T Nation

Partials are superior to full ROM???

One of the books I have recently read was “Power Factor Training”. It was
really well written book and it really shocked me when it said that you must
use partials. And after reading few power factor books I realised that
partials ARE a way to go and full range movements are bad. Now you need
to realise that I am a big fan of full raNge movements. I always try to watch
my form and make sure I always use the longest range of motion possible… but now.

Lets see what makes partials the best according to the book.

1)You can use much more weight and thus stimulate bigger growth response.
It is unquestioanble fact that stronger muscle is bigger muscle, and the more
weight the better (within reason and as long as its not 1 rep maximums).
For example, a person can full range bench press 200 pounds for 10 reps. That
is what he is able to do in his weakest range of motion (when bar is down at his chest)
Howeever if he did PARTIALS, he would easily be able to lift 300 pounds for 10 times,
FIRST DAY. Obviously guess what, only after partials his chest would grow!
Why should his chest grow when he is using artificial full range of motion?
The weight that he is lifting BARELY makes ANY impression on his chest, so
your body will not and shouldn’t grow!

  1. It recruits more muscle fibers. The weight, not the exercise, or range of motion
    determines the recruitment of muscle. More recruitment means more growth,
    and fuller muscle.

  2. Partial reps are safer. Most injuries are caused when heavy weight is
    placed in weak range of motion and the muscle is unable to work up to the
    stress. Whiled doing partials you are only working in your strongest,safest
    place.

  3. Partials are natural. Sprinters and runners develop great legs, yet they
    do the partial range of motion. They obviously dont make a habit of touching
    their but to the heels. Also football linemen, before blitzing through the enemy
    lines, they dont squat down and neither do they pull their hands as far back
    as possible - that would scarifice speed and strenth. Also when you fall down,
    you dont pull your hands all the way back, no you keep them slightly bent!
    It seems that “FULL-RANGE OF MOTION” is used only ARTIFICIAL man made, nature
    un approved, games (powerlifting comps, and olympic lifting comps)

  4. Full Range movements , DONT MAKE MUSCLE LONGER! Muscle length is a function of genetics,
    if you are born with short biceps - NOTHING (other than surgery) would make
    them longer! And full range of motion stretch doenst “stretch muscle”, atleast not
    to any appreciatable degree. Hanging from something wont make you gain 6 inches,
    and riding on a horse wont make you 6 inches shorter.

  5. No study has ever been about that full range of motion is required. Howeever there are
    studies that the weight builds muscle.

  6. Some of the greatest bodies used partials with success. John Grimek a legend,
    used partial overhead presses with 1000+ pounds at bodyweight of 185, natural.
    Obviously juiced ronnie’s 315 overhead presses looked like childs play and didnt cause
    as much growth as 1000+ pounds. Steroids did…

  7. Partials cant build part of a muscle. Muscle is a shape of genetics. just like
    preacher curls cant make your muscles longer, or concentration curls make biceps higher,
    so does partials cant make your muscles be partial in size.

  8. And finally… Think about it… After you finish doing a set, you need to
    realize that you can still make movement - partials in particular. Which
    leads us to conclussion that partials involve more muscle fibers than normal
    “full range” motions, since it uses fibers that were not involved in full range
    movements.

Any comments? rebuttals? I really need to know!

Let me save you some much wasted training time. Don’t bother! I actually had one of my clients present me with this “revolutionary” training system for my opinion. I will tell you what I told him. PFT is pseudoscience, full of “complex” formulas and misused terminology, and is perhaps the most blatant abuse of bodybuilding misinformation around.

But don’t just take my word for it. George Chen does a wonderful job debunking PFT claims on his webpage…
www.stanford.edu/~gchen/Training/PowerFactor.html

Sorry to piss in your Wheaties.

I pretty much stopped reading when I read, “It is unquestioanble fact that stronger muscle is bigger muscle.” I’ve seen a lot of little bastards who were a lot stronger and no where near as muscled as me. I’m sure others will have much elaborate responses for you.

