A Deep Dive Into the Pause Bench Press: Unleashing Its Benefits for Your Training
Imagine you’re at the gym, pumped up and ready. You’ve got the bench set, the barbell loaded. You lower the bar towards your chest, but then you do something unexpected. You hold back… for a beat… maybe two.
This, my friend, is the ‘pause’ in the ‘pause bench press’ – a small tweak to the traditional bench press that supercharges your fitness routine.
In this blog post, we will be letting you know all the benefits of the pause bench press, along with a plan to get you started and any other potential problems you may encounter.
Let’s get started…
What are the benefits of the pause bench press?
The pause bench press is a powerful variation of the traditional bench press exercise, boasting a plethora of benefits. Its unique approach – introducing a brief pause as the barbell touches the chest – elevates your workout in several ways. First, it aids in developing better muscle motor control, allowing your body to understand the correct movement pattern and tension required at various stages of the lift. Second, it helps improve your bar path, the trajectory of the barbell during a lift, making your workout more efficient and safer. Additionally, it promotes consistency, acting as a checkpoint ensuring each repetition is as effective as the one before. One significant benefit is the longer time under tension it imposes on your muscles, which potentially boosts strength and hypertrophy. It also encourages body stability and rigidity during the lift, helping you break the habit of bouncing the bar off the chest, ensuring good form throughout. Lastly, the pause bench press can help you overcome plateaus in your bench press progress and even enhance your regular bench press. Hence, with all these advantages, the pause bench press can be a superhero in your weightlifting routine.
Decoding the Pause Bench Press
Let’s explore the pause bench press. This technique is a variation of the standard bench press where you incorporate a ‘pause’ as the barbell touches your chest, holding off for a moment before pressing it back up. The regular bench press is a seamless, constant motion, while the pause bench press brings in a moment of quiet.
Consider a poised ballet dancer, stationary just as the music rises, waiting for the right moment to launch into a spin. That’s similar to your pause bench press: a pause to gather power before an explosive release. Or visualise a poised tiger, frozen before it leaps, marshalling all its strength for the attack.
Motor Muscle Control and Learning: The Overlooked Advantage
How can you be sure you’re executing a bench press correctly? Your muscles have the answer. The pause bench press is an excellent resource for enhancing muscle motor control. The pause bench press forces your body to ‘grasp’ the correct movement and appreciate the tension needed at different lift stages.
This minor advantage could lead to major gains in your fitness progression. You’re not just improving at the bench press; your body also gets better at managing other exercises — a domino effect that’s too beneficial to ignore!
Refine Your Bar Path with Pause Bench Press
The term ‘bar path’ denotes the course of the barbell during a lift. An ideal bar path is both efficient and safe, minimising your chances of injuries. The pause bench press becomes your guide in honing this skill.
Switching to the pause bench press can within weeks, not only help you surpass your plateau but also improve your standard bench press. That’s the magic of an optimal bar path!
Consistency in Intensive Lifts: The Assurance of Pause Bench Press
In weightlifting, consistency goes beyond regular gym visits; it involves ensuring each rep is as potent as the one before. The pause in the pause bench press adds a ‘checkpoint’ in your lift, confirming each repetition is on par.
The pause at the end of the eccentric phase of the lift prevents you from cheating and bouncing the bar off your chest and using that momentum to lift heavier than you normally would.
Related: Mastering The Machine Fly
The Pause Phenomenon: What’s the Ideal Duration?
The ‘pause’ in the pause bench press is a matter of seconds, typically one to three. Any more, and you risk depleting the stored energy for the press; any less, and you won’t reap the full benefits. Here’s a brief overview:
- Aim for a 1-3 second pause to enhance muscle control and bar path
- A pause can stabilise your body and deter bouncing the bar off your chest
- Extended pauses heighten ‘time under tension’, potentially improving strength and hypertrophy
Tapping into the Benefits of the Pause Bench Press
If the pause bench press were a superhero, its arsenal would include:
- Promoting body stability and rigidity during the lift
- Discouraging bouncing the bar off the chest
- Increasing time under tension, leading to improved strength and hypertrophy
- Ensuring good form
- Overcoming plateaus in your bench press progress
- Bonus perk: enhancing your regular bench press!
But what if our superhero encounters hurdles? Let’s dig deeper!
The Flip Side: Potential Pitfalls with Pause Bench Press
Like any exercise, the pause bench press may present some challenges. You might find it hard to hold the pause, or your form might wobble during the lift. But don’t fret; every issue has a solution.
Here are some common queries:
- Q: The bar isn’t stable during the pause. What should I do?
- A: Concentrate on strengthening your muscles with auxiliary exercises and try a firmer grip.
- Q: The pause disrupts my lifting rhythm. How can I get better?
- A: Keep practicing! The more you engage with the pause, the more intuitive it becomes.
Integrating the Pause Bench Press into Your Training Plan
The pause bench press, much like any other exercise, should feature in your balanced training plan. You could begin by incorporating it once a week, starting with lighter weights and more reps to get accustomed to the new technique.
Here’s a rudimentary 4-week training plan to guide you:
- Week 1: Introduce pause bench press with light weights
- Week 2: Ramp up the weight, keep the reps high
- Week 3: Increase the weight again, cut down on reps
- Week 4: Attempt a max lift with pause bench press!
Remember, this is merely a suggestive plan. It’s crucial to adapt it to your needs and seek advice from a fitness professional.
Related: Why Do I Feel Push Ups In My Shoulders?
What is paused bench good for?
The paused bench press is beneficial for improving muscle motor control, enhancing bar path, promoting consistency in your lifts, increasing time under tension, promoting body stability, discouraging the habit of bouncing the bar off the chest, and even aiding in overcoming plateaus in your bench press progress. It’s an effective technique for both beginners learning proper form and seasoned lifters looking to break through plateaus.
Is pause bench better for muscle growth?
Yes, pause bench press can be better for muscle growth, primarily due to increased time under tension. When you pause with the barbell on your chest, your muscles have to work harder to control the weight, resulting in increased muscular tension. This additional tension can stimulate greater muscle growth over time.
How long should you pause when benching?
The pause duration in pause bench press is typically one to three seconds. Pausing any longer may result in losing the stored energy necessary for the press, while a shorter pause may mean missing out on the benefits of the exercise.
Does pause bench help touch and go?
Yes, the pause bench press can help improve your “touch and go” bench press. By pausing, you eliminate the bounce at the bottom of the lift, encouraging better control and form. This enhanced control and form can then translate into a smoother, more effective “touch and go” bench press.
How much harder is a paused bench rep?
The difficulty level of a paused bench rep depends on various factors, including the duration of the pause and the weight you’re lifting. However, it’s generally more challenging than a regular bench rep because the pause eliminates the elastic energy that helps “spring” the bar off the chest. You’re forced to press the weight using a pure concentric movement, which requires more effort and muscle engagement.
Is pause bench better for shoulders?
The pause bench press can be beneficial for your shoulders as it encourages better form, thereby reducing the risk of injury. During the pause, your shoulders are in a stable position, reducing unnecessary movement and strain. However, like any exercise, proper form is crucial, and individuals with pre-existing shoulder conditions should approach with caution or under professional guidance.
The Verdict: The Strength of the Pause
In the universe of weightlifting, every lift and rep matters, and the pause bench press introduces an invigorating spin. By injecting a moment of calm in a kinetic action, it improves muscle control, refines your bar path, bolsters consistency, and drives your strength and hypertrophy to a new level.
Why not take the pause bench press for a spin in your next gym session and witness its perks firsthand? Do you have any queries or insights you’d like to share? Don’t hesitate to comment below!
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