'Partial' Gains!

As you flick through your typical glossy ‘muscle and health’ magazines and reach the ‘training’ section, you will almost certainly be met with a host of reasons as to why a ‘full’ range of motion is always best. More often than not it is, but there are times where going completely against the grain can pay dividends! Today you are going to be learning about the key benefits of partial reps, follow me class!

Before we get the lesson started, what are partial reps? There are different variations, however the best kind in our opinion are half and quarter reps! For example, on leg extensions you literally move the weight for the first few inches without resting. So why are they so good?

Plateau busting!

Sometimes just training hard doesn’t cut it; you have to think outside of the box to bring a weak muscle group on! Partials are the answer because they enable you to isolate the target muscle and keep maximum tension on it for short bursts of time. This introduces the ‘shock factor’ to the muscle group, forcing it to react because it hasn’t ever been exposed to this level of tension before. With your slow twitch muscle fibres engaged, more blood will be flushed into the muscle, stretching the fascia and in turn allowing more room for growth! If you have a stubborn muscle group then introduce partials at the end of your working sets, like a superset!

Muscle separation

Bringing out new striations and gorging out ruts between your muscles is never an easy task. Just being ripped won’t do it! You have to make your muscles dance if you want deep caves between your muscles! Adding partials to your workouts will really help make your muscle pop out because they focus on the ‘tension’ part of the repetition! All you do is the move the weight far enough to cause the target muscle to fall under tension, which can increase your potential for muscle separation!

Calorie expenditure

When you are pushing the limits to maximise your calorie burning capabilities partials are an excellent way of doing this! Each time a muscle comes under tension you force extra calories to be expended as the muscle twitches! You are also going to bring your slow twitch muscle fibres into play due to the intensity of the set; therefore you are also bringing in your aerobic threshold into play!

When should you use partials?

There are certain body parts which partials work better for than others; there is no doubt about that! Biceps and triceps aren’t going to benefit from partials as much as quads, hamstrings, chest, deltoids and back.

To incorporate them, go to failure on a given exercise and when you reach this point increase the weight and do half reps, and then quarter reps. What this does is enable you to go beyond the point of failure, where you would normally stop! Of course this will enable you to progress that bit more!

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