Exercise Detail:  2ct Pause Bench
by Mike Tuchscherer, August 15, 2017

I’d like to do a little series on various exercises where we really expand on the usefulness of certain movements. I don’t think this will be an every-week thing, but rather a “from time to time” thing.

This week, I’d like to discuss the 2ct Pause Bench. Any sort of long-pause bench is going to train the bottom of the bench. That much is surely obvious. But what specifically is the 2ct Pause Bench good for? In my experience, it’s best suited for those lifters who either can’t get the weight moving off the chest at all, or those who squish when they start to drive the weight up.

AP1_2816If you can’t get the weight moving off your chest at all, then the isometric contraction in a 2ct Pause Bench will help develop strength in this position. A 2ct pause will get you higher tension (more weight) than a 3ct pause, but less overall work. So deciding how long to pause depends on the lifter and the phase of training.  You can think of shorter pauses as being more “intensity” focused and longer pauses as being more “volume” focused.

If you start to drive the weight off the chest and your chest mushes down (aka squish), then the 2ct Pause Bench can help you learn to maintain a tighter, more stable position. This will ensure you’re transferring force into the barbell more efficiently.

If you’re able to get the bar moving off the chest without squishing, then the 2ct Pause Bench can still help you, but there also may be better choices out there. The 2ct Pause Bench is an Assistance lift (SDE in the Bondarchuk classification system), so we’re focusing on training movements, not muscles.

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About the Author
Mike Tuchscherer is the owner and head coach at RTS. He has been powerlifting since 2001 and since has traveled all over the world for competitions. In 2009, he was the first man from USA powerlifting to win a gold medal at the World Games – the highest possible achievement in powerlifting. He has coached over a dozen competitors at the world championships, a score of national champions, and multiple world record holders.