Partial Training for Massive Results

By Karen Sessions

You have been struggling in the gym day after day, week after week and you still look the same now as you did last year.

You read all the muscle magazines, surfed the Net and read forums to get the absolute best training advice. Why are you not gaining muscle at the rate you desire?

Many people venture onto resistant training in hopes to build some good solid and dense muscle, but many go to the gym everyday, unsure of what they are doing and even unclear of what they really want the outcome to be.

If you want muscle, you have to build it. It's as simple as that. Building muscle takes time and effort.

One problem many encounter when trying to gain muscle size and strength is training too often. Everyone goes through this phase. Many are told to back off while others must learn the hard way.

Another reason for a lack of muscle gains is the failure to change training. All too many people get stuck in a rut of doing 4 sets of 10 reps. Sure, that may be productive your first three weeks in the gym, but if you don't change your sets, reps, or poundage, there is no reason for your body to change. To ignite muscle growth, you must challenge the body and you do that by keeping it off guard and pushing heavy weight.

Note:

The following training program is for advanced lifters. Before venturing onto this program, please have at least three solid months of proper training under your belt to prepare your joints and connective tissue.

What is Partial Training?

One tactic that I like very much and see great success with all the time is training with partial range of motion, commonly referred to as "partials". It's known for its ability to produce strength and size gains in a very short amount of time. This is my best kept secret to muscle mass, size, raw power, and she-brut strength. This tactic is the most effective training technique to build muscle mass FAST.

Partials are not just a plateau buster. Partial training is using heavy weights exclusively in a specific range of motion that forces an overload to deliver greatest intensity and strength to the muscles being trained. The strongest range of motion is from midway to the contraction point. This is the area where you can move the most weight and produce the most dramatic results in a very short amount of time. The heavier workload will also build your connective tissue strength to handle that excess poundage.

How to Perform

Partial training is somewhat different than regular full range of motion. You will need to specifically track your progress and you do this by doing the same exercises each week and logging the poundage used, as well as reps and sets. Your goal is to increase poundage each training session.

Partials are best performed on machines, the Smith Machine, or the power rack. It is not recommended to do free weight or dumbbell partials, as it can be dangerous.

With partial training you do less work but with a heavier work load. Therefore, you will decrease your exercises to only the mass builders so the entire muscle targeted gets trained.

I like to take my partial training in two phases to really give the muscles a shock and alternate high rep and low rep training.

Phase I

My first phase is lowering the weight 2 to 3 inches and contracting back, squeezing the muscle at the top of the movement. I shoot for 3 sets of 20 reps with as much poundage as I can stack on.

Chest
Exercise: Flat Bench Press
Equipment: Smith Machine, Power Rack, or Machine
Execute: Load the bar. Un-rack the weight and lower it 2 to 3 inches, contracting the muscle at the top of the movement.
Sets/Reps: 3 sets of 20 reps
Rest: 2 minutes between sets

Shoulders
Exercise: Shoulder Press
Equipment: Smith Machine, Power Rack, or Machine
Execute: Load the bar. Un-rack the weight and lower it 2 to 3 inches, contracting the muscle at the top of the movement.
Sets/Reps: 3 sets of 20 reps
Rest: 2 minutes between sets

Triceps
Exercise: Decline Skulls
Equipment: Power Rack
Execute: Load the bar. Un-rack the weight and lower it 2 to 3 inches, contracting the muscle at the top of the movement.
Sets/Reps: 3 sets of 20 reps
Rest: 2 minutes between sets

Back
Exercise: Dead Lifts
Equipment: Power Rack
Execute: Load the bar. Un-rack the weight and lower it 2 to 3 inches, contracting the muscle at the top of the movement.
Sets/Reps: 3 sets of 20 reps
Rest: 2 minutes between sets

Exercise: Lat Shrugs
Equipment: Lat Pulldown Machine
Execute: Take an underhanded grip, keep the arms straight and shrug the lats only. This is a small movement.
Sets/Reps: 3 sets of 20 reps
Rest: 2 minutes between sets

Exercise: Rows
Equipment: Smith Machine, Power Rack, or Machine
Execute: Load the bar. Un-rack the weight and lower it 2 to 3 inches, contracting the muscle at the top of the movement.
Sets/Reps: 3 sets of 20 reps
Rest: 2 minutes between sets

Legs
Exercise: Leg Press
Equipment: Leg Press Machine
Execute: Load the machine. Un-rack the weight and lower it 2 to 3 inches, contracting the muscle at the top of the movement.
Sets/Reps: 3 sets of 20 reps
Rest: 2 minutes between sets

Exercise: Stiff Legged Dead Lifts
Equipment: Smith Machine or Power Rack
Execute: Load the bar. Un-rack the weight and lower it 2 to 3 inches, contracting the muscle at the top of the movement.
Sets/Reps: 3 sets of 20 reps
Rest: 2 minutes between sets

Biceps
Exercise: Straight Bar Curl
Equipment: Power Rack
Execute: Load the bar. Un-rack the weight and lower it 2 to 3 inches, contracting the muscle at the top of the movement.
Sets/Reps: 3 sets of 20 reps
Rest: 2 minutes between sets

Phase II

My second phase is lowering the weight to a 90 degree angle and then contracting back, squeezing the muscle at the top of the movement. I shoot for 10 reps with as much poundage as I can stack on. Since my range of motion will be a little longer on this, I lighten the poundage some to ensure I get my full 90 degree angle range of motion.

