T Nation

Armpit Area Pain/Weakness on One Side After Flat Bench Pressing


#1

After a long time of no progress on the bench press, I was wondering whether I didn’t have some undiagnosed i njury. The problem is, the pain is very slight, and it is hard to make a distinction between genuine soreness and actual pain. For months, it was just usual soreness to me. And even now, I’m not sure.
I am feeling it deep in the red circle :

Actually, I noticed a problem not because of the pain but because of a weakness which causes the bar to tilt more to one side than the other when I am griding for the very last reps. I used to bench press 3 times a week and thought this was the problem, so I switched to 2 times a week, and while it isn’t as bad as before (bar doesn’t tilt, form is good), I can’t seem to make any progress and the problem shows up again when I try to add weight.

I have already seen a doctor who ruled it as a simple pec strain, and had to take about a month off, which I did, but the problem is still there. So I don’t know what might be causing this… My form is good and has been checked several times by different people.

I have several ideas in mind :

-Muscle imbalance : I think that maybe, for some weird reason, my left side improved faster than my right side. I am righty and my right arm is clearly stronger and has better coordination than my left one (I can curl a bit more on my right side, and have a slightly easier time doing heavy lat pulldowns on my right side). So maybe some arm muscles (triceps?) took some load off my right side pec and prevented it to grow as quickly. I have tried deloading several times and using db bench press to even things out, it doesn’t seem to have any effect… When I look at my body, I see no difference between the right side and the left side. When I bench press, I use the same fingers on both bar rings… and the middle of the bar seems to touch my chest right in the middle… I have also noticed that, though, that my right arm might be more flexible than my left one… so it has an easier time flaring out than my left side, although I am always making sure it is even…

-Scar tissue : due to overuse (although I am sendentary…), I remember a coach told me I was weaker on my right side on the bench press for the first few sessions (two years ago…), so I am afraid it is a pre-existing condition I wasn’t aware of back then. In that case, I don’t know what to do… Massaging it doesn’t seem to work… and it seems to exacerbate the whole thing

-Pec tear : I have never abrupt pain during exercises… and I bench press 155 lbs for 5, so this seems unlikely… but maybe it is present and partial. I hope not… I have never went below 4 reps and bench without a spotter, so I am always careful and never go to total failure.

I’m a bit afraid I’m injured for life. Although I have no idea how this happened, and maybe this was a pre-existing problem… I searched a lot on the internet, and most people who have this problem never replied back to their topics… Any idea on what it could be, what to do and for how long ? NSAIDs aren’t effective, and the RICE thing either. Also, doctors in my country don’t try hard to find a cause to a problem when it doesn’t affect daily life. To them, not being able to lift at all is just a slight inconvenience, and don’t wish to spend too much time on it, even if I pay them. They don’t understand it’s important to me, so I will not be able to get help anywhere else than on the internet. And I am in a developed country. Yes, this is sad…

Thanks to anyone willing to put up with this wall of text to help me !


#2

If you are right handed, you will be a bit stronger in that side. I don’t think its anything to do with your problem though.
Sounds like you have a chronic injury that you keep trying to work through. I suggest you stay off it for a while or you may be dealing with it for a long time. You could start by using a low incline for a while. When I tore my pec, I elevated the rear if the bench “only” 3 inches, but it took the load off the tear. I would stay away from dips if you are doing them also. If you aren’t a competitive lifter, it won’t make any difference in the long run. Work inclines for a while, use a swiss bar, do floor presses; there’s lots of different exercise choices. All in all, stay off it and let heal.


#3

Listen to bighdx, before i tore my pec i was having soreness same , do some over head press and inclines for a while, narrow grip a little andmake sure both sides going up even


#4

Thanks for the advice. OHP and incline seem not to cause irritation flat bench press does.
Also, did it ever heal ? Because it doesn’t appear to.


#5

My left pec was black and blue, my left arm was two inches bigger around, not same no never healed, i was three workouts away from 500 pound bench, just do some different stuff for awhile, when you bench again closer grip, elbows tucked.


#6

Okay, so I did some very light inclines today (around 45°, 100 lbs), and I was wrong. The pain just relocates itself. I’m not feeling it the same way as I did in the first message. Now it’s there

and I don’t feel any pain in the area I mentioned before in the original message.

It seems like every time a tendon converging into or near my right armpit is used, it gets worn or inflamed very quickly. As if it were rubbing on a rugged surface or are just very tight and not flexible. I don’t see it heal any time soon and have no idea how this could even happen… I’m fucked.