It is a fact that many of us are reluctant to extend our knee and elbow joints beyond a 90-degree bend whenever we are working out with weights. If you look around your gym then you will more than likely witness this phenomenon for yourself.

The main reason we get into this habit is because we think it will help us to prevent injury. Whilst there are examples where this behaviour can be beneficial, it is generally the case that ‘stopping short’ in this way will have a negative impact on strength gains.

To understand why, you need to be aware of the term ‘range of motion’ (ROM). Range of motion is defined as the distance that a lever can move while attached to a fixed point (think of your bones as levers and the joints they are attached to as the fixed points). Your muscles are what move those levers in order to create motion and movement; ergo, training a muscle through its full range of motion will work it harder and, by proxy, lead to an increase in overall muscular strength.

Many studies have confirmed that using a full range of motion yields greater strength gains and increases in muscular growth when compared to training with partial range, so do yourself a favour and learn more about ROM. Apply it to your lifting (in a controlled manner, of course) and feel the difference it makes for yourself.

Nb: Do not confuse range of motion with hyper-extension

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