Power Racks are great tools to build muscle and strength and work really well when training past sticking points. Consisting of four vertical bars with holes every one inch or so, they are joined at both the top and bottom by a base. They are used with a barbell, which moves freely within the cage and is limited by a set of four pins. This enables the trainee to work through different zones of a lift, or exercise, to increase the weight used in that zone, and eventually, the entire range of motion. since the barbell is limited to the area where the pins are set, lifts that once required a spotter now can be done while training alone.
Now maximum weights can be used in the bench press, squats and others safely. The sticking point in the bench press is usually at the mid-point of the lift where the smaller triceps muscles take over much of the pressing power from the larger pecs. This severely limits the weight that can be used in the bench press, which holds back progress in the lift overall and pec development.
To use the power rack to defeat the sticking point set the lower pins at the beginning of the lift's mid-point and the top pins at the point just prior to lockout. Load the barbell with a weight that leads to failure at 4-6 reps. On each rep, press the bar until it contacts the top pins, pressing as hard as you can for 10 seconds before lowering the bar. Repeat for six reps. Change the pins to isolate the range of motion to the top third of the lift. Do six reps the same way you did in the mid-zone. Change the pins to the beginning third of the lift and do six reps in the same way.
Use maximum weights in each zone, changing the level of resistance as fatigue sets in to allow completion of six reps to failure. The workout looks like this:
- Middle zone-1x6
- Top Zone-1x6
- Bottom zone-1x6
- Pay particular attention to increasing weight on the middle and top zones.