[quote]Heroic Wolf wrote:
4 days ago, I tried benching for the first time in over a year (had to take a break from swimming-induced shoulder issues). I did 8 reps of 155lbs (I figured it was too light for me to possibly injure myself). The weight was pretty easy but my acromioclavicular joints got really inflamed the next day. Definitely beyond the point of normal post-workout soreness.
I’ve never had problems with clapping pushups before so I’ve thought about skipping the bench press altogether and just focusing on those. When I do clapping pushups, I actually try to get as much air as possible instead of just focusing on the clapping motion. Would this be able to fully substitute the bench press?
Some people say that bench press is for cosmetic fitness whereas plyos are more for functional fitness. But at the end of the day, I have a hard time imagining that bodyweight could be more advanced than free weights.[/quote]
People who say benching only leads to “cosmetic fitness” whereas plyos are “functional” are people you should not be listening to, because they clearly have a piss poor understanding of both strength and “fitness”. People who say shit like that are both weak mentally and physically, and are just looking for a way to justify that weakness as acceptable. It is not. (injury/inflammation aside, as those are health issues and should be taken care of).
Good points from others in the thread. There are things bench pressing is not useful for, aka certain sports or goals, or health issues and injury issues that mean the bench press (or at least variations of it) needs to be avoided. This is understood as self-evident for most people who are familiar with sports training and strength.
You should ask if they think the squat is only for “cosmetic fitness”. If they say yes, then you know that person is full of shit. If they say no, ask why the bench is “cosmetic only” because it is the upper body pushing movement equivalent of the squat (along with push press). They won’t have a coherent answer.
If you get AC joint issues, then the first thing I would look at is technique error because that often easily leads to unnecessary shoulder problems. The second thing I would look at is whether dumbbell bench press, neutral grip dumbbell bench, or push press, decline bench exercises hurt your AC joint. If the answer is no, then for the moment stick with the ones that don’t hurt.
The third thing I would look at is your history as a butterfly swimmer. This will have a direct and strong correlation to your current AC issues. Repeated motion, significant shortening of the lats, pecs, internal rotators, and T-spine issues will probably be what solves your problem long term–you spent years internally rotating the shoulders and shortening the muscles around the shoulder girdle that typically lead to impingement or AC issues. The fact that benching inflames your shoulder does not surprise me at all. Fix the underlying issues while staying with pain free exercises, then go back to bench pressing.
strengthen: shoulder external rotators, serratus anterior, low traps, rhomboids, thoracic spine (look at T-spine extensions as a starting point, then look at fixing postural problems that lead you towards a kyphotic upper back posture). Lots of upper back strength and T-spine extension work.
lengthen through foam rolling, soft tissue work and stretching (stretching after soft tissue work): lats, pec minor, pec major, biceps, anterior delt.
Then get strong.