If you have shoulder pain when you bench press you are definitely going to want to watch this video. You may even think you have a justified reason for having the shoulder pain if you have either a rotator cuff or labrum tear, bursitis, ac joint issue or impingement. While that may be true, that sort of focus on the structure is often times undermining your ability to get to the root cause of the problem which is the instability of the shoulder instead.
STRUCTURE vs. STABILITY
You see, the structure (while compromised) can always be protected against further injury if the stability of the shoulder is not compromised. The muscles of the scapulae and rotator cuff are there to serve an important function to stabilize the humerus as you perform each rep of the bench press. This occurs both on the way up and on the way down on every rep.
Things that hurt at the bottom of the bench press could be a torn labrum or biceps tendon, which get placed in a disadvantageous position at the fully stretched position near the chest. When you get further up towards lockout you may experience additional biceps tendon pain as it slides in and out of the groove of the upper arm, or even a bursitis or impingement of one of the other supporting structures or tendons of the shoulder.
TESTING SHOULDER STABILITY
Either way, it really isn’t about the structure that is hurting as much as it’s about the fact that it is likely hurting because it is not stabilized by the muscles that should be stabilizing it. So what you can do is easy and will take just a single set to convince yourself of this. Simply take a weight that is one half of what you would normally use for a 10-12 rep set taken to failure. For the purposes of the demonstration in this video I’m using a light dumbbell.
First start by setting the shoulder blades down and back. Don’t just get them to this position and forget about them. Get them here and then focus on keeping them in this stabile position from the first rep to the last. The key is that you establish this stabilized position first and never let it up. The second biggest key is the tempo. When you lift each rep on the bench press this slowly and mindfully it forces you to prioritize stability over load.
I’m not saying that you lift this way exclusively. What I’m saying is that this can be used as both a diagnostic tool and a method of convincing yourself just how possible it is for you to bench press without shoulder pain. You can opt to try and progressively increase your strength in this stabilized position by gradually adding weight to the lift without allowing the onset of pain.
The key is that you not feel any more pain in your shoulders when you bench. It is entirely possible. Simply focus on what I’m showing you here and institute it the very next time you bench press and I promise you will not feel pain. From here, it would be important that you train your chest with this classic strength building exercise and stop omitting it from your training because it hurt you in the past.
If you’re looking for a complete program that will help you to build back up the size and strength of your chest without the shoulder pain you’ve become accustomed to, be sure to click the link below and head to athleanx.com where you can get the program that best matches your current goals. Start training like an athlete and start feeling more powerful, explosive and strong in the next 90 days and beyond.
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