Partial Reps – Partial Repetitions. What are partial reps?
Partial reps are repetitions performed over a portion of the full range of movement for an exercise, instead of over the entire range of motion. Partial reps can be performed anywhere from 3/4’s of an entire rep, to approximately 1/8 of a complete rep.
Partial reps are a staple of many powerlifting routines. When training the bench press, partial range exercises such as the 1, 2, 3 and 4 board press, and the pin press are utilized to strengthen sticking points. Powerlifters also perform rack pulls, which are partial deadlifts performed through a vary range of heights.
Bodybuilders use partial reps as a training method, albeit very infrequently. A good example of partial rep use in bodybuilding is the bicep training system known as 21’s.
To perform 21’s, the trainee performs 7 barbell curl reps in normal fashion. Next, 7 half reps are performed, beginning at the starting point of the exercise, and finishing halfway up – or with the the arms completely horizontal. After these 7 reps are finished, 7 more reps are performed. These partial reps start with the arms at horizontal, and finish in the fully contracted position.
Another possible use for partial reps in bodybuilding is the partial rep, high rep method. Because partial reps reduce overall time under tension (TUT), the stress placed upon a muscle is decreased. To compensate, a lifter can perform more reps.
When performing partial reps, it is best to either add additional weight, or keep the weight the same and add additional repetitions. Both methods of partial reps compensate for the reduction in load by increasing training volume or time under tension.
It is also not uncommon to see beginning trainees performing partial reps in an attempt to use more weight. This form of ego lifting is dangerous, and should be avoided. Partial reps should not be performed by lifters who have not mastered the basics lifts.
Partial Rep Videos.