It is said that volume is the most IMPORTANT component in hypertrophy.
But the question I’m asking today is:
Is a 6x8 with 100kg Full Squat better than a 6x8 with 100kg Half Squat?
Hypertrophy is a macroscopic multifactorial phenomenon that depends on microscopic specific adjustments. These “internal” adjustments increase the transversal section of the muscle and therefore the centimetres on the feared tailor’s tape measure and can depend on:
- Increase of the protein that makes up the fibre (mainly actin and myosin);
- Increase in the sarcoplasm (liquid component: cytosol, organelles, energy reserves);
- Increase in the number of capillaries;
- Increase in the number and size of mitochondria;
- Increase in ATP and CP glycogen retention;
- increase in the connective tissue;
It is self-evident that in this context both total repetitions and partial repetitions have their own applicability.
THE ROLE OF PARTIAL REPETITIONS :
- Pre-activation of SN and FNPT (post-tetanus nervous facilitation), we can then push ourselves even “further”;
- Transfer of force (see Paul Andreson’s NCT method);
- Maximum phosphate depletion;
- Maximum muscle exhaustion in the “strong” part of the movement (if you think about it, we give up at the sticking point (critical point), but if we have a support that helps us to overcome it, we can complete the movement, a sign that the MTI (muscle temporary inability) is given by the “weak” point in the chain and that the muscle has not necessarily been really exhausted;
- Stimulus for the growth of deep muscles (the body has 752 muscles and in our routines we focus on about some twenty of them but, if we think about the core, the stabilising, postural muscles, the deep muscles, applying an over-physiological load, for instance a reduced ROM, can be useful [but also dangerous, so careful]).
As to the rest, the FULL ROM pays more. Just think about the muscle plasticity law: Over time, if not complemented by additional exercise, an incomplete motion range leads to a reduction in the number of contractile sarcomeres (the muscle units) and its “shortening”, to the detriment of the latter. Since the strength of a muscle depends also on its length, there is something more to pay for.
For those who love partial repetitions and are fans of the external load “at all costs” (and getting it wrong in my opinion), the book that covers this topic, "Power Factor Training" can be read, but the authors’ consideration is not really correct because the “movement” should be taken into consideration in the volume calculation (if things had to be done properly) (otherwise we could “dare” and say that a classic 6x8 and an isometric 6x8 are the same thing and this is OBVIOUSLY not the case).
PARTIAL YES OR PARTIAL NO?
Partial yes, but logically. If I want to give an additional stimulus or search for specific work in a certain angle, or work according to the muscle plasticity logic with an aesthetic-postural purpose. On the other hand, in other cases the full rom (on the exercise or a combination of exercises) should always be preferred.
Author: Mattia Lorenzini
Personal trainer, expert in sports nutrition and author of the informative project CorporeSano – Food&Training System