Side Delt Pain When Pressing

Ok folks. Ive been dealing with this issue for years. When im benching. I get pain in my left side delt. The pain is localized near but a bit north where the side delt meets the tricep

The pain is not debilitating. About a 4 on a scale of 10. But never the less i have to think it is limiting my progress. About 5 years ago i saw my doc and got an mri. They saw a slight labrum tear but thats not the area where i have pain. Since then i had a period where i simply laid off training for a while. In the past 18 months ive been hard at it again. Pain has been there from day 1 or benching again. Or oh press but mostly benching

For years i had poor form benching. Its still likely not the best. But ever since about 9 years ago ive focused on keeping elbows in and not letting them flare out. That being said. The more i let my elbows flare. There is some pain relief in the movement. The more they come in, the greater the pain. But never over a 4/10

I videos myself benching to see if i was coming too far out or in and it looked perfect to me

The pain only resurfaces with certain movements afterward. Like sitting in my bed and reaching for a water on my nightstand. Only for a moment then its gone.

forgot to add, does anyone have any idea what exactly is the problem here? If i can id the issue, i can figure out a way to get rid of it

The Bench Press is not a requirement.

You didn’t mention pain doing the incline press or dips. Are either of those done without pain?

What about close grip bench press?

Does using dumbbells also involve pain?

It was always my plan to do exercises that don’t involve joint pain. I am not saying don’t work your chest. I am just saying don’t do chest exercises that are not accompanied with joint pain.

no pain doing dips. incline presses? i’ll have to check, i really can’t remember. Been a while since i did barbell incline presses. or close grip bench. dumbells is less pain when benching. I just don’t have the weight required for progressive overload in dumbells

I know there are a variety of exercises I can do for pectoral development. Just trying to id what the problem is so i can figure out how to get rid of it.

This movement was a godsend and I now do this every day I work upper body. I do it with bands and unweighted bars - helped my shoulders stop feeling like shit.

Sorry for the limp-wristed video… was looking for the vid with Dante Trudel doing this “broomstick stretch” and it would have looked way more badass, but here we are :man_shrugging:

As for pec development - you’d probably do far better with incline presses, maybe even DB Incline for chest size tbh. Barbell flat bench is fairly subpar for chest development IMO

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I’ve had this ever since I wrongly loaded tricep pulldowns a couple weeks back. I still got my designated reps in but my form was terrible, i should have stopped after just a few reps but went all the way to 10 - big mistake. Currently 6 days into a deload and it still feels weird - wondering if i’ve wasted a deload and should have gone even lighter. Hopefully it doesn’t turn into a long-term problem. All the videos online seem to be focused on rotator cuffs or impingement which i don’t think this is.

I use to get this weird dull sensation in the side delts. It went away after I started external rotation exercises. Try the side lying dumbell raises for the external rotation. 3 sets of 10-12 reps each side and see what happens.

Don’t just rush through the exercise, try to lift the DB to the highest end range of motion.

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I’ll give it a go myself. I’m meant to be going back to the gym tomorrow hopping straight back on my progression and looking forward to a good couple of months. This irritation hasn’t subsided at all though. Looking up lots of mobility stuff on youtube right now and wondering how i’m going to train around it or if i just can’t do upper body properly until it’s better.

EDIT: The more research i’ve been doing, the more i realize it might actually be my bicep where it meets the shoulder. Page i’m looking at says not to do any overhead movements etc - i’ve literally been doing half a dozen different mobility and stretch exercises for my shoulder, no wonder it’s gotten worse throughout the day!

BlockquoteI’ll give it a go myself. I’m meant to be going back to the gym tomorrow hopping straight back on my progression and looking forward to a good couple of months. This irritation hasn’t subsided at all though. Looking up lots of mobility stuff on youtube right now and wondering how i’m going to train around it or if i just can’t do upper body properly until it’s better.

Give the external rotations a try. For the last 10+ years I’ve never done them and always considered them a puny exercise… Now I do them every week.

The external rotators:

  • Infraspinatus

  • Teres minor

They like never get hit with most exercises because our arms don’t really go into external rotation much.

The PVC stick by dante, also called inlocations and dislocations, I do them as well from time to time but when I was having that shoulder side delt dull burn, it didn’t really help. It is a fantastic mobility exercise though.

OH YES BEFORE I FORGET. You should stretch the external rotators as well. Try this:

Instead of bending the pole and rotating like him. I just pull it straight up so that your arm is like trying to reach across the opposite shoulder.

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I’ve been wrapping my upper arm with this Compression Band, Voodoo Floss stuff for the last couple months. It’s made my shoulder, elbow and bicep feel great.

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Cheers fellas.

