T Nation

Pausing on benches, (like box sq.)

Is it beneficial to pause on some sets of benching at the bottom, relax the triceps (a bit, not totally) then try to “explode”?

I experimented with this on my “speed” day, after I read something about how pausing on the bottom and relaxing (a bit, like maybe 50%) helps improve “explosivity”. Does this make sense? Or should I just do them regularly?

You should pause briefly.

Yeah, but what about “relaxing” the tris? Or is it better to keep under alot of constant tension?

Keep the tension.

I guess it depends what you are after. If you are a PL and are looking to increase strength…never pause…only in a contest. Got thst from Dave Tate in a phone consultation a couple of months back. If you are BBer, then I imagine pausing may build more muscle mass but I am not sure about that. Never relax the tri’s.

Sorry about that one, I was confusing speed bench and speed squat!! No, you do not pause on the speed bench, but don’t bounce either. My bad!

It depends! Whether or not you pause the weight, as long as you attempt to move the bar quickly you train for explosiveness. The question is, do you need to be explosive from a static position or from a the reversal of a negative? Example, the start pistol goes off and the sprinter explodes from a static position. In that scenario you would want to use a movement that starts from a static position, i.e deadlift, box squat. In short it depends on what your goal is.

are you training for a sport or to add muscle? if its for a sport it MIGHT help(although outside of powerlifting I don’t realy see any sport it can help, plyometrics will woek better for explosive training) but if you are training for size, tell ME how it can help.yes you will increase you iso strength in the bottom position but what good will that do for size? you will have to use less wt. to finish the same reps and I don’t think your T.U.T would increase either because you are talking about a 50% relax in the strech possition. for saftey reasons it is also NOT a good idea to pause in the streeeeeeeeeched ( unless your rotatorcuff did something to you and you want to get even

Well I already “pause” and we’re talking really light weight here (for the speed day)…like my max is 355 and this is with 205 pounds so it’s not even 60%.
Anyway, my thinking was relaxing the tris is the same as relaxing the hip flexors in box squats. It would lessen the time under tension…but on the other hand you get a little rest so you can be more explosive. And I’m doing it to improve my bench via increasing bar speed…not interested in size.

Het, actually Greg Wilson has research published suggesting that Dynamic weight training is better than plyos. Het I quess you would never deadlift? After all, that is going from a static position to dynamic. If you choose to relax somewhat in the bottom you should ramp up the force you apply to the bar. Build up the force to lift the bar from th chest. Then, once it starts to move, attempt to push it as hard as you can. Most powerlifters don’t just rip a deadlift from the floor from a relaxed position. Instead, they prepare by tightening up and pulling against the bar allowing their strengh to ramp up. Once the bar moves (breaks contact with the ground) they then begin to pull with every thing they have. This is actually all done very quickly to the observer, of course.

nat, deads and benches are different animals you don’t use the most delicate joint in your body when you do deads you DO (rotator) when you bench you shoud NEVER do anything ballistic that puts a joint into such a dangerous possition. and the wt. is not the issue the force generated is. I’m just saying if muscle groeth is no.1 than it makes no sence. if bench performance is no.1 then it MIGHT. one more thing about deads, they are the BEST exercise that there is for size

“yes you will increase you iso strength in the bottom position but what good will that do for size” Now that you agree it will increase his strength in the week portion of his lift continue the logic. Think about it, if he increases the strength in his sticking point and then transfers that over to his full rep lift, bam, now he gets to lift a weight that he couldn’t. In other words he can now do the same exercise with more weight for the same reps. Surely, you can see how that would help hypertrophy.

I don’t know anyone whose sticking point in the bench is ON their chest. also maybe I did not explain my point right,even if you do increase your strength in the streched possition it is STILL dangerous for your cuff, also even though you may inc. your static strength that time and energy (inroads into recovery) can be better spent doing normal full range motions (again if size is no.1, which I don’t believe it is for him, and thats fine)

Pausing at the bottom of a set can be a very bad habit if you relax and do not maintain tension. I had this habbit and am working with a trainer to fix this problem. I ended up losing the lift on my max weights because I would lose tension at the bottom of the rep. To correct ths problem,I had to begin dropping the weightone inch from my chest and catching it at the bottom and exlpoding it back to the top. We also used lock out sets with very heavy weight off of boxes on the floor(Lou Simmons idea) to force the development of a strong lock out. The impact of these exercises is noticable in about 2 to 3 weeks. As my drop and catch bench improved my other lock outs increased. These lock outs are done with my max bench weights.I did 285 1st week 300, second week and 335 third week.
For me, when it comes to relaxing at the bottom of a bench, it is trouble unless I maintain the tension. Note pausing is ok, but relaxing is not. We will rotate to speed reps with a stop watch for 6 weeks after these exercises correct my bad habits.Peace.

Het, do you bench?

sometimes, benching is NOT the best exercise for your chest, it does not get your pecs into the fully contracted position. I do believe that it does have value I just think that dips are the best pec,tri,delt exercise there is, it FULLY streches your pecs and gets then close to the fully contracted which is very rare for any exercise. my best bench ever was 455#, after a loooooong layoff(4yrs) I’ve been back in the gym for about 6wks now, and the last time I did benches was 335x6.

I agree with you there, the bp is not the best exercise for the chest. Dips are definetly great.

Mac…what % of your 1RM are you using for the “drops”? How many sets/reps? Are you doing this in addition to your regular chest workout, or by itself? Thanks.

Is it beneficial to pause on some sets of benching at the bottom, relax the triceps (a bit, not totally) then try to “explode”?
I experimented with this on my “speed” day, after I read something about how pausing on the bottom and relaxing (a bit, like maybe 50%) helps improve “explosivity”. Does this make sense? Or should I just do them regularly?

No, not if you are working on power. You never want to pause on the bottom when traing the bench for speed. You want to lower the bar slowly until you get about 2 inches from the chest and then let the bar accelerate to elicit a stretch reflex.

One of the things Dr Tom McLaughlin cautioned in his bimechanics book, “Bench Press More Now”, is that you want to perform the bench with a touch and go in training to develop the stretch reflex.

I quess louie is wrong on pausing on the Box squat, then?