T Nation

Strange Shoulder Issue


I'll get right to the point. I have some pain in my shoulder only when doing pushing exercise. I have zero pain on a daily basis only when pushing. Gave up benching for two weeks now and figured I would give it a shot today.

Before heading to the gym I decided to test the shoulder by doing some pushups. Bad move!! Could not do 2! Pain felt like I was stabbed. I am fine until the elbow and shoulder form a 90 degree bend (chest can not touch the floor)anything after that wow! I have read Creesseys article on the rotator cuff and plan on doing some of it starting tomorrow. Now for my questions.

  1. If their was something torn in the shoulder wouldn't pain be constant?
    2.Should I still bench bringing the bar down until till arms are at a 90 degree bend,no pain to that point?
  2. Alternative exercises for chest?
  3. Guy at the gym told me to do some rear delt work for the rhomboids which will help take the "imbalance" off the shoulder...thoughts?

Sorry for all the questions just getting frustrated as hell with this shoulder and my doctor sucks so that is not an option.


I had a shoulder injury over a year ago. I took 3 monthes off from all upper body pushing exercises. Focused on rows, snatch-grip deadlifts and light external rotations during that time. After that added in light pec deck flyes for a few monthes before I started doing light DB presses. I have now worked up to more weight that I used to use for DB presses before my injury, but I still have not touched a barbell for any kind of bench presses except for close-grip.

Shoulder feels fine now. I can do everything I did before but I will probably never use BB bench presses again. I'm 23 years old. Awesome. Good luck man.


definitely sounds like a tough injury...probably tore a tendon or ligament in the shoulder complex-bad news w/ the doc but i would recommend physical therapy...definitely stop pressing, if you can do pulling and shoulder-stability movements that would help, but whatever is torn will take a while to heal. Best of luck.


Need some more info before any advice could really be given. Where in your pain located? How is pain as compared with veritcal pressing and horizontal pressing? Any pain with internal or external rotation of the shoulder?


Sorry to Hijack, and I can post this in another thread, but I have been wondering about my own should for a little while now.

I have no issues when I press or pull horizontal. Bench, Incline, rows, etc. all fine

However, sometimes when I do overheard vertical pressing, I get a little tweak in my right should only. Never my left.

Any suggestions??


I had an issue like this a couple of weeks ago but it wasn't pain it was complete loss of strength - as you did I tried pushups, no way, could not do any chest work of any kind.

Did you actually do something to injure it? The reason I ask is because I didn't, it just seemed to "happen one day" - no reason whatsoever. Doctor was no help to me either.

Its been a couple of weeks and has seemed to have healed a bit; I can at least do push-ups. I will not hold any weight above my chest as I actually dropped a dumbbell on my chest and it scared the crap right out of me. Your situation sounds similar to mine; I can work everything else but not chest and a bit of trouble with triceps, it seems its a certain range of motion. Whatever it is I'm hoping that in time it will just heal on its own.


Shoulders and knees. Don't fug around with either of them! If your shoulder is really bothering you then the best recommendation is scheduling an appointment with an orthopedic surgeon.


NO pain at all with the external or internal rotation. The pain is located basically if you follow your collar bone to your shoulder where that round ball is, then go straight down into the shoulder.(real scientific, i know) that is where it flairs up. I first noticed it about a month ago doing decline BB bench. The part I can not figure is the only time it screams at me is when i am doing any horizontal pushing. No pain at other times through out the day. This is what makes it hard to judge when it's ready again. The only way to test it, is to put it under a load, if that makes sense.


Sounds to me like you have some tendonitis of the long head of the biceps. It runs between the greater and lesser tubercle of the humerus which sounds like the location you described. Couldn't really say without examining it, but from the information you've shared, that would be my assumption.


i'm no expert, but i just had a shoulder reconstruction, after being told for years surgery was not an option(i had dislocated it well over 30 times).
also, surgery is always considered the final step, only after all other procedures have been exhausted.
before you go to a doctor got to a physiotherapist, cause a doctor will send you to one anyway.
if you haven't really had much trouble with your shoulder till now there's a good chance the right exercises will fix it. you'll soon know if your doing the right thing.
My point- you know if there is something seriously wrong with you.
if you feel it is do something about it.
don't keep hurting it just to see if it will get better if you know what i mean.
you've only got one shoulder..er i mean one pair.


Thanks Levelhead for your help. I was leaning towards that also. I would guess that if it were a tear i would be in pain 24/7. What course of action would you take for the brusitis? Just rest it and it will subside on its own?
I know it's impossible to say without seeing it, but any idea how long till I could attempt to bench again? Weeks,months off? I am taking fish oil as part of my diet maybe I should increase the intake or try the new Flameout when it comes back in. Sorry for all the questions but it is just very frustrating.


If it were a tear you would definately have some limitations in function and from what you've said you just have pain with specific exercises. I doubt it is a bursitis. More than likely it's a tendonitis of the biceps tendon. Don't stop working out, just avoid what-ever causes extreme pain and find alternatives. Instead of flat bench, try decline or lockouts instead. Warm up the area very well and try doing some pendulums and band internal and external rotations before lifting. You want to keep that area moving to help facilitate healing, just avoid the painful motions.

Also, try some anti-inflammatories to help out as well. Check your rear delts as well and make sure there are no imbalances. Look at your shoulder flexibility as well and try to improve upon that. That area of your shoulder doesn't have much room and any inflammation can easily cause some impindgement.