How To Reduce Shoulder Pain During Bench Press and Incline Press

Jamie Bisset talks about how the Swiss Bar and the VALKYRIE Monolift Attachments can help to eliminate Shoulder Pain when performing the Incline Press and Flat Bench Press.

Jamie here with Aussie Strength and today we are going to talk about how you can either eliminate or, at least reduce, shoulder pain when performing either the incline press or the flat barbell bench press.

This is a super common issue and a really frustrating issue especially if you're someone that has the goal or the objective of trying to build their chest and all their triceps.

We know that these two movements are arguably the best movements that we can be doing in order to accomplish that. If we have limitations in the shoulders that don't allow us to perform these exercises to the best of our ability, or if we're experiencing extreme discomfort when performing these exercises.

We are not actually able to target even the chest or the triceps properly. We just feel a whole lot of strain and discomfort in the shoulders. Then, you are really going to limit yourself.

You're not going to get the best results out of your upper body training.

If this sounds like you, then this video is absolutely going to be for you.

We're going to hopefully help you give you some strategies to eliminate shoulder pain so that you can get back to performing these two movements and feeling good doing it so that you can get the best results out of your upper body pressing movements. Whether that be the incline or the flat bench press.

So there are going to be two things that I want to cover. You probably can work it out judging by this video. But the first thing that I want to talk about is the importance of having one of these bars. This is called the Swiss bar and is a specialty bar, so it might look a little bit different if you haven't seen it before but it is a bar that is worth getting especially if you're someone that deals frequently with shoulder pain or shoulder issues. Okay?

The reason why this bar is going to be advantageous as opposed to a regular bar is that if I was going to use a regular barbell, I will be gripping the bar in a pronated grip.

What tends to happen when people perform these movements are they'll bring the bar down aiming to touch their chest which is obviously a good thing because we know that that it is going to increase the range of motion and therefore increase the recruitment of the chest or the pecs.

But the problem with that in this position is that many people do not actually have the mobility in their shoulder or they might really have tight pec muscles that do not actually enable them to bring that bar all the way down through their chest safely. Now let me demonstrate.

You see if I bring my arm right out here like this. It would be stretching my pecs. I'll get it to about here. Now I'm quite mobile through my shoulders. Many people will not be able to do that.

Now I just want you to notice this. This is as far as I can get. But watch what happens when I internally rotate my shoulder like this, I can actually get a little bit further.

Well, imagine if I've got a barbell here. If I've brought the weight down like this and then that was all that my shoulder was going to allow me to do.

My pecs were too tight. I could not get the bar any lower unless I do this. Okay?

I internally rotated my shoulder, which you see all the time, super common. That, then, is going to allow me to get that extra range so that the bar can touch my chest.

The problem with loading yourself in that position is obviously it looks pretty funky but you can tell that it is going to put a huge amount of strain on the shoulder. In fact, that position is generally what causes impingement in the shoulder.

So, if someone is either really tight within the shoulder joint or is really tight within the chest and they can't get that arm back. Then they are going to inevitably dip their shoulders or internally rotate their shoulders to get the barbell down and touch their chest.

You might be wondering, "Well, how in the world is this bar going to be any different?"

Firstly, you can see that this bar can actually grip in a neutral grip. That is the clear obvious difference between this bar as opposed to the straight bar.

Now that is going to change the angle of the shoulder quite drastically. If you imagine I was gripping it straight by here, you can see that my shoulder is in a position of horizontal abduction.

Now, the moment that I grip in a neutral grip I'll be able to tuck my elbow much more freely allowing my shoulder to drop on just that little bit safer angle, not in a complete position of extension of flexion but also not in a position of complete abduction.

I will be able to safely kind of lock myself in between those movements which is not going to put as much strain on either my shoulder or my pec.

If I was going to lift my arm down and I stretch my pec this way you will notice that I can get much more range in comparison to if I was to bring it up my shoulder is going to rise forward. Okay?

So, the pec is going to have a great ability or a greater range of motion in that angle as opposed to that angle there.

So, it means that we're going to avoid that internal rotation that we just talked about when using the straight bar.

