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Shoulder Impingement from Close Grip Bench Press?


I started doing Close Grip Bench Press again and I've started to feel some pain in my shoulders. It dawned on me that it might be that exercise causing the pain as a result of the close grip on the bar and how it changes the position of your shoulders during the movement. Any thoughts?


During close grip bench, if you are doing full range (bar to chest), your shoulders will move into a larger degree of shoulder extension, which can irritate the long head of the biceps, AC joint, and anterior capsule. One, if not all, of those is likely leading to your shoulder discomfort.


You the man. Are you aware of any shoulder issues related to Decline Bench Press? It really seems like the only Bench Press movement I can comfortably do is the traditional flat, floor, and pin press.


During decline you actually have a bit less movement into shoulder extension due to the positioning of the torso in the decline position. Conversely, during incline bench you have a higher degree of shoulder extension. So in a sense of "shoulder extension antagonistic movement", decline bench may be better.

But again, it all comes down to grip (close grip = more extension, wider grip = less extension) and technique as well. The biggest thing is keeping the shoulder packed and scapula retracted/depressed at all times to maintain proper GH joint positioning and stability for the shoulder.

If you are getting some shoulder pain during close grip bench, I would recommend trying some push up variations with a variety of hand positions and see if it replicates the discomfort. It will also give you shoulder some (probably much needed) closed chained movements and allow for free, unabated scapular movement.


I actually watched some other Dave Tate videos on bench pressing last week and have since gone a little wider on my flat bench press than I had in the past, so I'm hoping that will help with my shoulder health. I'll give the push-up thing a try. Thanks for the feedback.


Your doing close grip for your tricep pressing strength. It could be a situation where you drop your weight for 2 weeks and practice the movement if its new. Otherwise, could you have room to improve on your row at all


I agree with this. Decline feel WAY better. I also only do top 3/5 ROM (but don't lockout, if that makes sense). It does start to hurt in the AC/Bi tendon area if I go all the way down. Of course, row the bar down to under nipple area, and then push up over your chest (not straight up-down) to recruit triceps better.


Absolutely excellent commentary from the aptly self-named LevelHeaded.

I suffer from Subacromial Bursitis and only a few weeks ago got back to benching, I've found it hurts much less, and recovery time is much faster if I consciously keep my elbows close together during the whole movement, instead of allowing them to flare out, which they tend to do if unless I keep my mind on them.