Static Contraction Training and Partial Range, combined to create The Pro Joe Palumbo Method.
Static, a different way of saying motionless or still, is an odd term to use when describing exercise. However, static contractions involve muscles exerting movement without the joints and ligaments moving far. Think of bench pressing heavy weight only a few inches off of the chest rather than extending all the way up into a locking position. Static Contraction Training capitalizes on the undisputed fact that the intensity of muscular output is more important than the duration of output when it comes to stimulating new muscle growth. It provides the “minimum dose” of ultra high intensity exercise. Does it work, YES. Is there also a better way? Of course there is my method.
With all my years of training, I like most other Professional Bodybuilders like to mix things up, take a little of this and add a little of that to come up with the best training tips for optional results. Full Range of motion exercise is critical for strength and performance gains. Partial range is the best of Full range and Static training. Partial range of Motion lifts have an essential time and place. As we all know Full-range lifts lead to greater strength and hypertrophy gains. While Partial-Range exercise are great for overcoming Plateaus and sport specific training, limiting the range of motion in an exercise is an effective way to increase intensity. Partial-range reps can be far more effective than full-range reps for building serious strength as quickly as possible. You know how much easier the weight feels after you get past the sticking point? This is where partial training comes in. By working only in the range of motion ABOVE the sticking point, you can use far more weight and, therefore, work your muscles at a far higher threshold. I like to use the 75 degree point before lock out. This is the continuous tension phase, where an exercise is performed through almost the full range of motion, but stops just shy of locking out the joint.
Partials are useful not only in the ranges of motion where you can use the heaviest weights, but in the ranges of motion where you are at your weakest. All of the stress of the exercise is placed on your muscles in their least favorable leverage, which will build up your weakest point. This can dramatically increase your strength and power in that weak range, which can have a dramatic effect on how much weight you’ll be able to use for full-range reps.
Partial training concepts can be applied to almost any exercise you can imagine; however, partials are certainly more appropriate for some exercises than others. This is especially true of exercises that already have a short range of motion or need a full range of motion to be effective. This method is used on exercises where there is LESS tension on the muscle in the lockout positions – usually pressing and pushing. Some exercises and machines (notably cables) maintain tension / resistance at the fully extended position so it’s actually more beneficial NOT to cut the range short. The idea is not a shorter range of motion, but to seek out the path of “most resistance” and avoid “dead spots” where there is little or no resistance.
Leg Press: This exercise is performed with the safety stops engaged at ALL TIMES. Position the seat so the sled is within 2 inches of your full extension. Press the sled up one inch off the safety stops. Experiment to find the most weight you can “hold” for a count of 2-3 seconds and increase the weight as you adapt as well as increasing the “hold” time
Palumbo Partial Rep Pointers
Set aside your preconceptions of how much weight you’re capable of lifting.
Before you do a heavy partial rep, be sure to prepare yourself.
Occasionally use partials, continuous tension, burns and other techniques as appropriate to your goals and your need for variety in your program. Train hard, and above all train smart and train safe.
IFBB Professional Bodybuilder
Director of Physical Performance Infinite Labs Orlando FL
Advance Sports Nutrition Specialist (ASNS)
Certified Navy Seal Fitness Instructor
Freelance writer: Workouts and Training Techniques, Strength Training and Conditioning, General Fitness, Weight Loss and Nutritional Needs