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Safe and Productive Ranges of Motion

Stuart’s editorial Set your depth barriers! in Issue #9 did a little “setting” of a different sort for me. It set me to thinking about my own follies with range of motion (ROM) and what Older Me might have to say to Younger Me on this much-ballyhooed topic.


If you watch sports on TV or attend games, you’ve probably heard that mean-spirited chant from time to time when a favored team is upset by a less-heralded opponent. Like it or not, and I don’t, I hear it repeating in my head whenever someone begins beating the tired range-of-motion drum.

ROM obsession falls in the same camp as being hyper-focused on stretching and mobility. A few years ago, I went on a kick to improve my shoulder mobility. Why? Because I read in an article that I should be able to drop one hand behind my head and reach up from my low back with the other to clasp them somewhere in the middle of my back.

Mind you, my shoulders felt fine when I read that article. I just couldn’t do that arbitrary thing some guy who I’d never met said I should be able to do, and I was dumb enough to listen. The result: I promptly overstretched and ended up with sore shoulders for months while attempting some funny-looking maneuver he recommended where I draped a stick over one shoulder and pulled on it with the opposite hand, trying to inch my hands closer together.

That movement may not be inherently injurious, but certainly, my application of it was. I think it's often used by physical therapists. For me anyway, it would have been best left in a rehab facility—a place I nearly ended up when I violated one of my favorite sayings and tried to fix something that wasn't broken.

Purchase issue #11 of HARDGAINER 2.0 to read the rest of my article on safe and productive ranges of motion for many of the best muscle-building lifts. Thank you!


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