It’s a weird one, I felt the tiniest bit of inflammation but I was fine for 2-3 days and then it just flared up and hasn’t improved. Happened on a deload week aswell - usually I just cut the weight in half but was trying cutting the volume instead for a change - never again. :frowning:

Meant to be in the gym in the next half hour, have no idea how i’m gonna train around it. Hopefully squatting doesn’t give me any issues. Might try bench with a REALLY low load to feel it out. EDIT: My gym partners just had to drop out because his daughter tested positive for covid so i’m just gonna skip it, extra rest day and get some extra research in. 8 days ago i was debating about having a full weeks deload, now i’m running into a second week v_v

Bro, if you’ve like some 2-5lb dbs at home, start the external rotations asap.

I been researching and doing all kinds of random stretches. It’s hard to pinpoint the pain exactly, sometimes it feels on the back, sometimes the middle, sometimes the front. It’s not extremely painful and I have pretty much all movement/range of motion.

No dumbells but i guess i can just grab a few tins of baked beans or something for the same efffect. Should I just keep doing 10-20reps each arm a few times in the day, every day?

Do 2-3 sets of 12 reps each maybe 2-3x a week. Try to raise as high as you can.

Could you be more specific in describing where you sort of feel it?
From my experience, a lot of times it is never where you “feel” it.

Some suspects that you should lacrosse ball out or massage out:

  • All neck muscles
  • Muscles in between the scaps (mid traps, low traps, rhomboids)
  • All the rotator cuff muscles

Do you have a lacrosse ball? It could be the rear delt and the external rotator attachments.

  1. Lift your arm up about 45 degrees pass horizontal.
  2. Pin the lacrosse ball into the rear delt against the wall while standing
  3. Roll around and put pressure on any tender spots.
  4. **** Sometimes it could be the attachments from the external rotators, this spot is near the rear delt but slightly below it. You would have to pin the ball a bit underneath the rear delts and push up and into it.

Like you seriously want to like jam this mofo into your arm pit hard.

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Thanks for the informative reply. It’s kind of strange, early on in the day i feel like its the front of my shoulder and my bicep (even a little tricep too) but as the day goes on i feel it’s more around the back or side delt. It feels a little better today but nowhere near strong enough to start lifting again.

My range of motion is pretty good, the only time it really gets worse is if i try to put movement behind my back or twist it like pouring a drink away.

That’s pain going into internal rotation of the shoulder. Then you’re definitively going to have pain benching. Overhead pressing most likely bothers you as well.

Overpowered internal rotators and weak external rotators is where I would put my money.

The internal rotators of the shoulder:

  • subscap
  • pec major
  • lats
  • teres major
  • ant delts
    Guess where all the internal rotators of the shoulder attach to? The front part of your delt/bicep area.

Once again to reiterate:

To strengthen external rotators:

  • Side lying DB raises
  • Alternative are cable external rotations
  • Band external rotations

Stretch out the external rotators:

  • That video above with the stick behind your back.
  • You want to be able to reach your arm that is hurting you behind your back and be able to touch the opposite shoulder… if you can’t then you’re the classic example of above.

Other areas you would want to lacrosse ball out and stretch would be:

  • Upper pecs and pec minor with your fingers or lacrosse ball
  • Lats via foam rolling and also all lat stretches. You should try the butchers block stretch.

If you don’t know how to go about it, I would highly recommend letting a physical therapist work it out for you.

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Wow. I am EXTREMELY grateful for the time put into that post and it does seem like the likely thing. I do row 1-2x a week and do facepulls when i have time, but aside from that i’ve been benching and OHP 2x AND flies at the end of every chest session.

I’ve never had any shoulder pain before and it’s very strange that it’s come on after having a deload and then a rest from the gym. I’ve had a full weeks off almost (plan to go back Monday) but been stretching a lot and been doing the external rotations with anything I can grab at home for a couple of sets . Hopefully it’s not too serious then and I can fix this doing the things you recommend. Am i okay to do my regular routine but possibly lighter/build myself backup/address my external rotating volume? Thanks again!

The facepulls, external rotations, and stretches are prehab and rehab exercises so you do them as often as you need. If your routine or program is heavy on the pressing, you may need to increase the frequency of it…

I would ease back into it lightly as long as its not causing any pain.

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Felt a little better Monday already. I’m building back up lightly as you say. I was doing 100kg for 3x5 on bench but have started out with 70kg (even though I could do 85kg for a set of 10 before deload). 4x10 just to dial in my form, make sure I keep my shoulders stable and feel my way back into it. Doing 4x10s is very different to any bench programming i’ve done before so I might just double progression that for a month or two.

Making more of a point to myself warm-up and get all those things in you mentioned - confident for the future. :slight_smile: