Avoid Full Press Lockout For More Muscle Growth

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Lately, I’ve been getting a lot of question around why I don’t go to full press lockout on exercises such as incline bench press and standing shoulder press.

Does this mean I’m not doing the exercises properly? Maybe I’m not strong enough for the weight I’m using?

In this article, I wanted to explain exactly why I don’t lock out my reps or do lockout training and whether or not you should do the same…

Why Don’t I Go To Full Press Lockout?

Here’s the deal, the last bit of range of motion on a press lockout is actually the easiest part of the lift.

It’s actually very rare to see someone fail on the lockout portion. Most of the time, a person would fail below or at 90 degrees of the exercise.

So the main reason I don’t go to a full lockout is because I want to keep constant tension on the muscle.

You see, when you do lockout training and lockout at the top of an exercise, you’re taking the load off of your muscles and placing it on the joints.

Performing the shoulder press is a perfect example. When you go into a full standing shoulder press lockout, you lose all the tension on your shoulder muscles, thereby putting a heavy load on your elbows.

On incline bench, the point of the exercise is to build the upper chest. By not doing a full incline bench press lockout, I can keep that constant pumping motion and put the muscle through more time under tension (which I have found to build my chest much more effectively).

Take eight reps for example on incline press. In my opinion, going to full bench press lockout reduces the muscle building stimulus. If I were to lock out on each and every rep, that’s more time my joints and the structural muscles will have to work.

Eliminating the lockout portion allows me to put more work on the muscle and have a greater chance of reaching a personal record.

Now at the same time, I am by no means saying that going into a full lockout is a bad thing.

When Should You Use A Full Press Lockout?

Avoid full press lockout on exercises to maximize muscle growth

Maybe you’re doing one rep, doubles, or even triples. If this is the case, locking out would make more sense because the weight is so heavy.

And given that the weight is heavy, locking out can provide you that short moment to decide whether or not you could go for another rep. It just wouldn’t make sense to try and stop just shy of press lockout with an extremely heavy weight.

You’ll actually be stronger if you use the short press lockout period for rest before going into your next rep when using a heavy weight.

So to touch back on the main point of this article, if you were to incorporate lockout training by going into a full lockout on each rep when doing higher reps, this just exhausts your structural muscles, which could lead to quicker fatigue. Making it hard to induce more work on the prime movers of the exercise.

Due to the nature of some exercises, such as heavy weighted dips, going to full press lockout is more sensible.

And remember, you’re doing the exercise to work your chest or shoulders for example, if you need more tricep work, then do more direct tricep work.

Even though you’re stopping just short of lockout, your triceps are still getting plenty of work!

If you’re one who enjoys doing lockout training on heavier weight then keep doing what works best for you.

You could actually go to into a full lockout on your first heavy set on Reverse Pyramid Training and then for the second and third set, when the weight gets lighter, practice stopping just shy of locking out.

This Is What Going To Full Press Lockout Ultimately Comes Down Too

Many agree that if you’re doing 5 to 12+ reps, it makes sense not to lockout so you can keep constant tension on the muscle.

And at the same time, if you’re working in the lower rep ranges, lockout training can help you build more strength.

Either method will probably lead to similar results.

This is simply based on my personal experience and what I’ve learned along the journey.

Make sure you test and experience both methods and see what works best for you!

 

Your Kino Question For The Day: Do you go to full lockout on pressing exercises? After reading this article, how will you change your training? Let me know in the comments below.

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Greg O'Gallagher

Greg O'Gallagher is the founder of Kinobody, a site dedicated to helping men and women achieve the lean, muscular, and aesthetic "Hollywood" physique. His fitness programs have helped hundreds of thousands of people transform their bodies and change their lives in the process.

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