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One of the most overlooked aspects when it comes to training is you can break down motion into three parts: stretch, mid range, and contraction. So?
My point is: if you were to train all three aspects during each workout, them gainz would be much quicker and greater ( As a personal trainer in NYC I am facing a highly competitive market, therefore I need to be ahead of the crowds) . Most trainees are covering the mid rage portion quite well. It is the part where the muscle is the the strongest, so all your big exercises fall into that (pulls , presses, squats, and deads). Obviously, those movements should be the cornerstone of every training program. But they can be made more effective if you supplement with one exercise from the the stretch and respectively, contraction group.
Why bother doing that when the mid range covers the strongest part anyways? Excellent question. Adding a stretch movement creates additional length in the muscle. In other words, if you have more real estate you can build bigger houses. The contraction exercise increases blood flow and cell volume to the max, which makes it a fantastic finisher movement. –
Here are some ideas, broken down by body part.Shoulders (focus being on the medial delt)
- Power: overhead press
- Stretch: leaning side raises. I prefer to combine cable and dumbbell raises. Start with the cable, then switch to the dumbbell as you fatigue.
- Contraction: partial side raises, where you simply move the arms to about 45 degrees away from the body.
- Power: bent over rows or pull ups
- Stretch: dumbbell pullover (barbell would be the more advanced version)
- Contraction: stiff arm press downs
- Power: incline press would be my choice, as I do not think much of the flat bench
- Stretch: any type of flye. Push flyes, where the elbow is bent more to the tune of 120 degrees, can be very effective for a deep chest stretch
- Contraction: kneeling cable cross overs
- Power: goblet squats, squats, or leg press
- Stretch: sissies (misnomer of the century)
- Contraction: leg extensions – Here you may go for high reps. The handles on the side are there to press your butt into the seat, as to not to involve the hips
- Power: single leg press, with a downward intention. Basically you are trying to slide your foot off the sled while pressing up without actually doing it (one would hope this explanation would not be needed but if you have been in gyms as long as I have, you would take the same precaution)
- Stretch: stiff legged deadlifts (with deficit if possible, meaning you’ll stand on a plate or small box for an even greater stretch)
- Contraction: leg curls. These would be best if done lying down. You can do six to eight reps at full range and then lift the hips off the bench for some short reps
- all points can be achieved with one set of donkey raises or leg presses
- Power: start with full reps, then..
- Stretch reps at the the bottom part of the motion and
- Contraction: have your training partner help you up to the top for a few contracted reps. The day after, your stride will mimic that of an aging chimp
- Power: pull up underhanded. Yes, it is the best biceps exercise there is, but the standing barbell curl will also work
- Stretch: incline curl, but set the bench only as far back as your shoulder can handle it
- Contraction: half curls. Here you grab a barbell, about 20% than your regular curl weight, and curl from a seated position from the legs up to full a contraction. Alternatives would be a cable concentration curl or a top range machine curl
- Power: close grip bench or a dip movement
- Stretch: high incline extension on the bench. You should set the bench almost at vertical; this way you can get the maximum stretch in to the long head of the triceps. Alternatively, you could use the rope extensions; I would use two ropes in order to get the maximum ROM out of the exercise
- Contraction: kickbacks. These are often done wrong; I personally am not a big fan of leaning forward too much. I feel most people waste too much energy keeping their upper bodies in place and stabilizing their shoulders, as opposed to actually working triceps. Here is my take: only go into a slight lean, tuck the elbows behind the body in order to keep the triceps elongated, and squeeze each rep
I recommend implementing all three ranges of motion into each workout. The order can differ from athlete to athlete, or even within each muscle group. As an example most people would start they leg workout with the big kahuna (the squat) and then migrate to the smaller exercises. This author actually prefers sissy squats first to increase the ROM during the squats but there are no hard and fast rules.
As always, please share, forward, critique and comment to your little heart’s content!