Don't Short Your Muscle Gains

Short vs. long range of motion.
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Every bodybuilder has walked into the gym and seen that one idiot who’s loaded the machine with weights and is moving them about one inch. It should come as no surprise that these are the same people who don’t have a very good physique despite training.

Researchers examined the differences between longer and shorter range of motion (ROM) and the time course of any changes during detraining. Subjects undertook eight weeks of resistance training and four weeks of detraining. Muscle size, architecture, subcutaneous fat, and strength were measured at Weeks 0, 8, 10, and 12. A control group was also monitored during this period.

At the end of eight weeks, significant post-training differences existed in strength, muscle mass, and subcutaneous fat, with the long-range group exhibiting greater adaptations than the short-range group. Detraining resulted in significant deteriorations in all muscle parameters in both groups, with the short-range group experiencing a more rapid relative loss of post-exercise increases in strength than that of the long-range group. Greater morphological and architectural resistance training adaptations in the long-range (owing to higher mechanical stress) resulted in a more significant increase in strength compared with that of the short-range.

The practical implications are that long range of motion should be observed in resistance training where increased muscle strength and size are the objective, because, as we demonstrate here, ROM shouldn’t be compromised for greater external loading. - FLEX

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