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Falsehoods of Fitness

Falsehoods of Fitness: Training Different Ranges of Motion (Episode 5)

Falsehoods of Fitness Episode 5 with Dr. John Jaquish, inventor of the X3 bar and the world’s only Osteogenic Loading medical devices. The Falsehoods of Fitness videos all air live on Facebook and we usually have a Q & A at that time, so feel free to tune in there and ask questions during future episodes.

Full Transcript

Welcome to another episode of Falsehoods of Fitness.

We’re gonna talk about training range of motion today.

Give it a couple of minutes for everybody to show up. Did everybody see my new X3 cup? It says, “Beyond”. It’s got a pair of superheroes. Notice the gentleman has no hair. That was my idea. So… Okay. We’ll wait for… What we got? We’ve got quite a few on Instagram. Instagram must be just easier to jump in and out of for most people. So I’ll just give a brief on what we’re gonna be talking about, and then we’ll sort of officially start it. Gregory, hey. How you doing? So what we’re…

What we keep running into in comments and questions is range of motion.

Isn’t it true that if you train one range of motion, that you only get stronger in that one position and not in other positions?

There’s a couple different ways to answer that. Clearly that’s a violation of principles of human physiology because you don’t use all ranges of motion, even when you lift or when you do anything. But that’s what we’re gonna talk about, and then I’ll talk about some research and then practical applications.

So what we’re gonna be talking about has been well documented in one particular powerful study, which is authored by a guy I worked with when I was youth science officer at Powerplay. A guy named Swapan Mukherjee. He’s the department head at a university in Ohio. Kinesiology department head. God, the name of the university’s just escaping me at the moment, but, like, smartest guy when it comes to exercise physiology. Just the best guy to hang out with.

So I’ll be reviewing that and then talking about the strength curve. You’ll probably see over the top of my head, I’ve got a couple of graphics. I realize that wouldn’t show up on the cameras, so Chelsea was nice enough so I could do it on paper so you guys could see much better in the camera. All right.

  • [Chelsea] Robert says hello.

  • Robert does?

  • Mm-hm. Robert. Yeah, hey, Robert, how you doing? All right. So let’s jump into it. Now…

When you train a specific range of motion, is the adaptation only in that range of motion?

What happens in the muscle cells and with the muscle during training

Okay, just from, like, biology, you know, high school, you know that the length of a cell, of a muscle cell, runs the entire length of the muscle. And so when a cell is activated, it’s activated. It’s just a matter of how short that cell gets. There’s actin and myosin, the two types of filaments inside these cells. And they come together or they don’t, and the amount of those microfilaments that come together is the shortening of the muscle.

So, you know, when I contract my bicep, it’s short. It’s long here. So, like, they’re shortening, but it’s not like I’m not engaging the muscle when it’s in its lengthened position or whatever. What we need to look at is the fact that, functionally – I always reference the term functional fitness as one of the most overused and misused terms, but – we choose to use ranges of motion when we have to get a task done. As opposed to saying: I’m going to lift a static weight through a given range of motion.

Example: The Sprinter

For example, a sprinter uses seven degrees of flexion behind their knee. You have 180 degrees of range of motion in your inner joint. But when you need to run fast, you only use seven. Why? It’s because that’s the range of motion that is efficient. The muscle, the quadricep, is at its shortest, therefore you have access to the most muscular tissue, so you can engage the cell to a higher degree – it’s not really. You’re engaging one little part of the muscle and it’s different parts of the muscle when the muscle’s shorter. It’s the same muscle that’s engaging. It’s just the degree of engagement that happens in that stronger range of motion.

So you see sprinters, and the idea’s that a sprinter’s only getting stronger in that seven degrees of motion? If that were true, then a sprinter wouldn’t be able to get out of a chair very well. Because when their knee is at 90 degrees when you’re sitting at a chair, and you get up out of the chair, you have no strength, right?

Oh, but they’re incredibly strong in all ranges of motion. So it completely translates as long as the stronger range is fatigued, which is why sprinters have such powerful leg strength. And I can’t say this about all sprinters, but typically, sprinters don’t squat because they don’t want to fire those muscles in a different pattern. They want to train. They do drills, they do high knees and stuff, but that has to do with flexibility. That doesn’t have to do with firing the muscle.

That’s another thing we get. They do it with high knees. That’s not a strengthening event, that’s a range of motion, stretching type of activity, Based on – Well, first, to dispel that myth completely, there’s a 1999 study by Swapan Mukherjee, the guy I mentioned earlier, and one of his students, Nick Raverness. And Mukherjee and Raverness in 1999 did a fixed bench press joint angle, so they’re bench pressing just in a very short range of motion. What they did is they had people training in just this short range of motion, very short repetitions. And they tried to get it to where they do a failure in just this range of motion, and then they would go back to full-range training to do a post test after a certain period of time.

I don’t remember how many weeks it was, of this strong-range-only training. What they determined was that these individuals got incredibly strong, even in ranges of motion they never used. Doesn’t that make sense? Because they were fatiguing the entire muscle.

The strength curve

Now, that’s not the whole story, because what they’re really getting is a myofibril effect, so a density of cell as opposed to a volume of cell. So that would be a more strength versus mass kind of effect, even though it’s never quite as one or the other. There’s a lot of one and a little of the other sometimes and the same vice versa. So what’s important to point out is that we have a strength curve. So I want you to see the top image, and this is what we see, strength curves.

