Most of us don’t want to cheat when we’re working out. In most cases, you want to avoid half-lifts, momentum swinging or any incorrect form movements that make it seem as though you hit your rep goal even though you really didn’t. It may be tempting to hit that extra repetition, but you are better off avoiding the above “cheats” to get to your goal number.

But what about repetitions where you purposely use a limited range of motion? Can that help you build muscle?

The answer is yes. By using a combination of full range of motion (ROM) lifts and partial lifts, you can actually build more strength overall. But why does this work? 

We’ll use the classic dumbbell or barbell bicep curl as an example. When you lower the weight all of the way, the bicep is no longer engaged by the dumbbell. Additionally, it isn’t under much stress at the top of the lift before the weight begins descension.

When you are performing reps with a limited ROM, they are referred to as Partials. This type of repetition eludes the section of the lift when you start lifting from the beginning or begin lowering the weight and your muscles are at a mechanical disadvantage. Instead, Partials focus on the most challenging and stimulating portions of each repetition. This method also allows you to increase weight, thus, leading to increased muscle hypertrophy and then increased strength.

Partials on the compound movements would look like Squats to a box or pin squats. On the bench board presses are great for building up the triceps; and lastly, deadlifts from blocks allow for strengthening up the mid-range of the movement and allow for greater hypertrophy through higher range repetitions.

You don’t want to perform them too often, however, as you can easily over-train and cause too much strain on your Central Nervous System because the fact is you will be using more weight than a full ROM.

Partials are a great way to change up your workout routine and challenge your muscles like you never have before, while building strength by using this different approach.