Should you be doing full range lifts exclusively? Or are partials useful?
Rick sent in this response to a recent email on pullups…
“I ,too , have had much experience with pullups. I found adding weight and getting super strong was the single best way to increase reps. Also, contrary to your advice on perfect form, found using partial reps , weighted helped. ( doing the bottom portion, mid range and top portion.) also doing very high reps in various partial positons helped . I will add at my best , could do 34 perfect reps at a bw of 185. Did 1 rep with 185 lbs added around my waist.”
34 bodyweight reps and one rep with 185 lbs added is phenomenal.
Better than my personal bests at this time.
The results speak for themselves, so Rick is definitely worth listening as far as this is concerned.
But this was actually just a bit of confusion. Consciously doing partial ranges of motion is quite different than thinking you’re doing full range but not.
Some people cut short their pullup or chin-up reps, especially the bottom portion without even being aware of it. In other words they think that they’re doing full range reps but are not.
The bottom range, the hang, is important for shoulder and elbow health. It’s great to go into lockout if either health or sinew strength is the goal.
Now just because that is true doesn’t mean that is the exclusively right way to do things.
There is a bodybuilding trick where you don’t get to lockout, keeping the tension on the muscles in order to tire them out more.
And this is where we see conscious use of partials in pullups because that will make that happen more so. I’ve used them in many different ways and am a huge fan ever since Bud Jeffries turned me onto them. More with large weights like I cover inside of Strengthen Your Structure.
But I’ll admit, I haven’t used the half or quarter range reps in pullups very much. And maybe that’s why I haven’t gotten over 30 reps!
I’ve started experimenting with these in my training and can report back later. Of course, this is valid in other exercises too.
The question of the day is:
Where could you consciously use partials to further enhance your training?