Chest
Exercise: Incline Bench
Equipment: Smith Machine, Power Rack, or Machine
Execute: Load the bar. Un-rack the weight and lower it to a 90 degree angle, contracting the muscle at the top of the movement.
Sets/Reps: 3 sets of 10 reps
Rest: 2 minutes between sets

Shoulders
Exercise: Shoulder Press
Equipment: Smith Machine, Power Rack, or Machine
Execute: Load the bar. Un-rack the weight and lower it to a 90 degree angle, contracting the muscle at the top of the movement.
Sets/Reps: 3 sets of 10 reps
Rest: 2 minutes between sets

Triceps
Exercise: Decline Skulls
Equipment: Power Rack
Execute: Load the bar. Un-rack the weight and lower it to a 90 degree angle, contracting the muscle at the top of the movement.
Sets/Reps: 3 sets of 10 reps
Rest: 2 minutes between sets

Back
Exercise: Dead Lifts
Equipment: Power Rack
Execute: Load the bar. Un-rack the weight and lower it to a 90 degree angle, contracting the muscle at the top of the movement.
Sets/Reps: 3 sets of 10 reps
Rest: 2 minutes between sets

Exercise: Lat Shrugs
Equipment: Lat Pulldown Machine
Execute: Take an underhanded grip, keep the arms straight and shrug the lats only. This is a small movement.
Sets/Reps: 3 sets of 10 reps
Rest: 2 minutes between sets

Exercise: Rows
Equipment: Smith Machine, Power Rack, or Machine
Execute: Load the bar. Un-rack the weight and lower it to a 90 degree angle, contracting the muscle at the top of the movement.
Sets/Reps: 3 sets of 10 reps
Rest: 2 minutes between sets

Legs
Exercise: Leg Press
Equipment: Leg Press Machine
Execute: Load the bar. Un-rack the weight and lower it to a 90 degree angle, contracting the muscle at the top of the movement.
Sets/Reps: 3 sets of 10 reps
Rest: 2 minutes between sets

Exercise: Stiff Legged Dead Lifts (Hamstrings)
Equipment: Smith Machine or Power Rack
Execute: Load the bar. Un-rack the weight and lower it to a 90 degree angle, contracting the muscle at the top of the movement.
Sets/Reps: 3 sets of 10 reps
Rest: 2 minutes between sets

Biceps
Exercise: Straight Bar Curl
Equipment: Power Rack
Execute: Load the bar. Un-rack the weight and lower it to a 90 degree angle, contracting the muscle at the top of the movement.
Sets/Reps: 3 sets of 10 reps
Rest: 2 minutes between sets

Choose only the mass builders. Train the muscle hard, intense, yet briefly.

After my second phase I return to full range of motion training with added strength and size, and a new zest for pumping iron.

Each of my phases lasts six weeks, but you can vary this according to your needs.

Recovery

Heavy partial training is extremely demanding on the body and recovery is a MUST! This type of training damages the muscle completely, and the muscle must take time and nutrients to rebuild itself so it can grow larger and stronger. It is best to train with partials three times a week at maximum. If you don't rest adequately, you will lose strength and size.

My weekly training for the Partials is as followed:

Weekly Split
Monday - Legs, Biceps, Calves
Tuesday - Cardio
Wednesday - Chest, Back, Abs
Thursday - Cardio
Friday - Shoulders, Triceps, Calves
Saturday - Cardio
Sunday - OFF

Supplement

Since your connective tissue is so greatly affected in partial training, it is advised to nourish the joints with Knox Gelatin or Joint Fuel, as well as good multivitamin.

Things to keep in mind

- Warm up properly by pumping the muscle with several light to moderate sets before tackling your first partial set. I also find it productive to stretch between sets since you are not getting a full range of motion.

- Safety is the key to partials. Be sure to always use a spotter and if one is not available be sure you are set up safely in the designated machine, power rack, or Smith Machine.

- Increase your poundage used gradually each session. If you are not able to beef up the poundage the next training session, you are not making progress. To build muscle, you must challenge the body.

- Track your progress each training session. Log every lift, every poundage used, and every rep and set. If you don't know what you are accomplishing in the gym, you can't improve it.

- Don't stay on partials too long. Just as anything, it can plateau. Cycle it with your regular full range of motion training.

- Give partials at least six weeks to prove itself. When you return to full range of motion, you will literally be shocked at the amount of strength you acquired.

Karen Sessions has been in the fitness industry since 1988. She embarked on weight training to overcome an eating disorder, Anorexia Nervosa in its early stages. She overcame the eating disorder, received her personal training certificate, competed in many local bodybuilding contests, and qualified for Nationals. Since then she's went on to write six e-books (weight loss, female bodybuilding, contest preparation, leg training, figure/fitness secrets, and cellulite removal). She writes articles for several fitness websites, as well as her own, www.theelitephysique.com, and also distributes a monthly e-newsletter. She has a very active and lively forum, filled with positive and supportive people with informative content. Karen's sole goal is to educate others and help them apply that knowledge.








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