Half Measures

Going half way on reps can maximize your gains.



  • Select compound exercises that allow you to focus on specific muscles over a limited ROM, such as triceps, during the lockouts of bench presses.
  • Select isolation exercises that have a long ROM, such as biceps curls.
  • Combining half reps with full reps in the same set allows you to better target muscles and expand your time under tension.
  • 21s can be done with many more exercises than curls, and they don’t have to total 21 reps.


  • We’ve designed an arm routine of only half reps to illustrate what can be done. Generally, only one exercise per body part should feature half reps.
  • For safety and to assure you hit the precise depth, use a power rack when doing half reps of chest presses or deadlifts.
  • To better target half reps of compound exercises, do them after isolation exercises for that muscle.
  • Slow down your half reps.


  • Pushdown 21s: 4 sets, 21* reps
  • Overhead Extension 21s: 4 sets, 21* reps
  • Bench-press Lockouts**: 4 sets, 10 reps
  • Barbell Curl 21s: 4 sets, 21* reps
  • Preacher Curl Half Reps***: 4 sets, 10 reps
  • Dumbbell Curl 21s: 4 sets, 21* reps

*7 reps from bottom to halfway, 7 reps from halfway to top, 7 full reps.

**Perform in a power rack. Go halfway down on each rep.

***Go from the bottom to halfway up.


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