T Nation

Squat and Bench Form Check, Shoulder Pain/Inflammation

I am 33 and been training on and off (due to repetitive shoulder /elbow/ SI Joint inflammation ) and my current streak is around 1 month on Wendler 5/3/1 Beginner program.

Current numbers are Bench Press 77.50 Kg , deadlift 120Kg , squat 82.50 kg and overhead press 50kg.

My Right shoulder has started to hurt again. The pain is mostly on the top front part and also sometimes on the back. I have started shoulder external rotation exercises and also applying ice to the area + a course of antiinflammatory for 5 days.

I need help in fixing the form + Learning appropriate warmup for precaution.

I am trying to have an arch in my back while bench pressing and trying not to go to low…

In the squat, i am trying to do a high bar squat. But after taking the video it seems im doing a hybrid squat. Please help me fix this. I tried a wider grip and my thumbs over the bar but still my right shoulder hurt.

You need to slow the movements down. Lower the weight and lift in a slow and controlled manner. Ego lifting and throwing the weights around on the bench with your back that arched is asking for trouble. For the squats, you’re doing low bar, you need to have your chin tucked and you need to be looking at the floor 6 feet in front of you. Your heals are coming up, you need to focus on keeping the weight in the middle of the foot. The bar should move perfectly vertically up and down and the weight should not shift over your toes. If you don’t have the mobility to do that, get some squat shoes.

You’re doing half reps on the bench. If you don’t have the mobility to do full range of motion then do floor presses instead. Or just ditch the flat bench and work on incline bench.

What other exercises are you doing? Overhead press is quite technical and can lead to low back pain if done incorrectly. Lateral raises can also be a killer for the shoulders.

I am doing the squats wrong as I am aiming for a high bar squat . guess I will have to lower the weight down , let the injury heal with antiinflammatory and ice and learn the high bar squat properly. also I might have to fix the bench press form too.

Please recommend an alternate workout routine for home thats easier on the shoulders. my home equipment is a barbell + weights + flat bench + squat rack + chinup bar with pulley + exercise band. At most I can get a few dumbbells .

My current workout routine is as follows (5/3/1 beginner)

3x5 (80% 1rm) + 5x5 bench press (60% 1rm)
3x5 + 5x5 squat
Leg raises 5x10

15 minute beginner hiit from bodycoachtv

3x5 + 5x5 deadlift
3x5 + 5x5 overhead press
Jumping jacks

15 mins beginner hiit

3x5 (80% 1rm) + 5x5 bench press (60% 1rm)
3x5 + 5x5 squat


15 m ins beginner hiit

Sunday rest

The bar should be on your traps, not the rear delts for high bar. Your elbows also need to get pushed forward so your arms are nearly parallel with your torso.

Sub out the bench press for something easier on the shoulders. I would start with close grip bench or incline bench and see if you can handle those.

Sub out overhead press for Arnold press.

How are you warning up for your workout and working sets?

Thanks for the reply.

Yes the bar needs to be on the traps. I will deload and relearn the high bar squat.

I can also switch the bench press with floor dumbell presses and the overhead press with the dumbbell arnold presses . seems like i will have to get some dumbbells.

The question then arises about weight progression which is easier to do with the barbell .And also my investment in the barbell + weighs which feels wasted .I have an app to automatically calculate weights on 531 beginner program. How will I progress with the dumbbells ? Seems like I will need a lot of dumbbells. Can u point me to a balanced program template that covers these exercises and answers these questions ?

I warmup with 3 sets of light weights for barbell exercises . since last few days I have added internal rotation exercises for shoulder , jumping jacks , front raises with weights , side twists and neck exercises. What more can I add ?

If it were me, I would stick with low bar squats, they are easier to learn and less painful for someone who doesn’t have trap development yet. I would also pick a program that is more flexible, just make sure it’s a beginner program. I always recommend Johnnie Candito’s linear programs. There are 3 different templates depending on your goals, and he gives a lot of exercise variations you can use to sub out certain exercises that don’t work for you.

