Studies show that force production and muscle activation decrease in the second half of the positive portion of a bench press rep. This is due to the fact that the vast majority of reps performed during training are aided by momentum during the second half of the press. Therefore, during a max bench, many people get stuck at the halfway point since they’re not used to producing more force in the second half. Use exercises like board presses or triceps isolation movements to improve the second half of your bench press and increase your max!
Source: Elliott, B. C., Wilson, G. J., & Kerr, G. K. (1989). A biomechanical analysis of the sticking region in the bench press. Medicine & Science in Sports & Exercise, 21(4), 450-462
From being a mediocre athlete, to professional powerlifter and strength coach, and now to researcher and writer, Charlie combines education and experience in the effort to help Bridge the Gap Between Science and Application. Charlie performs double duty by being the Content Manager for The Muscle PhD as well as the Director of Human Performance at the Applied Science and Performance Institute in Tampa, FL. To appease the nerds, Charlie is a PhD candidate in Human Performance with a master’s degree in Kinesiology and a bachelor’s degree in Exercise Science. For more alphabet soup, Charlie is also a Certified Strength and Conditioning Specialist (CSCS), an ACSM-certified Exercise Physiologist (ACSM-EP), and a USA Weightlifting-certified performance coach (USAW).