What Range of Motion Means for Your Workouts

Take a second to think about the last time you incorporated squats into your workout. How low did you go before you stood up again?

If you answered “as low as I could,” great job! You’re probably getting the most out of an exercise session. But for everyone else, you may be missing out on a vital portion of a successful workout.

That’s because range of motion plays a massive part in building muscle and optimizing your strength training routine.

In this post, we’ll unpack what range of motion (ROM) is and how increasing it enhances exercise benefits. Keep reading to learn more!

What Is Your Range of Motion, Exactly?

Let’s return to the little thought experiment we mentioned a moment ago and consider how a squat works.

You can stop your knees at any point when you drop down into a squatting posture. You could bend your knees a few degrees, parallel your thighs with the floor, or even lower.

Each stopping point is part of your knees’ range of motion. Squatting as low as possible demonstrates your entire range of motion, while the other two points would only be part of your ROM.

Simply put, your ROM is the amount of movement you have in your joints. 

Every joint in your body has a range of motion — just like your knees. It looks different for ball and socket joints like your hips and shoulders because they can move in many more directions, but it’s defined the same way.

It’s also important to note that everyone’s maximum ROM is unique. Factors like how often you stretch your muscles, previous injury, and age all affect your range of motion.

How Does Range of Motion Affect Strength Training and Exercise?

According to a 2020 article published in SAGE Open Medicine, range of motion plays a significant part in resistance training.

Researchers performed six separate studies and evaluated 135 participants to understand how muscles are affected by range of motion. At the end of these studies, researchers found that using your entire range of motion causes significantly more muscle growth than when you don’t — especially during leg exercises.

Now, you may be asking yourself, I don’t necessarily want my muscles to get “bigger,” so what do these studies actually mean for me? 

Here’s why it’s important for you: Muscle growth doesn’t necessarily mean getting “larger muscles.” It could mean you are building lean muscle mass, which is not the same as increased muscle size.

When you increase your lean muscle mass, amazing things happen, like increased metabolism, higher fat-burning potential, and better overall health!

Two More Benefits of Working Out With a Full Range of Motion

If you thought using all of your range of motion was limited to one benefit, you’re in for a surprise. We have two more benefits of exercising to your body’s full ROM.

First off, working out with your entire range of motion increases your flexibility. 

You are teaching your body to stretch further when you hit your max ROM during a workout — it doesn’t matter if you’re lifting weights or doing yoga. Who couldn’t benefit from more flexibility?

Secondly, an increased range of motion causes you to burn more calories in your workouts.

This upgraded calorie burn happens because an increased ROM means you are moving more during every rep. More motion equals more work, and more work equals more calories burned.

When Should You Not Use Your Full Range of Motion in Exercise?

Typically, you want to use as much of your range of motion as possible when exercising. Doing so helps you get the most from your workout routine, but there are always exceptions to the rule. 

The number one reason you shouldn’t use your entire range of motion is if it causes you pain. 

We aren’t talking about the typical workout burn here. If you feel a sharp, shooting, or stabbing pain when working out, it’s time to reassess how you are moving. Decreasing your ROM and gradually increasing movement with strength is an excellent solution.

Another reason for working out with partial ROM is previous injury.

If you have injured one of your joints in the past, you don’t want to risk reinjuring it. Using a reduced range of motion will put less strain on your joint and lower your possibility of future injury.

Increase Your ROM With Us at Fit Body Boot Camp

At Fit Body Boot Camp, we want everyone who walks through our doors to unlock their body’s full potential. 

Whether you’re a seasoned exercise veteran or in the early stages of your fitness journey, Fit Body Boot Camp’s got you covered!

Visit a location near you to learn what makes us different from other programs.

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