Does Your Lockout Need Help?

In this video, Matt and Rachel Reynolds fix your bench press lockout with numerous bench press accessory exercises including the pin bench press, board press, bench press with bands and Mark Bell’s Sling Shot for bench press.

If you notice that everything seems to be going smoothly during a bench press rep, and suddenly, the last 4-6 inches in the range of motion becomes very difficult, you’re not alone! You’ve encountered, what we call, “no man’s land.” To blast through this sticking point, you might want to try some of the accessories taught in the video above.

How to Pin Bench Press

Set the safety pins in the rack right at your sticking point, which should be 2-4 inches above your chest. The key here is to lower the bar slowly, until it lightly touches the pins, while keeping all the weight of the bar in your hands. Use the pins as a guide for where to pause, but don’t allow the pins to accept any weight. Stay tight!

How to Board Press

The TUBOW (Terribly Useful Block of Wood) is back for this assistance exercise! You’ll need a few people to help you with this lift – one person holds the board on your chest at the same angle as your chest cavity. Another person spots and helps you with the lift-off and re-rack. This is one disadvantage of the board press – especially if you lift alone in your awesome home gym.

Alternatively, you can use a bench pad such as this one from Elite FTS, which stays wrapped around the bar. In this case, you don’t need an additional person to hold the board on your chest.

How to Use Mark Bell’s Sling Shot

The Sling Shot is a giant piece of elastic that takes some of the load of the bar when you touch your chest, and de-loads as you get closer to the lockout. When you wear the Sling Shot, make sure your elbows are just below the seam, but not coming out the bottom.

The key for this exercise is to have a spotter – the extra tension of the Sling Shot across the chest increases the difficulty of unracking the bar by yourself. If you have to lift alone, make sure the safety pins are set up just in case.

How to Bench Press with Bands

In a previous video, we explained how to use chains for bench press — benching with bands is a similar exercise. This also uses the concept of accommodating resistance – it works the entire strength curve. As you lower the barbell, the bands stretch less and less, reducing some of the resistance, and as you press up towards the lockout, the bands increase resistance, challenging the lifter at the lockout.

For more bench press lockout help, check out our video on how to floor press!

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