Poliquin and a few others from T-mag I think have poo-pooed this program.

A lifter MUST train up to partials. Connective tissue strengthens slower than muscle, so someone’s got to train for months at low reps (<5), then do heavy singles & only then start working partials in. Lots & lots of lifters have made huge gains by using partials, like Brooks Kubik going from 275 to 300 in his OH press in only 2 weeks, Paul Anderson trained up to a 900 squat, Anthony Ditillo trained up to a solid 300lbs bwt, Grimek doing partials overhead (with up to 1000lbs!) etc. What they did was start their workouts with heavy partials then do sets with the full range motion. Another way to work them is to start doing, say, 1/4 squats & when the weight goes up 60lbs or so, increase the ROM an inch or 2, so the weight used will decrease a little, go until the weight increases 60lbs or so, increase the ROM again. Keep doing this until you’re doing full range squats & your squat will be huge. The one thing you have to remember though is to do the full range movement as well. Also, I don’t have Power Factor Training, but I’ve heard that every copy should be made into paper plates.

I hate responding to threads like this, lest they be perpetuated, but I just had to say a few words.

I read that book myself several years ago. While they do make some interesting points, some of which can be applied to a comprehensive program, you should immediately raise an eyebrow anytime someone says that their method is the only, let alone best, way to train.

The reality is that many of the "facts" touted in the book are anything but, and some are just laughable. I haven't looked at the book for quite some time now, but one thing that sticks in my mind is their "nutrition fact" that bodybuilders only need something like .9 grams of protein per kilogram of bodyweight per day. That's less that .45 per pound. I doubt you'll find any successful bodybuilder who agrees with that "fact."

And lastly, if you’re going to copy information directly from the source, at least use quotations.

Ok, I’m done.

DUDE: I train at more than a few gyms, and I see the same thing in all of them. I call it the “3 inch principle.” Guys with 13 -1/2 arms benching 315lbs with a 3 inch range of motion…Then it’s over to the dumbbell rack …more scrawny fellas, obviously applying “the
principle,” but these guys are hoisting 100lb DB’s over their heads (with the help of 2 spotters, of course)
for more 3 inch reps. I then walk over to the LEG AREA, and what do I see but more of the same… three inch leg presses, 3 inch squats, 3 inch hack squats, and 3 inch lunges. I never quite knew where this
“idiocy” came from …not until I read this posting and came to the conclusion that they all must have embraced the tenets of “Power Factor Training!!!”

Seriously, Dude, this style of training was invented by guys who can't deal with the fact that they're just not that strong; it can't be anything but an EGO THING! Personally I take the opposite approach - E.g. doing my deadlifts with plates no larger than the 25's, in order to gain greater range of motion while still going over 300lbs. (I apologize for sounding so negative!!!!)

Shit, I got that book a year or so ago, read it and concluded it was one the stupidist things I ever read. I agree w/ the previous poster about it’s mostly psuedoscience. There were a couple decent points, but nothing revolutionary.

Dude, the other responders are right. This sounds like a bunch of hooey to me. But hey, don’t believe us. Try the program for a while and see how it goes for you. Then switch back to full range work. I guarantee you that you’ll be sore BOTH times you make the switch…and then you’ll be in a position to learn something from your experience.

I’d have to say that using a heavier weight in the strongest range of motion is NO BETTER than a lighter weight at the weakest range in recruiting muscle fiber. The idea that you can do partials after failing in your weakest range is THE SAME as decreasing the weight and going full range. So in essence, there is no benefit to going with partials, but there is benefit to doing full range.

