Can anyone offer advice on the following:

1 I am currently training for a contest using the Louis Simmons routines. On the maximum effort day, should I use a pause at the bottom of the bench press or not use a pause?

2 Since I have been placing the bar lower on my back to handle heavier weights in the squat, I have had a terrible strain in the right rotator cuff where the bar rests. Does anyone have any suggestions other than placing the bar higher up?

Jon, as for the first question, Louie says not to pause the benches on ME day. As for the squat problem, I’m not really sure what to say other than you could start strengthening the rotator cuff and stretching out a bit before your squat workout. Not much else you can do other than ride the bar higher.

I dont think Louie Simmons and his guys use pauses on their max effort day for bench. You might want to start doing that though on the bench press itself for a few sets a couple of weeks before your meet. On your squats most likely the reason your shoulders are hurting is inadequate flexibility…i had the same problem when i first started doing low-bar squats…an easy solution is to take a wider grip on the bar and also stretch your shoulders. Take an empty 45 lb bar, press it over head and squat, if you can barely do that without falling down you definitely need more shoulder flexibility.

I had a problem in that area too. What worked for me was to place my hands slightly further apart, bring my elbows closer to being under the bar and trying to press the weight up as I came up from the bottom. I visualized standing up from a snatch. I also had a bad case of tendonitis in my shoulder but the pain was virtually non existent when I did squats this way.

Louie suggests that you not pause on the reps on most bench exercises. If you are doing floor presses or board presses there is a pause. He leaves pause on the regular press for the contest when you are wearing a bench shirt. However, if the have limited meet experience or bench without a bench shirt than some pauses might be helpful.

For rotator cuff issues on the low bar squat position I would suggest you try to move your hand position wider. It should reduce the strain a little. I have had this same problem. Also, if you have access to a safety squat bar I would use it for squating for a while. It sits on your shoulders without you having to hold on to it.
Good luck.

Louie says not to pause on dynamic bench day, which is his light speed day with 9 x 3 reps, 50 to 65%. On max day all of the exercises he suggests you have to pause. You can’t bounce or touch and go board presses, floor presses. The whole idea is to lower the weight and relax the triceps, then press. You do this so there is no stretch reflex used. On speed day you bench ballistically to fine tune your stretch reflex. So in the meet you are stronger because you have trained without a stretch reflex (max day)and are able to fall back on to your improved stretch relax (dynamic effort day) and get a good jump off your chest. Also it depends on the federation you compete in IPF, APF etc. The pause is longer in some federations and the bench shirts allowed are not all the same. Louie’s lifters compete in the APF and are able to wear denim shirts, so they don’t have to do so much pause work. In the IPF (USA Powerlifting) you have to pause longer and can not wear such a good bench shirt, so you have to do more pause work in your training. Your answer…one day pause 1-3 sec., one day t’n’go and be explosive.