T Nation

Paused Bench

would pausing be safer for your shoulders???

In general I have found the opposite to be true. Paused benching is noticeably harder on my shoulders than touch and go.

[quote]csulli wrote:
In general I have found the opposite to be true. Paused benching is noticeably harder on my shoulders than touch and go.[/quote]
Same here. I just know that when I compete, I drop down from whatever I can hit paused.

I have been told by ortho docs that the father down you bring the bar, the harder the movement is on the shoulder joint. Paused benching is as far as you can go with a barbell. I personally like to do the sink and press like Dan Green. I just use a narrower grip and warm up my shoulders well before starting with the empty bar for a ton of reps. I’ve had minimal shoulder discomfort doing this.

I’ve been told that if you have sketchy shoulders avoid wide pressing, side lateral with a lot of weight, behind the neck pressing, and developing imbalances to name a few.

like most answers , it depends. It depends on where you pause at and how you have your shoulders set up. As a guy with a rebuilt shoulder I really have to get set up properly, ie, shoulder tucked and down to reduce shoulder rotation when benching. ( Side bar… For me the pause did shit in terms of putting weight on the bar, TNG) For ME what does work for paused work is 2 board / foam presses with a yoga block in my tee shirt. The yoga block is 3", same as a 2 board but it will compress to about 1 board. I can pause all day long this way and it is infinitely more shoulder friendly.
Other speciality bars that are purported to be “shoulder friendly”, fat bars, swiss bars, I own them, not any more shoulder friendly sadly. Fun to press with tho. Limiting ROM is my golden ticket. YMMV

[quote]trivium wrote:
I have been told by ortho docs that the father down you bring the bar, the harder the movement is on the shoulder joint. Paused benching is as far as you can go with a barbell. I personally like to do the sink and press like Dan Green. I just use a narrower grip and warm up my shoulders well before starting with the empty bar for a ton of reps. I’ve had minimal shoulder discomfort doing this.

I’ve been told that if you have sketchy shoulders avoid wide pressing, side lateral with a lot of weight, behind the neck pressing, and developing imbalances to name a few.[/quote]

My Ortho told me the same stuff. This hits a bit closer to home for peeps with a curved acromion and is especially true for peeps with a “hooked” acromion aka collar bone, whom are pretty much assure shoulder issues in life.

[quote]StrengthDawg wrote:

[quote]trivium wrote:
I have been told by ortho docs that the father down you bring the bar, the harder the movement is on the shoulder joint. Paused benching is as far as you can go with a barbell. I personally like to do the sink and press like Dan Green. I just use a narrower grip and warm up my shoulders well before starting with the empty bar for a ton of reps. I’ve had minimal shoulder discomfort doing this.

I’ve been told that if you have sketchy shoulders avoid wide pressing, side lateral with a lot of weight, behind the neck pressing, and developing imbalances to name a few.[/quote]

My Ortho told me the same stuff. This hits a bit closer to home for peeps with a curved acromion and is especially true for peeps with a “hooked” acromion aka collar bone, whom are pretty much assure shoulder issues in life. [/quote]

Yup.

Sports Medicine told me the same. Until my shoulders heal, the rule is pretty simple… bench however, as long as your upper arms stay at or above parallel (with the ground), and avoid any overhead work. Do daily high-rep YTWLs, a couple sessions if possible.

So, for me, I just benched from pins since then. I set the pins so I couldn’t do that even if I wanted to.

I also found that TRX facepull/rows helped my shoulders a ton, more so than YTWLs or cuban presses or anything like that.

They’re still not perfect yet, but I can do laundry without wincing in pain every time I reach in the washer or dryer.

The wider your elbows are, and the deeper they go, relative to your torso, the more risk you put your shoulders in.

I was able to bench 3x a week following something similar to Bulgarian high frequency method (up to a training max every session). Shoulder was fine and healthy. Once I decided to switch to paused benching, I somehow got weird pain from shoulder after one of my heavy session recently…and is still in recovery mode at the moment.

