Whether you’re working out at home with limited weights or trying to work around an injury by using lighter loads, it can feel frustrating when you’re forced to ditch a plate or two, especially on those big compound lifts like the bench press.
But light weights don’t have to mean limited gains. By using the ‘pause’ technique you can nullify the ‘stretch shortening cycle’ or the elastic energy your body builds up when you stretch a muscle. With this natural elastic assistance removed, even the lightest weights can start to feel seriously heavy, leading to fresh muscle gain, while also helping you to hone your technique and avoid injury.
Putting the pause technique into practise really is as easy as it sounds, you simply pause at the bottom of each rep. There’s no better movement to put this into practice with than the bench press. Pausing for 4-5 seconds with the bar resting on your chest during each rep will majorly up the intensity of the movement and seriously lower the amount of weight you’ll need to get through your sets. In this scenario fewer plates equals bigger pecs.
For the ultimate chest pump, begin with an empty bar and try and build to the heaviest weight you can muster for an excruciating 20-paused reps. Rest 3-4 minutes between each set. You’ll need it.
Paused Bench Press x 20 Reps (build to a heavy set)
Lay flat on a bench, your knees bent, pushing your feet hard into the floors. With a wide grip, take your bar out of the rack, locking out your elbows. Lower the bar slowly until the bar touches the lower part of your chest. Keeping your elbows at 45-degree angle, pause here and mentally count to five before explosively pressing the bar back up. Don’t pause at the top, immediately lower the bar under control back to your chest and pause again. Begin with an empty bar and aim for 20 reps. Add a small amount of weight each set until you can no longer hit all 20.
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