PTTP for an explosive Bench

Philippe Geoffrion

More than 500 posts
Hopefully this message reaches Pavel, as it is an inquiry based on his writings but anyone who wishes, please chime in. From PTTP, one of the principles of strength is tension. A no brainer for most of us here, that tension is a key to maximal strength. Tension translates to lifting slowly, as explained in PTTP. Now, I am currently planning to utilize a PTTP style cycle for my bench press, however the issue is I utilize the explosive Russian bench technique as described in PTTP Professional. I presume PTTP will also work for this style lift, as a lot of Russian bench programs include high frequency bench pressing and from my understanding of the book, a lot of Russian lifters also use the explosive push-press style bench technique. Of course the descent and ascent require "some" tension, but it is definitely stated in the textbook the descent should be "loose" and the ascent explosive. This defies the PTTP principle of tension, which I don't necessarily have an issue with as this bench style has definitely been great for me. I'm just weary of how I should train it in PTTP style of lifting. Pavel also states how grinders have an unfair advantage over exploders due to the CNS fatigue, as explosive lifting will drain your adrenal glands over time. I'm mostly overthinking (happens all the time)but I just want to have this straight in my head and would love the thoughts and/or advice of others in the forum. So all in all, I wish to practice GTG with the explosive bench technique but am experiencing some dissonance in how to make it happen. Any thoughts welcome!
 
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Philippe Geoffrion

More than 500 posts
@Geoff Chafe Yes, it is very leg driven. Here's a video (sorry for this loud music...not my choice)


By the way. Funny because I was just about to comment on your last bench press forum post. Do you utilize a close grip Geoff?
 

Steve Freides

Forum Administrator
Staff member
Senior Certified Instructor
@Philippe Geoffrion, a few comments from me.

Regarding the music on the video - the music is OK, the words are not. Next time, please remove the audio from your YouTube before posting, turn the music off before you start to video, or deal with this some other way.

Regarding your BP technique, without a distinct pause on your chest, your technique will not be legal in a powerlifting competition. It is possible to learn to explode after that pause and without violating PL rules but it is a skill that must be learned and practiced.

Also, some PL federations, including IPF/USAPL, require your feet to be flat on the ground.

-S-
 

kennycro@@aol.com

Quadruple-Digit Post Count
I wish to practice GTG with the explosive bench technique but am experiencing some dissonance in how to make it happen. Any thoughts welcome!
Explosive Bench Press Training

1) Power: Increasing Power is best accomplished with load of 48 - 62% of your 1 Repetition Max. However, the Power at the mid to end of range of the movement decreases; you learn to slow down.

"The National Strength and Conditioning Association's Basic Guidelines for the Resistance Training of Athletes states that "performing speed repetitions as fast as possible with light weights (e.g., 30-45% of 1RM) in exercises in which the bar is held on to and must be decelerated at the end of the joint's range of motion (e.g., bench press) to protect the joint does not produce power or speed training but rather teaches the body how to decelerate, or slow down. Source: Plyometric bench training for 1rm increases."

To ensure Power is maintain more through the full range of the Bench Press, attaching Band or Chains (Accommodating Resistance) is necessary. It allows you to continue to develop and maintain Power.

b) Touch And Go Bench Press Training: This falls into "Explosive-Reactive" Training (Verkhoshansky). This method allows you to develop more Power off the chest; developing the Stretch Reflex. The Stretch Reflex can increase Power Output by up to 18%.

Dr Tom McLaughlin (PhD Exercise Biomechanics/former Powerlifter) research article that was more detailed in his book, Bench Press More Now provided more in depth information.

McLaughlin stated that Touch and Go "Stretch Reflex" Bench Press was a vital training component for the Competition Bench Press

c) Research (Wilson) determine that when the bar is paused, the Stretch Reflex can last up to 4 seconds. However, the Stretch Reflex quickly dissipates; 50% of the Stretch Reflex is lost in 1 seconds. Source: Supertraining/Siff and Verkhoshansky.

d) The only way to develop the Stretch Reflex is by performing Touch and Go Bench Presses.

e) Thus, Touch and Go Bench Press Training for a Competition Paused Bench Press still has some carry over.

2) Paused Explosive Training: This falls into the category of, "Isometric Explosive" Training(Verkhoshansky) . An explosive movement is performed after pausing for longer than 4 seconds; which kills the Stretch Reflex.

Paused Explosive Training is an effective method that elicits a slightly different training effect. The downside is that it does not develop the Stretch Reflex.

Competition Bench Press Training

One of the keys to optimizing your Bench Press Max is to minimize the amount of time that the bar sit on your chests. As noted above, the Stretch Reflex last up to 4 seconds. However, it dissipates quickly, 50% is lost in 1 seconds.

