T Nation

Pain in Shoulder While Benching


#1

When I first start benching I have a small sharp pain in my shoulder. It's mostly concentrated under my collarbone. I may have injured my shoulder from benching with incorrect form about 6 years ago. I used to bring the bar down in a very high position using my shoulders a lot more than my triceps (stupid gym teachers). I would bench a lot too, which didn't help. The funny thing is, I can just work through it. I could then, and I can now. If I continue my workout ignoring it, it goes away. Sometimes it takes longer to go away than usual; other times it doesn't bother me at all. It's been like this for years.

My lifting history can be divided up into two periods of time. I lifted for 3 years, stopped for 3, and I have continued lifting now and plan on doing so for a long time. That is why I am posting this. I don't want anything hindering my progress, and in the past my shoulder has.

The problem may also have been caused from improper squatting form. My shoulder only started to hurt on the bench, after it would hurt me during squats. The odd thing is, I pay a lot of attention to my form. I've had people walk up to me and complement me on my squatting form. I can take it ass to grass no problem even while keeping my knees in line with my toes, but the issue isn't with my legs or back; it's in my arms. I can't find a comfortable way to hold the bar on my back that doesn't KILL my shoulders.

I am a very tall person (6,3). I have seen the difference in form between tall and short dead lifters, and it got me thinking: maybe I am doing the right form for the wrong body type. Is this possible? My arms are very long, and I haven't been able to get comfortable holding a bar on my back no matter how many form vids I watch. They all say to keep your arms close on the bar. They all advise against holding it wide, but it kills if I don't.

I've resorted to completely removing squats from my routine, which I didn't want to do. I can't find a way to perform it that doesn't injure me, which is very frustrating, because I love them. Any advise??

Also, what exactly is the correct way for a person with long arms AND long legs to dead lift? I found an article on here that describes the way people with short arms and long legs, and people with long arms and short legs should dead lift. But I have both, so where does that put me??? At the moment, I use my back more than my legs. I use a very controlled motion through the eccentric and concentric, but I'm not going to lie, my back is very involved throughout the lift.


#2

So nobody is willing to touch this one? Bummer.

I guess it's pretty difficult to know exactly what to answer from the incoherent novel I wrote up there, but I'll sum it up.

What should I do about shoulder pain during benching. Possible causes: improper bench form in the past, and holding the bar while squatting in a position that would cause pain in my shoulders. The pain eventually goes away, but is bothersome.

How should a very tall person approach a dead lift? Should it be any different than how a shorter person would?

I am not a troll.


#3

I'm no expert brah but I have 2 suggestions:

Squat: since its giving you pains with the current arm position try front squats (bar in front of you), because they absolutely need to be part of your routine

Bench: Concentrate more on decline bench press, this doesnt involve the shoulders as much so pain should be minimal. Maybe work the upper chest by using dumbells on an incline bench as opposed to the bar.

I'm not sure that there should be an issue with the dealifting, I'm just one inch shorter than you at 6"2 and I've never had an issue with it, just make sure you do sets of 1 to aviod cheating and or injury.

Hope this helps, good luck!


#4

WARM UP. That is the key. Bench the bar a bunch of times. Do some light overhead presses. Warm up your exterior rotators (cuban presses). Also, check coach Thib's bench pressing tips. And if possible have a spotter give you a lift into position.

Deadlift - nothing different. If you have problems setting up the lift, work on your hamstring flexibility. That's the number one cause of rounding your back at the start of the lift. I'm 6'8" and do regular DL, for reference.


#5

If I tried to grip the bar as narrowly as I could when squatting, it would kill my shoulders too (wingspan of 6'1). Grip it COMFORTABLY. Squats should not be hurting your shoulders at all, if they are you are either using absolutely atrocious form, or your flexibility is really really bad.

The same goes for benching.

You got few responses because this isn't a board of magical diagnosticians, and "pain in my shoulder when benching" could mean 100 different things. If you could post up a video of your form, I think you could get a lot of help here.

Otherwise, try to find videos of guys benching that are of similar height to you, like Big Koncrete:

Is your chest fully puffed out when benching? Are you keeping your shoulder blades back? (not your actual shoulders... this is something I misunderstood early on and contributed to a separated shoulder from bench pressing). Feet flat on the floor? Slight arch in the lower back? (not the upper back...) Pressing the bar in a straight line, with the elbows under the bar at all times?

Pain in the joints is NEVER a good thing. Don't just push through it, figure out a solution.


#6

I completely agree. I developed some serious pain in my left shoulder in two different spots in two different occassions. After experimenting around with my style I noticed two things, 1) My grip was WAY too wide, 2) I brought the bar down quite far below my chest. So now I use a just barely wider than shoulder width grip and while I've always held my shoulder blades back, keeping them tightly retracted, I began to hold my shoulders in a shrugged position as well which has helped to stabilize my shoulders and also brought the bar up slightly higher on my chest.

Now, I'm not saying that making these changes is something you should even consider since we're all slightly mechanically different. What I am saying is to play around a bit to see what seems to reduce the irritation and take it from there.


#7

how can you bring the bar below your chest? thats impossible


#8

The shoulder is an extremely complicated joint. I believe it's impossible to definitely diagnose from describing symptoms online. It could be tendonitis, impingement, a tear, or just poor bench form causing strain.

In general, the wider the grip in bench, the more strain on the shoulder joint. Also, make sure to tuck your elbows when you bring the bar down. And don't bench high. Aim to touch the xyphoid process.

The fact that squatting hurts your shoulder suggests to me external rotation of the joint is causing you problems. You can avoid this position with a squat safety bar, if available to you.

Also, if the pain continues, you might want to get it checked out. The only way a definitive diagnosis can be made is with an MRI, preferably an arthrographic one.

Hope this helps.


#9

Are you joking? With a strong arch via powerlifting style, as well as keeping your elbows in you can easily bring the bar to where your solarplexis is (below your chest) and still keep your forearms perpendicular to the ground...impossible? Come on now...I'll give you the benefit of the doubt and think that perhaps I explained it badly.

This is CLOSE to what I meant to give you an idea.


#10

oh my bad brah i just glanced over that, sounded like you were referring to how far you lower the bar. i realise now you were talking about the point at which the bar touches your torso. lol