Summary: Shoulder pain from bench press is a common complaint among weightlifters, bodybuilders, and fitness enthusiasts. While bench pressing is a great way to build upper body strength and muscle mass, it can also cause shoulder pain and injury if not done correctly. This article will examine the causes of shoulder pain from bench pressing, ways to prevent this type of injury, and what to do if you experience shoulder pain while bench pressing.
1. Proper Bench Press Technique
One of the primary causes of shoulder pain from bench pressing is incorrect form. Poor technique can place unnecessary stress on the shoulders, leading to inflammation and injury. When performing a bench press, it is important to keep your elbows tucked in and your wrists straight. Your grip should be slightly wider than shoulder-width apart, and your feet should be firmly planted on the ground. Use your legs to help push the bar up, and exhale as you lift. Lower the bar slowly and with control, keeping your elbows at your sides.
In addition to proper form, it is important to use an appropriate weight when bench pressing. Lifting too heavy can increase your risk of shoulder injury, especially if you are using poor technique. Start with a moderate weight and gradually increase as your strength improves.
Lastly, it is essential to warm up properly before starting any exercise routine. Spend 5-10 minutes doing some light cardio and stretching to get your blood flowing and loosen up your muscles. This will help prevent injury and prepare your body for a productive workout.
2. Shoulder Mobility Exercises
Shoulder mobility exercises are an excellent way to prevent shoulder pain from bench pressing. These exercises can improve joint mobility and flexibility, reducing your risk of injury. One effective exercise is the shoulder dislocate, which involves holding a PVC pipe or broomstick behind your back and slowly moving it up and over your head, making sure to keep your arms straight. Another helpful exercise is the band pull-apart, which involves holding a resistance band in front of you and pulling it apart, squeezing your shoulder blades together as you do so.
Other effective shoulder mobility exercises include the doorway stretch, the sleeper stretch, and the cross-arm stretch. Incorporate these exercises into your warm-up routine or do them at the end of your workout to improve shoulder mobility and prevent injury.
It is also important to work on your overall posture when doing bench presses. Poor posture can put excessive strain on your shoulders. Keep your shoulders down and back, chest lifted, and engage your core to prevent arching your back while bench pressing.
3. Alternative Exercises
If you continue to experience shoulder pain from bench pressing despite using proper form and doing mobility exercises, it may be time to switch things up and utilize alternative exercises. There are several exercises that can target the same muscle groups as the bench press without putting excess strain on your shoulders.
One such exercise is the dumbbell chest press, which involves lying on a bench with a dumbbell in each hand and pushing them up and together above your chest. Another alternative is the push-up, which requires no equipment and can be done anywhere. You can also use a machine or cables to perform chest presses, which can provide support for your shoulders and reduce the risk of injury.
When exploring alternative exercises, it is important to remember that variety is key. Mix up your workout routine and try new exercises to prevent boredom and avoid overuse injuries.
4. Rest and Recovery
In addition to proper form, mobility exercises, and alternative exercises, it is important to give your body adequate rest and recovery time. Overtraining can increase your risk of injury and hinder muscle growth and strength gains.
Make sure to take at least one day off from weight training each week, and listen to your body. If you start to experience shoulder pain or any other type of discomfort, take a break from bench pressing and focus on other exercises. Ice any sore areas to reduce inflammation and swelling, and consider seeing a physical therapist for targeted exercises and stretches.
Lastly, make sure to get plenty of sleep and follow a nutritious diet to support your body’s natural healing processes.
Shoulder pain from bench pressing can be a frustrating and painful experience. However, with proper technique, mobility exercises, alternative exercises, and rest and recovery, you can reduce your risk of injury and enjoy a productive and rewarding workout routine. Listen to your body, avoid pushing yourself too hard, and stay committed to a healthy and sustainable fitness plan.