I just got back from seeing my physiotherapist about some shoulder issues. As it turns out, my right AC joint is extremely loose, to the point where it'll shift around and pop up and down depending on how I move it.
Despite this, my physio said that I can continue pressing exercises, so long as I watch my range of motion.
First, for benching, he told me that rather than touching the chest, I should stop about an inch or two above in order to take stress off of the AC joint. However, what sort of ROM should I use for overhead barbell pressing, and any sort of dumbbell press (vertical, horizontal, etc) in order to avoid as much AC joint stress as possible?
Second, what will this limited ROM mean for strength and hypertrophy developments? And what exercises can I use to work around the issue as much as possible?
Third and final, can I expect this issue to get any better by strengthening the shoulder, upper back, and chest? And will the AC joint eventually tighten up over time (as I have no idea how it became so loose, I've never injured my shoulders and it was not like this even a year ago), or is this a permanent condition?
What exactly are your shoulder issues (your symptoms, not what you were told)?
Why did the physio not address your questions?
Shoulder issues are as follows:
The right AC joint will pop and shift visibly depending on how I move my arm/shoulder. Sometimes it'll shift a fair bit, I'd estimate around an inch or so down and forward and toward the midline of my body, while other times it will barely shift at all, depending on how I move my arm and shoulder. It is always painless, but feels disconcerting.
Equal pain will arise in each shoulder about a day or two after OH pressing, in what I think is the anterior deltoid and/or possibly one of the bicep tendons in the area.
The same pain arises when benching, but it varies in time. Sometimes it'll happen with just a rep with an unweighted bar, other times about a day or two after benching (last weight I was able to use was 150lbs or so)
I haven't done any pressing work in around 3.5 months and the shoulders have been mostly fine, aside from some pain after sleeping that comes and goes within the span of about two weeks. No issues came up while doing horizontal rowing, and only the occasional twinge (no shifting) in the right shoulder during vertical pulls.
About the other question:
The physio did answer the questions I had while I was there, everything in the above post is stuff I thought off when I got home and started to plan out how I want to get back into pressing work again. While I was there, I only asked if there was any way to strengthen the joint itself, to which he replied that there is not and that it's just something I'll have to be careful with in the future.
Well, it is pretty much a proven fact benching will tighten up your shoulders. The real question is how do you bench? What is your technique? Take a video of a challenging set and post it here so I can look at it.
Very good point. I tend to use more of a powerlifting style for my benching, as outlined by Dave Tate's videos on EFTS, but I will definitely get on that video and see if I can get that done within the next two weeks or so (in the middle of exams at the moment).
Thanks for your time and help on this, by the way!
Bench Press Form Video
Finally got some footage of my bench. This isn't exactly how I was benching previously (I've narrowed my grip by about 2 inches per side and have started using a thumbless grip), but aside from any improvements I should make, it's what I'll be sticking with, as it feels a lot better (so far) on the shoulders.