When it comes to building muscle and strength, barbell lifts are the way to go. They’re tried and true exercises that have stood the test of time and continue to be effective to this day. Whether you’re looking to work on your upper body with the bench press, build massive legs with squats, or strengthen your legs, hips, and back with deadlifts, these exercises are sure to deliver results. And the best part is, there are so many variations of these exercises that you’ll never get bored.
But when it comes to developing incredible pressing strength, nothing beats the flat bench press. It targets your triceps, chest, and shoulders all at once, making it one of the most efficient exercises out there. However, in order to really make the most of the bench press, you need to learn how to get tight. Any loss of tightness is a loss of tension, which can inhibit your ability to move the barbell as forcefully as possible.
This is where the Spoto Press comes in. This exercise teaches you how to get tight, and it’s all about levitating the weight over your chest in open air. Because of this, you have to stay tight, commanding complete control of the barbell and maximizing muscular tension. This is key to eliciting hypertrophy, which is the process of building muscle.
In short, the Spoto Press is an essential exercise for anyone looking to build muscle and strength. It maximizes muscular tension and teaches you how to get tight, which is essential for making the most of your bench press. Give it a try and see how it can help you take your pressing strength to new heights.
What Is Spoto Press: Origin
The Spoto Press is an exercise named after former world-record holder and one of the best benchers of all time, Eric Spoto. He set the all-time world record for the raw bench press with a weight of 722lbs, which still stands as one of the best results in the world.
The exercise is known for its focus on tightness and control, as well as its ability to maximize muscular tension. The Spoto Press involves lowering the barbell to the point where it’s almost touching the chest, pausing there, and then pressing the barbell back up.
This creates a huge demand on the central nervous system and requires a large amount of force to get the bar moving off the chest. The exercise has grown in popularity and is now commonly used in many bodybuilding training programs.
The Spoto Press is a great exercise for increasing muscle tension and targeting specific muscle groups. However, because of the increased time under tension, it’s important to note that you will not be able to lift as much weight as you would be able to if you were pausing the barbell on your chest.
For powerlifting, it is recommended to keep this movement in the 1-3 rep range to focus on maximum strength, and for hypertrophy, it is better to do it in the 5-6 rep range to focus on muscle growth.
How To Do Spoto Press
Here’s how to do the Spoto Press:
- Start by lying on a flat bench with your feet flat on the ground and your eyes under the barbell.
- Take the barbell out of the rack and hold it at arm’s length above your chest, with your elbows tucked in.
- Slowly lower the barbell towards your chest, keeping your elbows tucked in. Take your time and find the spot where you feel the strongest, and stop there.
- Pause for a second or two at the bottom at about 1-2″ off chest, and then press the barbell back up. Remember to keep your chest and abs tight throughout the movement.
- Keep in mind that the Spoto press is not a half-press. You should almost touch the bottom of your chest. Make sure your wrists are aligned with your elbows to avoid injury.
Spoto Press Pro Tips
- When you’re doing the Spoto press correctly, you should feel your back and lats activated.
- Use leg drive to engage your pecs, lats, shoulders, and triceps throughout the movement.
- Eric Spoto recommends keeping your elbows tucked until at least halfway through the press. Experiment and discover what works best for you.
- The speed at which you lift is not set in stone, so do what feels safe and comfortable. But to get the most out of this lift, lower the weight slowly in a controlled manner.
- Remember to stay tight and use heavy enough weight to perform around 2 to 5 reps. Your goal is to gradually build up both muscle endurance and strength.
- You can use this method regularly, or include it once every week or two, interchangeable with other bench press variations. It’s also a useful tool to break a plateau.
Benefits Of Spoto Press
The benefits of the Spoto press include:
- Improving overall body tension during the bench press, which can prevent shoulder problems and injuries
- Helping to maintain control of the barbell by keeping the upper body tight
- Focusing on tempo and muscle contractions, which can help identify weak points in standard bench press performance
- Slowing down at the bottom of the lift to ensure proper pausing
- Improving stability and strength in areas where it is lacking
- Correcting mistakes and improving overall progress in the bench press.
the Spoto press is a valuable variation of the bench press for those looking to overcome plateaus in chest-oriented training. It requires lifters to focus on two key factors: reinforcing overall body tension and focusing on tempo and muscle contractions.
By maintaining control of the barbell, slowing down at the bottom of the lift, and identifying and correcting weak points, lifters can improve stability and strength, correct mistakes, and make progress in their bench press. It also helps prevent shoulder injuries and provides better control over the barbell. This exercise is a great addition to any chest-focused workout routine.
Rahul is a sports and performance consultant. Over the course of his 15-year career in the fitness sector, he has held positions as a strength and conditioning instructor, gym owner, and consultant.
He is deeply committed to assisting people in finding happiness and feeling good about themselves.
Rahul has a master’s degree in exercise science and is a certified NSCA CSCS and CISSN.