T Nation

Shoulder Issues: Bench vs Overhead Press


interesting, I have a nagging shoulder issue, going on for months now...I cant bench, even do push ups without severe pain...but have no problems with overhead presses, or dips.

anybody else experience this?


This post was flagged by the community and is temporarily hidden.


I have had a similar problem I went to therapy for, I'm also studying physical therapy myself. Could be an impingement created during those exercises, so many muscles originate and insert around the shoulder. I would give the area a little time to rest from those movements and recover first, since it sounds pretty irritated and you don't want it to become chronic.

Then re-check form on those two exercises (i.e. not having shoulder blades down and retracted during the press can cause an impingement). Do your stretches as long as they don't cause pain, and then maybe try some light band work to strengthen the area again.

Beyond that it may be a tear, or a problem deeper in the joint, but I would think the dips and overhead presses would cause pain as well if that were the case.

Just my thoughts...


clarifying, it is horizontal pressing that is a no go, vertical pressing is OK.

further clarification, pain is right shoulder, anterior, into the insertion to the upper pectoral area. constant dull ache, but during ROM with any resistance it is a tearing sensation.

I have NO pain during overhead pressing or dips.


i have the same problems. For me it started when my ac joint was getting injured during a hockey game. Ever since that time i have problems with horizontal pressing, flys, push ups etc. I have no problems doing military press or high incline presses. My PT said that with horizontal pressing there´s a lot of direct pressure on the ac joint and thats why it hurts


I had some similiar going on once, too, heavythrower.
I guess it had to do with functional shoulder impingement.
Using a neutral grip only got rid of that.

Just wanted to post this, for the sake of completeness.


Yes, I have this problem. Dips and OHP actually relieve an intermittent nagging pain in my right shoulder. I have also noticed that it is aggravated with any supinated back work and heavy curls. Bicep tendonitis is my current diagnosis. I can do constant tension well controlled curls if my elbows are out in front of me (preacher curls or cable).

I can do neutral grip DB horizontal press but have to be careful as the weight goes up to make sure I have proper setup and don't go too low. For the time being, OHP and dips are my mainstay pressing for now. I have to admit that I don't see a big decrease in pec size though, dips do a pretty good job of targeting my lower chest and OHP from my clavicles hit my upper chest well.


Do you have the same problems when your arm gets pulled in the end rom with horizontal rows? Or when something heavy hangs from your arms like on shrugs and deadlifts? Do you have pain or tenderness at the ac joint?

I have the same problems with horizontal pressing and when i do heavweigth pulls. Its a sharp stabbing kind of pain and it hurts most with protraction. i do a lot of external rotations. i cant do the sleeper stretch cause it hurts at the front of my shoulder. did you already try the sleeper stretch? how does it affect you?


Hi guys do you find that if you sleep / awake on your shoulder it aches in the morning?

Do you find that it just aggravates the area / injury?



every now and then it aggravates it. It used to be worse though. I guess all the external rotation shoulder rehab work is paying of at least a little bit.

Its weird if you read coach DeFranco´s newest article or follow Eric Cresseys articles and they don´t favor the overhead press cause its dangerous. Then you have guys like me who can only press in this kind of style or else the shoulder hurts. I guess everybody is different :wink: