Tip: Pause Reps for Strength and Stability

Hit a sticking point on a major lift like the deadlift? Try this.

Add Pauses During Your Reps

If you've struggled through a bench press plateau, you've felt the moment you got out of the groove and lost elbow position, or you felt your cheeks hover off the bench. In the deadlift, you've probably felt your spine go from a stable, welded position to one that resembles a question mark.

In both cases, you're battling through sticking points. And because you lack the technique or strength needed to maintain optimal position, your chance of injury skyrockets.

Instead of living for the PR, begin adding pauses to your reps to build strength and stability through sticking points. Remember, joint position dictates muscle function, but it also determines joint stress. If you hold the right positions, you'll stay strong and healthy. If you ignore them for ego's sake, you'll pay the price, either today or down the road.

Try This

Instead of pounding through your sticking points with shoddy form, start adding mid-rep pauses and isometrics to build strength and stability without compromising your technique.

Though isometrics don't feel like they work the same way a dynamic exercise would, they're still a demanding stress on your central nervous system. Since your goal is to maximize muscle fiber recruitment and neural drive, you need to be fresh to maximize the productivity of your sets.

Example – The dead-pull, a deadlift to mid-shin followed by a pause. Try 3-5 sets of 1-3 reps (3-8 second holds) with near maximum weights.

Eric Bach is a highly sought-after strength and conditioning coach, located in Colorado. Eric specializes in helping athletes and online clients achieve optimal performance in the gym and on the playing field. Follow Eric Bach on Facebook