The purpose of this study was to compare the kinematics and muscle activation patterns of regular free-weight bench press (counter movement) with pure concentric lifts in the ascending phase of a successful one repetition maximum (1-RM) attempt in the bench press. Our aim was to evaluate if diminishing potentiation could be the cause of the sticking region. Since diminishing potentiation cannot occur in pure concentric lifts, the occurrence of a sticking region in this type of muscle actions would support the hypothesis that the sticking region is due to a poor mechanical position. Eleven male participants (age 21.9 ~ 1.7 yrs, body mass 80.7 ~ 10.9 kg, body height 1.79 ~ 0.07 m) conducted 1-RM lifts in counter movement and in pure concentric bench presses in which kinematics and EMG activity were measured. In both conditions, a sticking region occurred. However, the start of the sticking region was different between the two bench presses. In addition, in four of six muscles, the muscle activity was higher in the counter movement bench press compared to the concentric one. Considering the findings of the muscle activity of six muscles during the maximal lifts it was concluded that the diminishing effect of force potentiation, which occurs in the counter movement bench press, in combination with a delayed muscle activation unlikely explains the existence of the sticking region in a 1-RM bench press. Most likely, the sticking region is the result of a poor mechanical force position.
Financed by the National Centre for Research and Development under grant No. SP/I/1/77065/10 by the strategic scientific research and experimental development program:
SYNAT - “Interdisciplinary System for Interactive Scientific and Scientific-Technical Information”.