Glutes Of Steel: How To Use Split Range Training For A Cast Iron Caboose

What The Heck Is Split Range Training?


Split range training is my term for training the full range of motion a muscle/joint can perform by splitting a compound exercise up to more fully address strength in that range or by sequencing two or more different exercises to fully address strength in that range. I start by training the short-range movement where the muscles in question are in a more shortened position and then training the long-range movement where the muscles in question are in a lengthened position.


No Seriously, What The Heck Is Split Range Training?


Okay let me clarify. Any given exercise is going to have easier and harder parts of the movement. A pull-up gets very hard at the top of the movement. A squat gets very hard near the bottom of the movement. If you always train the movement by doing the full movement, you will always be forced to pick resistance based on the hardest part of the movement or you will have to avoid the hardest part of the movement. In my opinion neither of these choices are ideal, especially not the second.


A Basic Example:


Let's consider a squat. The numbers are hypothetical but illustrate the idea.


Short-range exercise first:

  • Short range exercise: half squat from standing, return to standing.

  • Intensity: 75% (10 rep max)

  • Volume: 2 sets of 10 reps

  • On this hypothetical day let's say I am able to half squat 185lbs 10 times before my technique starts to fail. After 2-3 minutes rest I do a second set with a similar result.

Long-range exercise after short:

  • Long range exercise: Starting from half-squat, lower to bottom, return to half-squat.

  • Intensity: 75% (10 rep max)

  • Volume: 2 sets of 10 reps

  • I am able to do a long-range half-squat with 135lbs 10 times before my technique starts to fail. After 2-3 minutes rest I do a second set with a similar result.

If I had decided to train the full range squat, I would likely have been limited to a load of 135lbs to accommodate the greater difficulty coming out of the bottom position. With split range training I can also challenge my quad muscles in their shortened range with a greater load.


A Glute Specific Example

For this example, I will use the other approach to split range training, that of using two different exercises to address the full range of hip extension, which for many people is roughly 130 degrees. Here are video examples of the exercises, the parameters are the same as the prior example just to keep things simple. Feel free to NOT make the same faces I make when I look at the camera. Someday I'll be able to get through a video without looking. One of many reasons I could never be an actor.


Short range exercise first:

  • Short range exercise: glute bridge

  • Intensity: 75% (10 rep max)

  • Volume: 2 sets of 10 reps


Long range exercise last:

  • Long range exercise: seated good morning

  • Intensity: 75% (10 rep max)

  • Volume: 2 sets of 10 reps


By using two different exercises I can challenge the full range that my glute muscles have control over. If I wanted to leave no stone unturned, I might add a mid-range glute exercise like a deadlift variation.

At Neighborhood Physical Therapy I use approaches like split range training to help people develop the strength and flexibility to do all of the active things they like to do. The cast-iron caboose that may be achieved in the process is just a bonus! Feel free to contact me to learn more.





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