[quote]LoRez wrote:

[quote]StrengthDawg wrote:

[quote]trivium wrote:
I have been told by ortho docs that the father down you bring the bar, the harder the movement is on the shoulder joint. Paused benching is as far as you can go with a barbell. I personally like to do the sink and press like Dan Green. I just use a narrower grip and warm up my shoulders well before starting with the empty bar for a ton of reps. I’ve had minimal shoulder discomfort doing this.

I’ve been told that if you have sketchy shoulders avoid wide pressing, side lateral with a lot of weight, behind the neck pressing, and developing imbalances to name a few.[/quote]

My Ortho told me the same stuff. This hits a bit closer to home for peeps with a curved acromion and is especially true for peeps with a “hooked” acromion aka collar bone, whom are pretty much assure shoulder issues in life. [/quote]

Yup.

Sports Medicine told me the same. Until my shoulders heal, the rule is pretty simple… bench however, as long as your upper arms stay at or above parallel (with the ground), and avoid any overhead work. Do daily high-rep YTWLs, a couple sessions if possible.

So, for me, I just benched from pins since then. I set the pins so I couldn’t do that even if I wanted to.

I also found that TRX facepull/rows helped my shoulders a ton, more so than YTWLs or cuban presses or anything like that.

They’re still not perfect yet, but I can do laundry without wincing in pain every time I reach in the washer or dryer.

The wider your elbows are, and the deeper they go, relative to your torso, the more risk you put your shoulders in.[/quote]

Man, high rep YTWL is going to be brutal haha. I do 3 of each and I am on fire after one set haha.

Also, eliteFTS carries an attachment. I believe that it is called the Shoulder Saver. Might be worth looking into if you only have so many pain free reps a week to give.

For rehab, you could use it like a box squat and do reps with that until you can lower the bar further.

Also, as noted with the recent Thibs article, you can put a plate under the bench, or use an arched style, or possibly even sub out for decline for a while.

I am learning just recently, the paused bench is considerably harder on shoulders than TNG.

That said, you didn’t specify where you are pausing. Pausing at the chest I presume?

My thought is that the pause at the chest shifts load from the tensed pressing muscles onto the joint.

If you could get a true pause 1-2" above chest, might be the other way around.

A must see if you’re concerned about shoulder health and benching:

[quote]drewc64 wrote:
I am learning just recently, the paused bench is considerably harder on shoulders than TNG.

That said, you didn’t specify where you are pausing. Pausing at the chest I presume?

My thought is that the pause at the chest shifts load from the tensed pressing muscles onto the joint.

If you could get a true pause 1-2" above chest, might be the other way around.[/quote]

I agree. Pressing off a pause does feel a lot of different on the joints.

I have no idea why, but paused pressing is way easier on my shoulders. But the trade off for me is that it’s harder on my elbows. I actually had no idea that paused benching was harder on some people’s shoulders until I looked at this thread.

Now a wide grip for any kind of press from any angle is killer on me. Reverse grip bench press even for light weight with low volume is murder on my shoulders. And OH pressing is very easy on my shoulders and actually makes them feel healthier. It just doesn’t carry over to my bench at least at this moment.

What I find helps with my shoulder the most is only infrequent low bar squatting, a relatively close false grip for any type of bb pressing, and getting in a lot of work for my RC and upper back. Also band tractioning before every workout including squat workouts. Just putting more meat around my shoulder girdle in general helps. It’s like it helps pack the joint in and stabilizes it so it seems.

I train both ways: competition pauses on three of my bench sessions during the week; competition pause on my closegrip session; 2-second pause on another session; touch-and-go on the sixth. Some of these are trained on the same day. Touch-and-go feels like its the riskiest for my shoulders, and I’ve always presumed its because I keep much better full body tension while pausing.

Anecdotally, I used to get a shoulder strain every other month when I trained exclusively touch-and-go a few years back, and it was almost always on a significantly sub-maximal weight, i.e. a set where I wasn’t completely focused. If you’ve got an underlying structural issue, shoulder health on the bench is probably a lot harder to predict, but otherwise its always been an issue of tension for me.

I pause pretty much all my benching. It may be harder on your shoulder at the same weight, but most of the guys I see in the gym would have to use substantially less weight if they did a proper pause. I can?t see how dynamically bouncing 315 of your chest is safer than controlled pausing 250.

