Shoulder-induced pain whilst bench pressing is a very common niggle and injury that clients struggle with as well as myself. The shoulder pain was bugging me for months and my shoulder would ache for hours after I would complete a set of bench presses.
After focusing on my form, technique, and adequate warm-up prior to bench press, I no longer received that same shoulder pain when I would perform the bench press and would no longer have the ache for hours afterward.
So here are my 5 quick tips to bench pressing without shoulder pain:
Tip 1: Perform engaging warm up sets
Before any exercises, we want to ensure we have adequately warmed up the surrounding muscles and have a good supply of blood targeting the joints and muscles about to be used. It is crucial your shoulder and scapular joints are free-flowing and warmed up before benching.
Perform 3 Rounds:
- 10 x scapular push ups
- 10 x internal and exertnal rotation with elbow at 90 degrees
- 10 x banded pull apart
- 10 x banded around the world
- Warm up set at broomstick or bar weight
Warm-ups are crucial!
Tip 2: Perform the bench press with shoulders at a 70 degree angle
Contrary to belief, a lot of individuals bench press with their elbows flared out to 90degrees, where this puts a lot of pressure on the shoulder joint to hold that load. Instead, tuck your elbows in a slight 70-degree angle and squeeze your shoulder blades together to protect your shoulders.
Tip 3: Increase your mobility through your thoracic spine and scapula
Do you find when you lie down on the bench to bench press you can’t squeeze your shoulder blades together? Or one shoulder blade is pushing into the bench more? Odds are you have poor or uneven mobility through your thoracic spine. If we have poor mobility through our T-spine this can also have a poor effect on our shoulders and cause pain. Utilising these mobility exercises below can help:
- Foam roller thoracic extensions
- Side Lying rotations
- 4 point kneeling rotations
Tip 4: Work on your pulling exercises more regularly for increased engagement in lats!
Are you performing your pull exercises correctly? Inadequate technique on our pull or row exercises can also have a major effect on our bench press. This is due to the activation of the incorrect muscles when we are performing certain exercises. But when we are bench pressing it is crucial that we can utilise our back muscles appropriately to engage and squeeze together our shoulder blades. This will then ultimately take away how much load and pressure is going through your shoulder joints.
Tip 5: Utilise hip and leg drive (applying pressure through feet)
Setting up for bench press is crucial, we need to ensure that we are utilising all aspects of our body before lifting a heavy load. Therefore, feet set up, hip drive, and leg drive are all important aspects to ensure your shoulders and chest aren’t taking all the load. Make sure feet are placed on the ground and further back towards your hips, this will give you good grounds to push through your feet and hips when pushing the weight away from you!
Happy bench pressing legends, this is a main component lift that I want everyone to be able to complete without the annoying niggles and pains! Just reach out and have a chat with our friendly team members and we will do our best to help as much as we can. We are all in this together.
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Keep an eye out for more tips and tricks soon!