I don’t want to discuss the ‘power factor’ theory, my respond is solely directed to the use of partials. Partials are useful (and are widely used) but it’s good to understand what is going on.
Now, why can we move more weight in partials than in the full range, let’s say in the bench press? The reason is simple (bio-)mechanics - the bar in almost lock-out position puts least demand on the triceps, shoulders and pecs whereas the bar in lower position puts most demand on these. Your max. weight in the full range of motion is limited by the part of the movement where you put the most demand on the muscle, which in the bench is the lower part. So in the end you still work your target muscle with maximal load even though you use less weight. The difference now between partials and full range is that the partials put max. load on the target muscle over the entire TUT, which the full range motion does not, thus resulting in an increase in your training intensity. The side effects of partial motion is the (almost) complete neglection of intermuscular coordination (you know - “functional
strength”). Also you lose many of the benefits of compound movements in that you only train part of the muscle groups involved in the full range motion (e.g. the squat in the upper part will almost entirely target your quads, but far less your hamstrings, glutes, back etc.). So, in my opinion partials can be a great addition
in particular when working yourself up to higher weights. Besides that I guess you could develop a great body by isolating every single muscle group and training it seperatly. O.k. enough said :), this is not meant to be a
comprehensive discussion of partials and there is probably a lot to add and perhaps to correct, but you get the idea.

GymJim summed it up best and I agree with him 100% that heavy partials are an advanced technique to be used occasionally for the advanced trainer to help blow past a sticking point but shouldn’t be used as a standard training practice.

This is a great program to use if you want to get injured. I’m ashamed to admit that I did this “program” for about 8 weeks two years ago. What it does is trains you to progressively reduce your range of motion to increase your number of reps. The benching and overhead presses with 70 pounds more than my 1RM beat the crap out of my shoulders. My legs got weaker doing those stupid 1/2-ton leg presses instead of the full-squats I’m used to doing. This program has virtually no redeeming qualities, IMO. Don’t be a fool and make the same gullible mistake that I did. I wish I’d been as smart as you to at least come here for opinions.

Thanks all for the replies!
I kinda dislike this program myself.
However I am trying it for a while now.

I am more sore than ever and the weird part is that my muscle has actually a deep level of soreness I have rarely expereinced! Dont know if that is good or not. But the good part is I think that partials will allow me to beat my
chin up/squat plateau.

I actually did partial close grip bench yesterday and for some strange reason my pecs hurt so much(why not my tricpes? I didnt do ernough reps I think) .

Questions: Anyone else used the program, what were the results? Also did you use the programa correctly?
I used 145 more pounds the first real day for bench, and my chest hiurts… PFT does hurt…

Anyhow. What were your results?
Maybe some time I should switch to full range again and check my stregth…

good day all!

This is reply to person who asked about strength
----------------- his reply --------------
I pretty much stopped reading when I read, “It isunquestioanble fact that stronger muscle is bigger muscle.” I’ve seen a lot of little bastards who were a lot stronger and no where near as muscled as me. I’m sure others will have much elaborate responses for you.

Bigger muscles IS stronger muscle. No argument there, it is a FACT. Now, strength DOES vary between people so that is why some people are more muscular than you but lift lighter weight, or vice versa. Those guys might have more fast twitch fibers, better neuromuscular capability, better tendons/joints , harder muscle … yadda yadda yadda.

If you have an X inch arm and you can curl 100 pounds, then when you will be able to curl 150 pounds your amr will be larger.

Strength and size are related. Bigger strenbgth = bigger size. If size had nothing to do with strengt than we would have guys who bench (full range) 600 pounds yet have 12 inch arms. And we would have massive herculean chest who barely bench 100 pounds. Obviously that doesnt happen. Now drugs DO allow you to get an
irrational hypertrophy. But that is for another discussion.

There is a time and a place for partial movements just as there is a time and place for eccentric accentuated training although neither should be the entire focus of your training. Partials help your body get used to heavier weight and help to raise the threshold of the golgi tendon organ and other inhibiting mechanisms which will enable you to exert more force before your muscles involuntarily shut down. Straight sets of partials are best used for pure strength gain although they can also be used for hypertrophy gain by doing partial movements at the end of the set which prolongs the duration of the load and stimulus. For more information on how they can be used have a look at Don Alessi’s recent article on shoulder training and see what Charles Poliquin has to say in one of his Q&A segments he discussed a training system he termed “heavy supports.”