What? Did she just say PARTIAL REPS? For some that sounds like blasphemy. It has gotten a seriously bad rap in the last few years and I continuously shake my head at this mentality. Let’s talk about progressive ROM. Use a weight that’s 20-100 pounds heavier than your max (lower range for bench and press, higher range for squat and deadlift). Start with a very short range of motion, using whatever safety mechanisms your facility has. Every couple weeks, increase your ROM slightly. Do as many reps as you can at each height, and try to equal your rep count with each downward increment. It’s probable that you’ll lose reps as the ROM increases but that’s normal. Once you’re back down to a full ROM, you should be set for a fantastic new PR.
You can thank Paul Anderson for this. One of the strongest squatters and pressers in history, and it has been used successfully by professional lifters ever since. Unfortunately most gym goers, even the serious ones never step out of their “box” far enough to try anything so out of their comfort zone. In fact I usually hear them sneer at partials.
Certain body parts stagnant? Implementing progressive ROM once per week as a second training day for a lift can bust any plateaus you’re facing. For a quarter squat, you may use up to 50%+ more weight than you can squat for a full ROM. Of course you should follow good form techniques and not heave the weight around like a gorilla shaking its cage. That goes unsaid, and yet I feel I have to say it…
Also, static holds work very well for increasing strength and lifts in the long run. For the squat, unrack the bar with about 120% of your max and simply stand with it for 3 sets of 8 seconds without locking your hips or knees. Unless you want to have your knees explode and look like a chicken when you walk, in which case have at er… That goes for bench as well – hold it at arms’ length with a very slight bend in your elbows. Please for the love of god use a spotter!
I’m amazed that these techniques have not become common place in bodybuilding as they work extremely well in powerlifting and strongman routines along with volume training and slow tempo training to create an incredible mind-body connection that is integral to increasing lift power. Remember to maximize muscle tension through out your lifts as well. This way you will have a greater chance of becoming more powerful throughout the rep as opposed to hitting that “stick point”.
I hope this encourages you to open yourself to new (actually old and proven) techniques and that you continue to play safe and work hard.