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Biceps Tendon And Flat Bench

I’ve been lifting for a long time, but have never been able to flat bench without injury.

The pain is usually in one shoulder, and feels like it’s the biceps tendon. Incline and decline movements are fine. Dips are sometimes a problem, mostly if I go heavy.

I have long arms, so I’m guessing that’s part of the problem.

I’d like to try my hand at power lifting, but not if it’s going to trash my body.

Maybe I’m just not built to bench. Any advice?

Go get it checked out by a Doc. I would find an ART practitioner, or at the very least someone that does soft tissue work. Many regular Dr.'s will just tell you to stop lifting and that the problem lies in your bicep or wherever you are experiencing the pain. I was having distal bicep pain. When I went to get some ART, he told me my problem was due to a tightness in the proximal part of my tricep. One session, and no bicep pain. I think the website is active release.com to find a practitioner in your area. Hope this helps

I had almost exactly the same problem. At one point I couldn’t bench at all (power arch style) but I could do 30 degree incline or decline fine. I truly feel that I hurt my bicep tendon when unracking and racking heavy weights. As I built up my arch and learned to bench straight up and down (not over the face) I got to the point where in my setup, the bar in the rack was directly over my collarbone, as opposed to being over the forehead. No bicep pain now.

I forgot to mention that incline curls helped me get rid of the pain, and I also added some high rep Cuban raises.

I had some shoulder and associated bicep pain I got from doing dips w/ out warming up properly first. Went to see an ART guy, and found out I had an impinged nerve - fixed me up in 20 minutes. Your’s sounds more chronic, and I definitely couldn’t get rid of my pain with exercise, but there’s definitely a chance ART could help. Good luck.

Interesting about the incline curls helping. Seems like it mighthave helped increase the Biceps ROM more gently, with a constant, deliberate stretch. Unlike just yanking it across the bicipital groove while benching.

The longer ROM with a powerlifting style touch to the upper abs type lift was always the worst.

And the ART sounds worth looking in to, thanks.

Two other things you might try:

  1. Wear a bench shirt, you will probably be surprised how much it helps take the strain off your shoulders, and the pain out of benching…(grin)…well the shirt will probably hurt, but your shoulders won’t.

  2. Work your rotator cuffs, infraspinatus, and teres minor . A lot of powerlifters (Myself included!) develop impingement in their shoulders from overdeveloping the front delts and pecs. Check out the “Shoulder Horn” at EliteFTS, it helped me alot.

If curls help with the pain, then I doubt it is your Biceps Tendon. I’d be more willing to suggest that it is something in your rotator cuff. But definately go see a professional about it for sure regardless.

[quote]LevelHeaded wrote:
If curls help with the pain, then I doubt it is your Biceps Tendon. I’d be more willing to suggest that it is something in your rotator cuff. But definately go see a professional about it for sure regardless. [/quote]

When it is inflamed, it’s easily palpable. Maybe the biceps tendon is a secondary problem along with the cuff. That could be.

I haven’t tried the curls yet myself.

[quote]W.E.C wrote:
Two other things you might try:

  1. Wear a bench shirt, you will probably be surprised how much it helps take the strain off your shoulders, and the pain out of benching…(grin)…well the shirt will probably hurt, but your shoulders won’t.

  2. Work your rotator cuffs, infraspinatus, and teres minor . A lot of powerlifters (Myself included!) develop impingement in their shoulders from overdeveloping the front delts and pecs. Check out the “Shoulder Horn” at EliteFTS, it helped me alot.
    [/quote]

Yeah, I do need to be more consistent in my rotator cuff work. A new toy, like the shoulder horn, might help motivate me.

I keep hearing good things about wearing a shirt for long term health. Maybe I’ll pick one up.

[quote]violentvegan wrote:
I’ve been lifting for a long time, but have never been able to flat bench without injury.

The pain is usually in one shoulder, and feels like it’s the biceps tendon. Incline and decline movements are fine. Dips are sometimes a problem, mostly if I go heavy.

I have long arms, so I’m guessing that’s part of the problem.

I’d like to try my hand at power lifting, but not if it’s going to trash my body.

Maybe I’m just not built to bench. Any advice? [/quote]

I think your analysis is correct!

[quote]W.E.C wrote:

Work your rotator cuffs, infraspinatus, and teres minor .
[/quote]

I know how to target the rotator cuffs, but what exercises do you use to hit the infraspinatus and teres minor?

Thanks

When I had the shoulder pain, stopped benching, but I did a ton of External rotation work (Cuban “cleans”) incline curls and Ttricep extensions. The pain went away in about 15 weeks, and within a month a benched a PR. I haven’t had any pain since. (Over a year)

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As an osteopathic physician who treats musculoskeletal pain a ton, as well as an avid lifter who had this same exact problem (with short arms, mind you), I can tell you that several things were key to me:

1-Shoulder horn work
2-Band external and internal rotation work immediately after benching.
3-Ice massage to anterior shoulder after work-outs
4-Dedicated strethcing of internal rotators daily-have a friend or significant other help you with these by providing resistance and doing some PNF work.
5-Stop bringing elbows in on bench for a few weeks.
6-Narrow your grip to a more “functional” 20-24 inches between index fingers
7-Slightly extend the wrists when benching so that the heel of your hand points almost upward toward the ceiling rather than down toward the feet.

These things helped me immensely and the pain was gone in about 3 weeks. I have since gained much more stregth in my press as well.

humanator

Great stuff. Thanks everyone.

[quote]bigrondog wrote:
W.E.C wrote:

Work your rotator cuffs, infraspinatus, and teres minor .

I know how to target the rotator cuffs, but what exercises do you use to hit the infraspinatus and teres minor?

Thanks[/quote]

The rotator cuff is comprised of 4 muscles: Infraspinatus, Supraspinatus, Subscapularis, and Teres Minor.

Physical limitation aside, maybe you are not benching optimally. When I do flat DB presses, my shoulders scream for mercy. With a flat barbell, I have no problems, once I sufficiently warmed up. The difference, I think, is that with a barbell, I’m better able to set up prior to lifting the weight. I find that if I retract, and hold my scapulae back, I can come bring the bar all the way to my chest without shoulder pain. If I’m not retracted, bringing the bar to my chest hurts my shoulder like holy hell. Retracting the scapulae not only gives you a stable base to push off, but brings your shoulders back with respect to your torso, allowing for a fuller range of motion.

Note: My shoulders are fucked. I have enough scar tissue, adhesions, and impingments for this entire board to share, but I can’t afford ART right now. Retracting the scapulae on the bench is just one of the little tricks I’ve picked up to continue lifting with my issues.

The ART website is http://www.activerelease.com

I probably could use some good tips/articles on good benching form. In fifteen years of lifting, I’ve probably done a flat barbell bench maybe 20 times, so I’m sure I’m missing something.

For instance, I never really understood how to keep your scapulae retracted for anything more than a one rep set. Seems like they pull apart at the top of the first rep.

[quote]bigrondog wrote:
W.E.C wrote:

Work your rotator cuffs, infraspinatus, and teres minor .

I know how to target the rotator cuffs, but what exercises do you use to hit the infraspinatus and teres minor?

Thanks[/quote]

Any external rotation movement will work terres minor, infraspinatus, and supraspinatus.

They are 3/4 of the “cuff.”