The “sticking point” is the spot at which the weight feels the heaviest before a full range of movement has been achieved. It is also where you are most likely to reach momentary muscular failure.
Researchers at State University of New York determined that a more useful and applicable understanding of the sticking point requires a multifactorial approach and a case-by-case prescription to address it.
Sticking points are caused by the length-force relationship of muscles, speed of contraction, the elastic energy of the tissue dissipated in the stretch-shortening cycle, and changes in biomechanical leverage.
The sticking point has several contributing factors that interact in different ways. Training strategies to overcome sticking points should be specific to the lifter’s abilities as well as the exercise.
- Isolation work to strengthen the target muscle(s).
- Partial repetitions focusing on the spot where the sticking point occurs.
- Power development to increase momentum going into the sticking point.
- Alternating exercise techniques (i.e., varying grip width, stance, speed of contraction, etc.).
- Using variable resistance (i.e., hanging heavy chains or elastic bands to the load, using machines with cams).