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Partial Reps Vs. Full Reps
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Many shirt lifters do only board lifts and use shirts year around. They should read this article carefully!
This principle is related to the Overcompensation Principle. In order to gain in endurance
and strength you must exercise against a resistance greater than previously encountered.
If you use the same amount of resistance no improvement will continue. What exactly is
happening to your muscles as you overload and stress them with every repetition? You are
actually causing very tiny tears to develop in the muscle. Your body responds to this stress
by repairing the torn fibers, and increasing their size by synthesizing proteins that aid in
rebuilding and strengthening the muscle. It is this process, and a well designed strength
routine performed repeatedly and with increased resistance, that produces the results you are
looking for. Different parameters can be manipulated as well to overload the muscle. You can
increase the number of sets and reps for a particular exercise, or you can reduce the rest
period you allow yourself in between sets and reps. These parameters will change as you grow
Partial Reps vs. Full Reps
I want to address an unusual but not uncommon problem we all see in the weight room. Powerlifters and Strength Athletes usually have less of a problem with it than most. It is common among the beginning lifter, the fitness (the just to keep in shape person) and the bodybuilder. I refer to the “partial movement exercise” in your workout. Bodybuilders many or most times do it intentionally so we will bypass that crowd. Most strength athletes and powerlifters add it to their regiment to help overcome a sticking point or for other reasons; we are not talking about them. Have you ever started to train someone or looked over at a bench and find a young kid on it and see them letting the bar half way down and then pressing it back up. They actually have no clue they are shortchanging themselves and in actuality setting themselves up for an injury down the road. One must realize your flexibility and tension is improved with full range movements over a partial movement. You also are not working that lower part of the movement, thus it will never grow, and thus give you an imbalance in strength in that particular movement/exercise. Partial movements have a place but for beginners and others like them full range motion should always be the case. They need to work the entire muscle groups through the entire movement.
The American College of Sports Medicine suggests doing a full range of motion in your weight training. See below.
Range of motion
Perform every weight training exercise through a full range of motion
American College of Sports Medicine 1995, and Fleck & Falkel 1986)
Develops strength through out full range of motion
Maintains flexibility necessary for joint integrity
Joint adapts to full extension and flexion
Less susceptible to injury at extremes after adaptation
Unless range of motion will never be used
Consider unintentional or accidental range of motion in real world situations
Conditions stabilizing muscles
Eg: See Supraspinatus Weakness, and Vastus Medialis Weakness.
Full range of motion varies from person to person.
Also see Common Orthopedic Inflexibilities
For elderly adults as well as physical therapy patients, perform the maximum range of motion that does not elicit pain or discomfort for the most beneficial use.
Source: Crain's Newsletter.
The three modes of exercise for developing muscles are isometric, isotonic, and isokinetic. In isometric exercises, you contract a muscle group without moving the joint to which the muscles are attached - for instance, pushing steadily against an immovable wall. These exercises build muscle, but the gain occurs mainly at the angle at which the muscle is exercises. Therefore, you would have to perform these exercises in dozens of different positions to strengthen the full range of motion of a particular movement (exercise). Isotonic exercises, by contrast, contract a muscle through a range of motion - as you can do with movable weights. The virtue of isotonic exercises is that they build muscle through this full range of isometric exercises. Isokinetic exercises also consist of contracting a muscle through a range of movement, but are performed on machines, which does not allow for a natural movement, but in a predetermined groove of the machine.
Isotonic exercises use both free weights and machines. Free weights are barbells and dumbbells - ordinarily used in pairs, one in each hand. The advantage of free weights is that they allow movement in any direction and so lend themselves to an enormous variety of exercise routines. Partial movement exercises are more like a series of Isometric exercises, but still falling short of the complete range of motion like Isontonic movements. So simply put, do free weight training when possible and do the Full Range of Motion when performing the exercise.
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