"ROM must decrease as muscles fatigue."

Discussion in 'Gator Country Health and Fitness' started by Dreamliner, Nov 2, 2012.

  1. Dreamliner
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    Dreamliner Well-Known Member

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    Interesting quote from Everett Aaberg, author of Muscle Mechanics. It may be an underlooked point because, well, the conventional advice is to terminate set when ROM decreases. Or, perhaps more frequently, the trainee begins to use more and more body english to maintain ROM.

    Yesterday I experimented with the concept. Did a set of pullups. Tempo was deliberate, probably three seconds up, three seconds down. Slow as my reps were, I found that I wasn't going to reach chin level, at top, on my sixth rep. So, rather than using any body english, I simply pulled as high as I could (and still maintain tension in the lats). By rep 11 or 12 I was barely able to rise inches from the bottom position. I terminated the set when I could no longer move period. And I suppose that, had I wanted to, I could have continued to hang ... until I couldn't.

    My finding was that, as ROM diminished, even markedly so, I found that I was able to maintain constant tension on the relevant muscles BECAUSE I allowed ROM to decrease.

    Now, sure, with this kind of intensity, now we're talking HIT, one set will do ya. But perhaps there is a middle ground that allows for more subtle decreases in ROM AS ONE ACHIEVES A PREDETERMINED REPS GOAL.

    I suspect that this is what bodybuilders do, as they seem to be the leading experts on the sort of 'mind-muscle connection' required to maintain muscle tension, which is a priority for them.
  2. LoyalGatorFan
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    LoyalGatorFan Active Member

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    I am not totally sure if this is relevant to your discovery but I do know that joints need to be strongest/withstand the greatest amount of tension at the midrange of the ROM...for instance with bicep curls/elbow flexion....the joint can tolerate resistance most efficiently at roughly 90 degrees of bending (midrange)....when you have your elbow straightened, the starting position when you start to curl the weight is the toughest (at least for me it is)...and then will the elbow is fully bent/flexed, the biceps becomes more or less actively insufficient...so it might be a good idea to see if you get more strength gains only bending the elbow to 90 degrees then lowering the weight, instead of going through full flexion..because from 90 degrees to end range you won't be achieving much gains IMO...
  3. LoyalGatorFan
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    LoyalGatorFan Active Member

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    * I meant to say joints TEND to be strongest, not NEED to be...lol
  4. Dreamliner
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    Dreamliner Well-Known Member

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    This is a very relevant point. I have already surmised that ROM is a topic which cries out for clarification. When we say ROM, what do we mean ? Do we mean move the weight as far as we can ? Do we mean move the joint as far as it wants to go ? Do we mean (and here's what you're hinting at) as far as the muscle NEEDS to be moved to induce strength, hypertrophy, etc. ?

    Back to pullups, I do agree that if hypertrophy is the chief concern, I see no need to get the chin to the bar. As far as I'm concerned, that's just a contrivance.

    Of further interest, Aaberg recommends, as you do, pulling only until upper arms are parallel to floor, maybe a little more. But muscle tension is paramount.

    It does so happen that I am able to maintain lat tension, all the way up, for at least a few reps. But again the conventional advice would have me either terminating the set at that point or kipping a bit to get another rep or two. No consideration is given for a calculated decrease in ROM.
  5. Dreamliner
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    Dreamliner Well-Known Member

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    This has got me thinking that both the heave-ho camp and the tempo-mongers are a little off. Why not just proceed, slowly enough to eliminate undue momentum, and simply decrease ROM as needed ?

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