The truth about partial reps and muscle growth

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At the end of a set when you cannot complete another full range of motion (ROM) rep, doing partial reps will stress the muscles beyond the point of normal failure. Partial reps can also be done for entire sets. Consider the squat. If you squat only halfway to parallel, you’ll be able to lift significantly more than if you squat to parallel. Going heavier during this partial ROM allows you to overload the muscle with more weight. Used periodically, this can increase strength and muscle size.

Recent research from the University of Southern Mississippi confirms this. The scientists put 56 males on a 10-week strength-training programme, which included three sets of bench presses done twice per week. One group trained with a full ROM, using a weight that was about 65% of their one-rep max - a weight they could lift about 12 times. Another group trained with a partial ROM, using a weight that was 100% of their one-rep full-ROM max. They lowered the bar two to five inches from full lockout and pressed the weight from there.

At the end of 10 weeks, the subjects had all gained about the same amount of bench-press strength. Although these results don’t seem to strongly support the benefits of partial-rep training, consider other variables. First, because partial-ROM training was as effective as full-ROM training, it suggests that partial-rep training can prevent loss of strength in injured muscles that cannot go through the full ROM. If you have an injury that prevents full ROM, you can still train the muscle with partial reps for an equal benefit.

Second, the researchers suggested that because the subjects were not highly trained weightlifters, the benefit of partial reps may have been blunted by the large gains beginners make regardless of their programmes. They further suggested that highly trained lifters who have plateaued with regular training are likely to see better strength gains with partial-rep training.

Summary: Occasionally, breaking away from the full-rep can be helpful. To add muscle size, do partial reps at the very end of a normal set when you can no longer complete a full rep. Use this technique for only the last set of an exercise. To boost strength, perform partial reps using a weight with which you normally achieve only one full-ROM rep. Lower the weight only two to five inches from the top position and return to the start. Choose one exercise and do two or three sets this way. Follow with one full-ROM set of that exercise. Then finish that bodypart workout with two more exercises using full-ROM reps for all sets. Do this for four to six weeks before switching back to strict full-ROM training.

Source: Flex magazine

Ed. Note: For more secret tips on maximising your results in the gym, click here to download a FREE copy of my booklet Getting into Shape the Proven Way


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Ras Robert Roberts   |.
I do partial reps at the end of my workout,I know they work!
Protein meal and
drink after workout helps too.
I love to stress my muscles from time to
time,with 5 bars total weight half a ton.27st bar,17st bar,12st short bar,10st
dumbells,6st dumbells,and 2 dumbells 4kg and 8kg.I am now back in training and
got loads to do,fat burning,bike riding etc.
I am 17st plus and short legged
5ft 8/9,short back and big belly body type etc.
God bless and train hard but
safe.
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