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Thread: Decline bench question

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  1. #1
    Wannabebig Member
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    Decline bench question

    For the past few months I have had some nagging pain in my shoulder. I am still very new to lifting, going on 6 weeks now.
    I had hoped that the weights, (along with some specialized shoulder training) would help with the issue. So far it hasn't.
    I am planning on seeing a doctor just to try and figure out exactly what is going on, but in the meantime I want to keep working out.
    My bench press is really the only lift that is a problem for me, I read in another thread that trying it decline may take some stress off the shoulders. I tried it for the first time today and it worked. It worked very well in fact. Virtually no pain in the shoulder during or after the set. I was even able to add some weight for the first time in 3 weeks.
    Which brings me to my question.
    My gym does not have a decline bench set up. The only way for me to do them is with dumbbells (which is a little awkward to set up but workable) or in the Smith Machine. Today I did them in the Smith Machine. It felt pretty good, but I know that It's not as effective as a proper barbell bench. Any thoughts?
    Oh yeah, I know that somebody will bring up form. I think my bench form is pretty good. I have been using this video as my model and it feels pretty solid.
    http://tw.youtube.com/watch?v=vUcjOIZc80c
    Heart pounding, legs burning, hands shaking........

    NEVER FELT BETTER !

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  2. #2
    Strongman Tom Mutaffis's Avatar
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    Do flat bench presses with dumbells bother you? Those are generally much easier on the shoulders.

    Would still suggest seeing a physician if you think that you have sustained an injury.
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  3. #3
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    Quote Originally Posted by Tom Mutaffis View Post
    Do flat bench presses with dumbells bother you? Those are generally much easier on the shoulders.

    Would still suggest seeing a physician if you think that you have sustained an injury.
    I have already made an appointment with my doctor, although I don't think it's an injury. It's just been kind of an ache for like 3-4 months (before I started lifting btw). I don't remember an actual incident though. It just kinda started hurting in different positions. Strange as it may seem though, dips, lateral raises and even overhead press don't bother it a bit. Just benching.

    As for flat dumbbell bench press, It doesn't hurt as much as the bar but it still bugs it a little.
    Heart pounding, legs burning, hands shaking........

    NEVER FELT BETTER !

    34
    5'11"
    230 lbs.

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    Interesting.....

  5. #5
    Strongman Tom Mutaffis's Avatar
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    A lot of people have problems with bench pressing and shoulder (rotator) issues due to technique, and also because the bar is going to move in a fixed position whereas dumbells allow you to move into a different plane throughout the motion.

    In any pressing motion you want to "tuck" your elbows towards your sides and not let them flair out.

    Proper warmup is also very important along with stretching. I generally walk on a treadmill or go low intensity on an elliptical for about 5 minutes, then do 5-7 sets of warmup weight before really hitting it hard. This has proven to be very effective in helping relieve joint issues.

    Until you are able to see your doctor I would work with some machines and see how those treat you. Perhaps try decline dumbell presses, and hammer strength makes a nice plate loaded machine for incline pressing that you can find at most gyms.
    ASC 105 Kg Pro Strongman | My Website | Facebook Fan Page

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  6. #6
    ʞǝudopnpǝ LoneJeeper's Avatar
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    idk if it helps, my gym has no decline bench either but I do declines in the power rack with the seat end of the bench sitting on the thick 45# bumper plates.
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  7. #7
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    Quote Originally Posted by kegtosixpack View Post
    Oh yeah, I know that somebody will bring up form. I think my bench form is pretty good. I have been using this video as my model and it feels pretty solid.
    http://tw.youtube.com/watch?v=vUcjOIZc80c
    The video is pretty good, but make sure your form is right.

    I have an old shoulder injury that used to bother me when benching. Until I started doing ME bench workouts with a group of powerlifters, my form wasn't as good as I thought it was. Now that I'm tucking my elbows and arching better, my shoulder rarely bothers me and I'm benching a lot more weight lately. IMHO, make sure your form is right. If you arch enough, flat bench basically becomes decline.
    Last edited by BigTallOx; 11-03-2008 at 05:58 PM.

  8. #8
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    Great advice guys. Thanks for the replies. I have been focused like an arrow on my form lately because of the shoulder issue, but I am sure that there could still be room for improvement. After all, nobody's perfect. Right?
    Maybe I could hit the flat bench again and see if I can arch my back enough to get a better angle. I have always kept my elbows tucked in pretty close, but if I go too much it feels like I'm not hitting my chest enough. It tends to feel like more of a tricep isolation.
    Heart pounding, legs burning, hands shaking........

    NEVER FELT BETTER !

    34
    5'11"
    230 lbs.

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