touch your chest. DB shoulder presses YOU should go down all the way since you are a beginner. In a few years It might change for you, but for now, full ROM.


Booo, I've been weight training for years and still take the dumbbell and barbell for presses down to my chest and in the case of the dumbbells I'm using two 110's. You just need a gym that doesn't care if you drop them or someone to grab one so that you can bring it down with two hands. Muscular Strength, Neurological Strength, Tendon Strength, and Bone strength are all results of proper form and range of motion.


For now you don't need to worry about that, just use full ROM as long as it doesn't hurt you. However, you should be open to other methods as well, a lot of big guys use partials. You can use partials depending on what you want to achieve from that exercise. e.g. first half of pull-ups if you just want to stimulate you lats without fatiguing you biceps too much, floor press or top half of a bench press to target your triceps more etc.

There's no need to have the must-only-do-full-ROM mentality, it'll probably just set you back when you go up in weight.


I basically agree with everyone has already posted, BUT I want to say that full-ROM presses (bench or shoulders) involve triceps in the last part of the movement (from half-way UP to lock out), so it makes sense do only do the first half (from the bottom to mid-way) to minimize triceps fatigue/involvement.

Also, I found that close-grip BP and MP lock-outs (the last few inches of the movement) are good triceps exercises.

Wrap-up: partial-ROM movements have their place, but are to be used in a smart way.


that all makes alot of sense. i know that im past the stage of isolation only. when i started i could bearly do a db bench because of weak secondary muscles and poor stability. my reason for lifting isnt jus to get 'big' but also for practicality. if i got used to lifting heavy object only have way what kind of weightlifter would i be. but i aslo understand the reason for not using the full ROM. ill just stick to the basics for now.


Personally I lock out bench press, dips and other chest excersises, to get a nice peak contraction.. nevertheless, when training shoulders, I don't really care as I only feel my delts working at the lower portion of the presses.. BUT, this is only true for locking out, I always let the bar to touch my clavicles..


You think? When I used to always touch my chest on the bench I'd just get shoulder pains. Now I stop a few inches above my chest(basically right around the spot when I start to 'feel' the lift in my chest), don't get shoulder pains, and have continually made progress. Could be because I have very long arms though.

Another peculiarity I've noticed is that with DB presses I tend to go to my chest, but I never feel any quirks in my shoulders on DB presses. Could be because I'm using comparatively less weight though.