I suppose I could just train db instead and train around the problem, but the weight I can handle on db press doesn’t seem heavy enough to promote muscle growth compared to the bb press.
This statement really grabbed me. You may want to take a step back and really examine why you aren’t doing the db exercise. If you can’t do a lot of weight, that’s a good sign you’re a little weak in that area. The fact that you can do more with a bar suggests you need work on the coordination and balance involved with the dumbbells.
When I change a routine and start doing a new exercise, for the first few sessions the amount of weight I do is usually laughable, I feel like I’m using the plastic barbie weights. But after a few good workouts, once I’ve built up a little endurance and perfected the form, I show rapid gains in strength.
Avoiding an exercise because you can’t lift very much weight with it is neglecting a weak spot in your training. You should be focusing on these areas rather than avoiding them. I’d suggest you take a step back and re-think your philosophy about this particular exercise. (I’m not trying to be critical here, just trying to get you to look at it from a different perspective).
Regards to the shoulder - I had a nasty shoulder injury which really screwed me up for a while. Part of the reason I started lifting again a few years ago was to help the shoulder heal up. Here are a few things that I did that helped me.
I didn’t do any exercise that caused a sharp pain in the shoulder. Soreness was okay, but any time I got a sharp pain during the exercise, I would stop doing the exercise.
I tried to work as many different shoulder movements as possible over time, including presses, raises, and rotation exercises aimed at the rotator cuff. Usually I would start off at extremely low weights, just working through the range of motion. Once I got so I could do a few sets of an exercise without pain, I would slowly start increasing the weight. There were a few movements that I had never worked out before and I think strengthening them helped to build a great deal of overall shoulder stability which helped me heal faster and will help prevent further injury.
Higher rep sets are the way to go IMO when getting over an injury. Using too heavy a weight too soon can lead to re-injury.
Change up the exercises you do every few weeks. If one exercise bothers you, look for a similar one that doesn’t. Try an incline bench press and a decline rather than a flat bench, for example. Rotate different exercises/angles.
Form is extremely important. I found that if I went too heavy and started to cheat or got sloppy with form I was more likely to tweak the injury.
Now from what you’ve said, it sounds like benching is a bit of a problem. Try using different benches (incline and decline) and see if they hurt any less. If the dumbbells don’t hurt, do the dumbbells. Db BP is such a great exercise it’s a shame you don’t like them. Don’t worry if you can’t do a lot of weight with them, if you stay at it, you’ll improve. Try doing more fly,cable crossovers, and pullovers to add variety to your chest workout.
Stay away from the pain-causing bench press for a good long while (6 weeks or so). When you start back in with the bench, use lower weights and do higher rep sets. Also, when bench pressing, try keeping your upper arms parallel to the floor when you lower the weight. Don’t let the bar go all the way down to your chest. Limiting the range of motion slightly in this manner oftentimes results in less stress on the shoulder.
If you’ve got a trainer at your gym, ask him or her to watch you bench and see if they have any tips on your form.
Injuries suck and really screw up your workouts at first, but if you are diligent you can get yourself back to full health eventually. Avoiding a beloved exercise that causes pain can be tough, but just think of the substitutions as a challenge! Get yourself psyched up about db presses.
Stick with it! Best of luck.[/quote]
I think you have hit the nail on the head with some of you’re points. With regards to keeping the upper arm parallel to the floor, I’ve heard this mentioned in the past and tried it out a few times. What shocked me was how far away from my chest that the barbell was when my upper arm was parallel to the floor. It must have been about ten inches away. I must have long arms or some weird body shape.
Maybe this is part of the problem for my shoulder as I have started trying to alter my bench press to more of a neck press. It is more of a neck press (gironda style) with my arms flared out. This probably is not the best style for my body shape, so I will try and alter this to a power lifting style when I return to it (after a good rest)