T Nation

Sticking Point at Bottom of Bench


#1

I have a sticking point at the very bottom when I bench press. I've never failed in 10 years to complete a rep once I get it past the first 2.5" off my chest. Besides paused reps, what else could I do to get past it?

Also, a question on paused reps: Since I obviously have to use a sub-maximal weight on them, how exactly do they help get past a sticking point? i.e. if I can't get 270 off my chest, how is doing paused reps at 225 going to help?

Third question: When should things like negatives, and paused reps be done? Before regular working sets of flat/incline/decline bench, or after??


#2

Answer to first question:

http://www.T-Nation.com/free_online_article/sports_body_training_performance/sticking_point_therapy


#3

WHOAH. Completely missed that article somehow.


#4

You really DO love the attention.


#5

IMO:
1 Make your lats and upper back musculature stronger

2 The paused reps prevent you from using the stretch reflex much or bouncing even a little, therefore stressing the muscles recruited in that portion of the lift

3 Depends on too many things to just give a straight answer. Personally I've never been that keen on negatives


#6

You could try using a rack to start your bench off your chest.


#7

Jim Wendler and Dave Tate have written about the bottom sticking point for ages. So have Mike Robertson and Eric Cressey.

They recommend cambered-bar bench press, dumbbell bench press, dips, and overhead presses.

Upper back and lat mass goes without saying since it helps with all three lifts.


#8

I agree with what most others have been saying. How much are you benching, and how much are you doing for pullups?

You may just be lacking the support from your back muscles to max out.

But other than that, here are a few ideas.

1) I'd train speed bench, because the stretch reflex is going to help you out of the hole a lot.

2) Pushups and extended ROM pushups would be helpful, as well as dips.

3) Wall pushing - I read about it on this site somewhere, I think its something fighters do, but basically you just push against a wall for time, (10,20,30s...) as if you are trying to push it over.

4) And look into CT's isometric programs.

Basically if you have a lot of strength at the bottom, as well as a high rate of force development, and a good support to push against, the bottom should not be the sticking point.

Other than all of this, I would ask why you are concerned with this sticking point? Are you competing, and is it absolutely necessary for you to do full ROM heavy benching. I think full ROM is fine for recreational trainers and BB'ers but rack work would be better and safer for "heavy" work. If your a PL'er then this might not apply to you as much.


#9

So now I'm confused: am I supposed to arch my back when I bench or should i leave it flat on the bench?
I'm actually serious at a moment. I forgot what is the correct way. Someone answer this plz?
Thanks


#10

You are suppose to bench the way that you want to bench.

If you are looking for strength more than anything obviously an arched style of benching would suit you best.

Or if you are a freak like this guy (see link) who just benches like normal and puts up amazing weight with minimal arch then by all means bench like that.


#11

You can do it either way although 'safely' arching your back and digging your heels into the ground will usually allow you to lift heaver.


#12

How are you supposed to bench? If you're a recreational lifter, I see no need for an extreme arch. If you are a PLer, then you might benefit from a big arch. There are men that have been successful with a huge arch (i.e.: Lamar Grant, Sebastian Burns) and guys that have barely used an arch (Glen Chabot, Garry Frank; these guys are BIG fucks and didn't or couldn't use a huge arch).

There are have been hundreds of articles on benching.

I was taught how to bench properly by Jim Wendler at an Elite Fitness Seminar. Basic pointers:
1) Use an arch if you like; the more of an arch you use, the more quads you will be able to use to press into the floor. The less of an arch you use, the more you'll have to press into the floor with your hamstrings and glutes.
2) Shoulder blades are cinched together for the entire lift.
3) Press your head into the bench.
4) Make sure your elbows are in line with your wrists.
5) You can move the bar in an arch. Louie Simmons used to be against this but has since changed his mind. Press 3/4 of the way up, then flare your elbows to involve the triceps more for a smooth lockout.

Get the book Bench Monster by Ryan Kennelly or Jim Wendler's DVD on benching.


#13

Flat back, and feet in the air.


#14

I've seen better. Not only were the feet in the air, but the guy was pretty much in a fetal position. I shit you not


#15

Dankid:

"Basically if you have a lot of strength at the bottom...

... the bottom should not be the sticking point."

Really?


#16

Are you disagreeing?


#17

Of course I'm agreeing! But didn't that sound kind of funny? :slightly_smiling:

That's like saying if the sky is blue, the sky is blue.


#18

set the pins in the power rack at about 5 inches above your chest and do partial rack presses.Train your weakness.

Another thing to try is explosive bench,Take 60-70 % of your max and bring weight to chest pause and explode,try to put the bar in orbit.


#19

Pull your shoulders back and down, tuck your elbows, Wether or not you want to arch is up to you but bringing your shoulder back will arch your back naturaly if you want to arch more then do it if not dont.


#20

Am I the only one who considers the begining of a lift as not a sticking point? It means its beyond your full rep max.

I have this terrible sticking point at the bottom of a squat. For some reason, I can do 100 lbs more if I quarter squat it. But if i go all the way down i get "stuck". lol.