The purpose of this study was to examine muscle activity and three-dimensional kinematics in the ascending phase of a successful one-repetition maximum attempt in bench press for 12 recreational weight-training athletes, with special attention to the sticking period. The sticking period was defined as the first period of deceleration of the upward movement (i.e. from the highest barbell velocity until the first local lowest barbell velocity). All participants showed a sticking period during the upward movement that started about 0.2 s after the initial upward movement, and lasted about 0.9 s. Electromyography revealed that the muscle activity of the prime movers changed significantly from the pre-sticking to the sticking and post-sticking periods. A possible mechanism for the existence of the sticking period is the diminishing potentiation of the contractile elements during the upward movement together with the limited activity of the pectoral and deltoid muscles during this period.