What is a pin press and why is it important?
Pin press is a variation of compound exercises in which partial movement of regular barbell exercises are performed from a pinned position, i.e., an obstruction is created between the full range of motion as to perform heavier weight lifts and develop massive strengths. One other benefit is that pin presses are very safe to perform as the obstruction (which is a lock or a rod) helps in absorbing all the weight if any failure happens during the heavy training.
Pin presses are very reliable and effective when it comes to putting on mass and strength to your triceps, chest, legs, shoulders. There are 3 main variations for the pin press one for chest & triceps, one for your shoulders, and one for your legs. Many bodybuilders and powerlifters perform the pin presses and develop mass and strength from its benefits. Trainers don’t tell much about this technique because they don’t know its potential and rely on conventional exercise regimes to put on mass. They believe it is for powerlifters and does not affect muscle growth which is not true.
What science says
Many studies are performed to analyze the effect of a full range of motions vs partial range of motion on bench press exercise, and this recent study found that 1 rpm and body mass increased for partial reps compared to a full range of motion. This study also showed that partial reps help in strength gains and even increases hypertrophy compared to the full range of motion.
An increase in tricep brachialis cross-section was observed in individuals training with partial reps on a bench with a barbell. It is seen that partial reps enforce the muscle to stay in contraction for a longer duration. Which leads to hypoxia(an oxygen-deprived state in muscles) and further facilitating hypertrophy and strength gains(increased triceps cross-section).
Benefits of pin press
1. Tricep activation & lockout power – it helps in more tricep activation and tricep lockout power for your bench press and close grip presses.
2. Bench more – The pin press has been shown to increase your bench press significantly after training for 6-8 weeks.
3. 1RPM – Increase your 1 rep max for compound exercises like military press, squats, bench press. Best for powerlifters, strongmen and Olympic athletes
4. Lift more weights – The pin press will make you lift more weights as you take some risk in adding a few more weights because of the presence of pinned point, or the pivot point as a safety back if your rep fails.
5. Mass builder – An overall mass builder for your whole body if all the variations are performed in your exercise regime.
6. Chest activation – A partial movement will help in focusing on your major pectorals, and going for higher repetitions in a bench pin press will lead to more chest activation.
How to Set up the station and adjust pinning point
1. Should be performed – on a Power rack or squat rack.
2. Adjust stopping point – according to your height and width, such that weight gets pinned before the weight comes to your muscle in descending movement.
3. Height adjustment – Before making any movement, make sure to do a dummy lift without any weights with a free barbell to check for the height of the pivot point and bench positioning.
4. Weights – The weights should be uniform on both sides do not try to do with a single arm or any unilateral movement.
5 Precautions – the stopper or the lock should be in good condition and be able to withstand heavy weights on it.
6. Movement – Firstly, the barbell should be onto the pinning point, and then you need to push it, afterward fully extend the weights and then descend slowly. Do not take a rest, perform as many reps as you can to exhaust the muscles, which will lead to maximum benefits.
Variations of pin press, correct form and technique
1. Bench pin press – tri chest- Performed on a smith machine or a squat rack with a flat bench. Pivoting the movement by applying a lock or adjusting the stop rod at a position that is 1/3rd in the bench press movement.
2. Military pin press – A military press is performed on a squat rack; the pivot point is set at a height bit more than our shoulder length.
3. Squats pin press – As the name suggests the squat pin press is also performed on a squat rack and usually the pivot point is adjusted low (pro tip: at the point from one is about to meet the last point from where the thrust is applied to get back up in your squat movement).
4. Floor pin press – in this, you lie down on the floor and do barbell bench presses with the floor being the resistance but make sure weights are big in height so as to move the barbells away from your chest.
5. Board press – In this type of pin press, a board or a rigid object is placed over your chest, and you perform a bench press over the object, as soon as you touch it you again contract your muscles. This exercise should be done with precaution and a friend or spotter spotting you as the board might slip from your chest.
6. Deadlift pin press (rack pulls) – This Variation is a back builder you can build a good amount of strength for your deadlifts and pack on huge mass in your back these are to be performed on a Squat rack with a low pinning point and perform a deadlift movement. This exercise is easy on your lower back and discs and can give you almost an equal amount of benefit as of regular deadlift.
1. For Gaining Strength do the following workout
4 sets of any of the above variations as per your goals.
Set 1 8-10 reps 70% RPM
Set 2 6-8 reps 80% RPM
Set 3 4-6 reps 90% RPM
Set 4 2-3 reps 95% RPM
2. For Hypertrophy
4 sets of any of the above variations as per your goals.
Set 1-12-15 reps 60% RPM
Set 2 10-12 reps 70% RPM
Set 3 8-10 reps 75% RPM
Set 4 6-8 reps 80% RPM
Set 5 Dead set 50% RPM
Pin presses are becoming popular due to their benefits and more general fitness population is adapting and starting to perform the variations in their daily workout regime. Pin bench press is the most performed, followed by military pin press and squats pin press. The variations like pin press deadlift more popularly known as rack deadlifts or rack pulls works on so many muscle groups like glutes, hamstrings, traps, back and forearms at once and use the same principle. This article has cleared all the doubts and the concept of the pin press and it is highly recommended to add these to your workout schedule to inherit its benefits to your physique.