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Bench Press - Sticking Point Bottom Position

“I’m getting pinned in the bottom position of my bench press. Why is that and what can I do?”

There could be many reasons why you are getting stuck in the bottom position of your bench press. It could be a technical issue such as not keeping the chest up, allowing shoulders to round in bottom position, elbows flaring too much or being tucked too tight, or not having enough involvement from the lats, for example.

It could also be due to a weak muscle group, like the lats (as mentioned above), a weak mid upper back / rear delts / external rotator’s, serratus anterior, or even the pecs.

So, you have to figure out which muscle/muscles are weak and strengthen those through specific assistance exercises.

There are also many techniques you can use to strengthen the bottom part of your bench press.

Exercises/techniques you can use to help the start of your bench press:

  • Paused bench presses

  • Bench press dead stop from pins

  • Functional isometrics

  • Spotto press

  • Cambered bar bench press or DB work. Extra range of motion

Assistance work to address weakness to help start of bench press:

  • Weak lats – pull ups, wide grip pulldowns, straight arm lat pulldowns to thigh

  • Weak mid upper back – all forms of rows, single arm, chest supported etc.

  • Weak serratus anterior – incline front raises, cable front raises

  • Weak pecs (sternal portion) – Dips, decline presses, DB presses

This list is far from complete but it should give you some ideas on how to address your issues.

Example workout – weak pecs and weak lats:

A1 – Dead stop bench press from pins 5 x 3-5, 32X0, 120 rest

A2 – Pull ups 5 x 3-5, 30X2, 120 rest

B1 – Dips 4 x 5-7, 3110, 90 rest

B2 – Single arm DB row neutral grip 4 x 5-7, 3011 90 rest

C1 – Decline DB bench press neutral grip 3 x 7-9, 31X0, 60 rest

C2 – Straight arm lat pulldown to thigh 3 x 7-9, 3210, 60 rest


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