By: Josh Bryant
Any avid booze hound will lay claim to the Margarita being an invention of a socialite/elitist night club in Galveston, Texas–the Margarita was actually invented much earlier at the Kentucky Club in Juarez, Mexico in 1921!
The Kentucky Club, still at its original location on Ave Juarez, remains a popular watering hole and is considered by many critics to still have best margarita in the world. The recipe is basic: one part Tequila, one part Controy, and one part fresh lime juice, shake like hell with ice and serve up!
Similarly, while some celebrity trainers claim to have invented extended range of motion movements—they are straight out of the old school!
Like the Kentucky club—the basics prevail!
No need to get cute and fancy.
Keep in mind, basics means “fundamental to the process”, not elementary. We will look at some ways to extend range of motion with basic movements.
Ego Dictating ROM
Every gym has an egomaniac that lifts way too much weight with way too little range of motion. Once in a while, these cats may pack a little size but they generally have the aesthetics of a turtle.
By the odd chance one of these clowns decides to venture outside their side show and go full range of motion with any considerable amount of weight, make sure the resident “head doctor” is nearby to counsel their emotional wounds from being introduced to strength reality. Furthermore, have an ambulance on hand for being brought to physical reality.
Studies continually show that greater range of motion produces greater strength gains and greater amounts of muscle hypertrophy. By using exercises with a longer range of motion, this ultimately leads to more time under tension and greater amounts of muscle damage, igniting hypertrophy.
Mike MacDonald held the world record in the bench press in the 242-pound weight class for close to three decades and MacDonald actually invented a specialty bar with camber in the middle to increase his bench press range of motion.
MacDonald, during a phone conversation with me, reiterated over and over this is what built hellacious pressing power off his chest.
Virtually every great deadlifter in powerlifting history has used extended range of motion deadlifts to increase starting strength off the floor. Many of the greatest squatters have used deep pause squats, including Ed Coan.
Gustavo Baddell had unsullied hamstring and back development in his “hey day” and said, “I do my deadlifts standing on a deadlift platform so I can get a much deeper stretch and a better range of motion.”
Strength athletes have known for decades that increased range of motion movements build starting strength; smart bodybuilders are catching on.
Let’s take a look take a look at the applicability of some of these movements to your routine.
For back, instead of using conventional deadlifts, opt for deficit deadlifts (standing on a 1-3 inch elevated surface). No platform to stand on—no problem! Instead of deadlifting with 45-pound plates, use 25 or 35-pound plates or use a wider snatch grip technique. For hypertrophy perform these movements for 6-12 reps and for strength perform 1-5 reps.
Moving on to legs, instead of using a traditional squat to parallel, try an Olympic pause squat—use a narrow foot placement with a high bar position and squat as deep as possible maintaining proper technique and pause for one second. For hypertrophy perform 5-10 reps and for strength perform 1-5 reps.
Next time you are training arms, give incline dumbbell curls a shot instead of traditional barbell curls; emphasize the stretch at the bottom of the movement to increase range of motion. For triceps, instead of barbell skull crushers, try neutral grip dumbbell triceps extensions to the side of the head, emphasizing the stretch. Both of these movements can be performed for 8-15 repetitions.
For shoulders, opt for incline dumbbell lateral raises over traditional lateral raises, emphasizing the stretch at the bottom of the movement. Perform 10-15 repetitions.
Bench pressing a barbell limits the range of motion; why not give dumbbell bench press a shot? Instead of focusing on the weight of the dumbbells, focus on the stretch at the bottom of the movement.
Using extended range of motion movements extends gains in size and strength.
Proceed with caution! Do not sacrifice technique to extend range of motion. In other words, if you lack the mobility to get in a good starting position for deadlifts, don’t attempt deadlifts! If you experience shoulder pain at the bottom of a bench press, don’t start implementing cambered bar bench presses.
Assuming tightness and technique are not made the sacrificial lamb, extended range of motion can help build super human levels of strength and pave the way to hypertrophy heaven.
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