T Nation

Football Players & Trouble Benching?

I’m going into my 6th year of eligibility for College football(Redshirt+Medical Redshirt…I’m working on my Masters), and while I have no diagnosed injuries, I am in CONSTANT pain when I bench. It effects my performance tremendously. In my earlier seasons I was able to rep out 320 for 5-6 no problem. The other day I BARELY got 1 and a half reps(I know the half reps truly don’t count). This wasn’t from a lack of strength either(while not quite as strong in the upper body), more so from the awful pain I was in. My pec is pretty tight, and my shoulders(especially my right front delt and part of my right trap)are in constant pain. I always warm up before(I do Defranco’s Upperbody Warm Up) and I stretch afterwards.

I’m in much need of a massage. It would definitely alleviate some of the pain, but it wouldn’t completely go away.

And no…this isn’t about “sucking it up”, I’ve played a few games on a fracture 4th metatarsal before. I’ve played through pain. This is a true performance hindrance.

To TRY(I know nothing will) to replace my bench, I did light dumbells, a hammerstrength machine, and cable chest presses.

Is/was anyone else in the same boat? Has anyone else been in the same boat and somehow gotten out of it?

And by same boat, I don’t necessarily mean just the bench. It could apply to any other lift. I’m always in constant pain.

Maybe you’re actually injured. Go to a doctor.

1- go see a doctor first. If this is something serious, you got to know

2- IF it isn’t something serious, what kind/how much rowing do you do? Would you say you have the same volume for rowing and pressing, or more one way or the other? Do you put as much emphasis on your rowing as you do your pressing?

3- what kind of shoulder training are you performing? Are you balancing out the pressing with rear delt work? Are you working your rotator cuff? Prehab stuff?

4- Ever had a shoulder or chest injury before? Did you get professional rehab for it?

Yea man, get to a doctor or a PT. If nothing is seriously injured, start doing lots of prone Ys, band pull-aparts and shoulder stretching. I assume you bench with a narrow grip like most football players? If you’re having that much pain from benching with a narrow grip, something is wrong. The trap pain might be a pinched nerve.

A warmup, I usually do the agility ladder to get me sweating. Then I do the defranco warmup. It’s basically a pec stretch, lying shoulder stretch, lat stretch, then this stretch I don’t know the name of. It’s a semi dynamic stretch. You take either a stretch band, rope, pipe, etc and grip it wider than shoulder width apart in front of you, you raise it, and bring it close to 360 so the object is on your backside, then do it again forward.

I lift three days a week.

Workout 1(for this past week…I was doing a 5/3/1 but I couldn’t barbell bench this week)
DB Bench- 3x15
Standing Cable Chest Press- 3x15
Hammer Strength Wide Grip Bench- 3x15
Cable Flys- 4x15
Tricep Pushdown- 5x20
BB Curl- 5x12

Workout 2(I didn’t do it yet this week…probably some modifications…this is what I did last week)
MP- 5/3/1
DB Shoulder Press-3x6-8
L-Raises- 3x20
DB Rows- 3x15
Lat Pulldown- 3x12
Hammerstrength Rows- 3x8

Workout 3
Squat- 5/3/1
Deadlift- 5/3/1
Leg Extension- 3x12
Leg Curl- 3x12
Calf Raises- 5x15

I actually bench with a really wide grip(index finger on the ring). I’m gonna take a stab at doing some light weight close grip bench on monday.

Def go to a doc like others said. Could be rotator cuff or what people call “weightlifter’s shoulder” or something else (feel any popping in your shoulder?). The doc should be able to tell without too much trouble, but if it is “free” for you to go to the college hospital then they could even do an MRI just to see everything going on.

