Full range of motion in exercise pattern

Training through the full range with both movement and muscle with an added isolation exercise pattern can develop an overall, adaptable athlete.

Doing it right: Full range strength is successfully accomplished only when you train muscle groups in both the strength ranges — a) exercises that target muscles in their lengthened to mid-range joint motion and b) exercises that target muscles in their mid to shortened range joint movement.   -  Special Arrangement

Training full range of motion is a cardinal principle in any form of fitness. Here are a few rules that can be of use as reference points.

Exercise analysis through full range

With strength training we get stronger by creating mechanical tension across tendons, muscles and joints by overloading them through movements. One needs to understand the exercise pattern with the force acting on the joints and muscle involved and the use of prime mover, stabilisers and antagonistic muscle through the multi-angled plane.

Exercise range of motion doesn’t create equal load in full range of motion

Progressive loading helps the body to adapt and get stronger over a period of time. If we notice with dumbbells, barbell or functional cable system — they all have a point of movement where the exercise is at the hardest and easiest, based on the mechanical advantage of the joints and muscles. Since there are very few exercises or machines which can provide full mechanical advantage in the full range of motion, this can affect the adaptation to strength protocol.

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Lower expendability, higher efficiency

Doing a different exercise variation for a particular or specific movement pattern or muscle group doesn’t necessarily put force across tissues and joints in a different manner, but may develop the strength component. This means many exercise variations are redundant for the same muscle group or joints or planes of motion.

For example: Squats, deadlifts, lunges and certain variations of those exercises are great in loading the glutes when they’re closer to a stretched range — when the hip is in a flexed position, but they are not great in loading the glutes when they’re in their shortened range — when the hip is in an extended position.

When you’re trying to build overall strength in a wide range of movements to improve overall functional performance, avoid superfluous exercises and work on a solid programming strategy for improving the output, efficiency and effectiveness of the programme.

Full range strength

The training protocol should involve full range of strength from mid to short range and go on to mid range of joint motion. Choose the exercise pattern through full range of motion and each angle to lay an emphasis active range through full stretch shortening cycle. Strength adaptation is joint-position specific — training with an active range of motion through each plane and joint is the key for functional performance.

Expose to wider range of movement and range for specific adaptation on a functional aspect of strength development.

Strength range training

As mentioned before, full range strength is successfully accomplished only when you train muscle groups in both the strength ranges — a) exercises that target muscles in their lengthened to mid-range joint motion and b) exercises that target muscles in their mid to shortened range joint movement.

To optimise the strength component of training, integrate at least one exercise from each strength range and joint angle for each muscle group and range of motion.

Mandatory lifting movements

The world of sports places reliance on these specific movements for performance. Those actions are derivatives of the main athletic movements and the main lifting movements.

The main functional athletic movements in any sports are as follows. The first four movements are athletic based movements and the next four are lifting movements

1.Jumping and Landing, 2.Throwing and Striking, 3.Locomotion, 4.Rotation, 5.Pushing, 6.Pulling, 7.Knee bend, 8.Hip Hinge.

Incorporating these four main lifting movements — pushing/pulling/knee bend/hip hinge — in exercise programme is the key to build all-round strength, make you an adaptable athlete to perform at a highest level in any environment.

Strength training solves a lot of problems. It provides a better physical foundation to perform the four main athletic movements. So, a focus on the four main lifting movements is necessary.

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Specific isolation exercises can help too

To increase your overall strength and functional capacity, it is advisable to use isolation exercises to train in ranges of motion and movements, which are missed by the multi-joint exercises.

A good example: compound exercises train the hamstrings with movements that originate at the hip joint (deadlifts, one leg Romanian dead lift, glute ham) but can fail to train the hamstrings with a movement that originates with the knee flexion. Research shows that not only do knee flexion exercises activate the hamstrings differently, but incorporating knee flexion exercises can improve performance and reduce hamstring injuries at varied functional capacity.

Train both movements and muscles

Strength and conditioning, in recent years, has gone from training muscles purely in isolation to recognising more integrated movement patterns that show how these muscles create coordinated movement.

But at times training the movement alone can leave the specific muscle unattended through the range, creating untapped strength mode.

Some isolation exercises are needed to train in the movements and ranges of motion missed by the multi-joint exercises. One has to be mindful of the choice of these specific exercise patterns permeating into performance.

Similarly, a strength training programme that exclusively focuses on either multi-joint or isolation exercises will leave potential strength gains untapped since each method offers unique benefits whih others lack. In totality, a training programme that incorporates both multi-joint and isolation movements will help you get better results by improving your overall strength and functional capacity, and avoiding injury.

Finally, training through the full range with both movement and muscle with an added isolation exercise pattern can develop an overall, adaptable athlete. The transfer of training mode to the skill is best harnessed through functional mode.

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