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
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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