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    Mike Henley MonStar's Avatar
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    Paused Bench / Squat Etc.

    What is your opinion of paused movements?

    For example pausing in flat BB presses maybe 1-3 inches above your chest for ~2-4 seconds then proceeding with the rep. If any of you have tried this is extremely exausting on your pecs etc.

    I am thinking about the same kind of things with squats and maybe even chins. Pausing at the bottom of each rep of each exercise.

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    IMO you're asking for trouble with paused reps with any kind of weight. They'd be great for working weak points in a lift, but chances are without someone experienced watching you your form is going to release to some degree. And when form releases, injuries happen.

    If you can keep your form perfect, they could have some benefit. I certainly wouldn't do them every workout.

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    Mike Henley MonStar's Avatar
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    Originally posted by Otter
    IMO you're asking for trouble with paused reps with any kind of weight. They'd be great for working weak points in a lift, but chances are without someone experienced watching you your form is going to release to some degree. And when form releases, injuries happen.

    If you can keep your form perfect, they could have some benefit. I certainly wouldn't do them every workout.
    Okay thanks Otter, appreciate it.

    Okay here is kind of what I was thinking about. Extremely low reps seem to be less effective for hypertrophy (generally). Well I think that this comes down to TUT (time under tension). A set of paused bench for example would be much more TUT than a set of extremely low (1-3) rep bench presses. So in turn this would stimulate more hypertrophy, and obviously help you bust through a sticking point.

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    Mike Henley MonStar's Avatar
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    Pause in the Stretched Position

    Ian King has perfectly illustrated the benefits of taking a pause in the stretched position in his book Get Buffed! If you haven't picked up a copy yet, I strongly suggest you do so. Charles Poliquin also has a nice section on the all-important pause in his book The Poliquin Principles. Rather than repeating everything that they've already said, I'll sum it all up nice and neat for you.
    The stretch shortening cycle refers to the transition from eccentric to isometric to concentric. When this transition is fast (i.e. you bounce the weight off your chest when benching) elastic energy built up in the muscle helps to propel the weight up. In other words, if you don't pause in the stretched position, you can lift more weight.

    However, taking advantage of elastic energy reduces the amount of actual muscular work performed. So, while going straight down and taking that little bounce at the bottom of a squat may make you look stronger, it's definitely not the most effective way to train. It takes a full four second pause to completely dissipate the elastic energy, but even a one second pause will help. If you take a pause between the eccentric and concentric, you have to work harder to lift the weight. This translates into more fiber recruitment, more muscle growth, and ultimately, more kinky sex with Hooters girls. (At least we can hope.)

    Of course, there're appropriate times to take advantage of the stretch shortening cycle. If you're training for strength in specific speed related movements such as shuttle runs, sprinting, and jumping, using this elastic energy can be advantageous. This is usually referred to as plyometric training.
    Here is quote from an article over at Testosterone.net. I know that they dont have the best info over there but this article seemed to be pretty solid.

    Pause in the Contracted Position

    When Ian King refined the three number tempo system (which was ultimately popularized by Poliquin), he left out the pause in the contracted position for purposes of simplicity. However, I think bodybuilders are familiar enough with tempo prescriptions that it's time to introduce how important this variable can be.

    The pause in the contracted position has very different effects on different exercises. For example, taking a pause at the top of the bench press (when your arms are fully extended) and taking a pause at the top of a chin-up (when your head is over the bar) are very different. In the bench press, the fully contracted position is the "easiest" portion of the lift. In a chin-up, however, holding your head over the bar can be pretty damn hard.

    We also need to distinguish between different types of pauses. Try this, stop reading right now and do four reps of "chair dips" wherever you happen to be sitting, just like you would do bench dips in the gym. Onthe first two reps, I want you to extend your arms to their full lockout position, noting how much tension is reduced at the top of the movement when your arms are locked out. The next two reps, stop just short of lockout, noting how much tension increases at the top of the movement. With pulling movements there really are no differences, but with all presses, triceps exercises, and squatting movements, this difference in top-position pauses will become a factor.

