T Nation

Alternative to Bench Press

I’m noticing some pain in my right shoulder when I reach the lower part of the bench press. It’s not severe, but I’d rather lay off the bench press for a while and do some assistance exercises while the shoulder recovers. Would bench presses in a power rack, with the bar set about 4"above my chest be a good substitute? I’m doing the intermediate 5x5 program and would like to keep improving a pressing lift if not the bench press.

I’ve had a read through Cresseys Shoulder savers articles and will use some of his suggestions. Should I dedicate a day to rotator cuff saving exercises like rack pulls, rotations etc? Currently my training sessions are too long at about 70 minutes and I’m trying to shorten them, so no real time at the end of my workouts to cram in rotator cuff exercises.

Lighter weight and not so much the selection of excercises is probably the most important factor.

Never substitute a full motion exorcise for one that’s not to help an injury, the injured muscle still needs to get stronger.

Think of this as an opportunity to work on light weight high rep exorcises.

Do dumbell incline bench at a 20-30’ angle for 3x20 for a few weeks. ALso make sure you’re doing face pulls and internal/external rotations. scap push/pulls may help too.

[quote]Schlenkatank wrote:
Never substitute a full motion exorcise for one that’s not to help an injury, the injured muscle still needs to get stronger.
[/quote]

BS. There is nothing wrong with working around an injury.

I agree with Schlenkatank, try some light dumbbell presses. I would not do any incline pressing movements, as this is a more shoulder dominant movement. Take it easy. Everyone gets these niggles now and then.

yeah dude just get your rotator cuffs and scaps in shape [between sets, you know you have time if your doing intermediate 5x5]. Do some shoulder saver between squat sets and DL sets. schedule them shits as pairing if your are a “the book is the god” type guy [I am so i write that shit in].

And I would not be afraid to sub the lift for a more ergonomic lift. unless you are a PLer and have comps coming up then BP is not necessarily necessary in its original form.

Try some DB floor presses, or even BB floor presses. Floor presses are all i do these days and i love em. that and regular DB bench with all three grips [prone, sup and neutral] are all good options.

And if you just want some kind of pressing lift and you want to rehab your RC and scap to prevent further shoulder fuck ups then really try out suspended push ups on TRX bands, blast straps [surprised at the versatility of these] or rings. Getting some external weight going on these with a vest, chains or I even found a way to strap plate with handle holes to me with the dip belt, will do wonders for your pressing ability.

See what you can get at. I know TRX straps are fairly priced and will always be handy. but you can just use the blast straps [for leg raises and shit from the rack] to suspend from a bar as easily.

-chris

[quote]Steel Nation wrote:
Schlenkatank wrote:
Never substitute a full motion exorcise for one that’s not to help an injury, the injured muscle still needs to get stronger.

BS. There is nothing wrong with working around an injury.[/quote]

I agree totally. The proper way to do it is not to substitute function and form with more weight, but rather to change you’re training methods.

Changing his bench press to a one board press for several weeks would probably still irritate his shoulder and after that period he’d have difficulty with the full press and have to step the weight down anyway.

Lot’s of light weight full motion exorcises are the key until his shoulder gets better.

This is of course from an athletes perspective. I realize now that chris has some other ideas.

A loose bench shirt allows lots of guys to bench pain free. An F-6 on Ebay is cheap insurance. We all work around injuries, just know when to find a strength training knowledgable doctor. Good luck.

I’m pretty sure it’s not a muscle injury but an impingement as it is a sharp pain in the front of the shoulder. I like Avocados suggestion of doing shoulder savers inbetween sets, as I take about 3 minutes rest and spend the time staring vacantly at walls like a dog, so I could be using that time better.

[quote]Schlenkatank wrote:
Lot’s of light weight full motion exorcises are the key until his shoulder gets better.[/quote]

I agree that this should be included, but using partial ROM movements like floor presses or 3-4 board presses would help maintain strength in that movement plane even though you aren’t using the whole ROM. That is assuming that you can do the partial ROM without pain.

But like avocado said, why do the straight bar bench press if you don’t have to?

I have always had good results switching to neutral grip DB presses in place of straight bar bench press when my shoulders are banged up. They let you keep your elbows tucked really close to your sides, which eliminates or at least minimizes shoulder discomfort. If those still cause a problem you could try neutral grip DB floor presses to protect the shoulders even more.

