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Locking Out vs. Not Locking Out On Exercises

alfresco

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Interesting question. My 'no full lockout' rule of training applies to both push and pull movements. And I'll tell you how (none of this applies to competition lifts because lockout is required). But the difference between push vs pull is one simple distinction:

Push: Muscles are locked out at the top of the *concentric* phase (ex. knees on squats and leg presses, elbows and shoulders on bench presses) putting all weight *resting* on joints and connective tissues = bad

Pull: Muscles are "locked out" at the top of the *eccentric* phase (arms fully extended on chins and pull downs, arms fully extended on rows, weight on the floor or lower on deadlifts) with all weight *pulling* on joints and connective tissues = bad

So whether cramming the weight into your joints or the weight pulling bones out of your joints, both are bad.

Remember this applies to multiple repetition training where TUT should be maximized. Don't jam your bones into their sockets with 100's of force *or* pull your bones out of their sockets with 100's of lbs/kg of force. It's just bad policy. If powerlifting, with low repetitions, you must lockout and have no choice. But powerlifting is far harder on joints than progressive training with higher volume work and training for size. Not strength training or 1RM. Sux but based on powerlifting competition rules, there's no alternative.
If you had to pick one, which one is easier on your joints?

Standing, locked out with 1,000 lbs on your shoulders or doing squats with 500 lbs. x 50 reps without locking out?
 

OuchThatHurts

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If you had to pick one, which one is easier on your joints?

Standing, locked out with 1,000 lbs on your shoulders or doing squats with 500 lbs. x 50 reps without locking out?
Obviously that much weight for extended periods, neither is good but I would choose half the weight for more reps than my femurs, tibias, and fibulas being crushed together under 1,000lbs.
 

Pericles

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Not locking out maintains constant tension on the muscle. Which is desirable for growth. And locking out depending on how forceful it’s done can and most definitely WILL cause joint damage. Don’t confuse full range of motion and locking out for they are not the same thing.
Its not going to cause joint damage and not going to those end ranges actually cause more damage long time to your mobility and cause compensation patterns over time.
 

tornquad201

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TUT! I never lock out, I have never trained with someone who does lock out, the only time I see people lock out is when they can't take the pain of the set and lock out to give the muscle a break from the immense burn and pain!

If locking out works for you then ROCK ON!
What about rest pause too get few more reps . Example squats few deep breaths 2-3 more few more breaths 1-2 more
 

b-boy

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What about rest pause too get few more reps . Example squats few deep breaths 2-3 more few more breaths 1-2 more
I go straight thru, no stopping, until failure. When I stop....I'm done
 

heavyhitter

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Its not going to cause joint damage and not going to those end ranges actually cause more damage long time to your mobility and cause compensation patterns over time.
Yep. That’s why terminal knee extensions are such a good exercise for athletes with knee problems
 

hawkmoon

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Off the top of my head the only thing I "lock-out" on is leg extensions.
When I was younger and squatted a lot I never locked out; that constant tension pulling me into the action of fibers contracting, relaxing, contracting, relaxing...the feel (and pump) was insane. This is true for most of my exercises to some extent.
 

ergo

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A repetition is a unit of time. Thats all it is. Its up to you capture the greatest percentage of tension on the target muscles per unit of time. This can be performed in several ways, slowing down the repetition or increasing the repetitions. I'll lockout at failure, to refocus, allowing me to perform more repetitions beyond failure. Especially wheels.
 

Big Dave Smith

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So if we all agree that a competition style of lift is full range of motion, all the way up, all the way down, then I would call that 100%
Full range of motion. Anything less I would think is depending on the range.

Maybe you can get full range with no break in momentum or tension taken off the muscle is the question?

This.

Full ROM 99% of all exercises.
Smooth tempo.
Control the eccentric.
Control the concentric.
Eliminate bouncing.
Don’t use lockouts as a rest, don’t hang out there.
If the exercise has value in the stretch position, use it without overly stretching any tendons.
If the exercise has a solid peak contraction, use it.

Most people using TUT are causing lactic acid to build up faster. When the lactic acid builds up, you hit failure faster. The signal to shut down occurs faster, giving the false impression of doing more/better work. It’s just not the case.

All intense lifting will show great results if some has good genetics, trains frequently, trains intensely, eats well, and recovers.

“It works for me bro” is the most common argument for shortened range, TUT reps.
 

tony touch

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Conventional bodybuilding dogma (which is often shit) tells us to never lock out on exercises, that locking out shifts tension from muscles to joints and sets us up for injury.

Where did this come from? How true is it?

Personally, I lock out on everything - presses, pushdowns, leg extensions, squats, leg press, etc. For years I didn't, and once I did my progress jumped significantly. I can't get a full contraction in the target muscle if I don't lock out. And I don't have joint issues. Everything feels great despite the heavy weights I use.

Squats are a great example - the vast majority of pro bodybuilders I see squat only go 85-90% up. Jason Lowe posted a squat video 2 days ago using that ROM. I asked him if by squatting like that he was trying to hit quads or hams because I can't get a good contraction in my quads without locking out. He replied, 'Everything here is focused on the quads. Locking out I'd be shifting the weight onto my joint, staying in this range keeps the tension on the muscle.' Again, this is not my experience at all. I'd never claim to have a pro physique but everyone here has seen my quads and if there's any body part I could hang with pros on it's quads. So I don't get how our experiences can be so different. Craig Titus is the only pro that comes to mind who locked out on squats.

I want this to be a general discussion thread so here are some questions to get us started:
  • Do you lock out on exercises?
  • Do you notice joint issues when locking out vs. not locking out?
  • Does locking out vs. not locking out impact how good your muscle contracts?
I used to always lock out until I tore my tricep and multiple damage in my elbow...probably from years of juicing, locking out heavy weights, and overall heavy lifting. now that I'm back in the gym, I'm not locking out anything anymore
 

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