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Training Without Chest/Shoulder Press?


Im 20 and have a partial rotator cuff tear in my right shoulder. The only benching I can do without pain are machines or hammer strength. BBs and DBs aggravate it.

My orthopedic doctor told me to also stop overhead pressing (completely is best, but I'm allowed to use light weight), as this could make my tear worse. Seeing as I won't get surgery until I'm much older, I'd like to keep my cuff from getting worse. Getting surgery at this time of my life would be hell.

My question - how can I build my chest, which is my weakest bodypart, essentially without free weights (benching)? Also, how can I build my shoulders, which is one of my strongest parts, while no longer OH pressing (heavy)?



I don't overhead press at all because it kills my shoulders whether the bar is in the front or back. Isolation workouts like lateral raises, bent over lateral raises and front delt raises. These all are great for stimulating shoulder growth and for helping with shoulder health.

I don't think anything else really hits the middle delt head better than lateral raises.
i'd recommend starting light with 3-6 sets of 15-20 reps working your way up to heavier poundages and decreasing reps. Going under 10 reps often is probably not the greatest idea if you have a shoulder injury.

anyways, bent over lateral raises obviously hit the rear delt but these are also hit when using good form and range of motion with most rowing movements.

and fuck it man i mean if the only bench pressing you can do is on a hammer strength machine then i'd just stick with them. No one ever said you can't grow with a HS machine.

What i did with my bench press when i hurt my shoulder is i dropped the weight to something easy (205lbs)that didnt hurt at all, something i could easily do sets of maybe 15 with. But i did 3x12 and every week i added 2.5 lbs to each side of the bar while keeping about 3x10-12 and worked my way back up to working out with heavier weight. You can maybe try this?


Let's see... are there any guys on this site with big pecs or delts who rely heavily on hammer strength machines...

Tough one.


use DB neutral grip and tuck your elbows 100% at the buttom of the rep, you can also rotate your wrists to a natural grip as the rep progresses to lock out.

it wont hurt your shoulder and for me gave some nice size i never got doing BB


Obviously, never do anything that causes you pain. As far as exercises go, your muscle have no clue how the stress is being applied, only that they must work hard and adapt. Whether it's from single joint movements, compound movements, machines, or free weights is pretty irrelevant for the most part. Sure some exercises will give you more overall bang for your buck (were talking balanced physique development here), but if you're choices are limited, then they're limited.

Play the cards your dealt and bust your ass without whining about how you'd be much bigger 'if only I could bench heavy'. There are many bodybuilders who can bench, but don't for a variety of reasons (didn't delivery results, injury potential etc) and still sport impressive pecs. Ken Waller was one of my favorite BBers of the Golden Era, and his chest was built with a variety of flyes, cables and very little actual pressing movements.

Now go lift something. :slightly_smiling:



Many bodybuilders once have built their size actually avoid and dump the bench press altogether because of shoulder and rototar problems...there's no reason why you can't build a great chest and be able to hit your shoulders properly by avoiding free weights.

Find a gym that offers the good Hammer Strength equipment and try to focus your training around those, cables, and whatever free weights you can manage. As long as your making progress and are getting stronger on those exercises combined with a proper diet you will be fine!


Heh heh.


Thanks a lot for the advice guys. I'll still bust my ass with what limited exercises I can do... at worst, it's better than nothing. Lifting is part of me, I'd be killing myself if I ever stopped. It's uplifting to know I can still make appreciable gains without the traditional staples... so when the time comes to compete, I can still be a top contender.

Now that my 1 yr gf and I broke up last night, it's just the weights and me baby, lets go

I don't frequent the forums, so I'm guessing you're being sarcastic? there are a lot?


I'm doing a lot of iso-metric movements.