What is a Partial Range of Motion? – Can Be Useful!

In this article, I answer the question, what is a partial range of motion? This is a concept that has different applications within training that you may be able to benefit from. I will explain what this concept is through a definition, its relation to our training and how you can implement partial ranges of motions if they are suited to you!

Let’s get into the article!

Partial Range of Motion Explained:

A partial range of motion refers to taking an exercise and reducing the distance that the resistance travels. This means your muscles and joints would go through a lesser range of motion, which has different applications where it may either be beneficial, or less beneficial than a full range of motion.

For example, if you were to take a deadlift, and put the weight on 8-inch blocks to perform a rack pull, this would be a partial range of motion. You are pulling the bar from a higher height, therefore, it travels a lesser distance. Let’s talk about when this may be beneficial, and when you should likely stick to a full range of motion.

Partial Range of Motion in Relation to Your Training:

In general, when trying to gain muscle you typically want to use a full range of motion. When talking about strength training, you certainly should train with a full range of motion, however, there are more instances where using a partial range of motion may be beneficial. Let’s explain why this is the case!

For hypertrophy, the greater your range of motion, the greater amount of work you are putting your muscles through. Not only do they get a great training stimulus, but you also work the full length of a muscle. This can help with balance and symmetry in one’s physique and strength. Also, the greater your range of motion, the more volume a muscle is subjected to, this is beneficial since volume has a direct relation to muscle hypertrophy.

When strength training, using a full range of motion is hugely important for programming and to ensure strength in all areas of a lift. However, using a partial range of motion may be beneficial for overloading your muscles and allowing them to feel and adapt to a heavier weight. A partial range of motion also allows you to focus on a specific portion of a lift. This may be beneficial for working on weak points.

From an injury side of things, partial ranges of motion can also be beneficial to work around and rehabilitate injuries to continue training. I am not a medical professional so I am not giving advice to use these to work around your specific injuries or saying how to do so. I am simply stating another possible use for partial ranges of motion, while this one should be done through the seeking of proper medical advice.

Implementation of Partial Ranges of Motion:

Now to talk about implementing partial ranges of motion, I will be looking at this from a hypertrophy and strength standpoint.

For hypertrophy, the vast majority of training should be done with a full range of motion. However, a partial range of motion can be beneficial for pushing past failure, working a certain length of a muscle or adding in overall training variation.

For strength, your foundation should be laid with full range of motion movements. However, consider implementing partial ranges of motion where it makes sense, or for programming with the hopes of developing strength in a strategic manner. If safely overloading a muscle makes sense, consider using a partial range of motion in specific circumstances to get some heavy training in. Or, look at your weak points and implement this type of training where it makes sense. An example of this would be rack pulls if the lockout of the deadlift is a weak point of yours.

Seek proper medical advice for using partial ranges of motion for working around injuries.

Wrapping Up:

All in all, the majority of training should be done with a full range of motion, however, partial ranges of motion do have specific applications where they can be beneficial, mainly for strength training.

Does using a partial range of motion in some cases make sense for you? Give it a shot! I thank you for taking the time to read this article and as always, if you have any questions or comments please do not hesitate to leave them below and I will be sure to reply!

 

Until Next Time,

 

Kohl Johnson

Please refer to my liability disclaimer to ensure you know who is responsible for use of this information after reading.

Support is much appreciated if you benefited from this:
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Kohl Johnson

I am a 16-year-old fitness fanatic! I have learned nothing but quality training and nutrition information from the utmost well-respected individuals in the field. Now, my only focus is to share this knowledge with you for your benefit, in the most honest way possible. We are all in this together! LET'S GO!

2 Responses

  1. This post is excellent! The partial range of motion makes so much sense, especially for pushing past failure and giving it few last pushes. I previously thought one should do a full range of motion to be effective and I’ve given up too often when i couldn’t do a full rep. As a result, my training hit a plateau a couple times.

    This is also very useful when working out while recovering from an injury, as you mentioned. This is great to keep the momentum going. 

    • Hi Joe, I am so glad you found the article beneficial! There certainly are many benefits of partial ranges of motion. They can be a great training tool once a full range of motion foundation has been laid. Take care!

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