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Bench Cues for Rotator Cuff Pain


#1

I feel like if I keep benching the way I do I'm going to blow my rotator cuffs.

I get pain/aching from the front of my shoulders down the side of my biceps/brachialis. It hurts only after my sets and when I'm benching heavy. It doesn't "hurt" per se, but it does make benching more difficult than it should be. My hands are usually shaking and it feels like my arms have no energy or power to push anything.

I focus on shoulder blades in back pockets, but as the weight gets heavy, especially if I'm doing heavy triples, my shoulders start to cave in forward. My grip is also fairly close.

What are good bench cues to keep this from happening?

I'm assuming my rotator cuffs are weak?

Does this sound familiar to anyone?


#2

I was getting the same thing for a while, in my case the shoulders weren’t affected but my biceps were hurting like hell. By the way, the bicep is also a shoulder extensor - it connects to your shoulder - so that could be why you feel it there. I could be wrong, but I don’t think it has anything to do with your rotator cuffs.

In my case, I always squat or deadlift before benching. My biceps started to ache when I was squatting and got worse when I was benching. When deadlift first it doesn’t bother me. I was able to push through the pain and bench but it felt like I had no power off my chest and I was basically dropping the bar the last 2-3 inches when I brought it down. I tried to find a solution, the only thing that seemed to work was bicep curls. I hadn’t done a curl in about 6 months and I wasn’t doing a whole lot of rows and chin-ups either. So I started doing bicep curls 1-2x/week and more chin ups and rows, now I’m fine. I don’t know what the actual cause of pain was, my guess is that it was a muscle imbalance from so much pressing and not much upper body pulling. If that doesn’t help then I don’t know what to tell you.


#3

And don’t let your shoulders come forward or you will get a serious injury if you are handling some heavy weights. Learn how to push with your shoulder blades locked in place.


#4

Gonna be hard to diagnose online, could be a number of things.

I will say, though, shoulder problems for me personally are by far the most annoying to deal with if you let them get past “annoying” to “injury”, and that line can be more of a gray area.

Find ways to train that don’t cause pain, find soft tissue methods that fix it, find a training program that has the right intensity/frequency/volume ratio to keep that thing happy. If you gotta, get professional eyes on it, its worth it with shoulders imo.


#5

Just a few obvious things:

  1. Do some rotator cuff exercises (face pulls, cuban rotations etc)
  2. Strengthen your upper back more

Also, something that I found helped me a lot was to pause all my reps for a while. It takes the uncertainty of getting the bar and your shoulder in a bad position and teaches you to improve your form and keep your upper back tight at the bottom of the press.


#6

Google diesel crew how to shoulder rehab. You’ll find a 7 day protocol that will help easy the problem before it grows.


#7

A video would be helpful, but I’d suggest widening your grip. Going extremely wide is obviously stressful on the shoulders, but a grip that’s too narrow forces excess shoulder rotation under load just to cover the entire range of motion.


#8

x2 on getting back/rear delts stronger. Could also put focus to incline and reverse grip for a while…


#9

[quote]
I was getting the same thing for a while, in my case the shoulders weren’t affected but my biceps were hurting like hell. By the way, the bicep is also a shoulder extensor - it connects to your shoulder - so that could be why you feel it there. I could be wrong, but I don’t think it has anything to do with your rotator cuffs. [/quote]

Yeah it isn’t in my shoulders as much as where the bicep connects to the shoulder and down the side of the arm. I just looked through some older posts here and a common consensus was rotator cuff.

I haven’t done any bicep work in about a year. I only do rows and pull ups so I’ll give that a try.

Nice thanks a lot!

[quote]RampantBadger wrote:
x2 on getting back/rear delts stronger. Could also put focus to incline and reverse grip for a while…

Excellent article, I find that externally rotating my arms between sets helps, I’m going to try these out.


#10

Also, I haven’t been doing any rear delt work. Only Pendalay rows that kind of include them and band pull aparts. Guess I know where my assistance work destiny lies.


#11

Just my 2 cents but I had some pretty bad bicep tendinitis that kept me from benching regularly for about 3-4 months, and (this all anecdotal since obviously you cant diagnose everything) what seemed to help me was doing really light straight bar curls, cutting out vertical pulling (pulldowns and pullups) and doing lots of band pull a parts and dislocations as well as high rep rear delt work.

If you can, go see a good massage therapist and get your shoulder worked on. That always gave me some more immediate relief.