Thus, the faster you get the bar off your chest, the more of the Stretch Reflex you have to drive the bar up. To accomplish that, you need to practice the Competition Paused Bench Press; having your training partner give you the "Press Signal".

The objective of this drill is to practice anticipating the "Press Signal". That is one of the things great Bench Pressers do.

One of the greater Bench Pressers of the 1980's who did this was Doug Young. Young would anticipate the "Press Signal". In doing so, Young began pressing the weight a millisecond after the "Press Signal".

Sometimes Young jumped the gun, pressing a split second before the "Press Signal" for no lift.

Young jumped the gun on a 589 lb Bench (in a T-Shirt) at one meet. Young then called for 611 lbs. Young drove up 611 lbs a millisecond after the "Press Signal" for a World Record.

When To Anticipate The "Press Signal At A Meet

1) This protocol should only be used on your third attempt, going for a personal record.

2) On a first attempt, start with a low weight that is easy and allows you to only press the weight after you are given the "Press Signal".

Kenny Croxdale
 

Philippe Geoffrion

More than 500 posts
@Steve Freides -Thanks for your response Steve. Yes, my apologies for not taking care of that before posting. When possible, I train with no music. But others in the gym like to play their tunes, and I have to respect that. When at home, I'll put on something like Boz Scaggs' "Silk Degrees" and enjoy it like fine wine. The audio has been removed and I will ensure I do not post again without editing a video for appropriate content. Yes, I am currently not training for a meet, so I have neglected the pause but I will utilize it in this upcoming cycle. My fed (USPA) does allow the heels up bench technique, however if I do compete IPF, I will be sure to practice heels down.

As far as the PTTP practice of this bench style, would you recommend one still practice it slow? I find it much easier to focus on details when a lift is supposed to be performed fast, much like playing a new musical passage on the guitar. However, I wonder if practicing it slowly to perfect the descent would have adverse consequences to translating to the actual lift when performed full speed

@kennycro@@aol.com Lots of awesome data here, as always. would CAT still be applicable to GTG style training? I should get this book. Didn't McLaughlin also reference Mike bridges as an example of non acceleratory training comparing his World Record bench of 446 lbs bench in 1979 to his 386 lbs bench the year prior showing the acceleration as .4 m/second in the world record vs. 1.7 m/second the prior year? (Pavel PTTP Pro) there is a video of Mike bridges teaching the bench press below here, and it seems he uses a sink and leg drive technique so I am curious as to the acceleration discrepancy in lifts. The bench, as you stated, makes use of the stretch reflex, and for a pure grind presser it makes sense to move more slowly, however seeing his press which is moderate speed but definitely uses leg drive confuses me about the acceleration topic. Curious to your thoughts on this.


Press @ 24:00 minutes
 
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kennycro@@aol.com

Quadruple-Digit Post Count
would CAT still be applicable to GTG style training?
Compensatory Accelearation Training, CAT

This method by Dr Hatfield should be applied to all movement. The "Intent to move heavy loads", even at a slower speed engages and develop the "Super" Fast Type IIb/x and Fast Type IIa Muscle Fiber.

The nervous system is also trained to increase more motor units and to increase motor unit synchronization.

Think of it like a...

Tug of War

You have all of you team members pulling on the rope at the same time, rather than just some of them.

You also have all of your have all you team pulling on the rope at the same time. Pulling all that the same time, produces more force than if team members are pulling at different time, not together.

The Load Issue

However, if the load is too light, Power is only developed in the first part of the movement rather than the whole movement.

With a light to moderate load, the bar will decelerate (decrease in power) at the mid to end point of the movement; meaning you learn to go slower.

Resolving The Deceleration Issue

1) Accommodating Resistance: Attaching Bands and or Chain to the bar in an Ascending Strength Curve Movement takes care of this.

2) Ballistic Training: Throwing the bar or jumping with the bar will ensure power is maintained through the complete range of the movement in an Ascending Strength Curve Movement.

for a pure grind presser it makes sense to move more slowly,
Grinding The Lift Out

You are going to have to grind out any true max effort Bench Press, any max lift. It takes a few seconds or so to complete a max effort Bench Press.

In the world of sports, any movement over 300 milliseconds is slow.

The point of "Speed Training (a misnomer, it is "POWER Training) is to increase your momentum going through you sticking point.

The Mud Hole Analogy, Again

In driving your car into a mud hole, which method would ensure your changes of getting through it?

1) Increasing your speed before hit the mud hole.

2) Driving your car into the mud hole, stopping then trying to "Grind" it out by moving more slowly.

...seeing his press which is moderate speed but definitely uses leg drive confuses me about the acceleration topic.
That Statement Confuses Me

All good and great Benchers use leg drive to initiate drive and maintain acceleration.

Sinking The Bar

This helps to increase drive off the chest, increase momentum.

