T Nation

No Benching?


hello, just a question on chest

during my first year in the gym i used to bench press for the chest because as my freinds said "you're supposed to". i was lucky to have seen videos by dave tate on how to bench correctly. but when benching, my shoulder would always hurt ALOT even though i retracted my shoulder blades, kept my arms tucked and didn't bounce off my chest. then i started using dumbbells. at first it was okay but my shoulder started hurting again. now i use hammer strength incline, decline and wide chest press as they don't hurt my shoulder at all and i can actually feel my chest working.

my question is, that people say beginners shouldn't use machines, but they are the only thing i can do for chest (flyes hurt too), so is it right of me to drop dumbbell and barbell bench pressing and rely on hammer strength machines (i still overhead press).

side note: for some reason, overhead pressing, overhead squats and snatches use to heal my shoulder immediately when it would hurt from benching.


You really need to nail your upper back for pressing stability, if your goal is chest development you don't necessarily need to bench press but dumbbell press and fly variations are invaluable. If you go back to dumbbells drop the weight and work on form and feeling your chest work. For your shoulders read the links in here. http://tnation.T-Nation.com/free_online_forum/sports_body_training_performance_bodybuilding_injuries/the_shoulder_complex_reference_thread


thanks for the advice but i've always done 2-3x the amount of upper back to chest work, i also do external rotations and scap pushups, i did ry the dumbbells again a few months ago, but pressing 20lbs dumbbells still hurt. the weird thing is it hurt at the top ,not at the bottom like most people( overhead press is painless though)


Is it just one shoulder that hurts, or both? If it's one, you may have a latent injury or strain that's acting up. If it's both, you may have a form issue or slight bio-mechanical imbalance you're unaware of.

Are you able to post a video of your bench form? That would help a lot. Otherwise, my advice would be to find and consult a good trainer, someone who can watch you up close and give a qualified assessment.


both, it didn't feel like a tear, it felt like the shoulder joint was about to explode. sorry, i'm not that computer smart so i can't a video. my form was better than most teens who bench, and with the dumbbells i used a hammer grip to help the shoulder.


How do push ups feel?


they actually feel pretty good to my shoulders, can't find a way to make them weighted though.


Put a weight right above your butt in your lower back.


I personally dont believe you absolutely have to bench to get the most out of you training, I believe for me any ways Dips and Incline press are the best only two chest presses I alternate between. Not sure about the pain thats sounds wierd to me but I am not a doctor.



It could be a flexibility issue in your shoulders. It could be you are having a hard time stablizing the weight. It could be you pushing at an incorrect angle relative to gravity causing an increase strain on the shoulder. It could be . . . [a million things]. Go see a doctor and make sure it isn't a medical problem.

You can't think of a way to make push-ups harder? Decline, plyometric, clapping, weight vest, backpack with books in it, have neighborhood third-graders sit on your back, etc.


You definietly dont need to bench press but if you have pain every time you do somethign is wrong.

You proably need to focus more on pulling. High pulling.

Post a video of you bench pressing. Not everyone is able to diagnose their own problems while under the bar.


Hammer machines are good stuff, nothing wrong with them.

I'd look into getting some ART on the shoulder. Also try adding face pulls if not already doing them


sorry, i'm really not computer smart at all.
and the pain doesn't come all the time, if i bench 3-5 weeks in a row, it starts appearing.
and i do at least 2x the amount of rows and upper back exercises to chest exercises, as i have 2 back days.

i did go see my general physican after expierencing these pains, but she said my shoulders were okay after doing some tests (horiazantal press with bands, veritcal press with bands , external rotations with bands etc.)

would doing olympic lifting have anything to do with it, as i do it 2x a week and the snatch requires pec, internal rotator and anterior deltoid flexibility, which are some of the muscles involved in the bench press.



I haven't benched in four years, unless I get called out on the ability and I have to show some mother fuckers what's up. I can still bench press occasionally without potentially fucking my shoulders up because I overhead press. I don't like lying down to lift (which is why I can't compete in a PL meet) and OH lifts require more thought and you get used to using all your muscles in a different way. So if OH lifts make your shoulder feel better, do them and screw benching.