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Bench Press: Partial or Full Range

I was recently reading the article titled “Partial or Full Range of Motion During the Bench Press” that was published in the strength and conditioning journal in 2000.  Whilst this article is now 15 years old, it does offer up some really great points with regards to the pros and cons of both.  I have therefore decided to summarise some of the key messages reported in the article.

Full Range Of Motion During The Bench Press

  • Working through the individuals full range of motion will allow them to develop functional strength and power through the entire range of motion available.
  • Remember, everyones range of motion is going to be different and that the bench press range of motion may need to be modified to the individual.
  • Training full range of motion through the bench press may be beneficial for those individuals or athletes who may be exposed to high stress at or near their end of range of motion.  Training an individual into the this movement may provide them with the necessary structural change to better cope with this.

Limiting Range Of Motion During The Bench Press

  • Partial range bench press may be an appropriate strategy to use when prescribing this exercise for those recovering from shoulder surgery or injuries. 
  • Performing a partial range bench press may allow the individual to start developing strength whilst they are still working towards obtaining full range of motion. 
  • Limiting the range of a bench press may reduce your risk of injuring your pectoralis major muscle.
  • Incorporating partial range of motion bench press movements may useful for those needing to work through a particular sticking point in their bench press.

Common strategies used to perform partial range bench press include:

  • Dumbbell or barbell floor pressing.
  • Barbell bench pressing using blocks.

This blog post was written by osteopath Heath Williams of Principle Four Osteopathy.  At Principle Four Osteopathy we have an interest in strength and conditioning, exercise prescription and rehabilitation.  Services currently offered at our clinics include:  Osteopathy, Functional Movement Screening, Clinical Pilates, Strength and Conditioning Technique Assessments, Exercise Prescription and Rehabilitation consultations.

Principle Four Osteopathy is located across two locations within Melbourne.  Our clinics are located in the Melbourne City CBD near the corner of Little Bourke St and Elizabeth St as well as Melbourne Docklands on Bourke St. 

Find out more about our clinic or book an appointment at www.principlefourosteopathy.com.