Actually, it would probably be better to start with the more shoulder-protective variation first and see how you tolerate that, then move to the full ROM as your recovery progresses.

You could try using a neutral grip bar like this:

http://westcarybarbell.com/store/index.php?main_page=product_info&cPath=1&products_id=21

Much easier on the shoulders.

[quote]Island Strength wrote:
A loose bench shirt allows lots of guys to bench pain free. An F-6 on Ebay is cheap insurance. We all work around injuries, just know when to find a strength training knowledgable doctor. Good luck.[/quote]

He doesnt have to go out and buy a bench shirt. Theres tons of other things he can do.

When i hurt my shoulder i just stopped flat benching.Find some exercises that you can do pain free.Incline dumbells and close grip bench worked for me.

[quote]BlackLabel wrote:
Island Strength wrote:
A loose bench shirt allows lots of guys to bench pain free. An F-6 on Ebay is cheap insurance. We all work around injuries, just know when to find a strength training knowledgable doctor. Good luck.

He doesnt have to go out and buy a bench shirt. Theres tons of other things he can do.[/quote]

Yeah, I know he doesn’t have to buy a bench shirt. And yes, there are tons of other things he can do. I was more interested in providing advice than busting someone’s balls. Hardcore lifters do use loose bench shirts when nursing shoulder issues. He may know someone to borrow a shirt from or god-forbid be able to afford a few bucks to keep doing his thing. I am certain your advice did absolutely nothing to help.

It would be better to hump someone else’s leg Black Label.

[quote]Island Strength wrote:
BlackLabel wrote:
Island Strength wrote:
A loose bench shirt allows lots of guys to bench pain free. An F-6 on Ebay is cheap insurance. We all work around injuries, just know when to find a strength training knowledgable doctor. Good luck.

He doesnt have to go out and buy a bench shirt. Theres tons of other things he can do.

Yeah, I know he doesn’t have to buy a bench shirt. And yes, there are tons of other things he can do. I was more interested in providing advice than busting someone’s balls. Hardcore lifters do use loose bench shirts when nursing shoulder issues. He may know someone to borrow a shirt from or god-forbid be able to afford a few bucks to keep doing his thing. I am certain your advice did absolutely nothing to help.

It would be better to hump someone else’s leg Black Label.[/quote]

Any time.

[quote]tcsimon wrote:
You could try using a neutral grip bar like this:

http://westcarybarbell.com/store/index.php?main_page=product_info&cPath=1&products_id=21

Much easier on the shoulders.[/quote]

if only we had access to those. so sexy.

In other news: dave tate had good advice on injured areas in specific ROM. He reckons you ought to get a bar and un weight it with a couple bands on either end. So get a bar that weights 95lbs and put two 50lbs bands on, one each side so it hovers over your chest if you lay in the rack on a bench.

then get upwards of a hundred reps on that counter weighted bitch because that will get the blood flowing in the areas where the injury came from best because it is where the injury came from. handy thoughts.

-chris

I agree with zephead on the low incline db presses. Something else you should consider is direct rear delt work. It is very possible that you have an imbalance which will cause pain. I had the same issue with my shoulders and once I strengthened that area - no more shoulder pain.

[quote]Mahatma wrote:
I’m noticing some pain in my right shoulder when I reach the lower part of the bench press. It’s not severe, but I’d rather lay off the bench press for a while and do some assistance exercises while the shoulder recovers. Would bench presses in a power rack, with the bar set about 4"above my chest be a good substitute? I’m doing the intermediate 5x5 program and would like to keep improving a pressing lift if not the bench press.

I’ve had a read through Cresseys Shoulder savers articles and will use some of his suggestions. Should I dedicate a day to rotator cuff saving exercises like rack pulls, rotations etc? Currently my training sessions are too long at about 70 minutes and I’m trying to shorten them, so no real time at the end of my workouts to cram in rotator cuff exercises. [/quote]

Id be careful man. I started out with the same problem and tried to work through it. Turns out the heavy load i was doing on bench caused my shoulder to mildly separate. You may be dealing with the same thing…i guess its becoming so common amoung lifters it is called weightlifters shoulder now. Id stay away from any press until you can get through the full range of motion with no pain. Do some rotator cuff exercises too, never hurts to strengthen it.