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Replacement for Bench on Madcow 5x5

I recently got onto madcow intermediate 5x5 after repeated stalls on a SS type linear progression. My bench was progressing pretty well over the last few weeks, and I was up to 255x3 about 2 weeks ago before jumping onto madcow 5x5. Recently though, my right outer pec area around the armpit (the part connecting to the bicep) has been feeling strained, and there’s a dull pain even during warm-ups, and it’s affecting my bench.

There’s no discoloration or bruising, but the area feels tender. I started madcow 5x5, which called for me doing 230x5 for the first week (working up to my 5rm max by the start of Week 5). However, even doing 230x5, which is usually a breeze, is feeling unusually difficult due to the pain experienced around that area.

The pain/tenderness is felt especially when stretching out my chest. I have been applying ice/heat to the area and did not do bench in my last Friday workout.

Should I stop doing bench altogether and let it recover? If I do, is there a replacement exercise that I could use in the meantime that could possibly maintain my bench strength (which I really do not wish to lose) whilst not aggravating the strain even further? I was thinking close-grip bench press which will put the load on my triceps more, but I’m not sure how the strength carryover to bench is like.

Thanks for any ideas!

Really? It hurts and you are wondering if you should stop?

Get it looked after. That is the first step. If you don’t want to do that, then keep getting PR’s until it pops. Maybe then, you will pay attention. Everyone here can give you personal experience, but that is it. Your case is your case. Get it looked after.

Do what doesn’t hurt. Incline, decline, dips, dumbells, cables, floor presses, isometrics, etc. It hurts, you stop.

Taking a step back to go forward is not loosing “your bench strength”. It’s approaching your training in a smart way. Get better, then get better in the gym.

I’d take a couple weeks off pressing and ideally get some ART therapy or deep tissue work on the pec and delts

If it hurts, stop. I don’t think anyone should need to tell you this.