View Full Version : Benching really kills my right shoulder

11-12-2006, 11:27 AM
Short of it is I really messed it up last November doing wide-grip pull ups. It ached for weeks and I avoided directly working it until it felt better.

Flat BB benching still causes that shoulder to tense up and burn fiercely. It fades pretty quickly afterwards but I don't like how badly it hurts until it does... fatigue is fine, sharp stabbing pain usually means something is wrong - don't do that.

Dumbells are ok. It doesn't throb nearly as badly but I've lost 30 pounds off my barbell bench by neglecting it and don't like that.

If I go to two inches above my chest, I'm fine. I suppose if I made my pecs two inches thicker things would work better. :)

So, what's a good way to work my chest without frying my shoulder (probably the cuff?). I get a little twinge in it back squatting as well, actually, but nothing serious. I do cuban presses in an attempt to rehab/prehab but it hasn't helped much yet.

Ricky Bobby
11-12-2006, 11:34 AM
have you tried adjusting your grip?

11-12-2006, 11:59 AM
Are you gripping wide? Pull your grip in and learn to bench narrower. It'll prevent further shoulder injury. Consider seeing a physiotherapist and get them to check out what may be wrong. There might be some damage that could be repaired.

11-12-2006, 12:13 PM
Yes, I'm gripping wide. Really wide. Ring fingers on the rings and I'm only 5'4 wide. I can close it up easily enough but I didn't think that hit the chest as hard?

Physio is one of those things that's on the list if I ever have time for it. Whole lot of structural problems going on with me thanks to compensating for duanes so I've got a whole world of aches most other people don't get lifting.

11-12-2006, 12:49 PM
Wide bench can destroy the shoulders, especially if you bring it to the chest. Close your grip in and start learning to do them narrower. I usually have my pinkies 2 or 3 inches inside the rings.

If you want to hit the chest better there are all sorts of exercises that can do that. If you want to permanently wreck your shoulder keep doing them wide.

The big boys recommend benching closer in, to better use the triceps and lats. Perhaps wolfie will drop in and add some comments.

11-12-2006, 02:00 PM
Yes, I'm gripping wide. Really wide. Ring fingers on the rings and I'm only 5'4 wide.

That's way too wide. I'm 5'6 with a 70" reach and the widest I can go comfortably is pinkies an inch in from the rings. With middle fingers on the rings, my max drops at least 50lbs.

11-12-2006, 04:10 PM
Most of these have been mentioned but....

1. Bring your grip in
2. Learn to bring the bar much lower down (just below your chest)
3. Make sure your shoulders are nailed to the bench throughout the entire movement.
4. Warm up your cuffs and shoulders before doing any benching.

11-12-2006, 04:16 PM
sounds like you strained your lat or subscap. Both will refer pain to the back of the shoulder if that's where you are feeling it. The reason you don't feel it when you go 2" off the chest is the lats probably arnt firing unless you are on the chest. You should either see an ART specialist or learn how to fix yourself: http://www.t-nation.com/readTopic.do?id=475832

11-13-2006, 03:15 AM
Hmm. Interesting article as usual.

Interesting point as to 'nailed to the bench'. My shoulders are not in contact with the bench during the unrack and rerack... the middle j-hooks are a little high for that. However, narrowing my grip will change my arm length so they shouldn't be any longer.

11-14-2006, 04:55 PM
Tried it out.

Took my grip in to pinkies about an inch inside the rings and benched to my upper abs. The weight stayed pitifully low but there wasn't even a twinge in my shoulder. A random guy decided to offer to spot me (on 135 :bang: ) and said I could get a lot more if I benched higher on my chest... I had the size and shoulders. I know I can but what's the good if I tear something up so bad I can never bench again?

I'll get my ass back to 175 ASAP. 200 is farther away than it was this time last year. :whiner:

11-14-2006, 06:38 PM
Upper Abs? That seems a bit low. I tend to press to my sternum, below my zyphoid. I am not at my abs at that area yet though.

11-14-2006, 06:52 PM
That's about an inch higher than I was aiming. I'm sure I wasn't in a perfect machine-precise groove so I'm guessing I hit that upper sternum point at some point or another. An inch can make a huge difference so I'm sure I'll play with the target area a bit.

11-14-2006, 09:00 PM
Rest, ice, and later mobility drills and strengthening exercises.

Time is what you'll have to give it, but you can probably work around it w. close-grip work (as others have mentioned), and board presses.

There are probably technical issues (like set-up) that you need to address. Make sure that your upper back is tight while benching. Imagine that you are trying to bend the bar in front of you and push your shoulders towards your feet - this should help you keep your upper back and lats tight.

If Wolfy ever shows up, I'd really like to hear what kind of advice he might give... You might PM him w. a link to the thread and ask for help.

