FULL ROM OR BUST? Is full range of motion needed for muscular development? Are shorter reps inherently bad? Are you leaving gains on the table by cutting range of motion?
These are questions that may come up as your training age and experience increases. The answers? As usual, it depends. Not every exercise demands “full range of motion” when it comes to joint movements. But if we can move through a larger range of motion, should we?
Much like my post discussing whether some exercises are best for strength vs hypertrophy, range of motion is just ONE factor to consider in execution of a program and the exercises within.
What we do know is that different muscle fibers can be accessed and recruited when we increase range of motion. In the same breath, isometrics can call upon nearly 95% of all muscle fibers when used for maximal contractions. Not very realistic in a normal training setting, but worth noting.
Generally speaking, larger range = more muscle fibers.
More muscle fibers = more potential for both strength gains and muscle growth. So I personally lean towards controlling a movement through the full range available.
It’s a balance. For strength and hypertrophy, we want a challenging intensity – rate of perceived exertion via volume and load. So, if that can’t be attained in the full range of motion, I’d lean towards a range that the challenging RPE can be expressed. Obviously that depends on the goal of the programming.
From a mobility standpoint, training through your end ranges (yes even under load) is likely a positive and something to explore. Static stretching may increase flexibility but MOVING and controlling the ranges you currently have is how you’ll improve mobility.
Increasing the capacity of your mobility may ideally allow you to train higher loads through those ranges. Go team.
Happy lifting. #educatedgains
P.S. Want more educated gains and programming done for you? Get on the Built By Annie waitlist!
Original Instagram post below:
I'm an adventurous introvert from Vancouver, Washington who lives on sleep + "me time." I'm a lover of lifting weights, dinosaurs, real talk and traveling with my husband. I am here to help you move better, lift more, bust the myths of the fitness industry, and inspire you to love the process.
You love my style, trust my reviews, and want more Annie Miller Concepts vibes in your life? Shop my favorite brands. You get awesome products and yours truly gets a little kick-back.