Recurring Shoulder Issue Specifically To Wide Grip Bench

I have a strange shoulder problem that means I can't bench. I can close grip fine, but my shoulder literally locks out benching the bar using a wide grip.


 


I have screwed my shoulder up from sleeping on my side a few times, and I have to make sure I always sleep on my back. It usually comes right, but this time it seems to be staying aggravated. I can close grip bench, and overhead press with no shoulder upset. Even incline dumbell press is nearly 100%. But I can't flat bench press at all. Historically when I used to be able to bench, this shoulder would internally rotate and raise forward when failing.


 


It has my trainer and myself a bit stumped.


 


Since I have been seeing my trainer, he has identified some bad benching technique that may have lead to some sort of imbalance. I used to push the bar down and away from my face, which would be moving a lot of the load away from the shoulder structure.


 


I am active on mobility work at home, and watch a lot of Kelly Starret's stuff, and find that digging into my upper back area with a lacrosse ball helps a lot.


 


I found this article quite interesting in regards to balancing (section #5): https://www.t-nation.com/training/shoulder-savers-1


I have never done any scapular depression or humeral external rotation movements.


 

I avoid sitting down, and try to keep my shoulders in a healthy position when using a computer.

 

Any ideas on what may be causing this?

 

I haven't been to see a physiotherapist about this yet, but a massage therapist did say that my anterior deltoid felt like it had been pulled. Most rotator cuff problems wouldn't allow any overhead movement, but it literally feels fantastic doing dumbell and barbell shoulder press, or pull ups / pull downs.

 

 

Freelance Wordpress developer and wannabe powerlifter
carlaiau.com

 
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Comments

  • edited August 2015

    I'm only close gripping at the moment, and pretty much where the bump at the bottom of my sternum is, or slightly higher.


    Chances are I have been benching far to high for the last 10 years. Bodybuilder style.


    I am currently training with a strength coach, who quickly identifies form slip ups, and this is one of my patterns I'm fixing.


     


    Another strange occurrence that may help identify my disfunction is:

    When I lie on the side of my bad shoulder, my good shoulder feels fine and stays in line with my torso voluntarily, if I lie on my good shoulder, my bad shoulder internally rotates and starts aching unless I actively try and hold it back. It's like the muscles that hold the scapula are weak as piss, and they give out and the whole shoulder flares out.


     


    I done some scap push ups this morning, which felt quite good. I may try some scapular depression exercises tomorrow too, like Strict straight bar lat pull down.


    I'm actively keeping my pex loose by stretching and lacrose balling, so that their is no forwards pull.


    Freelance Wordpress developer and wannabe powerlifter
    carlaiau.com

     
  • Two suggestions


     


    1. Have a HUGE pillow for sleeping on your side. One where the weight of your head is fully supported. Then have a really small pillow for back sleeping (maybe even a soft towel). The idea is to keep the spine straight the whole time. Run your finger over you neck when you sleep on the side to see if it is tilted........And yes I do change them at night, it is habit now. 


     


    2. I used to have problems with my elbow during bench. I bought Mark Bells sling shot. I only use it during warmups to remind me of the proper form. His suggested form is a roughly 45 degree angle on your elbows and secondly not bringing the weights all the way down. Essentially I am now stopping before the joints become engaged. It is muscle the whole way. I feel like it works the muscles more and is healthier. Here is the URL


     


    http://www.howmuchyabench.net/

  • I've figured it out.


     


    Severe upper back tightness, if I don't lacrosse roll at night, I wake up with sore shoulders in the morning. 


     


    If I do roll at night, it's fine, and I'm slowly increasing my grip width!


     


    The heavy bar digging into your upper back must glue some muscle down


    Freelance Wordpress developer and wannabe powerlifter
    carlaiau.com

     
  • RekaReka ✭✭✭

    I just started at a powerlifting coach, and the plan he made for me includes TRX Ys together with the bench presses, to balance the effect of benching on the shoulders.


    It doesn't get easier... It's you who gets better.

     

    Is your social worker in that horse?

     

    Success has a price, not a secret.

  • Shoulders are fixed.


     


    Recently I had moved from an iMac to Macbook for web development work. The decreased height of the laptop screen and continually looking down was similar to looking down and texting all day. My neck was taking all of the weight of my head, a hideous position really. I didn't think about it till a massage therapist was saying she could feel strain from the knots in my traps going up my neck.


     


    I have moved back to using iMac at a sit/standing desk with http://www.amazon.com/Mogo-Portable-Seat-Red-Cushion/dp/B00EQGBAIU/I probably spend 70% of the time on the Mogo, and the other 30% standing. I don't sit down at all


     


    Shoulders are sorted, and I no longer have to roll on a lacrose ball for like 30 minutes a day to undo damage from sitting. I had previously tried going straight to standing, but keeping good posture is hard and I would always overextend my lumbar. The Mogo is a great compromise



     


    Freelance Wordpress developer and wannabe powerlifter
    carlaiau.com

     
  • Glad to hear your better. I am a massage therapist as well and find that a lot of people have peck minor and subscapular issues. If you are bending down at the neck the back is holding you up but the front is becoming shortened. Keep the neck loose otherwise the bracialplexus can become impinged and stop function.


  • Glad to hear your better. I am a massage therapist as well and find that a lot of people have peck minor and subscapular issues. If you are bending down at the neck the back is holding you up but the front is becoming shortened. Keep the neck loose otherwise the bracialplexus can become impinged and stop function.




