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Shoulder Fatigue with Incline Bench


Whenever I incline bench, my left shoulder starts to fatigue before I can even come near failure. It feels deep within the shoulder so I am thinking it is my rotator cuff. My hypothesis is that this is due to limited flexibility of my left shoulder joint.

I'm just curious if anyone has had this problem and might know what is causing this. Any ideas?


Ice and massage between sessions

Do some cuff specialization (L-fly variations)

Work on flexibility (some great articles here. Search 'em)

Do a pre-exhaust move for the chest before doing Incline benching. Your chest will give out before your shoulder....hopefully.

See a good chiro (with sports med background)


a) Check the bench.
b) Rotator cuff work and broomstick stretch(!)
c) Check your form. Does your shoulder come off the bench? Are you staying tight while benching? I know the feeling you describe, but from Pinwheel curls... Whole left arm just sort of tires out and won't contract much anymore.. That was due to my form being crap as well as me neglecting that b-stretch...

Might have other reasons as well, but this is off the top of my head.




Same thing happens to me after a few months of repeated heavy inclines.

I generally have to stop doing them, I find long as I'm still doing pressing motions the strength doesn't go away.

I find it comes from the way you take the weight off the bar and stabilize to get ready for your lift, also the width.

I'm going to try the chiro advice which I've never done as well.


I know when I play with my elbow positioning I can take my shoulders more out of the lift (which is what im trying to do).


Yah, my left shoulder was weaker than my right shoulder. It evened itself out.


C_C I've been having some issues with my left shoulder coming off the bench when working with DB's. I subconsiously push it up when I get to heavier weights (well, heavy for me, at least). I squeeze my shoulder blades together and down, but it still happens when going heavy. Suggestions on keeping tight?

I don't do it nearly as much when working with a barbell, but I'm deltoid dominant and actually feel sore in the delts after barbell benching rather than my chest. Plus I admit that I'm a bit afraid of the injuries associated with barbell benching.


Does it come forward only at the top of the rep or near the top... Or when you are close to failure and try to get just another rep in?

I personally avoid lockout on chest and delt -pressing moves... You've seen Ronnie do it in vids and I do the same. Easier for me to stay tight and I train my triceps seperately with better-suited exercises anyway so it's no loss (allows me to go a tad heavier for chest and delt stuff as well). Try that out if you want, try three quarters of ROM (from the bottom) or even half. Other than that, you'll just have to experiment with your setup and form I guess.

Also, instead of going for that last gruesome rep, stop the set and if you, say, got 7 or 8 (if you wanted to do 6-8) then rest and do another, slightly heavier set for 4-6 reps (add 2.5-5 lbs, wouldn't do it as an advanced guy but for beginners and intermediates with form problems that works nicely... Provided that you normally do 1 work set and don't do 4 sets at the same weight or something like that. Stop that set when before your form goes to hell just like the previous one).

Maybe ask maraudermeat or some other experienced PL'er ? They should know better how to fix that kind of problem than I do.


It happens more when I'm close to failure and when first trying to setup to get the DB's over me.

I'm a little odd in that I can do 6-8 with one pair of DB's but when I move up to the next set, I'm down to 2-3 reps so I really am only getting in 1 quality rep (1 for setting up and 1 for really pushing it just are crappy)

Thanks for the advice, though. Will go PM someone. And I should probably start working my way up to a heavy set - I'm still doing straight sets.


Well, powerlifters will do multiple sets (especially on ME work due to the low reps, neural adaption and what-have-you) but for bodybuilding/higher reps I find that to be a waste of time and my strength increases much slower... DC Rest-Pause works well but anything with longer rest-periods than that between "sets" is like a repeat-performance imo... Doesn't do anything that the last set hasn't done and cuts into my recovery...

Edit: Try that approach I wrote about above then. Also, when BB benching: set the pins/Bench Rack/Stands lower so that your arms are somewhat bent when you push the bb off the pins/Bench Rack/Stands. Weird and not to be done for ME work, but I've done it that way for ages on hypertrophy stuff...