Partial Reps vs. Full Range of Motion

by Frank
(Salt Lake City)

Can you explain the difference between partial reps and full range of motion. I was on my last routine, shoulder shugs for traps. Had a good weight, felt comfortable and got going. As I finished my first set I noticed a person next to me setting up to do the same thing, one massive difference; I had three 45lbs plates per side, he had six per side. I was initially impressed. Homeboy can pick this up the rack? Wow!

Anyway, I started my set as did he, I couldn't help but notice my range of motion was complete, all the way up and squeeze then all the way down. Homeboy was doing the opposite, supper short, supper fast and done in a fraction of the time.

Here's why I ask; the dude was massive, his arms were the size of my legs, his traps were huge, but everything he did was a quarter range of motion. I have no intention of being a body builder, and have always taken pride in making sure I get full extensions - am I mistaken in thinking this?


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Partial Reps vs. Full Range of Motion

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Partial Reps for Strength Gains
by: Monica

Partial reps are great for strength gains. Initially using a full range of motion is the best way to stimulate your nervous system, learn good form, and build a decent amount of strength.

After a while everybody hits a plateau and needs special tricks to get off those plateaus. Partial reps work for getting past sticking points. Partial reps are also great for teaching really complex movement.

The main issue is that many people see bodybuilders doing quick partials and they think this is how you're supposed to train all the time. Not the case at all!!!

Now the reason this guy may be huge could be genetics, proper training, excellent diet, or steroids or all the above. You would only know if you asked and he felt like being honest.

I use partial reps from time to time. I'm actually using them now so I can finally do real pullups. I also use partial reps with clients who have limited range of motion. Working around their limitations you can eventually train the full range (as long as their is proper rehab going on too).

Every training technique has a purpose the trick is knowing when and how to use it. Below is an example of partial reps with pistols. Lots of people struggle with this move. The same principle applies to any weighted exercises.

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