    This pause can have very different effects depending on the style you use. In the bench press, for example, extending to full lockout and pausing there for a second will improve your strength during the next rep due to the small amount of rest you'll get during the pause. On the other hand, extending to just short of lockout will cause a greater degree of fatigue and decrease your strength during the next rep.

    So what kind of pause should you use? Both of them! Just like everything else in the iron game, there's a time and a place for both types. What's important is how you plan the variations.
    In maximal strength training, it may be advantageous to take a brief one second pause in the full lockout position in exercises like the bench presses, military presses, dips, squats, etc... Taking this small break in the set can help you sustain your power output for more repetitions.

    However, taking this pause decreases muscle tension, which is not what we're looking for in a hypertrophy program. So in a hypertrophy phase, the pause should be taken just short of the lockout position to maximize tension on the muscle. It would also be smart to pause in pulling exercises like chin-ups, rows, and pulldowns. In these exercises, the contracted position is the point at which the muscle has maximum tension.

    Most of the time, I prescribe a pause at the top of any row, chin, or pulldown, even in maximal strength training. In these movements, the "rest" period is at the bottom in the stretched position, so a longer pause should be taken there instead of the contracted position.
    Here is another part of the quote. And here are the recommendations for each phase of training:

    Maximal Strength: 85-100% of your 1RM (could go all the way down to 60% with Compensatory Acceleration Training)
    Eccentric: Alternate slow and fast speeds if the weight is close to your 1RM, faster if the weight is 85% or lower: 1-3 seconds
    Pause in the stretched: 1-4 seconds (longer pause for pulling movements)
    Concentric: Always explosive, denoted by "X" (even if the bar doesn't move that fast)
    Pause in the contracted: Pause in lockout position when it increases strength: 1-4 seconds

    Strength and Size: 75-85% of your 1RM
    Eccentric: Slow if the weight is near 85%: 3-5 seconds, faster if the weight is between 75-80%: 2-3 seconds
    Pause in the stretched: 1-2 seconds (longer pause for pulling movements)
    Concentric: Slow if the weight is near 85%: 3-5 seconds, faster if the weight is between 75-80%: 1-2 seconds
    Pause in the contracted: Quick pause in lockout position when it increases strength

    Hypertrophy: (60-75% of your 1RM)
    Eccentric: Slow 3-8 seconds (to keep tension high throughout the set)
    Pause in the stretched: 0-1 second (longer pause for pulling movements)
    Concentric: Slow if the weight is near 75%: 3-5 seconds, faster if the weight is between 60-70%: 1-2 seconds
    Pause in the contracted: Pause just short of lockout where it increases muscle tension: 1-4 seconds
    Some of this info seems to be a little bogus, looking for some opinions on it.

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    I think to do these correctly, you have to be using a weight that you can fully control because coming out of the pause, most would have a tendency to lose the "groove" of their lift, and that's when injuries occur. The articles don't mention the fact that most people's ego wouldn't allow them to drop the weight to a level that they could maintain their form with. They also take for granted the fact that every lifter bounces the bar off their chest. That's just not the case ... well, it usually is, but not for me for sure. I'd rather do a set of bench where I fully controlled each rep (i.e. not bouncing) and stayed in my groove than do a set of pause reps where I couldn't guarantee that I'd keep that groove. And getting out of the groove with any substantial weight (+85% of your 1RM) could increase your risk of injury.

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    Mike Henley MonStar's Avatar
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    Very understandable Otter. But I think that a set or 2 of paused bench / squat / chin whatever after your work sets can be very valuable. This may not be good for all movements but for some I think its good. I did all of my worksets yesterday and then did a set of paused bench. Held the bar about 4 inches off of my chest for a count of 3 and then proceeded to finish each rep. Worked well I think.

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    Originally posted by MonStar
    Worked well I think.
    How do you know, it's been one day. Follow that for a couple weeks and see what happens and then make that determination. You could have finished your workout with a set of cable crossovers and you'd feel the same way, fatigued and worked.

