Pay Attention to your Range of Motion


Range of motion (ROM) is an important factor when designing strength training programs. ROM refers to the degree of movement that occurs in a joint during an exercise. Different parts of a muscle group are activated at different joint angles. Some parts are more active at the beginning of the movement, and others are more active at the end. Thus, exercises should be performed at the full range of motion to optimize muscle growth.

The full range of motion is ideal for muscle growth, but movements performed at a reduced range of motion can also promote muscle growth, mainly when performed at longer muscle lengths. Pedrosa et al. (2022) examined the muscle growth induced by a knee extension exercise at different ranges of motion and found that training at a reduced range of motion at long muscle lengths can produce similar or better responses to muscle growth than full movement frequencies, at least in the knee extension. Other studies have also found similar results for other muscle groups. However, a recent systematic review and meta-analysis found that exercise performed at the full range of motion resulted in better muscle growth in the lower limbs compared to exercise performed at a reduced range of motion.

As a general rule, movements should be performed at the full range of motion, with preference given to exercises that allow muscles to work at long muscle lengths. However, using a partial range of motion can also benefit certain muscle groups.

Overall, ROM is an important factor to consider when designing strength training programs. Further research is needed to determine the optimal range of motion for different muscle groups and exercises. Individuals can optimize muscle growth and overall fitness by considering ROM and tailoring exercises.


Maeo, S., Huang, M., Wu, Y., Sakurai, H., Kusagawa, Y., Sugiyama, T., ... & Isaka, T. (2021). Greater hamstrings muscle hypertrophy but similar damage protection after training at long versus short muscle lengths. Medicine and science in sports and exercise, 53(4), 825.

Pallarés, J. G., Hernández‐Belmonte, A., Martínez‐Cava, A., Vetrovsky, T., Steffl, M., & Courel‐Ibáñez, J. (2021). Effects of range of motion on resistance training adaptations: A systematic review and meta‐analysis. Scandinavian journal of medicine & science in sports, 31(10), 1866-1881.

Pedrosa, G. F., Lima, F. V., Schoenfeld, B. J., Lacerda, L. T., Simões, M. G., Pereira, M. R., ... & Chagas, M. H. (2022). Partial range of motion training elicits favorable improvements in muscular adaptations when carried out at long muscle lengths. European Journal of Sport Science, 22(8), 1250-1260.

Signorile, J. F., Lew, K. M., Stoutenberg, M., Pluchino, A., Lewis, J. E., & Gao, J. (2014). Range of motion and leg rotation affect electromyography activation levels of the superficial quadriceps muscles during leg extension. The Journal of Strength & Conditioning Research, 28(9), 2536-2545.