T Nation

Range of Motion

I’m curious as to why I’ve seen more and more lifters not using complete range of motion on bench presses, military presses, incline presses. It seems most prevelant amongst newer lifters so I’m wondering if a new trend in bodybuilding mags is to encourage people to shorten their range of motion on these lifts. I understand people have shoulder issues that may prevent completing these lifts, but newer lifters shouldn’t be starting out this way should they?

[quote]slimjim wrote:
I understand people have shoulder issues that may prevent completing these lifts, but newer lifters shouldn’t be starting out this way should they?[/quote]

No, they shouldn’t. Full R.O.M. is always going to provide better development. The only exceptions would be something like a rack lockout, a pin pull, a floor press…exercises that intentionally have a shorter-than-traditional range of funcitonal motion. But those movements are A - Generally not in the average newbie’s routine, and B - Used for a short term, to specifically address an issue or weakness.

Contrast this with the time I was working out and had a 19-year old kid wearing huge knee wraps and a ginormous belt do 1/8th squat (not even a quarter squat) with 405. Then he hobbles around and smirks like a jackass because I’m doing dumbbell floor presses.

Part of the the R.O.M. issue is the exercise’s context within the workout.

[quote]slimjim wrote:
I’m curious as to why I’ve seen more and more lifters not using complete range of motion on bench presses, military presses, incline presses. It seems most prevelant amongst newer lifters so I’m wondering if a new trend in bodybuilding mags is to encourage people to shorten their range of motion on these lifts. I understand people have shoulder issues that may prevent completing these lifts, but newer lifters shouldn’t be starting out this way should they?[/quote]

No, they shouldn’t. Often this is because they are watching bodybuilders much bigger than them who can actually benefit from a shortened range of motion simply because they have built themselves to the point that they feel which area of the moving stresses the target muscle group best.

For bench press (even though I use the HS machine), I probably don’t go through the text book full range of motion. Part of that is the size of my chest and the fact that I feel no reason to attempt to move my upper arm much more thahn slightly below parallel to the ground and feel no need to touch my chest during the movement. I would never recommend a newbie train the exact same way. Regardless of what some like to say, size does have a say in how certain movements affect the target muscle group in my opinion.

Along those same lines, newbies should stick to more textbook movements before they start cheating the weight up if for no other reason than risk of injury. However, anyone who has lifted for a significant amount of time will tell you that cheating has a place in lifting if the goal is to get much stronger. It all depends on when these techniques are employed.