Joss Delage

Motion range and maximum weight on weight-training machines

5 posts in this topic

All,

I find that I have different max weight tolerance on different portions of the range of movement. For example, on the overhead press, I can press heavier weights if I don't bring the handles down to my shoulder height. Similarly, for lat pulls, I can pull heavier weights if I don't bring them as far back as I would with lighter weights.

Generally, what should I do? Heavy weights & limited range of motion, or the other way round?

Ultimate goal is overall functional fitness & muscle mass. I generally train once a week, and I try to do 6-to-8 slow reps per group muscles, at max intensity.

Thanks,

JD

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The leverage of the muscle changes as you move through the motion, so you are going to be weaker or stronger in certain areas compared to others. Studies going back as far as the late 19th century showed that no range of motion was needed to stimulate full range of motion strength increases. But if you still want to use a full range of motion try finding a couple different machines, Nautilus, MedX or Super-Slow (which is now made by MedX). Even if you use one of these types of machines, the goal still remains to reach momentary muscular failure as that is the point of stimulant, anything less will not return the effect desired or at least will be blunted.

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The overhead press is a compound exercise, which works out the deltoid (shoulder), trapezius (in the neck and back) and triceps (back of the arm), muscles (with the main focus being the smaller deltoid muscle). If you shorten it, instead of focusing on the deltoid, I believe you're focusing on the bigger muscles, the triceps and the trapezius (which is why it's easier to do it short). That's a bad idea, because those are used plenty in other exercises, already, while this exercise is supposed to put the emphasis on he deltoid. And, as a general rule, the greater weight will also increase the risk of injury to the elbows and tendons.

With the pull downs, you're exercising the biceps, back of the deltoids, traps and forearms. The same way, if you shorten it, you will place more emphasis on the bigger of those muscles, less on the smaller ones. ( I believe you'd be neglecting the biceps most, but I'm not sure--and I also don't know this for a fact, but just by looking at the physics of the movement as I'm sitting here, I think the shorter motion places some extra load on the forearms, which is a very vulnerable body part anyway, as tendon injury is so common there)

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Daedalus, as the weight (or intensity) increases on any given exercise one will find that there is no way to isolate a muscle (muscle group). I have found in my own research that heavy loads lifted in a safe manner with minimal amounts of force diminish one's chances of injuring themselves. I have also found that a small core group of highly demanding systematic exercises stimulate all body parts to the largest degree without causing over-training of the smaller body parts. For example, I do not have any of my clients do direct calf training, but from the time that they begin their calves grow in size and tone. If one is lifting in the most intense manner to stimulate the most productive response they will cause systematic adaptations while conserving their limited resources.

Just some thoughts for you to ponder, do with them as you please.

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Regarding pulldowns and OVH presses I would advice you to watch how your forearms are rotating. When the forearm starts rotating forward(elbow travels backwards) is a good point to stop. Usually that's a little bit below the chin, though some people with good mobility can go all the way down to the chest.

What happens when you go too low is that the tuberculum majus humeri(capsule of the shoulder joint) rotates in under the acromion which can wear and tear on the bursa subacromialis. This can cause inflammation and, over time, more serious problems.

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