Improve your Bench press with the Pin Press..

What is the Bench Pin Press?

The Bench Pin Press is an excellent exercise variation that can help to improve your maximum load on a standard Barbell Bench Press by addressing how much power you can generate from the bottom of the movement.

The exercise is set up the same as a standard Bench Press but with safety bars set at the bttom of your range for the exercise. When performing the lift, you lower the bar down to the pins and stop completely for a few seconds, before pushing back up to the start.

What are the benefits of the Bench Pin Press?

The main benefit of the Bench Pin Press is that it helps to build strength and power at the weakest part of the movement. This is because pushing up from a dead-stop position forces the muscles to generate power without the support of as much elastic energy as you normally use when lifting.

Elastic energy is the build-up of energy stored in tendons and muscles as they are stretched through the eccentric phase of an exercise, which is used to exert force in the concentric phase. The longer you pause on the pins, the more elastic energy is reduced, with a 4 second pause necessary to eliminate the majority of it.

For most people, the weakest part of the movement is at the very bottom of the Bench Press, but you can set the height of the pins to the point at which you struggle most, to address your personal sticking point.

Since the bar starts from a controlled, dead-stop, the exercise also helps to build strength and stability in the core muscles as well as in the muscles that stabilise the movement, namely the scapular stabilisers and rotator cuffs.

This is also a great exercise for anyone who likes to train to failure, since it’s easy to drop the bar back onto the safety pins on any failed rep.

Which muscles are worked with the Pin Press?

Pecs, Deltoids, Triceps, Scapular Stabilisers, Core.

To perform the Bench Pin Press…

Set up in a rack with the safety pins set at the lowest point of your Bench Press range (or at the point you feel you need to focus on);

Lie down on the bench and position yourself as you would for a regular Bench Press – feet set slightly back from the knees, pushing into the ground and hips pushed into the bench;

Unrack the bar and pull it over the chest; brace your core, retract your shoulder blades to engage your lats and bring the bar down to the pins as controlled as possible;

Stop the bar on the pins for 1-4 seconds to minimise the stretch reflex in the muscles; then push the bar back up as explosively as possible, fully extending your arms at the top.

Repeat for the desired number of repetitions – we recommend 3-8 reps for 3-5 sets.

How is the Bench Pin Press different to the Paused Bench Press

The Bench Pin Press is similar to a Paused Bench Press but the use of the bar to control the stop makes it more effective at reducing the store of elastic energy in the tendons and muscles. On the other hand, the Paused Bench Press is useful for increasing the time under tension for the muscles, making it a more effective variation for hypertrophy.

Training variation is key to making progress so we would always recommend trying different exercise variations, such as the Bench Pin Press and Paused Bench Press, throughout your training year.

Give the Bench Pin Press a try!

Add this into your programme for a phase or two and you should find your Bench Press feels stronger, more powerful and more controlled as a result! Let us know how you get on…

If you liked this, why not check out some of our other upper body exercise breakdowns, such as The Hex Press, or Gorilla Rows!