This time try giving it 50%. Trust us.
In the bodybuilding world every rep counts. In such a competitive arena it’s hard to get a leg up on the competition. But even if you’re not prepared to step on stage just yet, the world of bodybuilding can get stagnant and you can physically start to hit a plateau. This is when you have to change up your training, this is where half measures is king.
The half rep is usually left in the background, in conjunction with other exercises, it’s usually at the end of set when you just can’t find the strength to go through the whole range of motion (ROM); or after your workout to “topoff” your gains. But in truth, you’re cheating yourself. Half-reps are a great way to isolate specific muscle groups and should instead be put to the fore front of some of your training days. Half reps can also help you improve a specific part of your exercise; for example, the deadlift. By taking the bar off of a rack and concentrating on the top part (standing portion) of your deadlift, it isolates the back musculature as they work the upper body. Specifically the erector spinae (or lower back), the latissimus dorsi (the broadest muscle in the back), and the trapezius muscles (which support your arms and help move your shoulder blades). This brings up another good point – choose exercises that have a full to extended range of motion. Exercise like the shoulder shrug are not recommended, instead try movements like leg extensions, leg curls, or the chest press.
Still need another reason? Arnold did it. Arnold Schwarzenegger was a big practitioner of the half-rep and even credits it to separating him from his competition. A muscle confusion scientist, Arnold made sure to switch up his workouts, hitting his muscles from anywhere from full range to quarter range. This allowed him to focus on specific body parts, truly letting him sculpt his unique physique.
A good way to start integrating the half-range into your system is the “rule of 8’s.” The rule of 8’s says you do an exercise half range from the bottom (beginning) to 50% range of motion, The next set is 8 full range reps, and the last from 50% to 100% range of motion, that’s it. Do as many sets as you feel necessary and feel free to switch it up in regards to order. To maximize your gains and keep yourself injury free be sure to do your half reps after isolation exercises for that muscle, and use a power rack when doing half reps of chest presses or deadlifts.
Be sure to come up with a great routine and try out our “rule of 8’s workout”. Comment below and tell us what you think.
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