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Long-Length Partials: The Partial Rep Intensity Technique to Supersize Your Gains

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While 'half reps' are widely frowned upon in lifting communities, new evidence says that for muscle gain, it depends on which portion of the rep you're skipping. It's for this reason why long-length partials are the newest intensity technique to pique the interest of bodybuilders online. And for good reason, too...

New research now suggests that it's the stretched part of the range of movement that causes the most muscle growth. So, should we be discounting the rest of the rep? Could half the work still result in all the gains?

What Are Long-length Partials?

Long-length partials or lengthened partials are half reps repeatedly performed at the portion of the lift when the muscles are most lengthened. For example, the bottom half of the bicep curl or the bottom half of the squat. When performing long-length partials, ideally 50% of the rep should be performed.

This is different to short length partials, where 50% of the rep is performed repeatedly when the muscle is at its shortest part – for example, the top of bicep curls or the top half of a squat.


Using long-length partials in programming is to be debated as the evidence is still in its infancy. But could we be looking at a game change? Coach and YouTuber, Jeff Nippard, believe so. The top trainer has even started using this technique in his own training. Nippard's top tip: 'To figure out if a muscle is at a long length, think about which half of the range of motion stretches the muscle the most, and that’s the half you want,' he says.

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What Are the Benefits of Long-Length Partials?

Due to some exciting new research, this technique has been the topic of conversation on several podcasts over the last year. In an interview between Nippard and researcher Dr. Milo Wolf, Nippard said: 'We expect an improvement in [muscle] growth of maybe five or 10 percent using lengthened partials versus full range of motion.'

The studies they refer to point to the efficacy of using lengthened partials for building as much, or even more muscle mass as full range of motion reps. The research also found long lengths to be much more effective than short length partial reps.

The recent evidence found:

  • In a study published in the European Journal of Sport Science, participants using the knee extension found greater increases in quad muscles when performing partial ROM in comparison to full ROM.

  • Research published in the Journal of Strength and Conditioning Research saw almost double the muscle growth when participants performed partial ROM skull crushers in comparison to full ROM.

  • A study published in the Journal of Strength and Conditioning Research found that those who performed calf raises at initial range of motion saw two times the increase in calf size in comparison to those who performed them at full ROM.

  • Participants using the leg press for long-length partial reps found similar changes in quad size as those who did full ROM in a study published in the Scandinavian Journal of Medicine and Science in Sports.

So, what does this all mean? Do we get rid of training at full range of motion altogether? Not necessarily, that's because there are certain exercises the long-length partial intensity technique works well with, and some that it doesn't work as well.

With the benefit of being able to 'work past failure' (or what we deem as our exertion limits) we may not be able to re-rack the weight safely. On top of this – and at the other end of the scale – for movements where there isn't much resistance at the lengthened portion of the lift, like tricep kickbacks, while it wouldn't be harmful, it might not be the most beneficial exercise choice for this technique.

Nippard uses the technique on all the sets of his exercises and also his final sets. He switches to long length partials when he reaches a point he cannot perform the full rep any longer. For example:

Pull-Ups x 8-12 reps, 3-4 sets

For all sets or just the final set, when your chest can't meet the bar, complete 3-6 long length partials (50% of the rep at the stretched position, at the bottom of the pull-up).

Nippard also demonstrates 'integrated partials', where he uses them throughout the set. For example:

5 Squats x 6-10 reps, 3-4 sets

Perform one full range of motion rep of a squat, drop down again and perform one long length partial portion of the rep (the bottom half of the squat). Repeat the full rep and then half.

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While these methods could be used for every single exercise in your programme, it is quite taxing on the body, so 1-3 exercises would be a good starting point to try it.

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Which Exercises Are Best for Long-length Partials?

While the following list isn't exhaustive, some examples of exercises you could use the technique on could be:

Long-length Partials Workout

Each of the exercises uses a variation of long-length partials, however, if you are new to lifting perhaps choose 1-3 exercises for the technique and perform straight sets for the rest of the workout.

pull ups
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Pull-Ups x 8-12 reps, 3-4 sets

For all sets or just the final set, when your chest can't meet the bar, complete 3-6 long length partials (50% of the rep at the stretched position, at the bottom of the pull-up).

Grasp a pull-up bar with an overhand grip over shoulder-width apart. Lift your feet from the floor, hanging freely with straight arms. Pull yourself up by flexing the elbows while pinching your shoulder blades together. When your chin passes the bar, pause before lowering to the starting position.

goblet cyclist squats heels elevated
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Cyclist Squats x 6-10 reps, 3-4 sets

Perform one full range of motion rep of the cyclist squat, drop down again and perform one long length partial portion of the rep (the bottom half of the squat). Repeat the full rep and then half rep.

With your heels raised on a plate and your feet under your shoulders, hold your dumbbell in front of your chest with your palms facing upwards. Standing tall, keep your chest up and sink your hips back before bending your knees to drop your thighs until they are at least parallel to the floor. Drive up back to standing, ready to repeat.

chest flys
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Dumbbell Chest Fly x 10-15 reps, 3 sets

For all sets or just the final set, when you struggle to bring the dumbbells up, complete 3-6 long length partials (50% of the rep at the stretched position, at the bottom of the fly).

Take some lighter weights and lean back on the bench with the dumbbells above your chest. With the palms facing inwards, keep a slight bend at your elbow as you lower the dumbbells either side of you. Feel a stretch across the chest and bring the dumbbells back together, squeeze the pecs and repeat.

bicep curls
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Dumbbell Bicep Curls x 10-15 reps, 3 sets

For all sets or just the final set, when you struggle to bring the dumbbells up, complete 3-6 long length partials (50% of the rep at the stretched position, at the bottom of the bicep curl).

Hold the dumbbells in front of your thighs with your palms facing upwards. Keep the elbows locked into your waist and bring the dumbbells up to almost meet your chest. Slowly lower under control.

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Finisher: Split Squats x 5 reps each side EMOM for 5 minutes

Every minute on the minute (EMOM) for 5 minutes – complete 5 reps each side of integrated partials. Perform one full range of motion rep of the split squat, drop down again and perform one long length partial portion of the rep (the bottom half of the split squat). Repeat the full rep and then half rep.

Complete weighted or bodyweight. Stand tall keeping your chest up at all times. Take a step backward with one leg, bending your front knee until the back knee almost touches the ground. Push up explosively, before dropping the knee back down for the next rep.

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