This too:

[quote]Chris87 wrote:
2- IF it isn’t something serious, what kind/how much rowing do you do? Would you say you have the same volume for rowing and pressing, or more one way or the other? Do you put as much emphasis on your rowing as you do your pressing?
[/quote]

You could try doing dumbell bench with your palms facing inward. So that the dumbells are parallel toward your body instead of perpendicular, or at least have them at a 45% angle. This is sometimes a way for people with shoulder issues to bench without pain.

Good luck, and hit legs hard I guess.

[quote]bigspence75 wrote:
I actually bench with a really wide grip(index finger on the ring). I’m gonna take a stab at doing some light weight close grip bench on monday.[/quote]

Oh, well Christ man, narrow your grip up…way up. That shoulder stretch you described is a really good stretch, and it’s the main one I do. But I’m not sure about doing it before benching. I do it at the end of pressing workouts because it feels better that way.

Does your football team not have a trainer/team doc? What does he say?

Look for Eric Cressey’s “shoulder savers” article on this sight. He has a progression of three exercises to balance out the humeral head in the shoulder. I had front shoulder pain that pretty much stopped my benching and overhead pressing for several months. These exercises had me improved in two weeks and back to pre-injury strength pretty quickly. I still do them pretty regularly.

As everyone said go see a DR. Also you may be stretching too much, stretching is good up to a point. Also while width can be damaging your technique can hurt more, how low are you bringing the bar. If you’re on a football team they should have a trainer, what does he suggest? That doesn’t look like a typical program.

just quick tips for shoulder issues:
limit ROM on laterals, do partials as meadows does
Cable bench flys, do them slow with a long stretch, light weight, helped me retrain my pecs and shoulders to work on a full ROM after years of just benching and no fly movements. THIS WAS HUGE!!!

Neutral grip db work for presses, of all variations.
Limit incline benching
Close grip bench rather than wide.
Reverse grip bench can be good too.
Work the fuck outta that back, but make sure ur activating all of your back muscles, not just rowing the weight. I really like tempo cable rows with traps down and relaxed, retract shoudler blades, hold at top for a 2 counts.
Stop back squatting as often, this can really irritate my shoudlers depending, just the postion u have to get into. I like front squats and zerchers, or more deads!

Lots of band pullaparts, y’s, t’s, a’s.

Do more DE work if ME hurts, never a problem to just work on speed or reps rather than trying to max all the time.

Also see the doc. These were just some tips that helped me. O and use a baseball or something toroll out ur neck shoulders and pecs, get a PVC pipe to roll the back, lats and everything else

I was a collegiate OL and my shoulders were awful for years after I finished playing. I am able to bench pain free now but it took a long time of using a 3:1 back to chest/shoulders training ratio and learning to retract my scapulae very tight to get to this point.

[quote]bigspence75 wrote:
A warmup, I usually do the agility ladder to get me sweating. Then I do the defranco warmup. It’s basically a pec stretch, lying shoulder stretch, lat stretch, then this stretch I don’t know the name of. It’s a semi dynamic stretch. You take either a stretch band, rope, pipe, etc and grip it wider than shoulder width apart in front of you, you raise it, and bring it close to 360 so the object is on your backside, then do it again forward.

I lift three days a week.

Workout 1(for this past week…I was doing a 5/3/1 but I couldn’t barbell bench this week)
DB Bench- 3x15
Standing Cable Chest Press- 3x15
Hammer Strength Wide Grip Bench- 3x15
Cable Flys- 4x15
Tricep Pushdown- 5x20
BB Curl- 5x12

Workout 2(I didn’t do it yet this week…probably some modifications…this is what I did last week)
MP- 5/3/1
DB Shoulder Press-3x6-8
L-Raises- 3x20
DB Rows- 3x15
Lat Pulldown- 3x12
Hammerstrength Rows- 3x8

Workout 3
Squat- 5/3/1
Deadlift- 5/3/1
Leg Extension- 3x12
Leg Curl- 3x12
Calf Raises- 5x15
[/quote]

The 9 sets of pulling a week are not enough for your 20+ sets focusing on pressing muscles. Pull more than you press and you’l feel way better.

