Top Questions about Pinning in Bodybuilding

Top Questions about Pinning in Bodybuilding

If you’re fresh to the gym or a longtime pro, you’ve probably heard of pinning. It’s a very well-known upper body exercise. But is that all you need to know before trying it out by yourself?

Obviously no! You must gather some more knowledge about this exercise before trying it.

So, what is pinning in bodybuilding?

Pinning is an upper-body exercise that is a variation of the dead table press. It’s a compound exercise because it affects almost 4 muscles in our body. Other than that, it has its own benefits and a few cons. It’s an exercise that anyone can attempt but a few can master.

But here we’ve mentioned all the details so that you can properly execute the pin press. So, why the delay?

Gear up and dive in!

What is Pinning in Bodybuilding?

The pin press is a kind of dead table press in which the bar starts from a stop on safety pins. These bars are placed slightly above your chest. Performing the exercise properly would help in avoiding heart palpitation during bodybuilding

If your movement is on the bad side, the press can get rid of it. This teaches you to stay firmly at the bottom of the position.

2 Variations of Pinning 

There are 2 variations of pinning, those are briefly discussed below

Making Room for Resistance

You can add force to your pin press with additional bands and chains. It’ll enhance overload stress, and mobilize your triceps and chest. 

Bench Throw with the Pin Press

This plyometric pin press version necessitates the use of a Smith machine as well as pins. To accomplish so, load the bar to around 40-60% of its full capacity. 

Then you can throw the bar vertically along the rails. Repeat with the barbell, but this time control it eccentrically. In addition, know the exact time of ensuring breaks in strength training.

Pinning Recommendations

Here are some basic recommendations about different types of workout intensity.

Recommended Sets, Reps, and Weight for Muscle Hypertrophy 

  • Increase triceps and pectoral muscular hypertrophy by performing 4-5 sets of 8-12 repetitions. Make sure you’re doing this with moderate to high loads.
  • Keep strain at the pin press base to increase the muscular demands

Recommended Sets, Reps, and Weight for Strength-Building Exercises

  • Like the bench press keep the pin press trainining following the strength protocols .
  • Many lifters are able to manage loads heavier than normal. In that case increase the load gradually. 

Power Workout- Reps, Sets, and Weight Recommendations

  • Use moderate loads to perform 2-3 repetitions of 4-6 sets 
  • Emphasize on the explosiveness off the pins and maximal power.

The Benefitted Muscles from Pinning

There are 4 primary muscles that are benefited from pin press. A brief is given below about the gains-


In pin press, the triceps move the weight as being the most significant muscle. As theres is no worries of  weight falling on them. You can be more relaxed.This exercise has the potential to overload them with heavyweights.


Your upper and lower part together makes the pectoral muscles of your body. Our upper body has a few large muscles. One of the largest ones are pectoral muscles. And they help to connect the chest to the arms

The main muscles used while doing a table press are the pecs. But with leg presses, they play an additional, stabilizing role.

Scapular Stabilizers

As there is no fear, the scapular muscle can work freely and it becomes more flexible.


The pin press mainly works on the shoulder muscles. It exercises your scapula, anterior deltoid and scapular stabilizers. Their roles include primary and supplementary lifting both. 

3 Easy Steps to Do Pin Press or Pinning

By now, we have already learned about a couple of things. But, you gotta know how to perfectly execute the pin press. So, here goes the process- 

Step 1: Setting the Pin

Start by adjusting the height of the pin. Match the specific range of motion you are trying to train with the height. 

The higher the pin, the more important the lockout and triceps strength. You need to do warm-up sets to ensure the pin setting and placement is all ok.. 

Step 2: Positioning Properly

Like the bench press, it releases weights using the same process as the bench press.

Once you have put your weight on your shoulders and chest, reduce the load in a controlled manner. Next, put your elbows in and keep your back locked. 

Do not drop to volt/support. However, reduce the load in a controlled manner. You also need to tighten your back tightly at the bottom of the press. This will prevent the system from sagging.

Step 3: Pinning and repeat 

You have to press the pin in an upward movemnet to the the barbell to lift the load. Just like a lockout in bench press, complete the repetition.

Who Should Do Pin Press

In a general perspective, I think there are 2 types of people who can do fitness or gym-related stuff. Either they are professionals or they are normal day individuals. 


There are some professional athletes who participate in the Olympics. Also in different competitions, there are Crossfit athletes and fitness athletes.

Different individuals have different go-to’s in muscle variations but they all use pin press to a certain extent.  

Power Strength Athletes 

The strength of the bench press is important to strength athletes and weightlifters. Improved locking performance and grip resolution can increase lifting weight. The pinning  will have a significant impact on performance if you are an athelete. 

The Olympic weightlifters also implement  pin presses to strengthen their upper body. Pinning can also be used to limit shoulder loads during pressing. Athletes and powerlifters must keep in mind of its importance. 

Fitness and Crossfit Athletes

Pin press can bring added benefits if you are an athlete for CrossFit and fitness. They can increase lockout strength and muscle growth.

Increased pressing strength and strong triceps are required for weight lifting. Therefore the pin press is another tool to use to improve performance.

General individual

A general individual may also do pin presses. He can be a general fitness-conscious person or gym enthusiast. 

Pros and Cons of Pin Press: [ Two Sides of the Coin]

We all know a coin has two sides. And likewise, there are always good and bad in anything in particular and pinpress is no exception.

Pros of Pin Press

The benefits of pin press or pinning are given below-

Helps to Build Power

The pin press compensates for the lack of power of the bench press. You can easily push up through pin press. It keeps your body tight. 

It also makes you to begin from a stop.  This is generally the most difficult position to lift from.

Enhances the lockout in Bench Press

Your triceps are the most focused during a lockout in the lift. By isolating the top third of your press, you may improve your lockout range of motion. The pin press lets  you adjust the height of your pins.

Working Along Rotator Cuff Injuries 

Atheletes can do pin presses with a rotator cuff injury. You can do this by setting the pins slightly higher than its full depth. In this way, you  can prevent putting extra stress on the shoulder completely  or according to your comfort level.

Cons of Pin Press

Where it is good there is bad. So, there are some minor defects to pinpress or pinning those are given below-


Here, you keep your elbows closer to your core to increase triceps strain. Some folks aren’t ready to take on the additional tricep strain and sustain injuries as a result.

Motion Ranges

A dead stop at the starting posture means incomplete exercise. Reduce your barbell load if you’re having difficulty getting to the lockout from the dead stop. Concentrate on doing the movement correctly before gradually increasing the weight on the bar.

Prime Movers – Not The Chest Muscles

In the bench press, the major mover muscles that control the exercise are the pecs. The pin push, on the other hand, just engages the pecs as a supplemental muscle. 

But that’s fine since the purpose of this exercise is to increase triceps strength. So, you can apply the learnings here to your normal bench press and lift more weight.


What is a smith machine?

It  is a weight machine used for various weight training exercises. It comes with a fixed barbell within steel rails that only allow vertical or near-vertical movement. Some Smith machines includes barbell counterbalanced

Is pin press and pinning the same?

Yes, pin press and pinning are the same.

What is the common difference between pin press and bench press?

A pin press can stimulate the muscles that a bench press does. It is a variation of the standard bench press. But in pin press, some upper body muscle gets stimulated as well. 


That’s it! We’ve tried our best to cover everything about what is pinning in bodybuilding. We hope now you understand if you should start pinning or not.

But remember to warm up your body first. Otherwise, you might face grave injuries.

Best of luck!

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