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Gym Shorts: The Spoto Bench Press

New to the spoto bench press or looking for a quick technique tutorial? Learn correct form in one short video.

The Spoto Bench Press

Gym Shorts videos provide short video demonstrations of correct form for various exercises.

Follow these steps:

  • Set up like normal bench press
  • Spotter when possible
  • Legs pushing into shoulders
  • Bar starts directly over shoulders
  • Pause 1-2″ off chest
  • Hold bar motionless
  • Slow & controlled descent
  • Press back
  • Stay tight & hold your breath
  • 1 full second pause
  • Gaze fixed on ceiling
  • Rack bar with straight elbows

The spoto bench press is a bench press supplemental lift that incorporates a pause above the normal bottom position, which both adds time under tension and stresses the sticking point for many lifters’ bench presses.

This lift is named after Eric Spoto, world record holder for the bench press. He noticed that many lifters overrely on the rebound off the chest. This variation not only eliminates the stretch reflex, but also eliminates what great competition bench pressers do, which is use leg drive to help throw the bar up off the chest. The hover off the chest prevents the use of a throw & stretch reflex off the chest.

The spoto bench press increases the volume as opposed to the intensity. Although the range of motion is decreased, the lifter has to hold the bar motionless off the chest–increasing the time under tension–and, as mentioned above, cannot use his legs or the stretch reflex to help begin the lift.

The hover point coincides with the sticking point for many lifters, where the pecs essentially hand off the primary responsibility of moving the bar to the triceps.

While this helps with the lockout more than the bottom position, it’s primary focus is the sticking point, especially for competitive bench pressers (those who compete in powerlifting).

We recommend programming this similarly to the bench press, with reps in the 2-8 range primarily, and suggest only intermediate or advanced lifters add this lift to their program.

Click HERE to learn about programming for your bench press and HERE to learn about our favorite bench press variations.

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