    I just think this is one where the risks outweigh the benefits. This of course means you have a greater chance of success, but it also means you could do some real damage. Your call, just my opinion.

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    Mike Henley MonStar's Avatar
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    Yeah Otter Ill give it a few weeks to make a better assumption.

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    Genetic Experiment GeneticallyGifted's Avatar
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    Monstar, I use the pause. Its not a pause over 2 seconds. I use it because I train under the system of TUT. I use through out my workouts. I think that it improves your form, and its very humbling.

    GG
    STATS COMING SOON:Age: 29 | Height: 5'10" | Weight: 78KG/ 172LBS| bf: |Years Training:?? | All-natural: Yes|

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    I've done these from time to time on bench and squats and it was pure evil.

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    Mike Henley MonStar's Avatar
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    Originally posted by GeneticallyGifted
    Monstar, I use the pause. Its not a pause over 2 seconds. I use it because I train under the system of TUT. I use through out my workouts. I think that it improves your form, and its very humbling.

    GG
    Okay thanks GG. Where do you pause at? Where in squats / bench / chins? These are the only places that I am going to be using it.

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    Genetic Experiment GeneticallyGifted's Avatar
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    Originally posted by MonStar


    Okay thanks GG. Where do you pause at? Where in squats / bench / chins? These are the only places that I am going to be using it.
    With squats the only place to pause is at the lowest point either at the floor or at parallel. On bench either with dumbbells at the lowest point where the bell is parallel with your pec or on the BB bench I pause 1" above the chest and go back up.

    With Pullups I pause at the very top and very bottom.

    I hope all this makes since.

    GG
    STATS COMING SOON:Age: 29 | Height: 5'10" | Weight: 78KG/ 172LBS| bf: |Years Training:?? | All-natural: Yes|

    Chest: | Shoulders: | Upper Arm: | Forearm: |
    Waist: |Neck:| Upper Thigh: | Calf: |

    Personal Bests: COMING SOON:
    Flat Barbell Presses: | Dips: |Wide-grip Palms Away: |
    Military Barbell Press: |Barbell Squats: |

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    Mike Henley MonStar's Avatar
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    Originally posted by GeneticallyGifted
    With squats the only place to pause is at the lowest point either at the floor or at parallel. On bench either with dumbbells at the lowest point where the bell is parallel with your pec or on the BB bench I pause 1" above the chest and go back up.

    With Pullups I pause at the very top and very bottom.

    I hope all this makes since.

    GG
    Okay thanks GG. This is what Belial recommended too I believe.

    Again, thanks.

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    As I Am Paul Stagg's Avatar
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    I'm not sure I understand what you are trying to accomplish with the pause.
    Squats work better than supplements.
    "You know, if I thought like that, I'd never put more than one plate on the bar for anything, I'd never use bands or chains, I'd never squat to parallel or below, and I'd never let out the slightest grunt when I lift. At some point in your lifting career (assuming you're planning on getting reasonably strong and big), you're going to have to accept that most people think you are some kind of freak." -Sensei
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    Mike Henley MonStar's Avatar
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    I feel that a pause will not only help with busting through a sticking point but also help with hypertrophy. Increasing TUT and also pausing in the contracted part of each of the 3 big lifts.

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    As I Am Paul Stagg's Avatar
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    Okay.

    I don't see an application to the bench or deadlift. If you are planning on benching in competiton, you need to practive your pause, but otherwise, I don't see the point.

    I think pause squats (where you pause at the bottom) can be useful working on the push out fo the hole.

    nothing anyone has to add into their routine, though.
    Squats work better than supplements.
    "You know, if I thought like that, I'd never put more than one plate on the bar for anything, I'd never use bands or chains, I'd never squat to parallel or below, and I'd never let out the slightest grunt when I lift. At some point in your lifting career (assuming you're planning on getting reasonably strong and big), you're going to have to accept that most people think you are some kind of freak." -Sensei
    "You're wrong, and I have a completely irrelevant pubmed abstract that may or may not say so." - Belial
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    Player Hater PowerManDL's Avatar
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    I've used the method quite extensively on both my bench and squat, and have used it on certain other movements such as pullups.

