T Nation

Left Clavicle v. Bench Press

Lately when I do bench presses (Dumbbell or Bar), I have sharp pain in my left clavicle bone at the end of the set. I was wondering if anyone else had that problem. What are some techniques that could help?


I recently experienced a similar (?) pain (clavicle out towards the shoulder joint itself)(That may or may not be the same thing you are experiencing). I saw a manual physical therapist for treatment, and my pec minor was treated. The therapist said that it looked like a muscular imbalance (front to back) was the root cause. I’m laying off all forms of benches and overhead presses for a while, focusing on rowing movements and rear laterals. Sharp pain as you describe is a signal from your body. Get it checked out and treated before going on. Trying to train “through” it will only end up sidelining you for a longer period of time. Good luck.
old dogg


I have many posts relating to the Bench Press being a dangerous movement for some people.

If you have shorter arms and a barrel chest, you are usually alright. Otherwise, injury is in your future if you perform enough Barebell Bench press’s!

Zeb: If I have longer arms, what is an alternative to build my chest other than bench?

Jeromey there are TONS of different movements that can work chest e.g. DB FLys, Low Cable Flys, High Cable Flys, Incline Flys, Balistic Push-ups (you might experience the same pain and might not so give them a shot).

I like bench press using 2 boards, It keep my shoulders out of the bad angle if i go all the way to the chest, I have long arms and thin chest, I have had a lot of shoulder problems so im not going all the way down anymore.

I have the same problem on my right side. When I press, the top of my shoulder where my clavical meets the shoulder is feeling great pressure and is fatigued all the time when not training. I have had to stop pressing for a while. I am going to concentrate on rear delts and upper back as well. I am going to see if decline presses feel a bit better. I also think board presses will mitigate the situation. If anyone else has any info on how-to fix this or what is the exact imbalance that would be great.

I’d get seen by a qualified ART guy in your area and then on his advice start a shoulder rehab program supplemented with pushups and fatman pullups for reps. I’d do this for 3-4 weeks and then ease back into normal training. If pain continues you may need to see an orthopedist and get an MRI or X-Ray evaluation.

Remember, long limbs put more stress on the joints. If your arms are long compared to the rest of your body that means pressing will put more stress on the shoulder capsule. While full ROM benching shouldn’t be avoided altogether (unless it is painful… and if it is you need to get checked out) you should realize that you need to limit it and overhead pressing movements. Movements like decline presses and board presses put less stress on the shoulder joint and are good substitutes.