You’ve probably been told that if you want your muscles to grow, all the exercises you do should be taken through a full range of motion (ROM).
Going from “full stretch” to “peak contraction” is necessary to stimulate the maximum amount of growth in the shortest possible time. Anything less is cheating, and you might as well just not bother.
Do you need to use a full ROM on every exercise?
That depends a lot on you and how you’re built. Not everyone is put together in a way that allows them to perform a full ROM without some kind of compromise to their form that exposes them to an increased risk of injury. In fact, you may very well be better off using a shorter ROM on certain exercises.
Let me explain why.
Consider the example of two different lifters – Mr Long Arms and Mr Short Arms – performing the bench press. Both lifters start with their arms straight. They lower the barbell so that it touches their chest before returning it to the start position.
Mr Long Arms and Mr Short Arms have both performed the bench press through what most people would consider a full ROM. But there are some important differences.