Decreasing Planes of Motion?

Discussion in 'Hypertrophy-Specific Training (HST)' started by ajntorinj, Mar 24, 2005.

  1. ajntorinj

    ajntorinj New Member

    If you read my trap bar deadlift thread in the Basic Training Forum, you're familiar with my recent experiences. I am currently trying to lose fat, but I am hoisting poundages I have never attempted before.

    I am thinking that one might be able to achieve greater strength and hypertrophy by reducing the planes of motion in a given exercise after a max has been achieved for a given rep range. For instance, one could do a dumbell bench press for their chest movement. When the 5 rep max is achieved, one could then switch to the barbell. One can use greater weight with the barbell than the dumbells because more muscles are used as stabilizers and less are used for work.

    If hypertrophy for the chest could be achieved from dumbell poundages, wouldn't even more hypertrophy be gained by increasing the load on the muscle? We currently do this by reducing the reps, but reducing the planes of motion would also facilitate this.

    One could max out with their dumbells, lower the load by a few increments, and then do a new microocycle using a barbell. I suppose one could even continue the cycle on a Smith machine, if his CNS wasn't fried at that point.

    So what is your opinion?
  2. Old and Grey

    Old and Grey Super Moderator Staff Member

    I'm certainly no expert in kinesiology, and I could be dead wrong on this, but I always believed that continued use of partial range of motion reps could result in decreased flexibility by increasing the strength of shorter muscle fibers at the expense of longer fibers. I would think you would be better served using full range drop sets or negatives. That being said, one could also argue that partial reps are generally less taxing on joints than full range of motion reps and, therefore, safer. Sounds like a bit of a "catch 22". :confused:
  3. xahrx

    xahrx New Member

    That's not what he is say though, O&G. By switching to a BB Press you could technically up the weight past your DB limit because more muscles are involved in the compound movement. But that's the just the problem. The target muscle sees less tension because the additional load is being carried by increased use of other muscles in the movement.
  4. BoSox

    BoSox New Member

    what it comes down to is that there is a maximum strength output for any muscle. Maybe you can do 10 reps with 80 pounds dumbells, 180 pounds with a barbell, or 220 pounds on some machine press. There is a maximum amount of strain that can be achieved and absolute load is not the only factor that influences that.

    On the contrary, it might be better to switch from barbell to dumbbells, which usually allow a greater range of motion and stretch.
  5. It's true that you can achieve a greater range of motion with dumbbells, but that doesn't necessarily mean you should work all the way through that ROM. When I was younger, I used to go as far down as possible on dumbbell benches because the Weider rags I wasted my money on said to go "rock bottom." Bad advice, that, unless you're looking for shoulder injuries! These days I don't go any farther down than I would doing regular barbell benches--and my chest has never been thicker or stronger.

    I like using dumbbells because they improve your balance, forcing you to use small stabilizer muscles, and you can't cheat at the bottom by bouncing 'em off your chest. Still, I do intend to mix things up in my next cycle by using a combination of barbell and dumbbell benches. Why? I want to move more weight and will be able to use larger increments with the former than the latter. Plus, the variety will keep things fresh and interesting.
  6. Old and Grey

    Old and Grey Super Moderator Staff Member

    X, I guess I misunderstood "reducing plane of motion" to mean reducing the range of motion. However, it apprears that aj is actually referring to restricting motion through the use of barbell vs. dumbells. Mea culpa. [​IMG]
  7. BoSox

    BoSox New Member

    sounds more like a lack of shoulder flexibility to me. The extra range of motion is at the most stretched position, the area where you'd most like to have more ROM.
  8. Bo, that's possible. My shoulders certainly could be more flexible than they are. They've always allowed me to go all the way down to the fully stretched position--it's just that after a number of years the left one started whining as a result.

    I still get good results when the lines of the dumbbell handles are about parallel to my chest though, and my shoulders don't complain about it.
  9. My 2 cents, of course someone is stronger in the peak area of the length tension curve but stretch does have an effect also. Could you get growth out of staying in the optimum LT range, sure. Can you get growth by applying increased ROM with less weight, sure. The true way to increase size (no matter what part of curve) is frequently applying the strain, progressive load, applying the strain for enough time and resensitizing the tissue when growth stops.
  10. thehawk

    thehawk New Member

    This doesn't answer your question directly but I have found several ways to extend my hst cycles that work along the lines of what you're talking about - just not with partials. For instance - begin each hst cycle with a weaker version of an exercise (incline barbell bench or db bench) and once you are at your 3 or 5rm switch to the flat barbell version which will allow you to continue to overload the suggested muscle b/c of the increased leverage etc.

    Start with stiff-leg dl go to regular. Start with lying leg curls go to seated. Standing db press to seated, Front squats to back squats etc.

    ALso switching to one arm or one limb versions as you're typically a bit stronger with the sum of the weight lifted by your two limbs separately than done with both legs or arms simultaneously(leg curl, extension, even one arm chins on an assisted machine), etc.
  11. Hypertrophier

    Hypertrophier New Member

    Here in germany, it is not allowed to change exercises. The exercises and their order should be the same all year(s) long. I also donĀ“t get the advantages of using 2 different alternating routines.

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