Partial vs full range of motion resistance training
A systematic review and meta-analysis
Keywords:muscle hypertrophy, muscle strength, power, sport, bodyfat, strength training, muscle length, regional muscle hypertrophy
Background: Range of motion (ROM) during resistance training is of growing interest and is potentially used to elicit differing adaptations (e.g. muscle hypertrophy and muscular strength and power). To date, attempts at synthesising the data on ROM during resistance training have primarily focused on muscle hypertrophy in the lower body.
Objective: Our aim was to meta-analyse and systematically review the effects of ROM on a variety of outcomes including hypertrophy, strength, sport, power and body-fat type outcomes. Following pre-registration and consistent with PRISMA guidelines, a systematic review of PubMed and SportsDISCUS was performed. Data was extracted and a Bayesian multi-level meta-analysis was performed. A range of exploratory sub-group and moderator analyses were performed.
Results: The main model revealed a trivial SMD (0.13; 95% CI: −0.01, 0.27) in favour of full ROM compared to partial ROM. When grouped by outcome, SMDs all favoured full ROM, but SMDs were trivial to small (all between 0.05 to 0.2). Sub-group analyses suggested there may be a muscle hypertrophy benefit to partial ROM training at long muscle lengths compared to using a full ROM (SMD=−0.28, 95% CI: −0.81, 0.16). Analysis also suggested the existence of a specificity aspect to ROM, such that training in the ROM being tested as an outcome resulted in greater strength adaptations. No clear differences were found between upper- and lower-body adaptations when ROM was manipulated.
Conclusions: Overall, our results suggest that using a full or long ROM may enhance results for most outcomes (strength, speed, power, muscle size, and body composition). Differences in adaptations are trivial to small. As such, partial ROM resistance training might present an efficacious alternative for variation and personal preference, or where injury prevents full-ROM resistance training.
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