Is the occurrence of the sticking region the result of diminishing potentiation in bench press?

J Sports Sci. 2012;30(6):591-9. doi: 10.1080/02640414.2012.658844. Epub 2012 Feb 3.


In this study we investigated if the occurrence of the sticking region was a result of diminishing potentiation (coinciding delayed muscle activation) or the result of a mechanically poor region in which the muscles can produce less force. A regular one-repetition maximum (1RM) free-weight bench press was compared with isometric bench presses performed at 12 different positions. A lower force at the sticking region compared to the other regions in the isometric bench presses would confirm the mechanically-poor-position hypothesis. Twelve resistance-trained males (age 21.7 ± 1.3 years, mass 78 ± 5.8 kg, height 1.81 ± 0.05 m) were tested in 1RM and in isometric contractions in bench press in 12 different positions, indicated by the vertical distance between barbell and sternum, covering the whole range of motion during the concentric phase. Barbell kinematics and muscle activity were registered. In both types of executions a region of lower force output was observed, which supports the mechanically-poor-position hypothesis. Electromyographic activity of four muscles showed the same pattern in the isometric and 1RM attempts. It was concluded that diminishing effect potentiation could not explain the existence of the sticking region.

Publication types

  • Comparative Study

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Biomechanical Phenomena
  • Electromyography
  • Humans
  • Isometric Contraction*
  • Male
  • Muscle Contraction*
  • Muscle Strength*
  • Muscle, Skeletal*
  • Resistance Training*
  • Task Performance and Analysis*
  • Weight Lifting*
  • Young Adult