What’s the deal with ROM?

First, what is ROM?

Glad you asked! ROM stands for range of motion. It’s a very crucial component of exercise. Working with full range of motion is what makes us stronger overall and specifically in the joint that is doing most of the work. Additionally. as you progress from the basics to more challenging exercises having full range of motion is important.

What does this look like exactly?

Let’s look at the push up as an example. In a full range of motion push up we want:

  • the upper body to be in line with the lower body
  • the head to be in a neutral position
  • the elbows to be in full extension (or straight) at the top of the exercise
  • the upper arm to be at least parallel to the ground in the bottom of the exercise

If the all four of these cannot be achieved when doing the exercise, we prefer that you modify the exercise in order to be able to reach full range of motion, particularly with the upper body.

I know that sometimes our ego can get in the way and encourage us to try a version that isn’t modified. Trust me when I tell you, you’ll reach your exercise goals quicker when you work with modifications to help get stronger.

It might even be hard for you to tell when you are or aren’t getting the full range of motion you need. Often, the full range of motion will be harder! That’s ok. Ask your coach if you aren’t sure.

Some things to look at in the push up to determine if you aren’t reaching full range of motion:

  • shoulders are always above the hips, or the hips are sagging toward the floor
  • hips that are popped up in the air, hips above the shoulders
  • if the chin is reaching toward the floor
  • if elbows do not come to full extension at the top of each rep
  • if the upper arm does not make it parallel to the ground

Ways to modify the movement to become stronger, which is a good thing!!

  • Elevate the hands off the floor
  • Drop one or both knees to the floor when doing the exercise, be sure not let the hips pop up in the air
  • Use a resistance band around the elbows to help lift you up from the floor as you do the push up
  • Work on the negative of the exercise, slowly lower yourself to the floor and don’t worry about trying to push up from the floor

Over time with effort you’ll be able to do regular push ups with ease!!


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