T Nation

Pain on the Bench


So I got my preordered copy of the highly recommended Starting Strength 2nd Ed. Great book. I'm obviously a noob. But I've been making good progress, and I've been very pleased with my progress so far.

But recently, I've been having pain between my shoulder blades when I bench. It only happens when I lift the bar out of the rack, the rest of the bench feels fine. One of my training partners is inordinately short, which means that the pins are down a little farther than I would like.

When I'm done with my sets, my spine between my scapulae feels like it needs to be popped (and when Mrs. palindrome tried to play chiropractor on it, it didn't feel nice at all), and when I'm lifting the weight it is fairly painful. I position myself on the bench so that the bar is directly over my eyes on the pins.

I wondering if the longer press out of the pins is the problem or if I've got my position on the bench wrong. Or something else? I'm not benching huge (or even moderately large) weight (did 5x5 @ 170.5# on my last workout, 9.5 lbs short of body weight).


Yeah I think you just need to bring those pins higher. Make a conscious effort to fully retract your shoulder blades behind you by squeezing your rear delts together before getting under the bar - and hold it that way throughout the entire set.

Make your spotter stand on a block, or ditch him altogether!


Why would you say such a shitty thing? it could be his brother or best friend!


Thanks for the feedback.

I'm sorry, I've failed to be entirely clear. My two workout partners are a couple of friends of mine. One of them is short, and had teeny, tiny, short little arms. So we put the pins down for him (we all bench one after the other). I'm thinking that I should just start adjusting our rotation so that I'm doing another lift while he's benching, then change the pins around when it's my turn.

JamFly: I don't know about shoulder problems. I've tried the shoulder mobility tests I've seen in a couple of articles here, and it seems to be fine. I'm not in love with bench press to the extent that I neglect other exercises to balance it out. I'm deadlifting every other workout along with the bench. I sure hope it's not shoulder problems already, but I suppose you're right. If it persists, I'll have to see a doctor (it hurts me just to type that).

I was just curious to see if anyone else had had a similar problem.

BTW, shorty is close to getting kicked out of palindrome's junkyard gym. He's flaky and has only shown up once in the past couple of weeks, so , friend or no, your words may have been prophetic, Cormac. Not only are the pins way down because of him, but we're always having to take tons of weight off when he benches because he's fallen so far behind. I guess I'm a shallow friend.


I am currently going through a shoulder bench issue myself, I use a band to stretch my shoulder at different angles until I find the exact angle where the pain comes from and then just work on it to try some aggresive rehab. However I don't suggest you do this since if benching in good forum you should not have shoulder issues, so thats what you should try benching in good form with a good lift off and see how it goes. Having a good spotter to lift out on the bench will save your shoulders/rotator cuff in the long run, as lifting off yourself especially when your weights start to get heavy will really damage your shoulder.