T Nation

Benching Problems

As of late, I have been having a lot of trouble with getting the bar off my chest. Once I get it moving I will usually lock it out, but I am weak in that aspect. Also, my right shoulder has been stealing the load from my chest, but my left shoulder does not do this. I switched to more DB bench and I find that my shoulder is sore after I do them and my right side is always behind my left during the press.

What are some things I can do to fix these problems. Should I use double contraction at the bottom and I really don’t know what to do about my shoulder problem.

Can you use a rack and set the bar low so you have to squeeze under it?

That way you have to press the bar off the pins from the bottom FIRST. Let the bar come to a dead rest with each rep.

And keep using the dumbbells too. Just stop the set when the weak side gives up, you should eventually balance out as long as there’s no physiological reason for the imbalance.

Unilateral work (one side at a time) dumbell or machine press will be helpful wit your shoulder imbalance. I would also include unilateral shoulder work.

As for being weak off of your chest. Do you have access to a power rack? Perhaps try doing some Anderson Benches. To do these, set the pins at chest height and bench from the pins, starting at the bottom and letting the bar rest on the pins for a second or two to take the momentum out in between each rep.

Yes, I finally have access to a gym with a rack so I will definitely utilize it.

Thanks for the help

If the dumbell press is hurting your shoulders it may be a form problem. Get somebody who knows what they are doing and critique you.

If you are doing a regular form try starting at the bottom of the movement with your hands facing in and your elbows at your sides. As you press the weight up rotate your hands to where they would be facing your feet and repeat for reps this way. This keeps your elbows down and keeps more of the weight on the pec instead of your anterior delt.

Sometimes people will be benching with bench or dumbells and they stick their elbows perpendicular to their body when doing the movement. This puts more stress on the anterior delt and could be the reason to your problem. Proper form requires that your elbows are a little down, maybe a little more than a 45 degree angle to your ribs instead of flared completely out at a 90 degree angle to your ribs.

As far as strength goes I liked stronghold’s power rack idea.

Gerdy

[quote]Dirty Gerdy wrote:
As far as strength goes I liked stronghold’s power rack idea.

Gerdy[/quote]

Mine too, mine too!

[quote]derek wrote:
Dirty Gerdy wrote:
As far as strength goes I liked stronghold’s power rack idea.

Gerdy

Mine too, mine too!

[/quote]

ooops yea dereks idea as well. lol

so it sounds like you will be benching with a power rack next time being you have 3 people all agreeing on the same thing. lol

Gerdy

[quote]derek wrote:
Can you use a rack and set the bar low so you have to squeeze under it?

That way you have to press the bar off the pins from the bottom FIRST. Let the bar come to a dead rest with each rep.[/quote]

I kinda agree with this except I stress maintain tension through out the whole set. Let the bar stay on the pins for a second or two while you are pressing with some tension just not enough to move the bar. Keep the focus in the the chest then push through. Its a technique Poliquin uses in winning the arms race for over the head half presses in the power rack.

I’ve used it for flat bench with a lot of success with myself and my clients. Think of landing a plane when you lower the bar. You want it to be a smooth and even as possible, the bar should touch both pins at the same time with as little noise as possible, maintain tension in the chest, and repeat. Practice makes perfect. Starting point can be from the top or the bottom, I prefer the top it will allow you to use more resistance.

I would look into lowering your weight. Initially, it sounds like the weight may be too heavy. Even 5-10 pounds too much can throw off form just slightly. I would suggest you lessen the weight and work on form again.

The bb bench press is overrated at best and I encourage you to drop it. It’s an injury prone exercise. Especially when you lower it to your chest. Dont. That’s how a lot of people tear their pecs or strain their shoulder joint. Use inclines, declines and machines for best results.

[quote]kaeosali wrote:
derek wrote:
Can you use a rack and set the bar low so you have to squeeze under it?

That way you have to press the bar off the pins from the bottom FIRST. Let the bar come to a dead rest with each rep.

I kinda agree with this except I stress maintain tension through out the whole set. Let the bar stay on the pins for a second or two while you are pressing with some tension just not enough to move the bar. Keep the focus in the the chest then push through. Its a technique Poliquin uses in winning the arms race for over the head half presses in the power rack.

I’ve used it for flat bench with a lot of success with myself and my clients. Think of landing a plane when you lower the bar. You want it to be a smooth and even as possible, the bar should touch both pins at the same time with as little noise as possible, maintain tension in the chest, and repeat. Practice makes perfect. Starting point can be from the top or the bottom, I prefer the top it will allow you to use more resistance.

[/quote]

The entire point of benching from the pins is to remove any advantage obtained from the stretch reflex and force the chest to contract without that benefit against a weight that is at a dead stop (much like fully deloading the weight between reps on deadlift makes things much more difficult).

[quote]Stronghold wrote:
The entire point of benching from the pins is to remove any advantage obtained from the stretch reflex and force the chest to contract without that benefit against a weight that is at a dead stop (much like fully deloading the weight between reps on deadlift makes things much more difficult).[/quote]

The pins can be used many ways. The idea is to get stronger.

This is the major problem of his bench press. He’s not keeping his shoulder retracted and he losing control of the bar. The extra emphasis on controlled eccentric contraction, the increased TUT, as well as a level bar bar will help him. To bench off the pins is tough from a dead stop if he hasn’t learned to keep his shoulder retracted.