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How do I limit shoulder involvement during bench press?

I think that my shoulders tend roll foward during bench pressing and take over a lot of the load. I know this may not be scientific, but after benching my front shoulders are swelled and hot but my chest muscles just feel normal. I have read other posts in the past where guys classified themselves as “shoulder benchers” and I was wondering how these guys overcame it. Does keeping the arms close to the body increase chest involvement?

Vince Goronda sp* used to say that the bench was an anterior delt excercise, not a chest excercise. I know the rare times that I do above 3 reps on the bench it feels like someone shaved a layer of muscle off of my ant. delts. You might want to try different hand spacings and places where the bar contacts the body to involve your pecs more. About the shoulder rotation I would make sure my traps are pulled together througout the movement so the shoulders cant roll foward.

Quite the opposite, wider grip hits your chest more thoroughly. Closer grip hits your triceps. Sorry for taking from your topic, but I have a related problem - when doing close grip bench presses, I hit my front shoulder a lot, even more than my triceps. Any solution to this? :slight_smile:

What’s been my experience is that, for some people, going to full lockout on bench will pull the shoulders forward, and that puts most of the load on the delts rather than the pecs. If that’s the case for you, then stop just short of lockout. Keep the shoulder blades flat against the bench, pulled together and down, no matter what. This is something I find easier to do with dumbells than barbell.

Read the Dave Tate articles on increasing your bench and,as brider alluded to, take extra note of his recommendation to flatten your back out against the bench.

Pre-exhaust your chest muscles by doing 2 or 3 sets of flyes, followed by 2 or 3 sets of incline flyes. Then bench. You’ll see and feel a difference.

Switch to dumbells. Especially if you’re at a Golds or Worlds Gym where the dbs go up to 150+ lbs. Your chest development will thank you for it.
Unless you’re a football player who is tested in the bench, or a powerlifter, why stick with an exercise that doesn’t work for you?

if you read tates article then you realize you arent supposed to flatten your back on the bench, interesting paradoxical advice.

Take a wider grip and maybe even roll up a towel and place it on your chest so that the bar doesn’t come all the way down. This has helped me as I have a shoulder injury to work around and I have really begun to feel my chest grow instead of my shoulders and triceps for once in my life.

form is key here. There are a few things that you want to make sure you are doing when benching. One is pull your shoulder blades together as if you were imagining touching them together behind you. Two, stick your chest out. And Three, use a slightly different grip than most lifters use. Instead of “wrapping” your thumbs around the bar, keep parallel to and “riding along the bar.” By doing this, you will immediatly feel the difference. You will definatly the difference. Also, a wider grip couldn’t hurt, but not too wide. Try it with your index fingers touching the power rings.

To stop your shoulders from rolling forward, just squeeze your scapula together and make sure its retracted throughout the whole movement, This will give you great strength, and greater stability, but it will need practice, but can be mastered after about 3/4 weeks. The best chest exercise i find is wide grip bench, feet up, bringing the bar to the neck.

Squeeze your shoulder blades together and down and push your chest out. Lower the bar more toward the bottom of your chest instead of your neck.
This is just what I have found works for me.

Wider grip for chest , narrow grip for triceps. Try sticking your chest out when u bench aswell, and squeze them at the top of the movement.