T Nation

Biceps Getting Involved in Bench Press


#1

I've had problems with my bench press for the last two or three years. It used to be my best lift, but after pushing very, very hard on it I ended up in a weird situation. I took two weeks off, and when I came back my strength levels plummeted! I went from benching 265 x 8 to being unable to lift anything more than 135-155 without incredible stress in my shoulder. This was very surprising to me since I had no acute injury.

Though I never really recovered, I did a lot of research in the meantime on bench technique, and started to change my execution. I started setting up and performing the lift according the standards espoused by Dave Tate in some of his videos. The problem is, I was doing it wrong and really messed up my biceps. I got a lot of strain in the tendon and then eventually in the heart of the muscle itself. This went on for a month or two as I tried different things.

I've since done more experimentation / research and now I'm pretty sure I have sound technique. I corrected some problems with elbow tuck and scap retraction and I don't seem to be causing any new problems for myself. The problem is, my biceps still get involved! I'm not straining the tendon anymore, but whenever I try to bench, they activate immediately and get blasted before my chest can even warm up. It's incredibly frustrating!

I've recently started doing broomstick dislocations (50 / night DC style) and these actually feel really good... they stretch my biceps and get a lot of blood flowing through them. I only just started so I can't say if this is going to help correct my problem or not but in the meantime I was wondering if anyone had any advice on how I could fix this problem?

Edit - By the way, I know flat bench has a reputation for destroying shoulders, and maybe I'll drop it but this problem affects incline and decline presses as well, along with dumbbell variations. Overhead press is fine for the most part, although there have been occasions where my biceps have interfered.


#2

I am curious, is the shoulder pain people refer to from pressing in the front or back? And is the rotator cuff in the front or back, or all around?

I unfortunately don't have any experience with the bicep issue, though it would make sense for stretching to help. Again, just something that came into my head, but would purposefully trying to push the bar apart possibly help disengage the biceps?


#3

The "tear the bar apart" thing really hurts my elbows. I'm one of those guys who experiences elbow pain really easily on extensions, like many others on this board.

People use the term shoulder pain to refer to a wide variety of different pains focused in the area. In my case, I don't really have "shoulder" pain anymore, but when I did it came from the point where the delt inserts into the humerus.

As for the rotator cuff, this article might help you visualize it:


#4

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