T Nation

The Advantages to the Half Rep

Revently started using T-Nation as well as the I-Bodybuilder program. Being a exercise science drop out I’ve gained at least a respect and curiosity for the science behind the lifts. I’m curious as to the advantages to the half rep as well as the science or research behind. Cant seem to find anything solid.

Half my curiosity is just to answer the question from others, why i’m doing so much weight and moving it so little… Thanks!

Half reps? Like partials?

Which half of the rep are you talking about?

Partials, halves - whatever. They’re great, especially if injury prevents full ROM.

Also, certain parts of a rep range in particular exercises are best for finding the MMC, and once there, one can move within that limited range in a piston-like manner and really burn/pump up the target muscle.

If you’re injury-free, try being creative with a few sets of partials after your full-ROM sets.

As ID said, obviously if you’re working around an injury, partial ROM exercises can be great.

In terms of growth, the old standard is that you work a muscle through it’s full ROM, until you start to fatigue, then continue working through the strongest portion of the movement, as you’d no doubt be unable to eek out more reps in the weaker portions. When discussing partials used in this manner, we’re usually focused on the middle segment of the ROM. There have been many coaches and trainers who have expressed thinking that by focusing the majority of your training on the strongest range of motion (the middle portion), that you can get better results than being limited by the weaker extremes.

Of course there are always benefits to focusing on different sections of a compound movement due to the multiple muscles that are called in to play. How many times have you seen someone bench pressing, but only doing the top (lockout) 1/3 of the movement. This will typically result in sub-par chest development as the triceps and delts contribute a lot to this range, and the chest muscles never get a good stretch.

On the other hand, you will also find a lot of more experienced, and developed trainers focusing more on the bottom 2/3 of the movement. This allows more stress to be placed on the pecs, from a full stretch at the bottom, through the strongest mid-range, and then completely avoiding the lock-out portion where tension is actually removed from the pecs.

S

I was hoping you’d chime in here, Stu. Good post!

In the hands of a lifter that knows what they are doing partials/half-reps are a great tool.

I like non-lock style partials on squats/front squats. For someone with fairly long limbs descending into a squat can feel awkward. Keeping it short from lockout prevents having to “re-break” (with either the hips or knees first) on every rep and I find the set becomes one fluid motion. I got that idea from watching Ronnie Coleman.

[quote]BlueCollarTr8n wrote:
In the hands of a lifter that knows what they are doing partials/half-reps are a great tool. [/quote]

The qualifier here can’t be overstated.

John Meadows just had a Livespill talking about his thoughts/perspective on this. He’s an advocate of it:
http://www.T-Nation.com/strength-training-topics/2266

[quote]Work wrote:
I’m curious as to the advantages to the half rep as well as the science or research behind. Cant seem to find anything solid.[/quote]
Advantages: Increased muscular tension/“time under tension” for the target bodypart, potential for heavier loads, ability to emphasize/de-emphasize some bodyparts that contribute to compound movements (example: chest vs tris in bench, as previously mentioned).

Science: I didn’t search for studies, but the increased stress from the above listed advantages would/should translate to increased growth and/or strength.

That’d be it in a nutshell. Like any training technique, it can easily be misused which could then lead to injury.

[quote]flipcollar wrote:

[quote]BlueCollarTr8n wrote:
In the hands of a lifter that knows what they are doing partials/half-reps are a great tool. [/quote]
The qualifier here can’t be overstated.[/quote]
x3. The same also goes for “cheating” or being loose with textbook-approved technique. Useful tool in the right hands, excuse for big weights and poor progress in the wrong hands.

I don’t know anything about the science or research behind partial reps;
I have used them most with
standing shoulder presses in the power rack with the pins set high,
floor presses (both close grip and regular),
and rack presses (pins set a few inches above chest).

For the SSP’s I never went too heavy just used them about midway through
the training session and noticed main advantage was sort of like a midway
through the workout mind boost; (ramped up the CNS).

The regular floor presses and rack presses I used as substitutes for flat bench
during a plateau that I overcame. Floor presses in general I found to help out
with explosiveness like nothing I have ever done before. Really trains your CNS
to fire out to motor units or whatever that’s all about all I know is they helped
me move big weights.

The rack presses I used sparingly for 5 sets of 2 or 6 sets of 3 or whatever when
I don’t feel like asking for a spot.

The I-Bodybuilder program, if I recall, uses several “dead start from pins” partial reps, so another potential advantage would be to take out the stretch reflex or elastic energy from a normal full ranged rep.

Good program, be sure to see it through to the end.

CNS activation, tricep hypertrophy

The vastus lateralis contributes to the first 30 degrees of leg extension so partials would hit them more than full ROM.