[quote]DoubleDuce wrote:
I pause pretty much all my benching. It may be harder on your shoulder at the same weight, but most of the guys I see in the gym would have to use substantially less weight if they did a proper pause. I can?t see how dynamically bouncing 315 of your chest is safer than controlled pausing 250. [/quote]
So your justification for pausing is so that you can use less weight and make it harder on your shoulders? I am confused. I agree that pausing requires less weight, but I think both have their place. But not the kind of drop off that you are talking about from 315 to 250.

[quote]Ecchastang wrote:

[quote]DoubleDuce wrote:
I pause pretty much all my benching. It may be harder on your shoulder at the same weight, but most of the guys I see in the gym would have to use substantially less weight if they did a proper pause. I can?t see how dynamically bouncing 315 of your chest is safer than controlled pausing 250. [/quote]
So your justification for pausing is so that you can use less weight and make it harder on your shoulders? I am confused. I agree that pausing requires less weight, but I think both have their place. But not the kind of drop off that you are talking about from 315 to 250. [/quote]

Depends on the person. There are plenty of guys in the gym that would drop from 315 to 250 (or even lower). Not true of everyone, but there are plenty of super “bounce’n’catch” benchers out there.

And no, I pause because using less weight and staying completely controlled is easier on my shoulders.

[quote]DoubleDuce wrote:

[quote]Ecchastang wrote:

[quote]DoubleDuce wrote:
I pause pretty much all my benching. It may be harder on your shoulder at the same weight, but most of the guys I see in the gym would have to use substantially less weight if they did a proper pause. I can?t see how dynamically bouncing 315 of your chest is safer than controlled pausing 250. [/quote]
So your justification for pausing is so that you can use less weight and make it harder on your shoulders? I am confused. I agree that pausing requires less weight, but I think both have their place. But not the kind of drop off that you are talking about from 315 to 250. [/quote]

Depends on the person. There are plenty of guys in the gym that would drop from 315 to 250 (or even lower). Not true of everyone, but there are plenty of super “bounce’n’catch” benchers out there.

And no, I pause because using less weight and staying completely controlled is easier on my shoulders.
[/quote]
Fair enough. I think “controlled” is the operative word.

[quote]LoRez wrote:
Until my shoulders heal, the rule is pretty simple… bench however, as long as your upper arms stay at or above parallel (with the ground).[/quote]

Yes, but I would say that if you optimize your bench setup (particularly your upper body) this should not happen anyway.

Btw, Dan Green’s technique should not be replicated since letting the bar “sink in” is often against the rules, no?

Anyway, isn’t pausing reps on the bench “harder” on the shoulders just because they have to work harder (in a non-injurious way) since you kill the stretch reflex? That is how it feels in my experience anyway…

I have never heard of a “sink and press” style bench being illegal.

I always train with “sink and press” style bench and paused OHP. The only time I will go for TNG stuff is when I need to break a PR and am not feeling well that day, or have hit a plateau. Paused work follows all TNG work though.

On the opposite end of the spectrum sometimes after I do my normal paused work, I will do some sets of TNG to get a pump and make things a bit easier like a mechanical drop set.

All my deadlifts stop at the floor for a one count before the next rep. For my squats however I don’t spend much time in the hole. To get my deadlift to move, simply deloading my training max has never stopped working. I save paused squats for my pyramid down sets most of the time. I don’t feel like pausing exclusively with squats works best for me. I have tried it and I saw much better results with regular squatting my top sets and then doing paused work after.

I guess my view on it is that you should “practice how you play.” Doesn’t make much sense to me that someone would train TNG if they were going to have to pause for a 2 count at the competition.

I will say that the PL style bench is much easier on my shoulders than other things. Sometimes incline dumbbell presses feel hard on my shoulders, as will rowing movements. It should be noted that I do both of those movements immediately after benching for my assistance work. Sometimes OHP gets me a bit when I do really high volume work.

Nothing is going to be the same for everyone. If you have ever done surgical work, you know that anatomy varies a ton between people. What works to keep 99 percent of people pain free may not be the exact thing that works for you. When it comes down to it, we will all have to take some of this advice and work with it to tailor it to our own situation or needs.