T Nation

Mysterious Uneven Bench & Anterior Delt Pain. Ruled Out the Usual Suspects

I’m a 21 year old male, 6’0", bout 168-170 lb. I have been lifting for ~1.5 years and swimming for about 6 (swam through college and part of high school). I train mostly low-rep, high weight, moderate-high volume, on a 4 day split, or high rep, low weight, low-moderate volume on a 6 day split.

About a month and a half ago I started to get weird sensation / pain on the push off of bench press. My elbows looked uneven from the top (left further out and shakier) but the bar was even on 85-90% and I didn’t really think much of it other than stretching out / mobility / rc work. Maybe a month later I noticed that my bench was dragging on my left side and that the bar came up uneven, particularly on 75%+ lifts. I had no pain on strict overhead press and some pain holding a front squat position. I get some clicking on overhead press

The pain was entirely localized to anterior deltoid area when at rest, but I also got pain on internal rotation, as well as moving my arm across my body. My PT told me it was likely a partial tear of subscapularis and I did RC rehab for like 4 weeks. I stopped all overhead work / heavy pressing. I felt okay until I attempted to bench again when the problem pretty much immediately resurfaced along with the associated dull pain.

I recently saw my PT who put me through the usual suite of tests to see if i I had RC disfunction, scapular winging, labral tear, etc. - all of these came up negative. I am planning on getting an MRI next week to hopefully figure out what this is, but before I do that, I wanted to see if anyone has had a similar experience.

To summarize, I walk around with pretty minimal pain except after I bench, at which point I get pain in anterior delt. During bench my left elbow lags and drags the bar to the left and I get some pain in anterior delt. I also get clicking if I raise my left arm up and then come down (on the decline the clicking occurs, maybe twice and then stops). I have excellent shoulder mobility and no apparent RC or thoracic spine issues. I can do movements other than bench with basically no pain.