Have you ever wondered about implementing partial movement training techniques into your workouts rather than just doing the same old full range of motion movements which is generally performed when weight training? Training techniques like “21’s” use the breakdown of a rep to help change up the exercise and shock the body into growth. Do you know what “21’s” are? It’s when you take an exercise like barbell bicep curls and perform 7 half reps where you curl the barbell up to your waist, then do another 7 half reps curling the barbell from your waist all the way up to about chin level, then finally finishing off with 7 full range of motion reps. Talk about a killer pump! I think anyone can try this including beginners as long as you are using light weights and ensuring proper form and technique are spot-on at all times.
By breaking down the repetition, you are working the muscle fibers with isolation techniques. The joints are also challenged because they are forced to stop and return within a smaller range of motion. Connective tissues also get challenged at each range of the movement. I suggest that in order to keep a balance in your training you should make sure to match the upper and lower ranges over the course of a week regardless of how you decide to break it down daily.
The beauty of this style of training is that you can use negatives whether you perform the half repetition from the top or the bottom of the rep. It simplifies the movement which makes it a smaller range of motion. This will, in most cases, force you to train lighter than you normally would because momentum is limited with this type of training technique. This also shortens training time comparatively, although some bodybuilders will use this style to add even more training volume which intensifies the session over the same time frame.
You can use the top or bottom of the half repetition range in one day, or on separate days. You can also mix and match which specific muscles to single out or match them with other muscle groups. This provides endless possibilities which helps to keep your training routine fresh and new!
The 20 second squat is a prime example. This is the bottom end of a squat taking it from the butt positioned at the ankles to about 90 degrees, then back down to the ankles. You will hold your position at 90 degrees for around 20 seconds then continue completing the overall sets and reps you have chosen for your routine.
Pop squats consist of the other end of this exercise which is the top phase. This is when you lower down slowly to about 90 degrees then pop up and repeat. Both of these techniques enhance the negative portion of the rep in different ways.
The stress of stopping midway through the exercise then having to change direction, conditions the joints and connective tissues which makes them stronger and more durable.
Using this type of training on regular ab crunches can take your normal abdominal training and turn it into an entirely new and fun workout. First, you will lay on a mat and raise your feet by either placing them on a ball or against a wall with your knees bent at about 90 degrees. Try crunching only half way up. Remember, a crunch already consists of a small range of motion so it’s not a large movement. The hardest part is stopping then controlling the return portion. On the other end, try crunching but stop halfway down and lift, repeating that sequence for the required number of reps. The stopping part is the biggest challenge then coming back up from that midway point will give you a serious burn in your abs. You may need to learn this technique with your arms out to help you control the movement before you are able to do this with your hands behind your neck. Try the half rep technique in a few of your workouts and see how sore you are over the next few days. If your muscles are super sore, that’s a good thing because it means the new stimuli is resulting in shocking your body into new growth!