Good news: This hypertrophy training technique works fast. Bad news: It feels like your muscles are on fire. Try it if you dare.
The Technique: Regressive Range of Motion
This training method can be used by those who are after hypertrophy gains and by those whose goal is to build both strength and size. Here's how it works:
- Start an exercise by doing a full range of motion. Do reps until you're close to hitting failure, then...
- Cut the range of motion in half and do partial reps. When you feel that you're about to hit failure in that partial range....
- Cut the range of motion in half again (do quarter reps) until you finally hit total failure. Depending on the exercise, the partials will be done in either the top portion or bottom portion.
For Size Gains
Use a weight you can lift for 8-10 full reps before reverting to half and then quarter reps.
For Size and Strength Gains
Use a weight you can lift for 4-6 full reps before reverting to partial reps. This method allows you to use a decent amount of weight.
- Squat: Full reps, then upper-half reps, then quarter reps
- Bench Press: Full reps, then upper half reps if you want to focus on delts and triceps. If you want to focus more on the chest, do quarter reps in the lower half of the movement.
- Hamstring Curl: Full reps, then lower half reps, then quarter reps
- Biceps Cable Curl: Full reps, then lower half reps, then quarter reps
- Triceps Pushdown: Full reps, then lower half reps, then quarter reps
- Leg Press: Full reps, then upper half reps, then quarter reps
- Lateral Raise: Full reps, then lower half reps, then quarter reps
This method is especially effective with compound movements, particularly those with a longer range of motion. It can also be used successfully with exercises like curls (especially cable curls), triceps pushdowns, leg curls, leg extensions, hack squats, and leg presses. It doesn't work as well with overhead work or pulling exercises.