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June 19 2010 I have a theory

By Iron Addict
Copyright 2009,

Well, I actually have a lot of them, but we will focus on one particular theory today. That theory being as follows: many individuals are built in such a way that during some movements/exercise, the body senses potential injury—even if no acute pain is ever felt during the lift. The body is infinitely intelligent and senses bad joint angles, connective tissue being stretched in inappropriate ways, etc. When this is happening, the body will simply not let the CNS send a strong enough signal to the motor units to contract, or if the signal is sent, it will blunted by the golgi tendon or other mechanisms.

It is very common to get guys that simply can’t progress worth a damn on bench press. Squats are also a bad move for some, as are things like military press. But…these are key moves! What can be done? I have been experimenting with some of these guys by simply shortening the range of motion (ROM) to whatever level is necessary that the body no longer sense imminent danger.  This prevents the body from trying to “protect” itself from the lift by “shutting down.” 

What does that consist of and how is it done? Two simple methods are as follows:

Trainee A can’t get his bench press to move up. We put trainee A on a 2 or 3 board press instead of a full range-of-motion bench press. All of a sudden trainee A starts making weekly progress—problem solved.

Trainee B can’t get his squat to move up. We put trainee B on a box that is 1-2 inches above parallel and trainee B starts making consistent progression.

Some of you are thinking, “Hell, my squat and bench would be heavier with less range of motion!  I should do that!”  That is NOT what we are discussing. It is a given that more weight will be moved with less ROM. The key is not getting a ONE TIME increase by changing the ROM. The key is that before, the trainee was simply not able to progress with their poundage and now that the body is in a mechanical position that doesn’t signal “injury is likely,” they make consistent weight progression.

The injury prevention mechanism is a theory, there is no denying that. The progress that I have seen my trainees make using this theory is a reality —there is no denying that either.

Iron Addict

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