On my last post I talked about the difference between a Mack Truck and a Toyota Prius. What makes the difference in term of size and power is the Mack truck is built on a thicker stronger frame. You just could not pull a trailer filled with a huge load of good with the frame of a Prius. Our physiques are no different in that respect.
If you want more muscle mass you have to make your frame stronger and thicker. That means your bones, connective tissue, ligaments and tendons. If you want to build a physique that’s strong and can handle heavy, heavy loads you have to train it with heavy, heavy loads and build the frame that can handle it. Elite power-lifters do this through heavy, heavy partial reps after completing several full range reps. This also helps with the mental ability of knowing that you have already moved a large weight… or held it… or done a lockout with it. Once you’ve handled it, you realize it’s not an immoveable force.
Just USING that much weight and putting that much tension on the muscles is excellent to spur additional muscle growth. I remember one summer years ago being pushed by my training partners to add weight to what I was using for bent over rows. They pushed me so hard that I went from using 185 for sets of 8 to 365 for sets of 8 within about 5 months. My back just blew up in size, my curling weight nearly doubled and in turn my biceps grew as well. My entire frame got stronger but I also knew I had toyed with weight bigger than the average person. I had previously been stuck at using 185 for well over a year.
Your goal with partials is to coax your body into working the connective tissue and not just to use a lot of weight for show. Lockout benches and close grip benches, weighted chins (negative only if needed), lockout squats or rack dead-lifts, jerk-presses or lockout overhead presses. All after doing your heavy full range work will fill the bill. Of course, always remember to use a secure power rack or safety bench with spotters.