Full Range Contractions

William Smith is the President / CEO and Founder of the INTRAFITT Corporation which was established in California in 1992. Will has won more than twenty-eight bodybuilding championships and is also known for his role as “THUNDER” on television’s American Gladiator between 1990 – 1992. He is a National and International Speaker on Performance Nutrition and Exercise Science.

Full Range Contractions are the foundation to building muscle quickly and efficiently!  Often times in today’s health & fitness publications we read articles directly associating muscular strength and size with heavy weight training.  It is important to realize that although resistance is an important factor in developing muscular strength and hypertrophy it is NOT the “limiting factor”.  Instead, the most important element is an increase in the tension of force that a muscle must generate.  This is accomplished by using a strength training application referred to as “FULL RANGE CONTRACTIONS”. 

For example, when performing a biceps curl, consciously contract your biceps at the beginning of the exercise and hold the contraction as hard as you can while you perform each repetition of the exercise throughout the full range of motion.  By integrating this applied science you will automatically increase the number of contracting fibers involved in the movement, subsequently increasing the force generating capacity (strength) of the biceps and therefore allowing for the use of heavier weights.  The consistent use of Full Range Contractions with all of your strength training exercises will inevitably accelerate muscular growth and hypertrophy while dramatically reducing the risk of injury.

Another way to explain the effects of Full Range Contractions is in the analogy of a closet door that is stuck and will not open.  In order to open the door, one of two methods can be used.  The first method involves gently placing your hands on the door, then slowly beginning to push until you are pushing with all of your effort.  Although the door may not open, the muscles being used to push on the door are most likely generating maximum force (which in turn promotes and accelerates muscular strength and hypertrophy).  On the other hand, if you took a couple of steps away from the door and got a running start, the power and momentum of your body mass, once you hit the door would generate enough force to open the door.  Unfortunately, the muscles did not directly generate the force.  Instead, speed and momentum were the force generating factors.  This is essentially what is happening when speed, momentum and leverage are used to swing, bounce or hoist a particular weight (sometimes referred to as Explosive Training) in an attempt to increase the size and strength of a muscle.

In summary, muscular growth and strength does not occur efficiently as a result of using momentum or by swinging heavy weights up and down through a specific movement.  Instead, it is an increase in the tension or force that a muscle must generate throughout the entire range of motion during any given exercise.  There is a significant difference between a muscle generating force and a muscle swinging heavy weights.  Although “Explosive Training” may have its advantages for certain athletes, it is not recommended for building and strengthening the muscles efficiently and may very well cause severe injuries.

Visit us at www.intrafitt.com or email me with questions to gladiator@intrafitt.com

In strength and honor,

Will Smith/aka Thunder of the American Gladiators

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