    I find this method of training to be very effective when used properly.
    Vin Diesel has a fever.. and the only prescription is more cowbell.

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  18. #18
    Mystic Eric
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    Stick with something for more than a week. That's all I have to say.

  19. #19
    Mike Henley MonStar's Avatar
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    Originally posted by PowerManDL
    I've used the method quite extensively on both my bench and squat, and have used it on certain other movements such as pullups.

    I find this method of training to be very effective when used properly.
    PowerManDL:

    Okay Matt I have a few questions for you if you dont mind. Glad that you responded because you definitely know your sh*t.

    I am going to be doing a 3 second pause on three different movements: bench, squat, and chins. Ill do one paused set after my 3 low-rep work sets. For bench Ill pause around 2-3 inches above my pecs, for squats at rockbottom (as far down as I go before raising back up), and for chins I am kind of confused where to pause.

    I have had pretty good success with about a 110 degree arm angle during chins, about 1/4 of one full rep, arching my back hard, squeezing my lats like crazy. Or maybe closer to 1/3 of the way up. Not halfway but not fully locked out. Again hold for a 3 count and then continue with the rep. An example of my bench might look like this.

    1st workset: 300 x 1
    2nd workset: 275 x 3
    3rd workset: 245 x 8
    Paused set: 225 x 5 *3-second pause 2-3 inches above chest*

    Does this look okay Matt?

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    The pause is not likely to cause additional hypertrophy and, your just adding more CNS strain to an already grueling workout now that you littered your routine with 1RM's.

  21. #21
    Mike Henley MonStar's Avatar
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    My routine is not littered with 1RMs. My first work set is a single/double/triple and then my next work set is 3-5 reps, and my final workset is 5-8 reps.

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    Mike, you pick the word then, you've got something like 9 of them a week in almost all your exercises.

    You ask opinions (all the time) but you already know what you want to hear, right? So why ask?

    Isometric contractions are the hardest of the 3 on the CNS, and the least likely to produce growth. Why would you want to include them?

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    fat and small Blood&Iron's Avatar
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    I'm just gonna address one thing and that is pausing in the bottom position of a squat. I still do it myself, but have really tried to break myself of the habit. You are putting a tremendous amount of stress on your lower back by pausing at the bottom(Although, it's not going to be quite as bad since you aren't going to/below parallel) Perhaps there are reasons to do so if one is a powerlifter, but orthopedically speaking I think it is a terrible idea.
    Last edited by Blood&Iron; 07-31-2002 at 03:47 PM.

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    Player Hater PowerManDL's Avatar
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    During pullups I'll do one of two things: either use a hold at the top, or 2-3 holds at various points of the ROM.

    If you're attempting to improve hypertrophy, don't hold your breath. However, these can be quite effective for increasing strength at specific places you might happen to be weak.
    Vin Diesel has a fever.. and the only prescription is more cowbell.

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    Y2A 47: youre smooth as hell
    Y2A 47: thats why you get outta tickets, and into panties

    galileo: you're a fucking beast and I hate you
    galileo: hate

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  25. #25
    A. F.
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    2 cents from someone who had an unjury..

    If you're going to hold the weight make SURE you have spot or can fully control the weight (if you're alone don't hold it when you can barely lift it up).

    What happened to me was this.. I was working out kind of late at night (alone) and was benchpressing, I believe I was on my 12th rep.. I barely lifted it up on the 11th rep but decided to do one more and hold it for a second at the bottom. Well, I held it for the second all right, then halfway on getting it up realised I can't push any more, so I thought I could let it down on the little metal hinge (or whatever you call it) on the benchpress. Well the right side landed nicely, but the left one dropped right on my eye.. 2 seconds later the guys helped me pull it up and all, thank GOD there was no serious damage (just some bruising and a bloody eye) but that went alone.

    Ever since I have a fear of adding weight to my BP.. guess that's why I'm still flat benching only 175, eh?

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