That's going to be a clear benefit of us gripping with a neutral grip and obviously using this barbell.

Now, while I'm talking about the grips you can see here that we have three different options. We've got a wide, a mid, and a narrow position.

This is going to depend upon two things. Firstly, our goal. If we had the goal of stimulating more of our chest, then, it would make sense to grip wider. If we had the goal of working more about triceps, much like we would a close grip bench press, then, we would grip closer. Now, if you are a broader person, obviously, you are also going to naturally gravitate to a wider grip. A narrower person is going to grip more towards the closer group.

So, we have different options depending on your goal and depending on your structure.

That is the first tip that I would give to you is if you are someone that is dealing with shoulder pain when performing these pressing movements.

The second tip that we are going to talk about is these funny looking attachments here. If you have never seen them, these are called the monolift attachments. You might have seen the monolift before but these are attachments that just simply spit into the Valkyrie half rack which you can see here.

The benefit of it is that it will enable me to just lift the bar straight up as opposed to pulling the barbell out.

Now I've got it set up in inclined position here, but I can also set it up if I was performing a flat bench press provided that we had a bench that was (06:40):

We could also use them for squats which is a major benefit given that we don't have to walk the weights out. We can just stand up and squat straight back down.

But sticking back to our topic of conversation in this video which is the shoulders, the reason why this is really beneficial is that we don't have to pick a really heavy weight out from that angle there.

That's quite a compromised angle.

You have almost have pulled the weight out this way, okay? It's going to put my shoulder under quite a bit of strain. Whereas when using this attachment, I can just push the weight up. You will notice that when I demonstrate in a moment that these things will fly backward.

Therefore, getting them out of the way so I can perform the movement freely. That is another huge benefit of the monolith attachments and another really great way that hopefully can start to reduce some of that pain or discomfort when performing this movement.

I will say one other thing, this bar being on the neutral grip, it is definitely much more awkward pulling the weight out like that. Whenever I'm on this movement I'll always use the monolith attachments, it is just much more comfortable with this specific barbell.

So let me give you a demonstration so that you can see what it looks like in real time.

Now our grip in the wider group position. What I'm going to do is pull the bar open. You will notice that when I push it up the monolith attachments will fly back so that they are not in my way.

Then I can perform the movement freely without banging into them. Then I'll be able to perform the press. Extending my shoulder by an inch, keeping my chest nice and upright, which is going to help avoid that position that we just talked about and pushing up from there.

At this position I can still do it. I can still drop my shoulders, but you can imagine that that's going to be far less in comparison to what it would be if I had a straight bar. I could really dip if I had a straight bar.

Whereas about here that's just about as far as I can get before the bar would actually tip. It's going to be much more difficult to do that. Therefore it's going to be much more difficult to screw up your shoulders when using this bar.

I really hope that gives you something to think about and that you give these things a try if you are someone that is dealing with either shoulder or pec issues when performing either the incline or the flat bench press.

Many times I met people that just sort of just completely disregard these movements because they're causing them discomfort.

You know, it is not that the movement is wrong. You just have to make the movement right for you. You got to tweak it and find a way to work around it.

Now, obviously, that comes with some level of common sense. If you got someone that is, you know, having extreme issues in their shoulders maybe they've got pretty serious orthopedic issues, then, clearly maybe no matter what bar we're using, no matter how we set this up, you might just not be the type of person that can bench press until you go through the appropriate rehabilitation.

But once you did and begin to ease back into things or if you're someone that is just experiencing a bit of discomfort when performing these movements, then, it's definitely something to consider. I think it will help a lot and it will enable you to get back to getting the most out of your workouts. Really focus on building those muscles, the chest, and the triceps.

Most importantly doing it free of pain which is a major, major relief, and something just something really good to get to especially if you've been dealing with shoulder pain for ages.

I hope that helps. Guys, any questions or feedback, please drop it in the comments below. If you would like to know anything specific, please drop another comment. We'd love to get your feedback. Otherwise hope this helps, hope you learned something and will I catch you guys in the next video.