Generally speaking, you don't want your range of motion to be extremely short during exercise.
This often limits the amount of muscular involvement, time under tension and transfer to sport.
But that doesn't mean telling someone to "achieve as large a range of motion as possible" is sound advice.
According to Joel Seedman, an exercise physiologist and owner of AdvancedHumanPerformance.com, this cue creates a number of problems that can affect your performance and health.
The concept of increasing your range of motion and achieving greater levels of mobility and flexibility has become quite popular in the fitness industry. Unfortunately, it's this very ideology that has led to continued degradations in movement patterns, muscle dysfunction and flawed lifting mechanics.
Excessive range of motion comes at the cost of sacrificing optimal levels of stability, which is never ideal.
In fact, performing exaggerated positions with an overly large range of motion places less stress on the muscles and more strain on the surrounding joints and connective tissue. Ironically, this leads to localized chronic inflammation which over time is the very thing that limits mobility and range of motion.
Lack of stability and lack of motor control is typically more of a problem for athletes than lack of mobility. As athletes gain stability, their bodies naturally begin to perform the movement pattern withideal range of motion. In other words, gain stability first and optimal mobility naturally follows, not the other way around. The last thing you want to do is gain ROM that you cannot stabilize.
All movements have both a maximal range of motion and an optimal range of motion. Rarely do the two coincide. The goal is to find the perfect balance between overly compact motion and excessive ROM. In addition, individual differences only indicates maximal range of motion, not ideal or proper range of motion. For example just because someone can squat incredibly deep does not mean they should.
The Fix: "Move through an optimal range of motion, not excessive range of motion."