When… Look at the top image first. So when we’re in our weaker range of motion, we are capable of a small amount of weight, 1/7th what we are in the stronger range of motion, right? But it’s not linear. There’s a steep curve. Like, we’re real powerful out here. And down here, way less powerful. And then, down here, way less than even that. It’s not like we want to necessarily look at it in a linear fashion. It’s just not.

And the bone density research really proves this out here. So how do we get really heavy loads in this range of motion, and then lighter loads? And the reason we want a variance in the loads is to trigger both types of muscular growth. So phase one of fatigue, when you do an X3 session, has to do with that full range. Like, I’m firing the whole muscle, the whole tricep, the whole pectoral, the whole deltoid. And I’m going to fatigue where everything is most powerful, where I’m capable of delivering the most amount of force.

So that shows a structural deficit to the central nervous system, hence a structural adaptation. More myofibril growth, very aggressive protein synthesis, which means the muscles becomes more dense. And that’s a very high power-to-weight ratio muscle.

Then, as you go to the phase two type of fatigue, when you can’t get to the strong range anymore and you’re doing a shorter range: like, I’m just going from here to here. So let’s say I’ve got 100 pounds here and 300 pounds here. So I’m doing a shorter repetition, let’s call it a half, but, you know, it’s anywhere in there, in that sort of middle space. So now what am I fatiguing? It’s not the structure of the muscle, because we already did that, which is why I can’t get full extension anymore.

The fatigue process

Now we’re running out of ATP, glycogen, and creatine phosphate. We’re running out of the fuels. And fuel fatigue is a different type of muscular fatigue. Now, when your central nervous system sees that you evacuate the fuels in the cell very quickly, it’s an irritant. All exercise is an irritant. I really like using that word because it accurately tells the story of the fact that there’s a point to where certain tissues in the body are really shutting down.

That process, the fuel load and storage within the cell, becomes irritated because you’re out of it. And then you begin to go to fatigue in the weaker ranges of motion even holding the lighter weight, which is very easy on the joints. But it’s a deeper level of fatigue, so you’re getting both the absolute maximum myofibril stimulus in that phase one. And then that phase two is the diminishing range that you’re getting.

I did an infographic. In fact, some of you will probably post it in the comments. An infographic showing the diminishing range of why we do that, and it’s super powerful. That’s also why we do one set with slightly higher repetitions.

That brings me to the second part of this graphic right here which has to do with the strength curve. This is the same curve, and we didn’t draw it all the way up to 7X, so just to 5X. Because the reason that the latex that people use with X3 is, let’s say 5X at extension, is because you really want to make sure that you’re not denying this curve. And this is also why we do higher repetitions with X3, because you are so powerful in the stronger range of motion.

And just from a bone density perspective, those momentary engagements that are just isolated, like, for example, when I push with my upper extremities to stimulate bone growth, at Osteostrong, I can put 4000 pounds through my legs. Well, I’m not going to put 4000 pounds through my legs with X3 or any other type of method. Like, that’s why Osteostrong is so powerful for bone. But, from a muscular standpoint, I want to fatigue that stronger range of motion with multiple repetitions, and I don’t want to get stuck not being able to manage my way through these midpoints, which are quite a bit weaker than the strong.

So first you go to a fatigue in the strong because this is linear, the latex is linear, but you’re not. But you do higher repetitions and you end up working your way down that, that curve with those large repetitions because you make sure that you get to that fatigue there, and you’re still using a weight that’s in your capability range throughout this whole curve. So when somebody says, “Yeah, I got the Elite band and my workout’s only like five reps.” No, it’s like, no. Don’t do it like that.

You’re not going to get great results. You’ll get some myofibril probably, but you won’t get the size that you’re looking for. You’ll just get the power. Let’s really focus on getting both. You want to have both. That’s really the focus of today’s Falsehoods of Fitness.

Yeah, so don’t let anybody tell you, you know, “Oh, the range of motion is lighter.” One of my favorite examples is somebody says, “Well, you know, you don’t go full range, don’t touch the bar to your chest in the bench press,” ‘cause they’re competing in the sport in the bench press, and I go, “Yeah, that’s great. “What about guys who bench with dumbbells? “‘Cause they can go down even further “‘cause they don’t have the bar in their way. “Are they doing a real bench press? “Like, what does real mean?”

So for those who aren’t so involved in the sport of a movement… Now, there’s nothing wrong with that. In fact, there’s a lot of X3 users that are using the X3 as their sort of finishing set when they do the regular workout, so they are still practicing the sport of their movement. ‘Cause keep in mind, whether it’s bench presses or Crossfit movements, these are skills as well as power outputs. So they gotta keep that skill alive and keep in that movement pattern. They have to fire those muscles in that right order. So, like, a baseball pitcher doesn’t decide, “Oh, I’m just going to bench press in the off-season. I’m not going to throw a ball.” Mm-mm. No. Don’t do that ‘cause you screw that up.

The same kind of thing, but you don’t want to get your training stimulus confused with what your sport is. So you can have a particular thing that you do, but you can also train in a certain way to optimize that thing you do and get more results out of it.

I think that concludes. Time’s a little short. We’ve got a bunch of things we gotta get done today.