I’m going to see someone soon hopefully.

A couple things about my situation. 1) I’m home for the summer 2) I play at a Division 2 school, so the funding isn’t the greatest, and I currently have limited to no access to the trainer.

I’m going to start
-Narrowing my grip
-Doing lighter weights
-Limit Inclining
-Try dumbbell benching with my palms facing inward
-Increase back volume
-Get a message hopefully soon
-Check out that shoulder routine and incorporate it into mine

Thanks guys!

[quote]bigspence75 wrote:
I’m going to see someone soon hopefully.

A couple things about my situation. 1) I’m home for the summer 2) I play at a Division 2 school, so the funding isn’t the greatest, and I currently have limited to no access to the trainer.

I’m going to start
-Narrowing my grip
-Doing lighter weights
-Limit Inclining
-Try dumbbell benching with my palms facing inward
-Increase back volume
-Get a message hopefully soon
-Check out that shoulder routine and incorporate it into mine

Thanks guys![/quote]

Good luck, man. There are too many of us in here with shoulder issues.

Try tucking in your elbows really hard when you bench with that wide of a grip, and use powerlifter form if you already are not( leg drive, big back arch) . Look up “So You Think you can Bench” by Dave Tate videos; you already use the same grip he teaches - so perhaps if you follow everything else it might magically go away. So many people have their ‘bench problem’ fixed just by fixing this form.

[quote]bigspence75 wrote:
I’m going to see someone soon hopefully.

A couple things about my situation. 1) I’m home for the summer 2) I play at a Division 2 school, so the funding isn’t the greatest, and I currently have limited to no access to the trainer.

I’m going to start
-Narrowing my grip
-Doing lighter weights
-Limit Inclining
-Try dumbbell benching with my palms facing inward
-Increase back volume
-Get a message hopefully soon
-Check out that shoulder routine and incorporate it into mine

Thanks guys![/quote]

You said you already lost strength, lowering the weights is just going to lead to a cycle of lowering. I know you said you are going to see someone soon, but I can’t stress how important it is to do it right away. If you find out it’s nothing tomorrow you can go to the gym and push it harder then the last few weeks, and gain 10x more. You should almost look at getting your shoulder fixed as a workout itself. You can have a bad shoulder forever but you only have a few years of football and youth, don’t waste it going backwards.

[quote]maineiac42 wrote:

[quote]bigspence75 wrote:
A warmup, I usually do the agility ladder to get me sweating. Then I do the defranco warmup. It’s basically a pec stretch, lying shoulder stretch, lat stretch, then this stretch I don’t know the name of. It’s a semi dynamic stretch. You take either a stretch band, rope, pipe, etc and grip it wider than shoulder width apart in front of you, you raise it, and bring it close to 360 so the object is on your backside, then do it again forward.

I lift three days a week.

Workout 1(for this past week…I was doing a 5/3/1 but I couldn’t barbell bench this week)
DB Bench- 3x15
Standing Cable Chest Press- 3x15
Hammer Strength Wide Grip Bench- 3x15
Cable Flys- 4x15
Tricep Pushdown- 5x20
BB Curl- 5x12

Workout 2(I didn’t do it yet this week…probably some modifications…this is what I did last week)
MP- 5/3/1
DB Shoulder Press-3x6-8
L-Raises- 3x20
DB Rows- 3x15
Lat Pulldown- 3x12
Hammerstrength Rows- 3x8

Workout 3
Squat- 5/3/1
Deadlift- 5/3/1
Leg Extension- 3x12
Leg Curl- 3x12
Calf Raises- 5x15
[/quote]

The 9 sets of pulling a week are not enough for your 20+ sets focusing on pressing muscles. Pull more than you press and you’l feel way better.[/quote]

This.
-Cut your chest volume in half for the next month or two and add in tons of rear delt work especially face pulls.