Midrange, stretch and contracted movements are the key exercises comprising Positions - Of - Flexion Protocol (POF). The principle is that each movement entails hitting the muscle from a different position, this stimulates the muscle in a different way and has a very specific purpose. Midrange, stretch and contracted movements are summarised below:
Midrange movements aim to recruit several muscles during the movement, including the chest, triceps and deltoids. The theory is when muscles work in tandem (the way they were meant to work) the target muscle (chest) is stimulated more effectively. The dumbbell press recruits the above mentioned muscles, meaning their synergistic movement allows the target muscle to be activated.
Stretch movements place the muscle under tension but in their elongated or stretched position. A muscle that is stretched induces something known as a myotatic reflex, which is similar to a defence mechanism that causes that target muscle to recruit the ‘reserve fibres’ resulting in a better total contraction. Once the movement is reversed on the positive phase e.g. the closing motion during a dumbbell fly, the nervous system is shocked into recruiting the reserve fibres.
Concentrated movements entail placing the target muscle into the most contracted point of flexion e.g. at the bottom of a cable crossover, and hold it! During the downward arc of a cable crossover, more and more muscle fibres are progressively brought into action resulting in a strong, deep contraction. If this contraction is held at the bottom of the movement, you are ‘concentrating’ the contraction, meaning reserve fibres will be activated and muscle density will increase!
So when you’re next training, have a little think about the types of exercises you’re doing…are you varying the types of tension you’re placing your muscles under each time? If you want well rounded full muscle, then be sure to include an exercise that involves midrange (Bench press), stretch (dumbbell/cable Flyes) and contracted (cable crossovers) movements, into your routine.