Effects of range of motion on muscle development during resistance training interventions: A systematic review

SAGE Open Med. 2020 Jan 21:8:2050312120901559. doi: 10.1177/2050312120901559. eCollection 2020.


The purpose of this study was to systematically review the literature as to the effects of performing exercise with a full versus partial range of motion (ROM) during dynamic, longitudinal resistance training (RT) programs on changes in muscle hypertrophy. Based on the available literature, we aimed to draw evidence-based recommendations for RT prescription. Six studies were identified as meeting inclusion criteria: four of these studies involved RT for the lower limbs while the other two focused on the upper extremities. The total combined sample of the studies was n = 135, which comprised 127 men and 8 women. The methodological quality of all included studies was deemed to be "excellent" based on the modified PEDro scale. When assessing the current body of literature, it can be inferred that performing RT through a full ROM confers beneficial effects on hypertrophy of the lower body musculature versus training with a partial ROM. Alternatively, research on the effects of ROM for the upper limbs is limited and conflicting, precluding the ability to draw strong practical inferences. No study to date has investigated how ROM influences muscle growth of the trunk musculature. Finally, some evidence indicates that the response to variations in ROM may be muscle-specific; however, this hypothesis also warrants further study.

Keywords: Excursion; muscle mass; repetition; resistance exercise.

Publication types

  • Review