Be sure to include external shoulder rotations and face pulls into your routine. I see this shoulder issue a lot, especially with guys that sit at a computer a lot. I have the shoulder issue myself.

1 Like

I got shoulder pain and have been doing various strength training routines from time to time (poor form) . that leads me to change the routine or quit and affects my progress .the pain is on the side of my shoulder and feels like inflammation inside someplace . goes away with rest / ice +antiinflammatory but comes back after 1 month of exercise and effects my gains as I have to start over again .

my current workout is 5/3/1 beginner program. With 3 days of squat bench deadlift and ohp. I also do 3 days of 15 mins hiit from youtube.

Equipment : I have setup a home gym with a squat rack , olympic bar , olympic weights 250 pounds , plain bench, chinup bar . at most I can get a few dumbbells .

Could you suggest a good workout that doesn’t place much stress on the shoulder and can be done at home with the equipment i have ?

Judging by your videos you just need to take weight off the bar and learn the movements before you continue. Watch videos on how to bench press, squat and deadlift. It takes time and practice.

1 Like

Thanks. It seems ill have to start over again once more with improved form. I am willing to do so. However this will be the sixth time.

Could you please tell me what are the precautions I have to take in terms of daily warmups / workout program selection and technique with respect to my shoulder pain so that this time I can finally prevent it from reoccurring and move forward ?

Can I change the benchpress to a dumbbell floor press or do alternative exercises to the overhead press? Can any such alternate workout plan be suggested that I can follow for 6 months or so…

Do you know what actually caused these issues? Simple repetitive stress to the shoulders and hips from “off and on training” seems suspect. Was there an injury of some kind?

Why are you wearing a belt when benching? Just curious.

But yeah, you’d be better off with floor presses or some kind of homemade board press instead of stopping arbitrarily in the air with a shortened ROM.

As has been said, you should slow down a bit. You’re dive bombing down which is only adding stress to your hips in the bottom. Also consider safety bar squats or lumberjack squats to be easier on the shoulders or box squats to be easier on the hips.

With shoulder issues, these are a very bad call. Drop them. Instead, try gorilla burpees (no push-up).

I could be wrong, but I don’t think 5/3/1 works with dumbbell versions of the main lifts. The necessary weights become too awkward with DBs and progression would be super-super-super slow.

[quote]I have added internal rotation exercises for shoulder , jumping jacks , front raises with weights , side twists and neck exercises. What more can I add ?[quote]
Number one, first and foremost, I’d add band pullaparts and neutral-grip chins. With any kind of shoulder issue, those two are huge for getting healthy.

Next, as I said, drop the jumping jacks for a more shoulder-friendly alternative. The front raises are also almost-certainly not helping. And why did you choose internal rotations instead of external rotations

Pretty standard when learning something new. Don’t beat yourself up about it, just keep working at it.

I’ll just add for your squats:

  • You can try taking your pinky off the bar too. That helps my shoulder significantly.
  • Slowing down, as mentioned above, will let you tighten up a little. Think about pulling your hands down and in toward your hips like you’re doing a pull-up. If you get your upper back a bit more tense, your elbows won’t travel back as far on the descent, and your shoulder won’t have to go through as much rotation.

I do not remember any point of injury. I just know that whenever I work on the benchpress or do some exercises like dips etc, I start to get pain and irritation in the shoulder. It goes away once i back off, but backing off is not a permanent solution. It has been like this for 10 years.

Because to help with the shoulder pain, i went to a local trainer and ended up having SI joint inflammation instead. That got fixed with the physical therapist with lots of leg side raises. I wear a Belt as a precaution ever since.

Yeah you are right , it seems its better for me to do a floor dumbell press , instead of the bench.

i accept that its better for me to slow down. I will try to incorporate it in my training. I guess i can also look at squats with dumbells instead like a goblet squat. Something thats easier to learn. and doesn’t require much more equipment.

Thanks . i will try to incorporate that suggestion.

Thanks. I have ordered a band and home chinup bar.

I followed this video to try to fix my bench form

and followed this video to learn warmup rotation exercises … I guess its what i reffered to as front raises but its something different. And sorry its external rotations.

here is my deadlift video