Fitness Tip

Fitness Tip


Mike Fahl, Certified Personal Trainer

Learning proper range of motion (ROM) for the movements you are performing and for your body type is an important tool. Every body is different, and each of us should learn how our unique body moves and functions properly to avoid imbalances or compensations from overactive muscles, which will lead to injury.

What is ROM? ROM is not overextending the eccentric (lowering of the weight), which will put extreme stress on joints, tendons, and ligaments, nor locking out on the concentric (lifting the weight), which will also put too much pressure onto the joints.

So what is improper ROM? For example, an incorrect ROM on bench press would be loading up the bar with too much weight, dropping the weight all the way down to your chest or even bouncing the weight off of your chest, and locking your elbows at the top to press the weight up. This puts all of the stress onto the elbow joints and off of the muscles that should be working to press the weight.

Now let’s break down what proper ROM would look like:

  • Pick a weight that you can control for the number of reps you want to perform.
  • Lower the weight slowly and with control so that you have constant tension on the muscle. I like to preform my eccentric anywhere from 2 to 5 seconds.
  • I stop the weight 1 inch above my chest, for two reasons: a) to keep all the tension on my pectorals, and b) to not over stretch my rotator cuffs, which will cause shoulder pain among other worse injuries.
  • As I squeeze and press the weight to the starting position, I keep a slight bend in my elbows (do not lock out elbows). Again, this keeps all the tension on the muscle being used, and also keeps the stress off my elbow joints.

These tools, like ROM, are important in keeping a healthy and safe regular workout regimen. If there are exercises that are putting stress on the body or causing pain, then it is crucial to listen to your body. Always feel free to ask me or any other Parkpoint trainer for help.