T Nation

Shoulder Pain with Barbell Bench, Not Smith Machine

Been on a 5x5 program for a few weeks now and really enjoying it but recently messed up my shoulder and when i bench i feel a pinch so i was wondering for a week or 2 or 3 can i continue this program on the smith machine

when on the smith i dont feel this pinch/pain so until it goes a way can i use this or is this a big no no for a 5x5?

When injured, it’s usually best to focus on healing and rehabbing the injured area instead of making strength gains.

You won’t improve while hurt so it doesn’t really matter what you do. Continue your program as is for your unaffected parts but start doing research on what you did to your shoulder and how to fix it.

If you hurt it once then you’re going to do it again down the road unless you address the cause of the injury.


yea but its minor i could go and bench with the pain but thats why im doing it on the smith where i feel no pain and start benching again in like 2 weeks shouldnt be long, but yea i guess i could do that but it doesnt feel right, more of a mindset i guess, i still feel my chest workin on the smith and gets the job done and in my head thats better then completly missing a couple weeks you know lol

I’ve been dealing with a hip injury for two years.

Trust me, it’s best to address problems when they arise. Do what you can (pain free movements only) and try to fix your weaknesses.

Who is to say the Smith Machine bench will be pain free? And even if it is whos to say its going to allow your injury to rest heal?

Obviously I’m not a doctor, BUT, my usual MO if someone experiences negative issues with a specific movement over another is to always opt for the one that doesn’t hurt -lol.

After my first shoulder surgery, the Orthopedic Surgeon suggested using a smith machine for a more stable groove of movement.

Of course my brother and DPT suggested the opposite advice for the same reason,… so take your pick I suppose. I’d always opt for whichever one lets you train rather than not train (assuming of course you’re not worsening an injury you need to allow to heal).


1 Like

Well, duh! I’ll do single arm bench on the machine press if that’s all that my body allows. And if you don’t believe me then come check out my log in June. Going under the knife June 5th and I’ll be in a sling for six weeks. If you think I’m resting the left half of my upper body then you’re nuts!

Back on topic… train what you can but don’t put training ahead of healing (not that I need to tell you that).

I think people get caught up in their goals. That’s not always negative, but it is when you’re hurt. Pain and dysfunction are a sign that something is wrong. I think it’s probably ignorant to even take the path of resting until it doesn’t hurt anymore. Rest is great, but it doesn’t address the cause of the injury.

Most of the time, the cause of a shoulder injury in the gym is some sort of dysfunction/weakness/imbalance that’s been ignored for a long time. It finally gets to the point where it hurts and impedes training. A person still needs to address why the injury occurred in the first place.

Another example provided by me: if I focus on barbell bench for 6-8 weeks then I typically have shoulder pain. I’m pretty sure that pain was biceps tendonitis. I never went to physical therapy or did anything to address it. I just blamed bench and stopped doing it. I could use DB’s or machines pain free so I’d just switch it up for awhile. The pain would go away (eventually) and then I’d get sucked back in to benching and repeat the process.

Well, last October I was in one of those resting phases due to shoulder pain. While playing basketball, my shoulder popped. It didn’t hurt, but it turns out that was the sensation of my biceps tendon popping out of its groove. It tore the tissue that held it in place (retinaculum). There’s no repairing that. The tissue won’t grow back. My tendon now pops out of place regularly. The only fix is surgery. The surgeon is going to cut my biceps tendon and anchor it to my humerus so it can’t pop the groove anymore. I’ll be out for 3-4 months.

Maybe I shouldn’t have ignored that biceps tendonitis all those years…

Mastering The Reverse Grip Bench Press

For someone with a shoulder issue, the Reverse Grip Bench Press works; less stress is placed on the shoulder.

Jim Stoppani, PhD Video Article: Are You Using The Wrong Chest Exercise?

What interesting is the Reverse Grip Bench Press activate the upper chest more than an Incline Press.

Learning Curve

As with any new movement, there is a learning curve

Kenny Croxdale

Have you considered using BCP157 either pre or post surgery?

Never heard of it. So, I guess not lol!

Quick Google search…

A peptide. I’m a bit scared of drifting into the black market of drugs. I’m not against it; I’m just not educated enough to try it. If my Dr brought it up then I’d be all over it.

I haven’t tried it either, it sounds very promising for regenerating stubborn injuries.
I think there is little risk, you only use it for a month or two. I’d run it past your Dad if he’s a Dr, give him time to assess it after he’s done some research.