What Causes Shoulder Pain During Bench Press
Every new lifter dreams of having a massive bench press. Being able to load up the bar with plates and rep it out is every newbies goal. The bench press is a great exercise for developing chest, shoulders, and triceps muscle mass and strength. However, bench pressing can eventually cause issues. One of the most common injuries when bench pressing is anterior shoulder pain. A few factors can cause this to occur such as: not enough rest between bench days, lifting too much weight, or improper bench technique. Today, I will go over two easy tips that will tackle the last cause: your bench press technique. These simple tips will help you lift more weight, squeeze out more reps, and decrease shoulder pain.
How Can You Fix Shoulder Pain While Benching?
While bench pressing, we have the down phase and the up phase. In the down phase, the scapulae (shoulder blades) need to downwardly rotate, and adduct towards the spine. However, do to our scapulae being glued to the bench, free movement of the scapulae is difficult to come by. With this being impeded, the shoulder joint takes more pressure. The easiest way to overcome this, is to preset your shoulder blades in the retracted position. Essentially, squeeze the shoulder blades together before unracking the bar.
Another Bench Press Tip and Trick?
The second tip, cut down on the distance the bar must travel. This is basic physics. Work=force x distance, so cutting down on distance will make your sets easier. The best way to do this is by creating an arch in the low back. This trick makes the press shorter, positions the lifter in a better spot for force production from leg drive, and keeps the lifter out of precarious shoulder joint positions. Now, I am not advocating for half reps necessarily. I am advocating for putting yourself in the best spot to bench press with the least amount of shoulder pain, with the most amount of performance.
Quick recap: squeeze the shoulder blades down and back. Create a small arch in the low back and watch your bench pressing ability skyrocket.
By: Dr. Trey Martin
Doctor of Physical Therapy | Pursuit Performance Specialist
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