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Physical Therapist Says No Benching. What Say You?

As a beginner my body is a walking imbalance. Tight quads/hips, week hamstrings & glutes, tight low back, week stomach etc. However, my greatest imbalance is a strong tight chest, with a comparably week upper/mid back.

I decided to go to a well respected sports PT to see if I could get things corrected as my posture is far from ideal, and overhead pressing, squatting, and dead lifting are becoming more difficult. After a full assessment the PT recommends I stop benching and any other front side dominant exercises like push ups and focus purely on training my back. He recommended lots of rows, pull ups, and anything that will strengthen my week muscles. Once I have gained some strength, possibly several months, then go back to bench, but not before.

What do you think?

I’m currently doing Strong Lifts 5X5 and really like the program. I’ve been on it for about 4 months and have gotten much stronger. I’m hesitant to benching and trying to add more weight, because I’m also cutting and trying to maintain as much muscle mass as possible. So far I’ve dropped from 30% body fat to 24% so I have a long way to go. Losing fat is the most important thing to me and I don’t want to jeopardize my progress.

What would you do?

Understand that that ^^^^ trumps any advice you’re going to find online. Do whatever the PT says.

You can lose plenty of fat by tightening up your nutrition, doing hard conditioning (and/or consistent walking), and training whatever you can in the gym. Even if it’s only: Day 1 - Legs, Day 2 - Vertical Back, Day 3 - Legs, Day 4 - Horizontal Back, that doesn’t necessarily have to be the worst way to train.


Go with what’s in your heart. Well respected PT or not, he doesn’t know you.

In all seriousness, you paid good money to go to a sports PT. You’re now asking for free advice. Even if this advice is worth 10x’s what you paid and the sports PT is only worth half, you see where I’m going with this.

The top guys work with PTs and trainers for a reason.

Fat loss is mostly diet, stick with what your P/T says at least for a while and then review.

You guys were supposed to tell me to “keep benching!”

I’m going to drop the bench for a while and see how I respond. Doing some extra rows and pull ups won’t hurt me, and probably best to get things straight since I’m still a beginner. Put the time in now, reap the rewards down the road.

I do plan on still squatting, deadlifting, overhead press, and rows per the SL 5X5 plan. Any recommendation on specific rows to target my mid/upper back? Maybe some upright rows?

I like barbell rows to target my upper back. You can also do t-bar rows (supported and non-supported depending on what your gym has for equipment). Cable rows with a variety of grip sets and Kroc rows will also help a lot. Lat pulldowns also with all the grip varieties. As a finisher, a lot of people recommend face pulls. I’ve found that they bother my shoulder more than seem to help anything in my back. Some high rep resistance band stuff can really help, especially if you’re not feeling something in your back. If you want to get back to benching faster, you might find that a higher volume than 5x5 would be beneficial to really get some hypertrophy going. Spud Inc also puts out a bow-tie you might find beneficial if you’re an office dweller. I try not to hate on SL 5x5 too much, but you’ll want to get some additional assistance work more than likely.

And that’s why your a beginner with strength imbalances.

Squat deep to hit your glutes and hammies harder. Work your back at various angles and use cables with a nice squeeze at peak contraction. Work the deadlifts, chin-ups and barbell rows like a boss.

It’s easy to see the gym douche from the gym boss. The douche walks around hunched over with a big chest and is constantly clawing at his anterior delts. The boss walks tall with tree truck legs and a big yoke, reaching for another plate.

What one do you want to become?

If you really can’t not train chest than maybe, just maybe throw in some BW dips on occasion. But that is debatable.

True story.

Lord knows I don’t want to be a gym douche!

Love the response and makes all the sense in the world. Need to remember this is a long process, not something to fix over night.

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To show you guys how weak and locked up my upper back is check out the deadlift vid below. Maybe I should start a form check thread but it seems relevant here. With that said please feel free to share any form feedback that may help me be more efficient in developing my back properly.

There is some good stuff in here. Dude lays out a specific plan, not just some vague exercise suggestions.

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Thanks so much. I hadn’t come across that article yet, and look forward to reading through it shortly.

Do what PT says, some random forum on the internet is not reliable.

the therapist is wrong… you dont need to stop bench pressing all together… maybe just go a little bit lighter on bench for a month or something (like 3 sets of 10 on bench and 5x5 on back exercises) so your chest wont be getting as much work as your back but stopping bench pressing altogether is retarded

Whats retarded is you giving this statement over a qualified PT while you have very limited information on the OP.

Whats retarded is that you are now suggesting that he benches twice a week with a total of 55 reps + warmup, after being explicitly told to drop it for an amount of time.

This is probably the most retarded statement in your whole paragraph. Guess we have found our gym douche…

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LMAO than I see that @mikehumpday has a thread about shoulder and forearm issues after a shoulder workout and wants it fixed by Friday so he can bench!

Bhahaha maybe you should bench 3x a week and drop rows. I think they are causing the problem :joy:

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I’m not it! Glorious day that calls for a serious row workout!

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Row workouts are awesome. I haven’t done it in a little while, but grabbing a set of lifting straps and doing drop sets of 15-20 all the way up the stack lets you know you’re living right.

As long as you’re doing rows equal to your bench or close to it and your doing external rotation exercises for your shoulders, I see no reason why you can’t bench press. I’d do high reps with 25s dont push it or do weight you can’t get 10 reps with.