However, it is a gray area. Too much amounts to "Heaving"; the Bench is disqualified but if it's effectively performed, it will pass.

Let me add something else...

The Tonic Neck Reflex

Driving you head into the Bench Press to drive the weight up increases force production.

What many heavy weight lifter do, providing the lifting organization allows it, is lift their head up as as the bar come down; a cocking movement.

When the bar reaches the chest, the lifter then drives his head into the bench; this generates even more force in driving the weight off the chest, providing it is preformed correctly; practice is the key.

Kenny Croxdale
 

Philippe Geoffrion

More than 500 posts
Compensatory Accelearation Training, CAT

This method by Dr Hatfield should be applied to all movement. The "Intent to move heavy loads", even at a slower speed engages and develop the "Super" Fast Type IIb/x and Fast Type IIa Muscle Fiber.

The nervous system is also trained to increase more motor units and to increase motor unit synchronization.

Think of it like a...

Tug of War

You have all of you team members pulling on the rope at the same time, rather than just some of them.

You also have all of your have all you team pulling on the rope at the same time. Pulling all that the same time, produces more force than if team members are pulling at different time, not together.

The Load Issue

However, if the load is too light, Power is only developed in the first part of the movement rather than the whole movement.

With a light to moderate load, the bar will decelerate (decrease in power) at the mid to end point of the movement; meaning you learn to go slower.

Resolving The Deceleration Issue

1) Accommodating Resistance: Attaching Bands and or Chain to the bar in an Ascending Strength Curve Movement takes care of this.

2) Ballistic Training: Throwing the bar or jumping with the bar will ensure power is maintained through the complete range of the movement in an Ascending Strength Curve Movement.



Grinding The Lift Out

You are going to have to grind out any true max effort Bench Press, any max lift. It takes a few seconds or so to complete a max effort Bench Press.

In the world of sports, any movement over 300 milliseconds is slow.

The point of "Speed Training (a misnomer, it is "POWER Training) is to increase your momentum going through you sticking point.

The Mud Hole Analogy, Again

In driving your car into a mud hole, which method would ensure your changes of getting through it?

1) Increasing your speed before hit the mud hole.

2) Driving your car into the mud hole, stopping then trying to "Grind" it out by moving more slowly.



That Statement Confuses Me

All good and great Benchers use leg drive to initiate drive and maintain acceleration.

Sinking The Bar

This helps to increase drive off the chest, increase momentum.

However, it is a gray area. Too much amounts to "Heaving"; the Bench is disqualified but if it's effectively performed, it will pass.

Let me add something else...

The Tonic Neck Reflex

Driving you head into the Bench Press to drive the weight up increases force production.

What many heavy weight lifter do, providing the lifting organization allows it, is lift their head up as as the bar come down; a cocking movement.

When the bar reaches the chest, the lifter then drives his head into the bench; this generates even more force in driving the weight off the chest, providing it is preformed correctly; practice is the key.

Kenny Croxdale
Awesome info. Thank you @kennycro@@aol.com for always providing excellent data. The tonic neck reflex is probably why I've found slightly lifting my head at the bottom of the bench, then jamming it back at the press command helpful in jolting the bar up.
 

kennycro@@aol.com

Quadruple-Digit Post Count
The tonic neck reflex is probably why I've found slightly lifting my head at the bottom of the bench, then jamming it back at the press command helpful in jolting the bar up.
Tonic Neck Reflex

Some individual naturally lift the head then drive it into the bench prior to "Lift off", like you.

Individual, like myself, have to focus on it, it is not a natural movement. It initially doesn't feel natural. So, the key for individuals that it doesn't feel natural for is...

Practice

In working with one guy, he kept complaining that it didn't feel right.

My reply was, "Keep doing it until it does feel right." The more you do something the more comfortable you become with it, the more natural it feels.

Back Arch

Driving your head down into the bench from a lifted position will slight increase your back arch. The slight back arch positions you in a slightly more decline bench position; you can decline more than you flat bench.

Also, the slight arch drive the chest up slightly, generating a little more momentum. It is somewhat like when you are on you back in Judo and someone is on top of you. You are taught to arch up to get them off you; only in this case you are arching up to get the bar off your chest.

A little arching up during a Competition Bench is okay; too much is "Heaving", the lift is disqualified.

Leg Drive

Chad Wesley Smith provides some good information on Leg Drive. Chad maintains some tension rather than maximum tension on the legs during the eccentric part of the Bench Press.

The legs are flexed during the concentric "Lift off", when you initiate the breaking the bar off the chest.

As with in the Tug of War, you want the whole team of muscles all pulling (pushing in the Bench Press) at the same time.


Smith provide some great information in the above video on how to increase your Bench Press.

