Partial Reps for Total Intensity

Partial Reps for Total Intensity

We bring partial reps into play on bodybuilding movements where forced reps are impractical or potentially hazardous (for example, barbell rows or squats, respectively). The range of bodybuilding exercise for which we use partial reps are most forms of rowing, all versions of shoulder laterals, hamstrings curls and various types of squats.

This is how we employ the partial reps principle with barbell rows: After the required number of warm-up sets, we load the bar to the weight which we can normally do about eight full reps. When we reach failure (no longer can complete a full rep), we attempts as full a movement as possible by pulling the bar as high as we can toward our abdomen. We may manage a three-quarter movement, or it may be a half movement. These less-than-full reps are called partial reps; as with forced reps, they provide a means to go past the normal point of muscular failure. We'll do 2-3 partial reps, which successively become shorter in their range of motion as our strength diminishes. After three partials, we'd be down to maybe a one-quarter movement, so working past that point would be unproductive.

Forced reps are more intense than partial reps, which is why we complete 2-3 of the latter as opposed to 1-2 of the former. If every exercise carried the facility of doing forced reps, we'd do them instead of partials.

To guarantee maximum workout intensity, we do forced reps or partial reps at the end of every main set. If we do multiple main sets, we can do partial reps for one set only. If we did them set after set, we'd over train and burn out and perhaps become injured.

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