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Partial Reps Will Isolate & Pump

Joe Pietaro

Joe Pietaro

Joe Pietaro Contributer
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You have squeezed out that full set of the exercise, going with a full range of motion from start to finish. You may feel that you're done and, but force out at least 10 partial reps and see the difference it makes. Let's use the Hammer Strength decline chest press, a great seated plate-loaded 'machine.' Placing the adjustable seat at its highest will give you a wider range of motion, so keep that in mind before you begin your first set. You put an amount of weight on each side that you can handle for a strict full set of at least 10 and preferably more reps. Take it from top to bottom and when you complete what would normally be your last rep, do a slight pause and then bring it back up a third of the way. Use the rest/pause method & squeeze it, return to the bottom and back to that spot for a total of 10 reps.

Break each rep up into thirds, if you will, when doing these partial reps. What do we mean by that, exactly? The bottom third, m middle third and top third all hit a different part of your chest muscles and this is a good way to completely isolate each and every one of them. We suggest to hit all three following each regular set. So after the first set, do the bottom third partial reps. Second set hit the middle and then after the third, go for the top.

The top third probably does the least of the trio and the middle may in fact be the most effective. But it is good to do all of them and get a really good stretch and pump.

These partial reps are good to perform with many different movements, barbells, dumbbells and machines alike. They can be very helpful on the leg extension machine and leg press. But not so good after squats. So there will be certain exercises - especially of the power movement variety - where partial reps would not make sense; you have to choose for yourself which ones will work best.

Another instance where partial reps do not fit are for single arm and alternating reps, such as dumbbell barbell curls. Performing a full set and then another of partial reps is not as important as going to that second arm with a shorter rest period. So pick and choose the movements that make sense to implement this strategy.

You may have to use a little less weight or perform a shorter set to have enough in you to be able to get 10 partial reps out and that may be frustrating at first, but look at the bigger picture. Ten less pounds on each side and two less reps will buy you 10 extra reps; it's almost like a drop down or giant set type of mentality. And because you are focusing on a certain part of the muscle, that will in fact make the muscle grow more and at a faster pace.

So when you formerly thought a set was over, it may just be the beginning.
 

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