T Nation

Why is Only Bench Paused in Powerlifting?


#1

Why is the bench press paused in power lifting competitions? What is the main benefit? Because it is harder? Less risk of injury? Easier to judge? Something else?

Also, why is the squat not paused? Whatever you gain by pausing the bench, wouldn’t you gain the same thing with the squat?


#2

The deadlift is paused too. It starts dead on the floor and you have to hold it at lockout at the top. It doesn’t start at the top and have a bounce off the floor.


#3

Good point, T3hPwnisher.

Which makes me wonder even more why the squat is not.


#4

[quote]henko wrote:
Good point, T3hPwnisher.

Which makes me wonder even more why the squat is not.[/quote]

Because the rules say it doesn’t have to be paused. At least, in most feds. I’m sure you can find a fed out there with a paused squat rule, or you could make your own, OR you could even pause your squats in competition and hold yourself to your own standards.


#5

Yes, I know the rules says the squat does not have to be paused - my question was why. :slight_smile: Why does the rules (in most feds) allow unpaused squats when they do not allow unpaused bench presses?


#6

[quote]henko wrote:
Yes, I know the rules says the squat does not have to be paused - my question was why. :slight_smile: Why does the rules (in most feds) allow unpaused squats when they do not allow unpaused bench presses?[/quote]

Because that is what the federation decided on when they established their rules.

I feel like your question is akin to asking why a football field is 100 yards instead of 98 or 102. In life, there are a million possible variables that things can or can not be. The squats could have also never been squats in the first place (which, if you look at the history of odd lifting, was very much reality), or they could have been front squats, or belt squats, or leg presses, or etc etc, but they decided on the squat without the pause.

That said, no one is stopping you from pausing your squats at a meet.


#7

As you basically say, the rules might be “a coincidence”.

I guess I’m simply assuming they are a reason for why they are the way they are.

It would probably be more natural to bench without a pause, for example, as that is how most lifters naturally would do it, unless there were rules stating they’d have to pause. That makes me assume the pausing was required for a reason.


#8

[quote]henko wrote:
As you basically say, the rules might be “a coincidence”.

I guess I’m simply assuming they are a reason for why they are the way they are.

It would probably be more natural to bench without a pause, for example, as that is how most lifters naturally would do it, unless there were rules stating they’d have to pause. That makes me assume the pausing was required for a reason.[/quote]

Most likely to prevent lifters from using their ribcage like a springboard to get more weight moving, as that would be dangerous.


#9

The pause in bench is necessary to demonstrate that you are controlling the bar and not just rebounding it off of your ribcage. You have a pause in squat - after the movement is completed but before you’re instructed to rack the bar. You also have a pause in deadlift, at the top of the pull. Powerlifting federations generally want you to demonstrate that you’re in charge of the bar and not that it is in charge of you.


#10

And yes, I’ve seen people pause at the bottom of a squat, waiting for a command to “uh, stand up, you fool.” The judges don’t give that command, and then the poor squatter topples over in confusion.


#11

[quote]Be_Sound wrote:
The pause in bench is necessary to demonstrate that you are controlling the bar and not just rebounding it off of your ribcage. You have a pause in squat - after the movement is completed but before you’re instructed to rack the bar. You also have a pause in deadlift, at the top of the pull. [/quote]

You have that same before-racking pause in the bench press too, but the bench press has one more pause at the bottom compared to the squat. In the bench press it is considered cheating to bounce on your chest but in the squat you are encouraged to make use of the stretch at the bottom to get momentum out of the hole rather than pausing and showing control. It is this difference that I’m curious about. But perhaps it’s just that the rib cage bounce is dangerous while the bounc at the bottom of the squat is not.


#12

[quote]henko wrote:

[quote]Be_Sound wrote:
The pause in bench is necessary to demonstrate that you are controlling the bar and not just rebounding it off of your ribcage. You have a pause in squat - after the movement is completed but before you’re instructed to rack the bar. You also have a pause in deadlift, at the top of the pull. [/quote]

You have that same before-racking pause in the bench press too, but the bench press has one more pause at the bottom compared to the squat. In the bench press it is considered cheating to bounce on your chest but in the squat you are encouraged to make use of the stretch at the bottom to get momentum out of the hole rather than pausing and showing control. It is this difference that I’m curious about. But perhaps it’s just that the rib cage bounce is dangerous while the bounc at the bottom of the squat is not.[/quote]

