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The sticking point in the bench press, the squat, and the deadlift: similarities and differences, and their significance for research and practice

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Justin Kompf, Ognjen Arandelovic

School/Research organisations


Since it was first observed and especially so in recent years, the phenomenon of the so-called "sticking point" in resistance training has attracted a substantial amount of sports and exercise science research. Broadly speaking the sticking point is understood as the position in the range-of-motion of a lift at which a disproportionately large increase in the difficulty to continue the lift is experienced. Hence the sticking point is inherently the performance bottleneck and is also associated with an increased chance of exercise form deterioration or breakdown. Understanding the aspects of lifting performance which should be analysed in order to pinpoint the cause of a specific sticking point and therefore devise an effective training strategy to overcome it, is of pervasive importance to strength practitioners and instrumental for the avoidance of injury and continued progress. In this paper we survey a range of physiological and biomechanical mechanisms which contribute to the development of sticking points, and led by this insight review and analyse the findings of the existing observational research on the occurrence of sticking points in three ubiquitous exercises: the bench press, the squat, and the deadlift. The findings of our analysis should be used to inform future research and current resistance training practice.


Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)631-640
Number of pages10
JournalSports Medicine
Issue number4
Early online date6 Sep 2016
Publication statusPublished - Apr 2017

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