Chest Exercises

Pausing Your Reps = Bench Press Power Gains

Train through your sticking point for a big bench and an even bigger chest.

Pausing Your Reps = Bench Press Power Gains

The top bench-press athletes in the world have many secrets that help them press more than 600, 700, even 800 pounds. But you don't have to be a record-holder to want to enhance your bench press strength or increase your pec size. Take a page from the pros' training manuals and try this technique called the floor press. As you probably already figured out, no bench is required.

A Moment of Pause

Basically, floor presses are bench presses you do on the floor. But they go far beyond their reputation as the poor man's bench press - they're actually a great tool for pauses. Traditional pause training calls for you to stop the exercise at the point where the negative portion of the movement ends and the positive portion begins. In the bench press, this is where the bar is just above your chest, and using pause training here can help you overcome your sticking point.

The sticking point is your weakest link in a lift - the point where you tend to fail. To gain strength, you need to train at your sticking points. Since most of us have trouble a few inches off our chest, the floor press is an ideal solution. Training to recruit more pec fibers in this spot will have you blowing through it instead of sticking.

The spot where your arms just touch the floor is also a safer place to pause than directly on your chest. When you use a bench and the bar is on your chest, your elbows are lower than your back and your shoulder joints are stretched - not the best place from which to push heavy weight from a dead stop. This can stress the structures of the shoulder joint and lead to shoulder injury.

Another advantage of using the floor is your leg position. When using a bench, you use your legs to help drive the weight up. This is why you're weaker when you press with your feet on the bench. Lying on the floor removes all contribution from your lower body and transfers more of the load to your pecs and triceps.

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