Full ROM lifting is way overhyped

Posted on April 16, 2018

(Last Updated On: April 16, 2018)

There has been no greater idiocy in the fitness world than the full range of motion debate. Gyms, CrossFit boxes and internet forums filled with sentiments of,

  1. If you don’t squat ass to grass (ATG) you’re half human
  2. If you bench press and the bar doesn’t touch your chest, your testicles shrink


ATG squatting hypocrisy

This is the “partial squats suck” crowd.

Yet the people who endorse full squatting almost always are the same people who tell us lunges are a great leg exercise.

Uh, lunges are a partial squat:

Those ass cheeks ain’t on the heels, which means we don’t have full knee flexion:

And the knee isn’t into the the chest, which means we don’t have full hip flexion:

Heresy! Lil Jon looks down on you for your inability to get low!

You cannot say partial squats are radioactive while also championing lunges.


Bench Press: the exercise with no full ROM anywhere!


Shoulder Flexion

This is full shoulder flexion and extension:

When we bench press, we get a lot of shoulder extension, because the elbow goes quite far behind the shoulder.

We start at the top, then we come down into extension:

Then we come back into shoulder flexion:

But we only straighten the arms in front of us, where they’re perpendicular to the floor,

Bench Pressing never takes us through full shoulder flexion.


Shoulder Adduction

This is full horizontal adduction:

Notice how the hand crosses the midline of the body. Yet when we bench press:

Because the hands are fixed by grabbing the bar, the hands never cross the body’s midline. They never come together at all!

-> Which is why you get a gnarly push-up variation when you unfix the hands. You’ll get a whole ‘nother level of chest work (pecs are responsible for horizontal adduction):


Bench Pressing also,

  • Does not involve full shoulder rotation (we don’t fully internally or externally rotate)
  • We don’t fully abduct or adduct

That’s pretty much every way we can move our upper arm.

So why isn’t anybody branding Scarlet Letters on those who bench press for doing a partial lift? Just because the bar touches your chest doesn’t mean any joint or muscle went through full range of motion!

And, clearly, people have gained muscle benching. And lunging. The whole idea you need full range of motion to get bigger muscles is nonsensical. It’s just yet another way the fitness world excessively self-identifies with whatever exercise or diet it does.

  • “I’m a crossfittER.”
  • “I’m paleo for life.”
  • “I’m an athlete.”
  • “I’m a bodybuildER.”
  • “I’m a powerliftER.”
  • “I’m a full range of motion lifter.”

It provides a way to attempt to have status over another. Like you’re better than somebody because you do full squats while they don’t.

But no, you aren’t any of these things. You are a regular, everyday person, who also happens to do these HOBBIES. One shouldn’t let their ego get wrapped up in their profession, but when you’re not even a professional, yet you’re referring to an activity as who you are, you have a problem.

This is important because, like a great deal of fitness arguments, this has never been a scientific debate. It’s been an emotional one, and whenever humans are trying to discuss with emotions first, we end up looking like morons.


I’ve helped a lot of people get out of pain and feel better by showing them what ROM they should lift within.

Get help like they did here.


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