T Nation

Replacement for Bench - Shoulder Injury


#1

Both heavy and high volume FLAT pressing cause pain. Neutral grip (w/ DBs or swiss bar) does not help. OHP, incline, and dips feel great. Light CG bench is OK for higher reps. Here's an abbreviation of what I started doing, does it look balanced to make up for not benching?

Upper 1
Dips 5/3/1
Incline Bench 3 x 5-10

Upper 2
OHP 5/3/1
CG Bench 3 x 5-10

Since dips target triceps/chest, does incline pressing help make up for the front delt work normally involved in Bench? Would you go with BB or DB incline?


#2

Obviously not Jim, but I would get your shoulder checked out. I had something similar 2 years ago, turned out to be impingement from lack of rear delt/rotator work. Start doing band pull-aparts now, and cable external rotations. Dont work around the issue, get it fixed.


#3

I have. It’s not from lifting however, and I already do a lot of band pull aparts and other upper back work. Not bad advice though, thanks.


#4

If dips don’t involve the front delt, then I have been doing them wrong for years. Point is, they hit the front delt just fine.

I would do the OHP and incline bench as your 5/3/1 movements. Use dips, CG bench, and incline pressing (BB or BD, doesn’t matter) as assistance work. Heavy dips, meaning 5 reps and below, may not be the best thing for a guy with shoulder problems. Plus, your bodyweight will fluctuate, the bar does not.

Have you tried ART for the shoulder?


#5

[quote]DAVE101 wrote:
I have. It’s not from lifting however, and I already do a lot of band pull aparts and other upper back work. Not bad advice though, thanks.[/quote]

Just some reference, I had shoulder pain for years following football. It got worse and worse as the years went on. I had/have numbness as if a nerve is trapped. I am a certified PICP level 1 trainer(poliquins 1st level), and no lie, got this cert feeling like it would correct my shoulder issue(the whole cert is essentially upper body structural balance norms)If I just got the information.

I spent years hammering away at external rotator cuff work and trap 3 raises. It wasnt until I started reviewing Kelly Starretts work on Mobility WOD that I actually realize I didnt lack exernal rotation but has almost ZERO internal rotation. Anyway not to go on about myself, but much like Jim with the agile 8, I tried doing Defrancos upper body warmup, which is essentially a thoracic spine foam role, a lat foam roal, a sleeper streatch, a pec and lat stretch and finally some broomstick disloactions…Have I actually had any relief.

Point being, you’re going to have to figure out whats inhibiting your shoulder, be it internal rotation, flexion, extension etc. No one can really tell you this. But honestly, not a fan of crossfit, but id give a good hard look into Kellys work and see if there isnt something you cant get from it.


#6

Yeah Joey, it blew my mind that dips felt completely fine despite the shoulder injury. I read that dips have minimal delt involvement from T-Nation’s “Inside the Muscle” series: http://www.T-Nation.com/free_online_article/sports_body_training_performance/inside_the_muscles_best_shoulders_and_trap_exercises

And if you think about it, a dip is much like a decline press, so it makes sense that the shoulders aren’t being worked to a large extent. I Incline Bench for 5/3/1 sounds good, that would help me bring up my press too. I haven’t tried ART since the injury was from blunt trauma.

Thanks for the insight on assessment, Curodd.


#7

For the main lift - make sure you stick with a barbell. Preferably not decline. Nothing worse than decline press.

You also don’t need a 2nd exercise - just do the same movement. Either do the same sets/ reps or use any of the tweaks.


#8

Just my two cents- my shoulders aren’t falling apart but like everyone there are imbalances, strength leaks, and periodic pain. Been combatting with much more pull work relative to pushing volume and also discovered the 1 arm bottom up KB press which has worked wonders and is challenging as hell.


#9

unless you have access to someone that really knows what they are doing, improving shoulder issues really comes down to trial and error.

I had a 20 year history of shoulder issues. Skipping over the obvious stuff, this is what finally worked for me:

Snow angles on floor several times per day. Knees bent, feet up by my ass and press my lower back into the ground. Focus on my arms keeping contact with the ground, which I couldn’t do at the top to start. It’s amazing the stretching and mobility work you just figure out if you commit to lying/sitting on the floor instead of your couch.

Band traction before and between warm up sets, any day - attached a thicker band to the top of my rack. Put my wrist through the other end. Move torso around to get traction in several different planes. Pretty easy to find the one that hurts and move back and forth through it. Can also do traction with a light DB in the row position, but that didn’t work as well for me.

Arm circles for warm up. Start small, gradually go bigger when it doesn’t feel tight or hurt, until I get to full range of motion. Then in reverse doing the same thing.

Cutting out pull-ups. Too much volume does it to me every time, even from rings. I just do one max(ish) rep set at the end of most sessions now.


#10

I’m the same way. I can do everything with no pain, all except benching with a barbell. I have excellent mobility in my shoulders and have no pain as long as I steer clear of BB Benches. I have replaced benches with close grip floor presses with a pause. I get no pain whatsoever from doing these and by the few tests I have done, I get excellent carryover from them. It also seems like I get better hypertrophy from the too. Maybe it the pause, maybe its that I am forced to use the pressing muscles harder, not sure. Not saying this is for you, but it sure made a difference for me. For me no lift is worth doing if it causes non stop pain regardless of what you do. Just one last thing I can do dumbbell benches with no pain also, but they don’t replace the heavy barbell movements.