Partial Compared with Full Range of Motion Resistance Training for Muscle Hypertrophy: A Brief Review and an Identification of Potential Mechanisms

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Abstract

Newmire, DE and Willoughby, DS. Partial compared to full range of motion resistance training for muscle hypertrophy: A brief review and an identification of potential mechanisms. J Strength Cond Res 32(9): 2661–2673, 2018—Resistance training promotes skeletal muscle hypertrophy; there are specific recommendations of intensity, volume, and duration that appear to facilitate hypertrophy the greatest. However, currently, there is not a definitive consensus on optimal range of motion. It appears that the partial range of motion (pROM) mode of exercise may have some similar benefit on muscle hypertrophy as the conventional full range of motion (fROM). Because of the dynamic and multiplanar movement pattern of a multijoint resistance exercise, there may be variation in human force–length and strength-curve theories, which may influence optimal muscle force production at differing portions of a fROM. This suggests specific muscle groups may potentially be optimally recruited during a specific portion of the exercise. The majority of previous research has primarily focused on strength outcomes opposed to muscle hypertrophy. The purpose of this brief review is to highlight the limited and relative pROM literature on muscle hypertrophy and some potential pROM mechanisms that require investigation to assess any plausible relationships. Some potential mechanisms and outcomes of interest are muscle time under tension, muscle activation, and nonuniform hypertrophy. This mode of resistance exercise requires further evaluation on hypertrophic responses; if proven efficacious, it may be employed to those in rehabilitative environments and those that seek more specific regional, local hypertrophic responses such as physique competitors.

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