     


    I used to slow down at the bottom of the movement, and almost hesitate in the hole. I think it's a bad motor pattern that is ingrained from 'keep your muscle under tension' adolescent thinking. I have to consciously remember to allow the bar to rest for a slight moment and then press, rather then holding it just off my chest trying to feel for the depth. When I do this, it feels a lot better, less shoulder strain, and bar speed is much smoother/quicker. 


     


    I screwed my shoulders up again, my landlord was cutting down a tree, and it was tipping the wrong way over a house, so I was pulling on a rope for a long time to help bring it back the way it was supposed to fall. I wasn't pulling in a great position amd my arms went a numb/dull sensation afterwards for quite some time. My whole shoulder structure is tight as shit, I need to start hanging to loosen things up. 


     


    What specific mobility exercises would you recommend for loosening everything up?


    I have a foam roller, and a couple lacrosse balls that I can put into a sack for a double lacrosse ball.


     


    I did get a massage the day after this happened which helped a lot, but it still set me back a bit in bench training.

    Freelance Wordpress developer and wannabe powerlifter
    carlaiau.com

     
  • edited October 2015

    Perhaps you have a soft tissue injury.  I've got it from years of doing pressing movements.  Soft tissue injuries can be caused by repetitive motion (reps) or from an acute injury, which can lead to inflammation. For me the result is extreme tightness in my shoulders along with pain when doing some pressing movements.  I also have numbness that goes down both of my arms.


     


    I have scar tissue that is entrapping the nerves in my shoulder which causes the loss of mobility and weakness.  The solution I found that helped the most is ART (Active Release Techniques).  You can do a Google search on this to see what it's about.  The problem you may have is finding someone in your area that is certified to do it.

  • Heating the muscle up is the key. Once the muscle is heated you can manipulate with a foam roller or lacrosse ball. Try taking a Epsom salt bath. Nothing will do it like a good massage therapist. A.R.T is great but you definitly need to find someone who knows what they are doing. Massage Therapy just became a licensed practice a few years ago so the majority of "therapist" don't really know what they are doing. I do ART work (not advertising it just doing it) because I spent over 1000 hrs in school plus over 200 hrs hands on in clinic hours learning how the body works and I can not justify spending $1500 per body part getting certified in ART when it is pretty common sense when you understand the body. You pin the muscle and put it through the range of motion.
  • Would icing it after training be a short term solution to reduce inflammation?


    Or warming, then mobility work on rest days? Or both?


     


    I do a lot of warming up with bands on rotator cuffs and external rotation face pulls which have helped a lot.


    I've got my first powerlift meet in 2 weeks, and am benching 4x a week at the moment.


    Next week is the last week before full week deload, then comp.


     


    I think it'll be fine if I can get through the next couple weeks without snapping all my shit up. 

    Freelance Wordpress developer and wannabe powerlifter
    carlaiau.com

     


  • Would icing it after training be a short term solution to reduce inflammation?


    Or warming, then mobility work on rest days? Or both?


     


    I do a lot of warming up with bands on rotator cuffs and external rotation face pulls which have helped a lot.


    I've got my first powerlift meet in 2 weeks, and am benching 4x a week at the moment.


    Next week is the last week before full week deload, then comp.


     


    I think it'll be fine if I can get through the next couple weeks without snapping all my shit up. 




     Icing after is great for sure but only after mobility work. Working out is a stresser to the nervous system. To get stronger you need to recover and get into a relaxed state. It takes on average 48 hrs to fully recover so benching 4 times a week is definitely counter productive to the recovery aspect of growing. Allow your body to rebuild so it can handle the stress for the next workout.  Try to add mobility with warmth the day after a training session. 

  • Finishing off the Smolov Junior protocol. Have got pretty good gains since beginning it. 


    I will ice tomorrow post training, and do some mobility with warmth during the weekend.


     


    After the comp, my volume will go back to a normal (non snapping shoulder) amount.


    Thanks!

    Freelance Wordpress developer and wannabe powerlifter
    carlaiau.com

     
  • I have an ongoing issue with my scapula. I saw a Physiotherapist and a Chiropractor a few times. This was VERY helpful. I also bought a $40 shoulder/back support from http://posturemedic.ca/


     


    Overall it helps alot but I do have to do the simple exercises the Physiotherapist a few times a week. 


  • edited October 2015

    Do these exercises


     


    1)T's Y's and I's on a exercise ball.  Use tiny weights if you need to


     


    2)Scapular wall slides


     


    3)Serratus punch at 90-135 degrees (low weight.....) 


     


    Stop doing any over head pressing movements and see a physical therapist if possible.. Do the above exercises if you have no pain , they will help with shoulder stability.


     


    I would stop bench pressing and would only do cable presses.  You want your scaps to be able to move freely if you have shoulder pain.


  • I agree with Amino with the movements and to stop benching. From what I am getting though is your tight through the anterior body especially pec major, minor. If those muscles are tight which 4 days a week of benching will do your brachial plexus will be getting pinched. Do you ever get a tingling numbing feeling in your hands? If so get a lacrosse ball in the chest. Fix the cause of the issue not the symptom. Western practices focus on issue not cause. You feel an issue in the shoulder so look for the antagonist muscle to release.
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