Tip: Do the Dead-Stop Bench Press

Starting the bar from a dead position on the bench press will make you stronger and bigger. Here's how.

With the bottom-up bench press from pins, there's no pre-stretch and no contribution of the stretch reflex. Your muscles have to produce more force at the beginning of the movement. This not only strengthens the muscles themselves, but it increases their capacity to be recruited in the stretched position.

By inhibiting the stretch reflex, you rely almost entirely on the contraction of the muscles. The result is a more forceful contraction, and lots of gains in size and strength. In that sense, it's the upper-body equivalent of a deadlift.

How to Do It

  1. Set up the bar using pins. The bar should be an inch or two above the chest.
  2. With the elbows directly below the bar, shrug the traps before lifting, then contract and press forcefully.
  3. Relax and reset on every rep. No bouncing off the pins.
Christian Thibaudeau specializes in building bodies that perform as well as they look. He is one of the most sought-after coaches by the world's top athletes and bodybuilders. Check out the Christian Thibaudeau Coaching Forum.