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Partial reps have been done by bodybuilders for a long time but there is still controversy about its use and its effectiveness. Unlike 1 1/4 rep training where 25% of the normal full range of motion (ROM) is done, with partial reps you are doing half or even three quarters (75%) of the movement.
When doing partial reps the point of doing it is to increase the weight that you would normally lift because you are ONLY doing the partial rep through the strongest part of the movement and not the weakest part. This is important as it makes it similar to eccentric training but with a difference.
The difference is that you are moving the weight back to the starting position without the help of your partner/spotter; you are doing this by yourself. A good example is the bench-press where more than likely you are weakest at the bottom when the barbell is near your chest.
You would then do the partial rep specifically at the top of the movement so that you could add more weight than you would normally lift as you are lowering the barbell hallway down to your chest and then push up WITHOUT locking out. This increases the strength that you have and allows you to lift a heavier weight the next time you train that body-part.
Not locking out when doing partials with all the compound movements is important as we know time under tension (TUT) makes muscles grow. Partials should be limited to the compound movements in order to see fast results in the increased strength that you get from doing them.
Below is an example of how you would add partials to a deltoid and trap training workout where only one exercise per body-part is done with partials to ensure that the maximum amount of muscle fibers are recruited and not over-trained. When doing deadlift, squats or bench-press only one exercise should be added with partials per workout.
Seated military press with barbell 2 sets 6 reps
Seated military press with barbell (1/2 reps) 2 sets 6 reps
Side Lateral Raise 2 X 6 reps
Barbell Shrug 2 X 6 reps
In the example above you will see that only one exercise with partials is added to that body-part. You would do those partials with an increased weight because you are stronger on that part of the movement so the weight should be increased by 10 to 20 kilograms.
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