11-15-2006, 04:42 AM
Stop bitching about the pain. Powerlifting is gonna hurt. Start hitting more front d-bell raises it will create a "pillow" in that area. Than again, I could be completely wrong. I tend to lift through the pain and deal with it later. :strong:

11-15-2006, 05:01 AM
You are completely wrong, and if you lift through the wrong type of pain dealing with it later will take months or years where preventing it in the first place only takes minutes.

11-15-2006, 06:23 AM
Stop bitching about the pain. Powerlifting is gonna hurt. Start hitting more front d-bell raises it will create a "pillow" in that area. Than again, I could be completely wrong. I tend to lift through the pain and deal with it later. :strong:

You have no idea of the extent or nature of his injury. Pretty crappy advice.

11-15-2006, 06:53 AM
What's the difference between your bb and db bench? Hand placement. While I don't think you should be using a super wide grip anyway, it wouldn't hurt to find out why the wide grip is causing problems. Sensei's advice is spot on.

You could also consider dropping bench from your routine. I know that sounds like blasphemy, but it's certainly not required.

11-15-2006, 07:52 AM
I dropped bench for this same exact reason. I db Press instead and there is absolutly no pain! just good pump and stretch in the pecs.

Like Anthony said, some will say dropping BB bench is blasphemy, but you have to do what works for you and you alone.

11-15-2006, 08:02 AM
I practically had dropped barbell. DB was more comfortable and I figured that if I could work up to a 100 in each hand I'd be just as content as pressing 200 on the bar.

Wide grip anything (besides rows) kills me on my right side. COuld be because there's a stuctural imbalance... at full extension my right arm is a half inch longer than my left because of the way my shoulders are attached to my twisted spine. That affects my squats as well and my deads a very slight amount (left arm lockout is higher so the bar tries to rotate)... but it's the pushes it really hits: overhead work of all kinds and benching.

11-15-2006, 11:17 AM
Stop bitching about the pain. Powerlifting is gonna hurt. Start hitting more front d-bell raises it will create a "pillow" in that area. Than again, I could be completely wrong. I tend to lift through the pain and deal with it later. :strong:


11-15-2006, 11:22 AM
try a loose bench shirt.
after a bunch of shoulder injuries, i bench with a inzer blast, big enough to put on and take off my self, but tight enough it offers my shoulders support, i havent had a bench shoulder injury since.

but give your shoulders a few weeks rest then start working it slowly with moderate weight to help rehabilitate it, if you dont work it, it will never heal.

11-15-2006, 07:44 PM
I went thru the same thing recently. I just worked thru it and it did get better. I did not do any flat bench. I did only decline BP and some light dumb bell work for chest as well as machines. Core ball DB's are also great. The declines have really helped increase my bench. I'm on the verge of 300.

12-02-2006, 08:03 AM
I talked to the physio guys next door to the gym. They asked why my body wasn't aligned with my head (Duanes syndrome), looked at my overall alignment when standing at rest, and said protracted shoulder girdle (big time). Showed me a stretch to do (upper and lower back against the wall and raise arms as high as possible without pain. I tried and could barely TOUCH the wall without pain).

Guy was friendly and told me to do VERY light front lateral raises, the wall stretch, another stretch (straight arm at shoulder height, turn away), and incline shoulder raises. Also, due to my structural problems overall, I should limit my range of motion when benching so that my elbows do NOT go behind my shoulders. In the future I could work on increasing that range of motion but he doubted I'd ever be able to touch my chest without doing damage... unless I grew my chest out so that I didn't need to drop my elbows below shoulders to do it.

Planning a routine and going in a few times a week to do these exercises under supervision would cost money (physio and all) but I think I can take it from here.

12-02-2006, 08:31 AM
Best of luck!

You could try PM'ing Ruffian. She seems very knowledgeable about recovery and physio too. Maybe she could give you some pointers.

12-02-2006, 09:33 AM
This is the wall stretch


... can anyone here do it to the full range of motion? I tried today and, just like when I saw the physiotherapist for my free evaluation, I could BARELY touch my elbows to the wall. I could NOT move them even an inch upward.

David: The number one rule about physio is don't be a dumbass. It's the hardest one for me to follow but once I have it down I should be ok.

12-02-2006, 12:34 PM
I can do it. I screwed up my right shoulder pretty well about a year ago, since then I've taken really good care of my shoulders and always stretch them out now.

12-03-2006, 03:43 AM
I can't do it. I tried and I get a little bit of pain when I touch my elbows to the wall. That being said, I don't have issues with the bench press, even though (according to this thread) I bench wide. Should I be worried now wtf?

I've usually benched with my ring finger on the ring. I starte benching with my ring finger on the ring recently and I've considered this a "narrow" grip, LOL. I don't want to **** up my shoulders, so should I bring in my grip even more?