When it comes to range of motion a lot of people have difference of opinions about whether one should be doing the lifts with full range of motion or partial. And we are discussing about natural athletes not enhanced. The reason being whatever works for a Natural Athlete will 100% work for an enhanced athlete as well, BUT IT’s not necessary that whatever works for an enhanced athletes will also work for a Natural Athlete, Reason being majority (NOT ALL) of the enhanced crowd tend to go for Muscle Stimulation & Burn due to lactic acid that gives them great PUMP, These kind of workouts are easy to recover for an individual who is enhanced due to the faster recovery rate & Higher rate of protein synthesis.
So right now, let’s just focus on people who are trying to build maximum amount muscles NATURALLY.
Ok so I will be discussing this based on following Key Points that affect Max Muscle Gain :
1) Motor Units
3) Stretching under tension
5) Safety & injury prevention:
6) Tracking your Strength Progress
Ok So let’s have a look at the first point.
- Motor Units:If I have to explain in a very generic term.
If you want to grow most amount muscle growth in particular muscle group let’s say Biceps, you need to increase & activate maximum amount of motor units while performing your bicep exercise There are various parts of the biceps that are intervened with various parts of your nervous system & they are called Motor Units. The actual nerve & the muscle fiber it intervenes.
So if we look at the movement of the Bicep Curl (Dumbell or Barbell) Neither all motor units are used during the first 1/3 of the movement, Nor all are used at the last 1/3 of the movement (at the top).
So when it comes Entire Range of motion for Biceps from Bottom to Top, All motor units are properly activated, they are properly stressed by the load, which produced Maximum growth Stimulus.
So if you use full range of motion for not just biceps but for any other body part, all of your motor units get activated, all of the muscle fibers are under tension (Obviously depending on the Load that drives whether you are activating more of Type 1, Type 2 A or Type 2B muscle fibers) which may lead to maximum muscle growth. So if you are doing Partial range of motions, you might be missing out on a lot of motor units & end of the day, you might be wasting your time in the gym & will not be getting much out of it.
Range of Motion: Partial / Full Range Comparison & Benefits
- Strength Development:
So now let’s discuss strength development aspect. Picking up a heavy object like ATLAS STONE from the floor & throwing it requires quite a good amount of strength. Now during the entire range of motion of picking it up and diving it through to the top your head and holding it above with your bear hands requires Strength. But which portion of the movement are you the most strongest.
Obviously when you are holding it up, You are at your weakest when you are trying to lift the ATLAS STONE from the floor. It’s obvious right !
So now just think about this if you always trained to move that ATLAS STONE for a feet above the ground, just a feet & never trained to lift it up, will you be able to perform the same kind of a movement when it comes to practical application in real life ? Well Definitely YES, You will be able to perform very well for the range of motion you practiced, But You won’t be stronger
- Stretching under tension:
How much volume of work (Force x Time X Distance) you do, is huge determinant of how muscular you can get, If you get the burn due to lactic acid if not the most important thing, but still has its place in muscular growth. But the most independent variable of muscular growth is actually stretching of the muscle Underload. Stretching under tension itself gives a hypertrophic muscle growth stimulus. So if we want the most out of our training for growth, we should be doing full range of motion, because your muscle is under tension for the Maximum time. The stretch of the muscle through a full range of muscle is maximum.
If you are doing half range of motion of shorter range of motion, You might do more reps which will increase the volume, You will get the Lactic Acid burn, But you may not get the Full Stretch under load while you do a short range of motion.
- More Volume:
Volume is one the most crucial thing for muscular growth, Volume of training can also be described as total mechanical work performed during the training.
No if you want more Volume of training the easiest way to go about it, without even increasing the number of reps you are going to perform and indeed by decreasing the weight on the bar for which you were doing partial range of motion, instead do a full range of motion with some less reps & less weight on the bar, that may even give you more growth than doing partials with high amount of weight.
- Safety & injury prevention:
If you are going to train with partial range of motion, to get the same force & same stress on the muscle, you will have to lift more weight, so what ends up happening is you make the exercise unsafe just because you are not willing to go full range of motion. You will see such guys in every gym where they take up all plates in the gym & load up the Legg Press Machine, and when all of the weight in the gym is on the bar, these guys will sit there on the leg press machine & will keep moving the le press machine for Few Inches or may be just a little bit more. Now that kind of stuff, can get you straight to the
Range of Motion: Partial / Full Range Comparison & Benefits s
Hospital or Coffin, one little slip of the half rep and boom Game Over. So why not load less number of plates on the machine & do full range of motion, instead.
- Tracking your Strength Progress:
Let’s say you use Partial range of motion & squat 120 Kg for 6 reps. 2 months later, You pushed 120 KG for 10 Reps. You remained consistent with your workout food, recovery & rest. Another 2 months down the line, you were not able to push 120 Kg for 5 reps. So now you will think in the back of your head did I used to go less deeper before, is it the reason why I am only able to perform only 5 reps now !
But with Full range of motion there is no such confusion, because you always go all the way down & all the way up. So tracking progress is easier, you will be more confident about your progress. And when you are progressing you are confident that you are actually getting something out of your time in the gym.
So do yourself a favor go ahead and do full range of motion with lesser weight on the bar/machine/dumbbell, Stretch & Squeeze, keep your workouts safer & Have proper sleep, Proper rest, Eat proper nutritious food & post workout DRINK Your Protein shakes.
That’s all will sum it up for this Article, I will keep writing as long as I find such interesting topics.