Iron man Iron_Man_USA__June_2017 - Page 73

POWERBUILDING how to properly do isolation movements will help you bring those up. If you’re weak off the chest and your pecs have no strength, then doing the standard motion of pec flyes prob- ably isn’t going to help you work your pecs. You’re going to be all shoulder, and your weak spot off of your chest will still lag. Injury Another risk with machines and dumbbells is that the increased range of motion some of them provide can cause serious injury. Imagine you’re doing dumbbell bench press: If you were doing it with a barbell, it would stop at your chest, but because there’s noth- ing between the dumbbells, you can let them come back as far you want, which can cause serious damage to your rotator cuffs. The leg press is another good example. If you do a full ROM and let your knees come back and squish into your chest, you would get some major flexing at the lumbar spine and your knees would take a beating. The Bigger The Better? Are there times when a shorter ROM can hinder progress as well? Yes. If you only ever do movements in a stunted pattern, you’ll IF YOU CAN GO FARTHER, FEEL THE MUSCLE, AND NOT HURT YOURSELF, BY ALL MEANS WORK THROUGH THE FULL RANGE. eventually tighten up and you won’t get the full breadth of stimulation. I used to do this with lat pulldowns all the time. I’d let them most of the way up and bring it down about three-quarters of the way to my chest. In that short movement, I worked my lats, but not as efficiently as I could have. I never let my shoulder blades fully come up and out and then pull them back down and togeth- er, so I never got to really work on scapular retraction, which is a huge part of all three major lifts. Because I never pulled the bar very tight to my body at the end, I never got the full contraction and muscle stimulation for all the little muscles that engage when you really squeeze your shoulder blades together. I usually wouldn’t allow my rows to go all the way down or pull all the way in either, and this became a theme in many of my back exercises. This led to some very tight tissue over time, and finally when I realized it and started doing full ROM, it felt like a whole new exercise. It was new and interesting to let the bound-up tissue free since it hadn’t been worked in years. After not too long, my mo- bility improved and my muscles in the area developed much better than they had been, and this led directly to increased strength in all of my big lifts. Make It Individual There’s no set principle of when you should go all the way up and down in a movement; it’s all about your body and your goals. Small ranges of motion can be very useful for some goals and can hinder others. If you can go farther, feel the muscle, and not hurt yourself, by all means work through the full range. But if you start to lose connectivity or feel pain in the joint, then back off and reassess how you’ve been doing that exercise. IM ironmanmagazine.com | JUNE 2017 71