When it comes to workouts, you need to consider various factors to create a workout plan. For example, to become stronger and how your training impacts your body. That is you need to choose the right exercise, and lift the right weight, do the right number of reps, complete the set, obtain the proper rest, etc.
The frequency, volume, and reps of your workout plan are all factors that determine whether you’ll make progress. So then, how can we figure out how many repetitions are better to gain muscles or strength, or if volume or frequency matters?
Let’s discuss what partial reps are and how they are used to build strength and size.
Understanding Partial Reps
Exercises in which part of the range of motion is simulated are called partially reps. They are repetitions when you do not use a full range of motion in an exercise.
You can do partial repetitions for 3/4, half, or even less of the whole movement. For instance, while squatting, you only go down a few inches instead of squatting fully. Instead of pulling a loaded barbell from the floor, the barbell is placed on a power rack or squat rack, and pins are used to adjust the height.
Deliberately stop during the concentric portion before going to the eccentric part of the exercise, for example, during a dumbbell chest press. Thus, not locking out your elbow at the top part of the movement but only working at the bottom to the mid-range.
What Are The Benefits Of Partial Reps For Muscle Growth?
Partial reps allow you to train with heavier weights. In general, heavyweights are considered better for muscle growth. Hence, shortening the range of motion shouldn’t be an issue.
For instance, let’s say you bench 225 pounds, bringing the bar to your chest. If you began doing partial repetitions, the bar would probably only need to be three to four inches above the chest. Thus, a bench press of 250 pounds would not be much more difficult.
Increasing the level of mechanical tension on your muscles over time will help them to grow. In this instance, volume is the amount of weight lifted, the number of repetitions, the distance covered. Essentially, you measure how much resistance your muscles must generate.
A full rep allows you to use a longer range of motion but forces you to use lighter weights and fewer repetitions, while a partial rep allows you to add more weight and reps during a miniature range of motion.
Progressive overload refers to the process of increasing one or all of these variables over time, so to build muscle, this is a worthwhile endeavor.
How To Gain Strength And Size Using Partial Reps?
Partial reps are done when you are trying to grow a muscle without wasting too much energy. It is usually done during a muscle-building phase and not the fat-loss phase. When you are training, you want tension in a muscle to make it bigger and stronger; however, not all exercises are perfect.
Perfecting an exercise means engaging the muscles through the entire range of motion. Unfortunately, the load is working against gravity when using dumbbells and barbells, and your muscles are not all built in the same direction.
For example, your chest has three divisions. One is from the armpit towards the side of the chest (coastal pec) and one towards the middle (sternal pec) with another towards the collar bone (clavicle pec).
When you are doing an incline dumbbell chest press, the weight from the dumbbell is not towards the middle of the chest like an abduction. As you are lowering the dumbbell to the bottom, the dumbbell stretches the pecs and it actually is closer to the pull from the upper chest or clavicle pec.
Whether or not this exercise is useful depends on the purpose of the exercise. For growing muscles, it is superior if you spend your time at the bottom doing partial reps rather than full reps. The tension in the set is much greater and more constant if you are doing a full range of motion.
Which Workout Benefits From Partial Reps?
You can convert almost all exercises into half-rep movement, except those that put too much pressure on the shoulder joints. But some exercises will yield more benefits as partial reps.
Potential reps of an exercise, along with your regular full-ROM workout, can aid you in muscle-building, fat-blasting, and even weight loss.
Weight and repetitions will be based on your current fitness and training levels. Listed are some of the exercises that can result in more benefits.
- Bench Press
Trainers recommend doing bench press exercises with a full range of motion before progressing to half-reps, as it is a foundational strength movement.
A half-rep bench press targets the chest and triceps muscles, which are often under-worked in women.
- Biceps Curl
If you are new to biceps curls, start with weights around 40-50 percent of your one-rep max or a weight easy to lift for seven repetitions without stopping.
Once you reach that point, weights or repetitions may be increased accordingly.
During a half-rep squat, you keep parallel, increasing strength without stopping beyond your breaking point, so your butt never drops below your knees.
A muscle breakdown occurs when it is put under tension continuously for one full rep and one-half rep within a series, leading to a stronger muscle when it has fully recovered.
- Split Squat
Split squats give you an excellent method of strengthening the glutes and quadriceps to build muscles.
Muscles are created, hamstring tension and tendonitis are prevented, and old injuries are not aggravated.
The Benefits Of Partial Rep Workouts
There are many advantages of performing partial rep workouts. Let’s have a look at the major ones:
- Overcome A Plateau
Partially replacing the movement allows you to train through muscles that haven’t yet been strained, through which you can train the heavy part of the movement without straining muscles.
If you’ve reached a plateau with partial reps, try adding heavier barbell weight to the beginning of the set and lifting it as far as you can for, say, one to three partial biceps curls or working within the first foot of a deadlift.
A partial repetition can be used if you cannot complete one more repetition without seriously compromising your ROM or form. It is primed to process signals for movement, allowing you to perform exercises with less effort.
- Improvement Of Form And Technique
By performing partial repetitions, you can begin developing neuromuscular networks for easier movements. Then, when you have a weight appropriate for both ranges of motion of the movement, you can increase reps or weight.
While you are working on your form and technique, you should lighten the load to focus more on the muscle movements instead of the load. It will ultimately help you become more comfortable and stable with your movements.
Correct form and technique can be achieved by guidance from expert personal trainers who have years of experience and knowledge under their belts.
- Recovery From An Injury
When injured, building partial reps into your training won’t put pressure on the injury points. For instance, squatting with half reps won’t put much pressure on those joints for someone with an ankle or knee injury.
You can continue training while undergoing rehabilitation by using partial reps. However, as an athlete, you need to consult a specialist about continuing on your own since it will depend on the specific injury.
- Overcome The Limitations Of Mobility
In strength training, flexibility and range of motion go hand in hand, and tight hips, stiff ankles, or knee pain might restrict mobility and range of motion, at least temporarily, requiring partial repetitions.
Strength training must be combined with mobility exercises and stretches to prevent injury and enable your body to increase its range of motion over time gradually. For example, if you don’t have the mobility to squat fully, you should sit part of the way down in a squat.
Ideally, you should experience the full range of motion in a movement But, partial reps and pauses occasionally help break the plateau.
When training a specific muscle tissue, knowing when you are using it and spending all your effort there can help you build a better body. In addition, keeping an eye on your overall training regimen is vital to maximizing muscle growth, strength gains and overall body transformation.
It can be hard to keep track of yourself. That’s why working out under the guidance of fitness professionals in a fitness center like TSquared Lab can ensure your efforts are aligned with your goals.
Neither women nor men should overwork their muscles, so allow them adequate recovery time. Sometimes it is a matter of using a different exercise.
Every exercise is useful in different phases, you just don’t do them all together in every different training phase.
Frequently Asked Questions:
Q. What are Partial Reps?
A. Exercises in which part of the range of motion is simulated are called partially reps. They are repetitions when you do not use a full range of motion in an exercise.
Q. How are Partial reps beneficial?
A. Partial reps allow you to train with heavier weights. A full rep allows you to use a longer range of motion but forces you to use lighter weights and fewer repetitions, while a partial rep allows you to add more weight and reps during a miniature range of motion.
Q. How to prevent injuries from strength training?
A. Strength training must be combined with mobility exercises and stretches to prevent injury and enable your body to increase its range of motion over time gradually.