Bench Presses Don’t Need To Cause Shoulder Pain


Many of us think that shoulder pain is a fact of lifting, but it doesn’t have to be that way. This blog by CRB Tech Reviews discuss the solutions you can put into practice to save your shoulders!

As a whole, weight training is safe compared to other physical activities. That might seem a little surprising, given that most gym guys seem to be complaining about some ailment or other. But the fact is, it’s a short list of 2-3 very common injuries and pain issues that most of us are battling. Perhaps the most common issue, especially for men, is shoulder pain due to the flat barbell bench press.

The reasons why benching hurts your shoulders shall be discussed in another blog, but to say, that shoulder pain usually isn’t so much the fault of benching itself, but rather, the misuse and overuse of the exercise.

If you want to make a few simple adjustments to your training program, you could not only keep benching heavy now, you can keep it up for years or even decades to come. Let’s know more…..

1. Strengthen your bench by not benching

We know that a few bad things happen when you do a certain exercise for a long time mainly 6-8 weeks, especially for experienced guys.

Your body stops adapting to the stimulus. You don’t get sore any more which probably means you aren’t growing any new muscle.

The other bad thing that happens is that you keep stressing your joints and connective tissues.


The bench press is especially responsible for these problems. After a month of two of benching, you no longer benefit from the exercise, and you start to damage your shoulders from chronic overuse. And yet, you keep benching.

The fact is that the best thing you could possibly do to improve your bench is to give it a break. Don’t worry, you’ll still be pressing; just use close variations of the bench in rotation. Make use of accessory moves like close-grip benches, incline benches, push-ups, flat dumbbell presses, machine presses, and football bar presses.

If you press, say, twice weeks, choose 1-2 of these movements per workout, but ensure that you’re only doing exercises that don’t hurt.

How it helps? As muscle and strength adaptations slows down when you do the same movement over and over, so does the skill. Most people don’t realize this. But that’s fine. Old technique inefficiencies you had grown numb to are now glaringly obvious, and after a handful of sessions, your technique is likely to be better than it ever was.

Just resist the desire to do every known pressing movement discovered by exercise science in a single training block. If you finish with shoulder pain, it’ll be difficult to determine which exercise caused it.

2. Take advantage of this warm-up

If your warm-up is only a few lightweight sets of the bench press, you’re not doing any favours.

It is strongly recommended to learn and use a simple three-exercise warm-up with elastic tubing. It’s 3 rounds, 90 reps total, and won’t take more than 3-4 minutes.

3. Go slower when you go down

Most experienced lifters understand that the eccentric phase of the lift contributes more to strength and muscular adaptations than the concentric portion, and yet, few don’t bother to use slow eccentrics.

Go slower

You’ll have an immediate uptick on your strength and hypertrophy adaptation. Next, you’ll alter the way the exercise stresses your muscles and joints. In a traditionally performed bench press, the highest forces occur when the bar is at your chest, during the switch from eccentric to concentric. This is the same pose when your shoulders are in their most vulnerable position. If you slow down, you’ll keep those forces more lower, and this will protect your shoulders.

4. Never do the bench at the start

When an exercise hurts, it’s often the first exercise in the workout. If you’re a power lifter, your bench might be a source of pain. If you’re an Olympic weightlifter, your barbell snatch is usual to hurt. Not always,but more often than not.

bench at the start

Typically, your first exercise is your most important exercise. You have probably done it far more, and far more consistently, than other exercises in your program. More wear and tear = more pain.

Your first exercise gets the maximum of your energy. And exercises that you do with more energy tends to lead to more joint pain than exercises you do later.

Earlier exercises get less benefit from warm-ups than later exercises. This is a key point, especially for a complex, fragile joint like the shoulder.

5. Don’t wait for pain before you change your ways

Most of us realize, believe that we mustn’t train in pain, but we do so, because we fear that we’ll lose ground if we discontinue the painful exercise for a period of time.

If your goal is to be strong and healthy, you need a new way of thinking about training in pain.

Rotate exercises in your regime before you develop a painful overuse injury.

Do some joint-specific warm-ups before you grab the bar.

Regularly emphasize the eccentric component of exercises.

Regularly change the order of exercises you use.

Summary: The smarter you train, the better it feels, and the stronger you become.

We conclude now.

Keep visiting this space by CRB Tech Solutions for more on wellness and fitness.

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