The central idea for eliciting sarcoplasmic hypertrophy in bodybuilding is time under tension. I’ve talked about this many times previously.
One method that some bodybuilders use to increase time under tension for certain lifts is to limit the range of motion (ROM), keeping a muscle tensed for 10-20 reps, or even more, in a ‘squidgy’ position. This is undoubtedly great for sarcoplasmic hypertrophy, because you maximise the time under tension.
But this can in truth be detrimental to your muscles. While the muscles will grow large over time with this technique, they’ll become very tight and not very useful.
Trying to use full-ROM movements after a long time of limiting ROM with the same loads will put huge stress on your joints. The muscles can just about handle the load, but the joints can’t. Result? Damaged joints.
This causes the broscience you quite often get from some lifters (and, incredibly yet tragically, many qualified personal trainers) that full, heavy lifts are bad for your joints. Which is complete rubbish. Continue to lift heavy and with full ROM to develop better movement capacities and healthy joints.
However, if your chief purpose is tied to aesthetics, i.e. you’re a bodybuilder, then sure, why not include such variables in your workouts. Just be sure to keep a variety of full and limited ROM movements to uphold joint and muscle well-being.
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