T Nation

Paused or Not During Bench Training


Doing a meet shortly so been thinking about paused benches.
Tried short pauses yesterday and realised just how much it reduces the weight I can move.
Should I be doing short pauses during all my training - I've been realising how much I bounce to get off the bottom despite my sticking point being at lockout.
BTW I do close grip bench, have ridiculously long arms, and struggle with 225 despite (or because of) DL of 510.


I have found in that training for a meet I start to have elbow pains when I do pause benchpresses. I usually do a 10-12 week cycle and as soon as I get into the shirt I start pausing. The shirt seemed to help relieve some of the stress. I haven't done a meet in almost two years but I worked up to a max this summer and the same thing happend.

I once tore my right pec slightly while benching because my left elbow was giving me so many problems I guess I shifted a little too much weight onto that right side. If you are going to do a meet with a shirt then pausing your benchpresses leading up to the meet is a must. If you have pains you may wait until 4 or 5 weeks out before you start pausing them for real.

Another thing that helped was I decreased the volume of work that required my elbow. If you are doing an arm day or shoulder day (which one usually doesn't do while training for a meet) then cut those down. You can apply this same principle if it is the shoulder that is bothering you. Bouncing your benches during training is only getting your body used to that and if this is one of your first meets you don't want to have a brain fart and lose one attempt because you forgot to not bounce.


To be honest, I'm not competing equipped and I'm doing 5-3-1 so I was more asking if it makes any sense to pause (but only slightly) every rep when doing a max set of 8 reps say?

And this is in the context of someone who has no trouble failing off the chest - I always fail at lockout because of stupidly long arms.


In my opinion, pausing on high rep sets is not necessary, since low loads feel nothing like max efforts and don't really help condition you for pausing heavy weights. And I'll second jsmiley07's advice about elbow pain. Paused benching blows up my elbows, regardless of the weight.

Acupuncture and soft tissue work help, but it still aggravates my tendonitis. If you have no pain you might be able to get away with pausing alot, but over time, you'll probably start hurting as wear and tear accumulates.

I would avoid pausing until 4 weeks out or so. When you reach this point in your training cycle, you should also be decreasing assistance work drastically, which will help take some strain off by reducing overuse injury to the elbows. In the meantime, focus on gaining control of the eccentric portion so you don't bounce and then executing a swift and smooth reversal.

Squeeze the bar and try to tear it apart, keep the back tight, and pull the triceps down into the lats to support the weight instead of losing it and having to bounce to recover. Then when it's time to pause, see if that helps close the gap.

If you're not prepping for a meet, just hit a paused max every so often as a tester.

And, in case you're not already doing it, you need to hammer some board presses and close grip work to fix that lockout.


You have gotten some good advice from SS and others. You need to wait for a press command in a meet so just work on it to be sure you are mentally ready for the command. It will give you a bit of thought of what your openers will be since you are not used to the concept of pausing, but you will be ok if you practice a bit.

Good Luck


Take a pause on the first rep of all sets, you'll get used to it soon enough.


sounds like a plan - pause on first rep of all sets


about how often/how much practice is advisable?

I just started using some paused sets recently. I was thinking developing better push from a paused position would help get through my sticking point about 3" of the chest. Am I in the right ballpark with this line of thinking?


Dead Bench, do it.


Once a month should be fine. As far as the sticking point question, I think it would be better to train from the sticking point or from right below it. Try one- or two-board presses for heavy triples. Speed work would probably help you too. Explosive presses with full ROM and light weight, maybe with bands for accommodating resistance, will help you get faster and teach you to accelerate maximally, which may help you get through the sticking point.


about how often/how much practice is advisable?

I just started using some paused sets recently. I was thinking developing better push from a paused position would help get through my sticking point about 3" of the chest. Am I in the right ballpark with this line of thinking?



I wouldn't do it at all, outside of meets.



Practice it and you'll be amazed how close your paused bench 1RM catches up to your T&G.


JPegg stoppin by to drop some knowledge... even though I have do disagree and say that starting to train with the pause about 6 weeks out gives me enough time to feel comfortable with it.... but Im not an EFS sponsored lifter


Why not?


I have long arms as well and the best thing I can recommend for you is to stop doing close grip bench. The raw federation requires you to be no farther apart on the bar then 32 inches. I think it's 31" and 7/8" or something like that. Take it all and start training. I'll let Pegg answer for himself about why he wouldn't do pauses but in EFS' "Beginner Manual" you run 8 sets and your grip goes from 17" to 24" to 31" in rotation in the sets. You need full development on your pecs and you won't need to move the bar near as far with a wider grip.


I like to pause all my reps in training, makes meets feel really natural


paused once in a while, but from a board


Damn. I deleted the e-mail, but Elite just had an article on why dead bench was better. It's a good read, look it up.


Yeah, but you're an experienced PLer. Sounds to me like OP is bouncing it off his chest solidly enough that he'd stand no chance of having a lift passed in competition.

As for me, I only pause singles, and I don't pause all singles.


Everyone is ignoring the dead bench... it works guys