Shoulder Pain During the Bench Press

In Bench Press by Michael Mash

Shoulder pain during the bench press can be tricky to manage, especially if it's been going on for a while. Here's some tips to help you finally get over it!

First: Optimize Shoulder Blade Position

Before making any other changes on the bench press, you should first make sure your shoulder blades are "retracted" or squeezed together...HARD throughout the entire lift.

Retracted shoulder blades give you a stable base from which to press and keep the shoulder joint safe. If they are moving excessively during the bench press, this could be a contributing factor to your pain 

Second: Alter Grip and Load

If you've downloaded the checklist above, and have determined that your form is optimized, but you still have shoulder pain during the bench press, it's time to alter grip and load. 

Try moving the grip in or out a tad. Sometimes it's just this small modification in hand position that can help offload sensitized tissues and allow you to bench press without pain. With this, it's probably a good idea to temporarily decrease the load as well. This will allow to continue practicing the motion without further causing pain

Finally: Alter the Exercise

If you still have shoulder pain during the bench press after optimizing form and altering the grip and load, you may need to substitute the exercise for a bench variation that limits the ROM such as the floor press or pin press. Check out the video below to see examples of these. 

Bench pressing doesn't have to be painful. Use these tips above to start bench pressing pain free!