T Nation

Bench Press: Shoulder Coming Up

Hey, would appreciate some help with this issue:

When i bench i find that about 1/3 of the way up off my chest, my right shoulder seems to rise up (towards my ear) and my elbow flares out a bit. It’s caused me to miss a fair few reps at manageable weights and i was wondering if anyone had any remedies?

i’ve tried stretching out my upper traps before the bench, which i’ve now stopped doing seeing as it did nothing, other than reduce the tightness in them as a base. I’ve started adding some more lat work in hope that stronger lats will help me keep my shoulder down but haven’t seen any results so far.

it’s definitely a fatigue thing since on lower weights, i can keep good form until i start fatiguing, at which point that right shoulder comes up again (left one stays in place)

Any Help would be much appreciated!

It’s probably happening because your triceps are weak. When you go heavy, the body naturally has the strongest muscle groups take over. Rear delt work wouldn’t hurt.

at first guess sounds like your not getting the weight into your lats either… really crank your elbows in as you lower the weight, and perhaps touch a little lower. A video would make it easy to tell exactly though

when you squeeze your shoulder blades together, try and get the squeeze as low towards your legs as possible

Grip tightly while lowering, like trying to break the bar in half. Drive your feet into the floor and push your body away from the bar. Another, Sounds like a strange drill, but one that works for me is to perform a bent over band press to learn to push away from the bar. I set this up by hanging the bands from the top of my power rack and insert a bar through the bands, bend over at the waist and push the bar towards my feet, really feel it in my upper back. Another would be push-ups on rings.

Thanks for all the tips. i Benched again yesterday and this time really focused on getting the weight on my lats, really bringing the bar low. Went for a 3RM, the first rep had a nice groove, second as well. on the Third my shoulder STARTED to come up but i managed to keep my lats tight and it stopped, i finished the rep. it still involved me stopping for a brief instant during the rep though.

My Triceps are definitely one of the stronger muscles on my body so i don’t think that’s where the problem lies. i’ll try the tip Frankf79 gave, as well as continue working on my lat strength (thanks matsm)

Benching again next week on monday so will see what happens then. will do some light reps for form sometime tomorrow.

Thanks for the help!

Hey there,

I dont post much but i thought i would chime in on this. I had the exact same problem years ago. I dont know when it developed but sure enough, anytime the weight started getting to heavy or squeezing out the last few reps, and my right shoulder would hitch up to my ear. It was as involuntary as trying not to blink my eyes. Your strongest body part takes over and thats that. I even had a friend try and press his knee against it to keep me from doing it and i still hitched it up.

One of the above posters had it right though. To fix this i had to go back to the basics and lock my entire upper body in tight as possible and then perform the lift. I also did not use max effort on my bench for a few weeks. I kept it in the working range where my last rep was not a struggle. Kind of retrained my body with the proper form and didnt give it an excused to try and go back.

It is important to get that fixed if you want to continue lifting heavier… I dont know from first hand experience but i cant imagine hitching my shoulder like that with 400 pounds or more on it, probably end up doing some major damage.

Good luck!