Training

Half Reps for Full-Range Benefits?

Our verdict on partial reps.

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Half Reps for Full-Range Benefits?

QUESTION

CAN HALF REPS PROVIDE FULL-RANGE BENEFITS?

OPENING ARGUMENTS

 DEFENSE  Use a full range of motion for maximum benefit.

 PROSECUTION  A partial range of motion is just as effective.

EVIDENCE

  1. Researchers at the University of Southern Mississippi compared full and partial ranges of motion and found that both were equally effective at increasing maximal strength.
  2. Partial range of motion allows the use of more weight, which can help bust through plateaus.
  3. Using a partial range of motion tempts lifters to use too much weight and bad form, increasing the risk of injury.
  4. A 2012 study comparing full and partial ranges of motion showed comparable increases in both size and strength for both methods.

VERDICT

Partials have gotten a bad rap.

SENTENCING

No one will disagree that good form is important to avoid injury. But what this evidence argues is that moving the weight through a joint’s full range of motion is not necessary to increase both strength and size. Truth be told, I see several professional bodybuilders using a partial range of motion. There is an exception to this, however. When training for competitive strength events, make sure you train the way you will compete. If a competition squat is thighs parallel to the floor, then train down to parallel.

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