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There is no Weider Full Range of Motion Principle. I just made it up. Perhaps the fact that you should strive for complete reps that go from an all-out stretch to a thorough contraction was simply too obvious for Joe Weider to codify in a tenet. It has long been an exercise fundamental— and we’re about to break it. You don’t have to go all the way. Sometimes an exercise is made more effective by using only part of its range of motion. The Weider Partial Reps Principle increases tension by decreasing movement.
This is one
Partial reps are not compatible with every exercise. Some lifts (like power cleans) are too ballistic, some (like shrugs) have too short a range of motion, and some (like squats) have less bodybuilding beneﬁt when done with more weight for a brief movement. On the other hand, for bodybuilders, partial deadlifts are arguably superior to full deadlifts because, by doing rack deads that focus only on the top half of the movement, lower-body stimulation is limited and thus a greater focus is placed on back and traps. But it’s not just compound lifts that can beneﬁt from partials. Isolation exercises with strong contraction points are also good candidates. Lifts like side laterals, barbell curls, and leg extensions can be made more intense by lowering each rep only halfway and thus placing a greater emphasis on contractions.
Here are the pluses of using partial reps.
There are two potential pitfalls to utilizing partial reps.
Partial reps and full reps can be combined in the same set. The classic way to do this is the 21-curl—a set of biceps curls that starts with seven reps of bottom-half curls, then goes to seven reps of top-half curls, and ends with seven full reps. Numerology aside, there’s nothing magical about 21. You can do a variety of half-rep and full-rep combinations, and you can do these with various exercises. Leg extensions and leg curls are two good candidates for “21s” or “18s” or whatever number you hit. The important thing is to start with half reps and end with full reps. FLEX