T Nation

Weak from Chest on Paused Bench Reps

Hi Guys

My un-paused bench has increased quite a lot in the last few months.

However, I notice that when I revert to paused bench, I am weak off the chest.

Its definitely the weak point of the lift for me.

Once I get it a couple of inches off my chest I am nearly always able to finish the lift and lockout.

I feel I am improving with tightness and leg drive also, and try and use this as best as I can to help the drive off the chest.

What exercises would you recommend to help build explosive power at the bottom of a paused bench?

I just want to able to transfer my progress to paused benches, especially for competition!


If you are weak on paused bench, do more paused benching. Even and lighter weights, it will require explosiveness to overcome the sticky point. Some on here would say to pause every rep. I am not of that camp, but I do think if there is a huge disparity between the two, then you need to pause more reps.

Hi Ecchastang,

I do practice paused reps every week, usually the last rep of certain sets

There isnt a huge disparity between my paused and unpaused,

However im aware of the fact that if i can get my off the chest strength up, its going to have a huge effect on my bench.


I don’t know if this’ll work for everyone, but wide-grip paused bench got me engaging my lats a lot harder and taught me what it feels like to really “bend the bar” in the bottom position. I’m not consistent with it yet, but when I feel the bar bending I feel rock solid in the bottom and I know it’s coming up with more force.

The simplest way to work on this in my opinion is just to pause all your reps. And then you can work 3-count pauses on your FSL work.

@ some_dude,
Some of the best gains of my life have come while using illegal wide bench presses. I got the idea from one of Ricky Dale Crain’s old routine. Cambered bar works for this too. Why did I stop doing them? No idea. Thanks

I didn’t know there is another way to bench other than paused. I have been in the middle of the paused v. touch n go dead lifts, but never bench:)

Paused bench press, squeezing your shoulder blades very hard togeter, pulling them to your ass and keeping them in that (uncomfortable) position during all the phases of every effing repetition.

As someone already wrote, pause all your work set and 3-count pause your FSL.

Lucky for you, this is written about in the Beyond book: FSL with paused benches.

Gain weight. This will make a huge difference.
More face pulls/band pull aparts. Shoot for about 100-200 a day.
Build a bigger upper back/platform. When you raw bench, you have to create a thick shelf where it’s needed. So do a lot of dumbbell rows. I’d aim for about 100-200 reps a week of Non-machine rowing.

Staying “tighter” takes time and more mass. Which takes time.
You also need to understand that the bench press is NOT an upper body exercise. It is a movement. Treat it as such.

Thanks so much for everyones responses! (including Jim!)

Really appreciate it!!!


I experienceda decent jump in power, control of the bar and strength of the upper back after pausing every single rep. Even the warm ups. I only do this every other week to change it up. Other times I pause the first and/or the last rep of every set. On my workouts when I do that, I go 6 or 7 sets of 3 with a final set of 2. The weights I usually use for this is a bit lighter than usual. I also really focus on using every muscle you can when you’re pushing off your chest. Like seriously focus and think of it. That’s just my 2-cents though.