Kenny Croxdale
 

Philippe Geoffrion

More than 500 posts
@kennycro@@aol.com

Once again, really loving this data and analysis. It's odd how so many little tweaks to technique can make such a big difference. The bench is the most technical lift for me and also my weakest of the three, so trying to find my best form has been a challenge. Descend slow or fast, max arch vs less arch/more leg drive. I've found a faster descent seems to help me absorb the weight better through my legs and lats but is harder to control. When I really let it down fast, it seems like winding up for a jump, so off the chest is very explosive. I've been doing reps more slowly, and it feels tougher. There is not so much explosion, and you hold the weight for quite a bit longer, but the bar path is consistent, and the weight moves at a consistent speed. I think with the lifting head up technique, it became natural after my labrum/pec tear as I overdid this technique in the beginning to reduce, shoulder flexion demands. The sacrifice was my upper back position would be compromised. However, I learned over time to keep that position, and just raise the head up. It allows the bar to sink into the rib cage a bit, and as I press my head back and initiate leg drive, the bar almost flings itself up the first few inches almost on its own.

The bench press has been my biggest pursuit of the powerlifts as of late, and a lot of this info has been very beneficial. Thank you to all who have shared!
 

kennycro@@aol.com

Quadruple-Digit Post Count
I've found a faster descent seems to help me absorb the weight better through my legs and lats but is harder to control. When I really let it down fast, it seems like winding up for a jump, so off the chest is very explosive.

Heavy Loads with Fast Eccentric Speed

Lowering the a heavy weight quickly in a Bench Press, any lift, magnifies the bar beyond its true load.

Research by Dr Tom McLaughlin (PhD Exercise Biomechanics/ former Powerlifter) examined the differences between Elite Bench Pressers and Novice/Intermediate Bench Pressers.

McLaughlin found Elite Lifters lower the bar slower in a Heavy Bench; Novice/Intermediate Lifter lowered the bar much faster. As McLaughlin put it...

"Speed Kills"

1) Fast Eccentric:
Novice/Intermediate Lifters who lowered the bar faster magnified the bar weight 149%.

300 lb Fast Eccentric Bench Press Example

That means a lifter lowing the bar too fast would encounter 447 lbs of force (300 lbs X 149%), when the bar touched the chest.

2) Slow Eccentric: Elite Lifters who lowered the bar slower increased the bar weight to a lesser degree. The bar load was magnified 112%.

300 lb Slow Eccentric Bench Press Example

That means a lifter lowing the bar slower encounter 336 lbs of force (300 lbs X 112%), when the bar touched the chest.

As someone once said, ...

Jumping Out of A 5 Story Building Won't Kill You, ...

it is the sudden stop you need to worry about!

That has to do with Newton's Second Law: Force = Mass X Acceleration.

As an example, a 10 lb medicine ball dropped 42 inches will have an impact force of 90 lbs. Source: Plyometric bench training for 1rm increases

With that said, let's look at...

When To Employ Fast Eccentric Bench Press Training

1) Speed Bench Pressing: Speed Training involves using loads of 10 - 40% of your 1 Repetition Max.

Allowing a Fast Eccentric with Speed Training develop the Stretch Reflex.

2) Power Bench Press Training: Power involves using load of 48 - 62% of your 1 Repetition Max.

Allowing a Faster Eccentric with Power Training develops the Stretch Reflex.

The Issue of Speed and Power Bench Pressing Training

With either of these method, both Speed and Power decrease around the mid point to lockout. That because if you didn't, you'd get somewhat of a whiplash effect at the end of the movement.

Maintaining Speed and Power Through The Entire Bench Press

1) Going Ballistic: The Bench Press Bar must be launched into the air. Doing so ensures Speed and Power are maintained through the full range of the movement.

Performing Bench Press Throws in a Smith Machine with the Safety Tier ensures safety.

2) Accommodating Resistance: Attaching Bands or chains to the Bench Press Bar enables you to maintain Speed and Power.

Heavy Touch and Go Benches

There is a slight deviation when preforming Heavy Touch and Go Benches. This applies to the Squat, any other lift, as well.

1) In a Heavy Touch and Go Bench, lower the bar slowly until the bar is a couple of inches off your chest. This decreases the amount of force you will need to deal with in coming off the chest.

2) Once the bar is a couple of inches off your chest, allow eccentric bar speed to increase prior to your Touch and Go.

Doing so, triggers the Stretch Reflex; allowing you to develop the Stretch Reflex and drive more weight off the chest.

Summary

1) Heavy Fast Eccentric Benching: This is counter productive. It magnifies the bar weight beyond a lifter's capacity.

2) Lowering a Heavy Bench Press slower ensure the reversal force needed to drive the bar back up is within reason.

3) Speed and Power Fast Eccentric Training: This method is effective in developing the Stretch Reflex, providing it is performed correctly.

Kenny Croxdale
 
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