We must all remember that all exercises have risks and rewards. The bench press is no exception. I think that bench pressing IMPROPERLY is the biggest culprit of bench-press related shoulder problems.
I consider “improper form” to be the bodybuilder-style of bench pressing. Bench-pressing with your elbows flared out and lowering the bar to your upper chest wreaks havoc on the shoulders! This bench pressing style is much more likely to tear connective tissue surrounding the shoulder joint. I am not exaggerating when I tell you that I cannot perform 1 rep of a bodybuilder-style bench press with just a 45lb. bar! I’m not kidding! It kills my shoulders.
Yet, just this past Monday I performed 5 sets of 1 in the weight releaser bench press lowering 485lbs. and raising 385 lbs. I’m only able to do this by bench pressing in the sagittal plane with my elbows tucked at 45 degrees and lowering the bar to below my chest.