Full Range of Motion, I’m sure most, if not all of you have heard that phrase before, it’s really important in any exercise that we do. What does it mean? Easy let’s take a look at the image below of a pull up.
So from a pull up perspective we start the pull up from a full body weight hang with arms fully extended (left). Then we pull ourselves up until our shoulders are level with the bar (right). That is Full Range of Motion, completing the exercise from one extreme to the other. An example of poor range of motion would be pulling yourself up, then only lowering yourself several inches before pulling yourself up again.
There are several reasons that I find achieving a full range of motion is so important. Let’s take a look at these separately.
Poor Range of Motion / Poor Form:
These in my eyes go hand in hand. If you are not completing an exercise with a full range of motion (limitations excused i.e old injuries) you are setting yourself up for failure and potential injuries. For example on a Squat if you don’t use a full range of motion (bringing your butt below your knees) you put unnecessary pressure onto your knees, which can and more often than not will lead to problems in the future.
You’re Only Cheating Yourself:
Don’t do this! If it’s not a full rep it really shouldn’t count! Look it’s really ok to fail, I would much rather fail a set with proper form than convince myself that I completed it with shoddy dangerous form. Failing a set just means you need to try again, it’s not the end of the world.
We only get one body, and it’s really great that we want to look after it by eating right and exercising. Just remember exercising can be just as dangerous as doing nothing if it’s not being done correctly. If you’re ever in doubt ask someone, a fellow gym goer, a friend, a fitness fanatic etc.