T Nation

THE THREE INCH PRINCIPLE

TC 's “Disturbing Trends” seem to be sweeping the nation! The one
in particular I’m beginning to see is how legions of “partial repers” might
soon be making their ASSAULT on gyms everywhere. I don’t know if it’s the
“Hundredth Monkey Principle,” or what?! The other day I watched one
gangly dude bench for an hour straight. He started out with just the bar,
then worked all the way up to 405 (probably on his 20th set); the goofy
thing was that he NEVER LOWERED THE BAR MORE THAN 3 INCHES ON
ANY REP! Now here’s the weird part. Today I trained at another gym 30
miles away and watched 3 different guys all doing the very same “3 inch
rep” routine that I had seen the previous day. I then walked over to the
LEG AREA and what did I see but more of the same three inch leg presses, 3
inch squats, 3 inch hack squats, and 3 inch lunges. SCARY, huh? Questions:
Who started the THREE INCH PRINCIPLE, and does it have any practical
application? Your BEWILDERED T-BRO, Joey Z. ::::----::::

I see this everywhere, too! I have not read the article that you speak of, but my opinion that partial reps can be useful. For example, I think 1/4 squats are nice, for like one set, after doing deep squats. I guess it is kind of like rack lockouts in a way? However, it is definately wrong when people use this style as the sole basis of their training.

In regards to this subject, a couple days ago I did rows the Ian King way, really bending over. The range of motion seemed so much greater, and I found I was really weak at this angle. However, my back is SO sore! I have been training for many years, and never have I gotten sore from rows, until now.

I think I first saw it in Power Factor Training a couple of years ago. But I thought that hype was over for a long time ago maybe it´s back with a new name or something?

yours in strength

Thomas

AHHHH!!!..Now I can see the light! Did you ever wonder about
all those guys at school or at church or where you work, who
CLAIM to bench over 300 lbs? YEAH, you’ve seen them; they’re
the ONES with the PIPE-CLEANER ARMS and the MAN-BREASTS!
I think the “3 inch principle” just MAY have something to do with
it?! And what about the NUMBSKULLS with their 18 inch BROOMSTICK
thighs, the ones who boast about squatting way more than YOU?
The “3 inch principle” STRIKES again! No, princess, “these” are not 1/4
reps or rack lock-outs; it’s exactly how they train! I STILL ASK YOU ALL:
Just who started this TREND?!

J.Z: I’m with you on this question (I hope folks feel that it’s a serious question, because it IS!) Did the trend begin with some “Guru” or something that appeared in the mags? Was it mis-interpretation of a study? (That happens a LOT!). Or was it simply one of those funny trends that seems to spontaneously appear in the gyms?

I, too, see the 3 inch principle in action every time I’m in my local gym, as well as the gym I work at. Adherents of the 3" principle seem to be becoming more and more common on guys who 99% of the time could and should be doing a full range of motion as the basis of their training. Their 3 inch range of motion yields 3 inch results, and they simply take up valuable space in a place of lifting weights.

I think a few people are missing the point. This is not a “technique” or something they read in a mag. This is ego thing. Their little self-esteems just can’t stand the thought of dropping a few plates and using a full range of motion. The 3 inchers are the same people who pile 1200 pounds on the leg press and lower it 2 inches, or who have to cheat every curl, even the first rep. The fact is that proper lifting with slower eccentrics (for BBers at least) and full ROM and a controlled tempo is harder than this style of “Geek Lifting”. Those who bounce the bar off their chests on every rep fall into the same category. It’s an artificial ego booster. They do it not necessarily to impress others with the heavier weights (because anyone who knows anything thinks they’re dorks), but to fool themselves. It’s pure psychology.

That said, there are few techniques like rack lockouts which use a partial ROM, but these people you see in the gym are simple ego builders, or false ego builders if you will. I’m much more impressed by a person who uses a light weight and does something grueling like King’s one and a third than I am with a 3 incher using a ton of weight.

You learn a lot about a person by watching them train. I could do a whole article on gym psychology.

theres a guy at my gym who is the epitome of what tc what talking bout. on every exercise, he not only does partial reps, but also does kinda a pelvic thrust! his hips are always moving. i think hes maybe training to be a pornstar.

Chris: When you write that “Workout Manifesto” (Hint, Hint…!), EGO has to enter in as a one of the greatest impediments to growth. As always, great insights…

Guys at my gym do one inch movements. They’re pansies. Nobody squats, however, I always have to wait for the squat rack because dudes with goosed up hair and tons of jewelry are doing reverse-grip-stiff-legged cleans (some call them “bicep curls” but I beg to differ) are in the squat rack. Nobody deadlifts. The biggest bench is maybe 330 (it’s a college gym… very vain, egotistical student body… nobody goes heavy, it would hurt too much… the radio plays pop shit…). Back to the Three-Inch Principle. The best way to handle this problem in your gym is to approach one of these guys and say to them: DO A FULL REP YOU @#$#IN’ POSEY. AND GET THE HELL OUT OF THE SQUAT RACK.

Unbelievable, but I saw it too, last week. There are four guys that “workout” at my gym (the university’s athletic center). Usually, they seem to go through the motions and I don’t pay them much attention. They are not disruptive and rarely hog the equipment. Last Wednesday, they decided to do “squats”. They put about 315 on the bar and began these partially movement squats. It almost looked like they were doing “isometric” squats! I am not sure if these were planned partial reps, but I doubt it because after each guy would grunt and strain through his set, they would congratulate each other like it was a big achievement. One of them strained so hard, I half expected him to crap his pants right there in the corner. What’s the deal?

This may have originated with newbies watching Lee Priest doing full range reps, which only amount to 3 inches any way. :^)

I have seen tremendous results using this technique. People who train this way grow HUGE invisable lats. These invisible lats make them walk around with their arms as far out as possible.

That’s what we call the gunslingers lol - next time you see one go stand in front of him and yell ‘draw!’

Mufasa spoke of mysterious trends appearing from… God knows where?
Remember the EAT NO FAT diet trend which popped up in the 80’s and lasted
well through the 90’s? This “gem” later became known as “The Snack Well Diet,”
and did the nation ever grow fat on that one!

I loved the simple, yet brutal logic of HardcoreMF0311’s
comment: “Their 3 inch range of motion yields 3 inch results…”

Chris Shugart, I think “Strange Gym Psychology” would be a
classic “Atomic Dog” piece!

Lately I’ve seen a new guy in my gym doing this on bench, leg press, and a host of other exercises. I think he’s actually just trying to impress his girlfriend, because he brings her in to watch every workout.