Science Says Full Range of Motion Is Best

Full Range Of Motion Is Best For Bodybuilding?

The scientific answer to your question is yes, full range of motion (ROM) exercises are best for building muscle mass. This is because they require the most amount of work from the muscles. The more you use them, the stronger they become and therefore better able to build muscle mass.

In fact, there are some studies which show that ROM exercises are superior to non-ROM exercises when it comes to fat loss. So if you want to lose weight then you need to train with the most amount of effort possible.

You will get fitter faster and stronger too!

What Are Full Range Of Motion Exercises?

A full range of motion exercise is one where the muscles have been stretched fully at their normal length before being pressed into a fixed position. The joint must remain stationary during the whole movement.

For example, when performing a deadlift or squat, the legs and hips are kept straight throughout the entire movement. Therefore, these exercises cannot be considered full range of motion exercises.

They involve only limited ROM movements. However, when doing other types of exercises such as curls or leg extensions, you may not be keeping your joints static all the time.

If you want to extend the time under tension of a muscle then full range of motion training will definitely help you achieve this goal.

What Are The Different Types of Full Range Of Motion Exercises?

There are 3 types of full range of motion exercises:

1 – Isolated Movements

These are the basic exercises such as bicep curls, leg extensions, shoulder presses, and so forth. You can see them being performed in most commercial gyms.

Sometimes participants tend to cheat and use partial movements, so it is sometimes necessary to have a spotter to make sure the exercise is being done in the proper way.

2 – Compound Movements

These are exercises which involve two or more joints. For example, a pull-up involves elbow extension and shoulder flexion while a squat involves ankle plantarflexion and hip extension.

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Such exercises are more functional and sport-specific, which means they are more effective for training than isolated exercises.

3 – Full Range Of Motion Eccentric Training

Eccentric training is where the descent of a weight is slowed down while ascending the weight is sped up. In this case, it decreases the amount of force required by your muscles and tendons because gravity is doing most of the work.

Since muscles are still lengthened under load, such exercises can still lead to hypertrophy.

Doing such exercises has been shown to be more effective at increasing the strength of tendons and ligaments than doing the same exercise with a normal ROM. For example, if you were to squat, slowing down the descent of the movement would enable you to work your muscles harder while also working your tendons harder as well.

What Are The Benefits Of Full Range Of Motion?

Like most things, there are benefits and drawbacks which you need to weigh up before beginning any exercise program. Here are some of the pros and cons of full range of motion exercises:

The Pros:

1 – Increase Strength And Size

Eccentric training has been proven to increase muscular strength in the exercised limb by 6-10% with the strongest increases seen in the elderly. It also causes an increase in muscular size of up to 20% when combined with regular exercise.

2 – Reduce Sports Injuries

Because it increases the strength of your muscles and tendons, eccentric training can help prevent sports related injuries such as hamstring tears which are common in many runners and footballers. Eccentric training has also been proven to be more effective at increasing the strength of tendons and ligaments than normal weight training by over 60%.

This is especially true in the case of elderly people where they have reduced strength but increased risk of injury.

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3 – Could Enable Longer Lifespan

Eccentric training has been shown to increase the amount of IGF-1 in your blood which is a growth factor that has many benefits including the improvement of wound healing and bone density. Longer bone density means a longer life expectancy.

The Cons:

1 – Not Many Exercises To Choose From

Eccentric training is not as effective if you only have access to a few different exercise machines at your gym because you won’t be able to vary the exercises enough to create a well-rounded routine. It is best to have access to free weights, cables, and other types of equipment so that you can change your routine up when required.

2 – Harder On Muscles And Joints

Eccentric training is hard on your muscle and joints. It can lead to delayed onset muscle soreness (DOMS) for up to 48 hours after exercise and can also cause aching joints especially in the elderly.

If you are elderly or have achy joints you will need to take this into account and ease yourself into eccentric training slowly so your body can get used to it.

3 – Much More Time Consuming

Eccentric training is much more time-consuming than normal weight training. You will be performing fewer repetitions of each exercise which means you will spend a lot more time in the gym.

For example, if you are performing 10 eccentric reps of squats for 3 sets it will take you around 40 minutes to complete the set. It is very important that you pace yourself so you don’t get tired and compromise your form.

Who Would Benefit Most From It?

Eccentric training is beneficial to anyone but it is very important that you don’t overdo it if you are elderly or suffer from a number of aches and pains. If you fall into this category you should consult your doctor before starting any new exercise program.

To get the most benefit from eccentric training it is best to combine it with traditional weight training. The reason for this is eccentric training is primarily effective at causing muscular damage.

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This means to get the most benefit you need to eat enough food to allow your body to repair itself properly. If you don’t eat enough food then it will take longer for your muscles to recover and grow.

Eccentric training is also very effective when combined with aerobic exercise because the two work oppositional muscles. This means when one is in recovery the other one is working and this allows each to rest while the other is in recovery.

For myself, I have started to perform eccentric training with my squats. So after I have finished my normal repetitions of squats I then perform a further 10 – 20 slow repetitions of eccentric squats.

This is really hard work but I will be able to notice greater benefits if I combine it with high rep aerobic exercise such as running or fast walking.

Sources & references used in this article:

Clinical measurement of range of motion: review of goniometry emphasizing reliability and validity by RL Gajdosik, RW Bohannon – Physical therapy, 1987 –

Getting Ahead of ADHD: What Next-Generation Science Says about Treatments That Work? and How You Can Make Them Work for Your Child by JT Nigg – 2017 –

Foundations of futures studies: human science for a new era: values, objectivity, and the good society by W Bell – 2011 –

UFOs, Chemtrails, and Aliens: What Science Says by DR Prothero, TD Callahan – 2017 –

Full range leadership development by BJ Avolio – 2010 –

Teaching all the languages of science: Words, symbols, images, and actions by JL Lemke – Conference on science education in Barcelona, 1998 –

Science says: what scientific evidence can say about the existence of God by B Price – 2014 –