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 Post subject: Bench fixing
PostPosted: Mon Aug 01, 2011 10:11 am 
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Deific Wizard of Sagacity
Deific Wizard of Sagacity

Joined: Thu Mar 02, 2006 5:49 am
Posts: 3482
The difference between failing via sticking point and failing via the weight being too heavy is interesting.

Sometimes, it's as much as 5 lbs that will make the difference, pushing you past "failing via sticking point" and right into "failing via the weight being too heavy".

I find with benching, this seems to be quite significant. Here's an example of how it can screw you up,

You bench 220 after working up in 10lbs increments. Nice clean rep, albeit it a little slow. Every rep has felt good only, each rep is a little slower than the last due to putting more weight on the bar. Looks like another 10lbs will go up no probs. You now try 230. You get stapled. Now, I class stapled as getting "pinned" by the bar. Comes down to your chest and barely moves an inch, if anything, and you need it pulled off you, and quickly!

Weak off the chest? Right? .....Not necessarily.

Had you gone up 5lbs instead of 10, you may of still failed, but got the bar 4 inches off your chest before actually hitting a sticking point and being unable to get through it. This is actually a "real life" example I experienced although the numbers are different.

The issue is when you first start benching, you almost always fail off the chest. Just like in the DL you almost always fail off the floor. Or the squat, coming out of the hole. How do you know what's a sticking point and what's just too much weight on the bar? Beginners seem to fail here by default but these can also be legitimate sticking points so, it warrants some thought. How do you know what you're dealing with? Was it simply too heavy or do you have a glaring weakness holding back your lift?

The reason I believe beginners tend to fail at the same places is because beginners ARE a weak point. They're weak "all over". So when they get to most bio mechanically challenging part of the lift (which i'm really defining as the start of the concentric), everything gives up.

I think the difference is looking for a "grind". Did they "grind"? If you hit a sticking point, the bar will gradually slow down, the lifter will need to grind through it, but they'll literally hit a wall and the bar will stop but, not staple them straight away. In cases where you do have a genuine "off the chest" weakness, there may not be much movement of the actual bar but, the load would be supported by the lifter and they would still be grinding. Almost like an isometric where the pins are set very close to chest. A sticking point "off the chest" should pretty much look the same as an isometric only, there's no "immovable object" to try and strain against.

Just thinking out loud. Think i've been missing the boat with my bench press for about a year! I was being stapled and mistook it for a weakness off the chest. I've done loads of speed work and "off the chest" specific movements over the last year or 2 as a result. Turns out the bar shoots off my chest about 3-4 inches before slowing to a sticking point. And, coincidentally, i've not made a concentrated effort to train my arms for about 5 years. Triceps anyone?

Are you sticking or are you getting stapled? I reckon I was getting stapled.

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Thanks TimD


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