T Nation

Help with Bench Press Imbalance

Hurt my left shoulder on Jun 14th when I max out on bench press.
After 2 weeks I start doing incline press and OHP as rehab,2 weeks later start doing flat bench press.
Now it seems recovered(no pain ,no soreness) but recently i start to record my training I found when I bench press, left side of barbel is lower than the right side.
Never had it before.

Wrong version:

Slightly right version:

I don’t feel the imbalance when I press(maybe a little cause my left shoulder is easier to exhaust than my right shoulder) and have tried to control it,keep my back tight,scapula retracted.
I dont have any problem in other movements,just FLAT Bench press.
And my friends say it looks like I’m pressing bit towards my left side,not straight upwards.
If anyone know what’s happening ,please help me.thanks``

It looks like your left isn’t really getting up there with your right, or there might be something going on with your upper back. Try doing imbalanced workouts such as suitcase carries, or land mines, but only concentrating on your left side to bring up the strength. What you can also do is bench using the smith machine and let some of the weight off of your right side so your left side has to work harder to move the weight. I suggested the smith machine because the bar won’t move and you can focus on correcting your balance a bit more. But hopefully this helps. Have a good day!!

1 Like

Dont let get to un balance thats how i tore left pec, i do i lot of smith machine work now . I have same problem accept it also effects inclines is this only when you are fatigued? When i start contorting body at lockout is uneven I stop the set so i do more volume less intensity on inclines, flats only on smith, i tried slingshot worked great but shoulder hurt after work outs . Plus i am not seeing much elbows tucked into lats build those lats up bench comes up, also if you have rack do some 4 inch lockouts, with regular bench after top set and after about six weeks work up to 20% overload for singles on lockouts. Plus flat benches are very overrated focusing on incline presses incline dumbbell presses gives you a much better look but you cannot generally Handle as much weight, look at Steve reeves their main upper body press was military press, a medium angle dumbell press, then dips.

1 Like

No,it’s definitely not fatigue.Even when I warm-up with 40kg it will happen.(but some time if I really focus on pushing the bar upwards it looks the second video,but most of time still not work)
And Actually i don’t think it’s a lock out problem cuz I can lock out both arms the same time…you can see from my video that the bar starts to lean forward to left side when I unrack it.It dosesn’t seem like a regular muscular imbalance…
When I do Incline BP/OHP/BB Rows(haven’t recorded DB Press/Rows so I don’t know how they look),form is fine, no imbalance,lock out simultaneously.
Anyway,Appreciate your help.Thanks and wish you have a healthy lifting career.

I had a similar thing going on, my arms just weren’t doing the same motion.

To fix it, I really focused hard on my set up.

Step one was to get my shoulders back. I really tried, but it just didn’t happen. I worked on rear delts all the time, but my rear delts sucked so bad,other muscles took over. So I did some shrugs, face down on a bench. Like “Chinese Rows” only shrugs. After awhile, I could actually feel my rear delts, and they grew a little bit.

Now, during moves like face pulls, I can actually feel my rear delts working, and my set up is better. The move that worked for me, may not work for you, but I would try to find a way to get in touch with those upper back/rear delt/lower trap muscles.

I work in “paired sets” for upper body, so I do some kind of row or pulldown between sets of presses or bench presses. At first, I tried to recreate my “press grip” with the rows pulldowns. This was pretty whack. Now,I try to use as many grips as possible for the row/chins/pulldowns. Neutral grip, under hand, overhand, really wide, really narrow, in the middle, whatever. Each different hand position puts the forearms/hands/wrist/elbows at different angles to eachother. This means your shoulders and upper back have to “get tight” at different angles or in unfamiliar positions.

As you go through these “new” ranges of motion, you’ll really feel if your arms moves the same or not. Doing really wide underhand pulldowns, or really narrow neutral grip shrugs laying face down I could feel that my right wrist was at a funky angle, or my right shoulder wasn’t where is was supposed to be. Using 6 different grips during my B.S. pulldowns was a ton of practice, so my body “knew” how to set up for the presses.

Thanks, I’ll give it a try.Hope it works.Appreciate you help!