I actually haven’t come across a rule that says the lifter must pause on the chest in the bench press. If I remember correctly, the rule is that to get the press command the lifter must ensure the bar is motionless touching the chest. That doesn’t necessarily mean a pause, simply evidence that the bar is under the lifter’s control. Some federations seem to exaggerate this requirement to an actual pause, and some seem to require virtually no pause at all. But, I don’t think there is a rule anywhere that provides that the bar must pause on the chest. It must simply touch and then remain motionless for sufficient time for the judge to notice. To me, that’s not a pause, because it takes well under a second to see a bar is motionless and say ‘press’


#13

Safety of the lifter, I’d imagine. How long until some muppet divebombs it and uses their chest to bounce the weight up for an extra 10lbs?


#14

[quote]MarkKO wrote:
I actually haven’t come across a rule that says the lifter must pause on the chest in the bench press. If I remember correctly, the rule is that to get the press command the lifter must ensure the bar is motionless touching the chest. That doesn’t necessarily mean a pause, simply evidence that the bar is under the lifter’s control. Some federations seem to exaggerate this requirement to an actual pause, and some seem to require virtually no pause at all. But, I don’t think there is a rule anywhere that provides that the bar must pause on the chest. It must simply touch and then remain motionless for sufficient time for the judge to notice. To me, that’s not a pause, because it takes well under a second to see a bar is motionless and say ‘press’ [/quote]

Some judges wait for 2-3s. It sucks but it’s something you have to prepare for if you choose to compete in that fed.


#15

[quote]lift206 wrote:

[quote]MarkKO wrote:
I actually haven’t come across a rule that says the lifter must pause on the chest in the bench press. If I remember correctly, the rule is that to get the press command the lifter must ensure the bar is motionless touching the chest. That doesn’t necessarily mean a pause, simply evidence that the bar is under the lifter’s control. Some federations seem to exaggerate this requirement to an actual pause, and some seem to require virtually no pause at all. But, I don’t think there is a rule anywhere that provides that the bar must pause on the chest. It must simply touch and then remain motionless for sufficient time for the judge to notice. To me, that’s not a pause, because it takes well under a second to see a bar is motionless and say ‘press’ [/quote]

Some judges wait for 2-3s. It sucks but it’s something you have to prepare for if you choose to compete in that fed.[/quote]

Absolutely - but I have yet to see a fed with written rules that require a pause for a specific amount of time, or a squat of a certain depth.

I’ve generally found all rules much the same but that from fed to fed they are interpreted differently.


#16

[quote]MarkKO wrote:

[quote]henko wrote:

[quote]Be_Sound wrote:
The pause in bench is necessary to demonstrate that you are controlling the bar and not just rebounding it off of your ribcage. You have a pause in squat - after the movement is completed but before you’re instructed to rack the bar. You also have a pause in deadlift, at the top of the pull. [/quote]

You have that same before-racking pause in the bench press too, but the bench press has one more pause at the bottom compared to the squat. In the bench press it is considered cheating to bounce on your chest but in the squat you are encouraged to make use of the stretch at the bottom to get momentum out of the hole rather than pausing and showing control. It is this difference that I’m curious about. But perhaps it’s just that the rib cage bounce is dangerous while the bounc at the bottom of the squat is not.[/quote]

I actually haven’t come across a rule that says the lifter must pause on the chest in the bench press. If I remember correctly, the rule is that to get the press command the lifter must ensure the bar is motionless touching the chest. That doesn’t necessarily mean a pause, simply evidence that the bar is under the lifter’s control. Some federations seem to exaggerate this requirement to an actual pause, and some seem to require virtually no pause at all. But, I don’t think there is a rule anywhere that provides that the bar must pause on the chest. It must simply touch and then remain motionless for sufficient time for the judge to notice. To me, that’s not a pause, because it takes well under a second to see a bar is motionless and say ‘press’ [/quote]

That’s a good point as well. I kind of hate judging bench because it’s tough to call it fast enough, but not too fast. It’s also different when you’re judging shirted bench and raw bench. With a shirt, you’re fighting to touch and there needs to be a visible moment where the judge can see the touch and control. With a raw bench, you’re fighting to get it off the chest and not cave in your ribcage with a bounce.


#17

Just my 2 cents
Bouncing the bench can give you a huge benefit over a very light touch n go.Bouncing the squat not that much cause you have to go much lower that the guy who just broke parallel.Also just imagine having to hear a commant with 700+ pounds on your back