Should You Pause Bench Reps In Training?

Create: 06/18/2006 - 13:49
A Dr. Squat poster wants to know what percent of bench press training reps others do with a pause:

I have known guys who only paused the first reps of a set others all of their benches and some who only pause as a speical exercize. Suggestions??

Dr. Squat:

I'm not big on pausing anything! Except in competition where it's mandatory. Why train such a simple thing? Rules say to pause, you PAUSE! Wha???? See, availing yourself of the stretch reflex during training is important! DO it! Just before competition, figure out how to pause! Off-season and pre-competition trainong, BLOW the weights up! Forget pause! Remember, CHECKMARK! CAT!!!!!!

so essentially the pause is a competition-specific skill .. for regular athletes/non competitive lifters, there is nothing to be gained from pausing, correct? (well maybe as shawn suggested as a special exercise) so basically, (for the average guy like me), dont pause, dont bounce and try to throw the bar thru the roof, right?

I thought that if I practice pausing all my benchs (as with DL) it would help me be strong off the bottom. I figured for each set of 5 I would pause the first rep (to keep the skill) and then touch and go the rest.

I wouldn't contradict the chief's advice, but my personal preference is to pause all my heavy reps. Warm ups are just done in a controlled manner. Slow desent, rest the bar on the ribcage and then blast off. Plus at meet time nothing is different from training, the pause comes naturally.

Benching raw and pausing in a shirt are pretty different. I don't worry about pausing when I'm benching raw. The pause naturally happens in a shirt since the bar is going down pretty slow by the last little bit.


Submitted by Matt Defore on
what? i totally disagree, ESPECIALLY if you bench raw. deerrrrrr pausing is harder. dont expect to pause your 1RM that wasnt previously paused.

Submitted by Anonymous (not verified) on
pause the rep. what do you gain by not pausing, besides an inflated self esteem? Get used to the breathing and the technique of pausing. It IS different.

Submitted by John (not verified) on
pausing for 1-3 seconds is what I do on every rep of every bench I do. It really helps build the pec/shoulder tie-in area. Also there is absolutely NO DOUBT that I will get a good pause in competition. "Train like you compete".

Submitted by TheGymMuse on
Great approach John! I like Nickelbag's rational too Smile If it was easy, than anyone could do it! I'm impressed with those who have fun training hard to make it look easy. Lift..., what else?

Submitted by phreak on
I hardly ever pause in training. Maybe a few paused singles the week before the meet, no more.

Submitted by TheGymMuse on
I'm sort of do the same phreak. In the cycle leading up to my last meet, I paused throughout the last 6-8 weeks (not every rep), and still had problems with the pause once I got to the meet. But those who know me well will tell you I need counseling anyway. Wink Lift..., what else?

Submitted by ny6051 on
I seem to lose that stretch reflex everyone talks about at the bottom of the bench. Its my worst lift anyway and I try to spend more time perfecting it but I've heard lots of different schools of thought on pausing. One idea I heard of was to increase the volume of your bench training which will take care of the "pause". I will say that, for me, that seemed to work. I've tried pausing reps too, before a meet, and feel somewhat overtrained and the pause is such a subjective thing long is the pause? 1,2,3 seconds....? Every meet I've lifted in the pause seems to be different.

Submitted by Matt Defore on
the pause sometimes seems longer because the lifter will have the bar stopped on his chest, but it will still be moving, so its not "motionless". the judges will wait for it to be motionless THEN say press. the bar being on your chest doesnt nessesarily mean that its paused

Submitted by admin on

I seem to lose that stretch reflex everyone talks about at the bottom of the bench.

The longer your pause, the less effect the stretch reflex will have. A long pause that completely eliminates the stretch reflex has a place in training for some.