Bench Press Shoulder Injury – What to Do When it Happens and How to Avoid It


Shoulders are among the top 4 most injury-prone body parts of out bodies (the other three being lower back, knees and wrists). A serious shoulder injury can mean a stop to your bench strength routine, or at least a serious slow down.

If it already happened, you need to take it slow. Very slow. If you come back to the gym too soon after your bench press injury, you may end up with a chronic pain for the rest of your life. So the number one requirement you need to fulfill is to make sure your recovery is complete. If you have a chance, go to a sports doctor, rather than a regular one. Sports doctors are very well accustomed to shoulder injuries and will be able to give you the best advise on your recovery and therapy.

If you can’t see a sports doctor, make sure you see an experienced specialist and listen and follow his or her advise to the letter.

Do not be your own doctor. Chances are that you are too subjective and too eager to return back to the gym which may do you a permanent harm. You are a weight lifter, not a doctor. And your spotter or piers from the gym, despite of a well-meant advise cannot replace a professional doctor’s advise.

When you are ready to start working out again, try to use machines instead of free weights. Machines have pre-defined movement, which separates the muscles better than the free weights. This is a key factor. You need to workout muscles in smaller groups. If you have been through a therapy session, you already know that these are done mostly using machines.

After a break from your bench press workouts, the goal is to make sure you are strengthening every muscle needed to perform a bench press. So rather then going back to your bench press routine, start slower. Use barbell exercises as much as you can. This way, you make sure that the muscles in the uninjured side do not do the work for the other side. This is important in order to develop both sides equally.

Of course, you need to pay a lot of attention to your shoulder exercises too. Again, use barbells if you can and work on all three deltoids parts of your shoulders.

One important thing you need to keep in mind – if your shoulder starts hurting, stop immediately. This is not a ‘no pain no gain’ thing. It is your body telling you, that there is still something wrong with your shoulder capacity.

Of course, better than dealing with the shoulder injury is to prevent it. The most important prevention technique is a proper warm up. Don’t just do 1-2 bench presses with lighter weight. You need to warm up each muscle group that participates in bench press. And that definitely includes shoulders too.

Another very common thing that leads to bench press shoulder injury is excess bench weight. You need to know yourself well. Of course, trying a new max always require going into uncharted territory, but if you so-so do 1 rep with 225 lbs, chances are, that increase to 250 lbs is just too much.

And lastly – always use a spotter. When you see the weight going down and not be able to lift it, the pressure on your muscles and joints is just too great. You instinctively press as hard as you possibly can, even if the effort is futile. In scenario like this, something has to give.

Workout hard, but safe, warm up well and listen to your body rather than your ego, and you will enjoy a long bench press career.

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Source by Paul V. Strong