Most of us have probably been told that if you want to grow your muscles then every exercise you do must be completed with a full range of motion.
It is necessary to move from a “full stretch” to a “peak contraction” in order to stimulate the maximum amount of muscle growth in a short period of time, however should we be using a full range of motion in each exercise that we do?
The answer to this question is dependent on how our body is built. We are not all made the same and one range of motion that works for one person may not be suitable or effective for another person.
If we look at the bench press, for example, if you have long arms but a small rib cage, then when you bring the bar down towards your chest, it means that your shoulders will then have to delve deeper into an extension than someone who has short arms and a large rib cage.
In essence, this can be very rough on our shoulders and it can in fact cause us to get a rotator cuff injury.
There are specific exercises though that are very useful when it comes to fatiguing the muscle that is being targeted when you use a reduced range of motion. One of these is the skull crusher. This can be performed using a middle range of motion.
It works out better overall to stop short of a full range of motion then to injure yourself and get laid off from the gym for a long period of time.
You aren’t cheating on the exercise; you are simply being smart when it comes to your training and ensuring you are keeping your joints in order and healthy.