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Partial Range of Motion More Effective for Muscle Growth?

Recent findings contradict the widely held belief that training with a full range of motion is essential for muscle growth.

Recent studies have revealed that training with a full range of motion may not offer significant advantages over partial range of motion. In fact, utilizing a shorter movement during muscle stretch training may even promote muscle growth more effectively.

Strength training is a fundamental component of fitness programs that aim to achieve various objectives, including muscle growth, enhanced strength, and improved athletic performance. Among the factors that have gained attention is the range of joint movement (ROM) during resistance exercises.

Despite a prevailing notion that performing exercises with full ROM is crucial for stimulating muscle growth, a comprehensive review of existing research suggests otherwise.

The primary objective of this analysis was to systematically evaluate the evidence and determine whether modifying the ROM during strength training exercises produces distinct outcomes. The study sought to shed light on the potential effects of varying ROM on muscle growth, strength gains, athletic performance, power development, and body composition.

Through a thorough examination of the available literature, the researchers aimed to identify patterns, trends, and potential influencing factors that could explain the observed differences in outcomes between exercises performed with full and partial ROM.

To achieve this goal, a meticulously designed methodology was employed. A comprehensive search was conducted across renowned databases, including PubMed and SportsDISCUS. The selection criteria were carefully crafted to identify studies that directly explored the impact of joint movement variations on the outcomes of strength training.

The data extracted from selected studies underwent rigorous analysis, including statistical evaluation using specialized techniques. Additionally, sub-group analyses and factors that could potentially influence the results were taken into account.

A comprehensive analysis of existing research revealed that employing a full range of motion during strength training offers a subtle advantage over a restricted range, with an average improvement of approximately 0.12.

This modest distinction suggests that altering joint movement does influence strength training outcomes, albeit to a limited extent.

Investigating specific outcomes, such as muscle growth and strength gains, indicated that full range of motion provides a slight edge (ranging from 0.05 to 0.2). However, a surprising finding emerged from the detailed analysis:

Training with a restricted range of motion at longer muscle lengths might be more effective for stimulating muscle growth compared to full ROM. Additionally, aligning the training ROM with the desired outcome ROM appeared to lead to more significant strength improvements.

While the differences between full and restricted ROM may not seem drastic, they can translate into measurable improvements in muscle growth, strength gains, power development, and overall body composition. Therefore, incorporating a full ROM into one’s strength training routine is highly recommended.

To further cater to individual preferences and fitness goals, incorporating a variety of ROMs into one’s routine can be beneficial. Additionally, individuals with specific injuries, anatomical considerations, or unique fitness objectives can make informed decisions about the ROM that best aligns with their needs.

Looking ahead, future research efforts should focus on comparing different training methods to identify the most effective approaches. Transparency in data reporting and replication efforts will contribute to a deeper understanding of the relationship between ROM and strength training outcomes.


Range of motion (ROM) during resistance training is of growing interest and is potentially used to elicit differing adaptations (e.g. muscle hypertrophy and muscular strength and power). To date, attempts at synthesising the data on ROM during resistance training have primarily focused on muscle hypertrophy in the lower body.

Our aim was to meta-analyse and systematically review the effects of ROM on a variety of outcomes including hypertrophy, strength, sport, power and body-fat type outcomes. Following pre-registration and consistent with PRISMA guidelines, a systematic review of PubMed and SportsDISCUS was performed. Data was extracted and a Bayesian multi-level meta-analysis was performed. A range of exploratory sub-group and moderator analyses were performed

The main model revealed a trivial SMD (0.12; 95% CI: –0.02, 0.26) in favour of full ROM compared to partial ROM. When grouped by outcome, standardized mean differences (SMDs) all favoured full ROM, but SMDs were trivial to small (all between 0.05 to 0.2). Sub-group analyses suggested there may be a muscle hypertrophy benefit to partial ROM training at long muscle lengths compared to using a full ROM (–0.28; 95% CI: –0.81, 0.16). Analysis also suggested the existence of a specificity aspect to ROM, such that training in the ROM being tested as an outcome resulted in greater strength adaptations. No clear differences were found between upper- and lower-body adaptations when ROM was manipulated. Conclusions: Overall, our results suggest that using a full or long ROM may enhance results for most outcomes (strength, speed, power, muscle size, and body composition). Differences in adaptations are trivial to small. As such, partial ROM resistance training might present an efficacious alternative for variation and personal preference, or where injury prevents full-ROM resistance training.

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