Fatigue effects on bar kinematics during the bench press

Michael J. Duffey, John H. Challis

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42 Scopus citations


Duffey, M.J., and J.H. Challis. Fatigue effects on bar kinematics during the bench press. J. Strength Cond. Res. 21(2): 556-560. 2007. - The bench press is one of the most popular weight training exercises. Although most training regimens incorporate multiple repetition sets, there are few data describing how the kinematics of a lift change during a set to failure. To examine these changes, recreational lifters (10 men and 8 women) were recruited. The maximum weight each subject could bench press (1RM) was determined. Subjects then performed as many repetitions as possible at 75% of the 1RM load. Three-dimensional kinematic data were recorded and analyzed for all lifts. Statistical analysis revealed that differences between maximal and submaximal lifts and the kinematics of a submaximal lift change as a subject approaches failure in a set. The time to lift the bar more than doubled from the first to the last repetition, causing a decrease in both mean and peak upward velocity. Furthermore, the peak upward velocity occurred much earlier in the lift phase in these later repetitions. The path the bar followed also changed, with subjects keeping the bar more directly over the shoulder during the lift. In general, most of the kinematic variables analyzed became more similar to those of the maximal lift as the subjects progressed through the set, but there was considerable variation between subjects as to which repetition was most like the maximal lift. This study shows that there are definite changes in the lifting kinematics in recreational lifters during a set to failure and suggests it may be particularly important for coaches and less-skilled lifters to focus on developing the proper bar path, rather than reaching momentary muscular failure, in the early part of a training program.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)556-560
Number of pages5
JournalJournal of strength and conditioning research
Issue number2
StatePublished - May 2007

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Orthopedics and Sports Medicine
  • Physical Therapy, Sports Therapy and Rehabilitation


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