Injuries - Bench Press and your shoulders. Updated.

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Injuries - Bench Press and your shoulders. Updated.

Post by Chris_A » Thu May 01, 2008 8:20 pm

Well crap…….I'm bit put off by heavy weights right now. Ever get too energetic for your own good?

I guess I wasn't warmed up enough tonight, but on the 2nd push of my BB Bench my anterior delt felt tight at the insertion. I tried to go slow on the eccentric and keep pushing, but come the 4th press, it was on fire (in a bad way) and felt as if it would pop at any second. I racked it and then dropped the weight by 20 lbs and tried again but no go. I then tried 3/4 weight on flyes and it was pointless. I've pulled the Anterior Deltoid of my left arm......dammit!

I know I should just leave the weights alone for a week or so (I'm due for a few days off anyway)……but I didn’t even get half my Push day in tonight, and tomorrow is Pull Day with Leg Day on Saturday.

Anyone else work through a “push” type muscle sprain/pull and continue to train the antagonistic muscles (ie Pull in this case) or unrelated muscles (Legs). Yeah, I know it's probably not a good idea....but......but......

I can't remember the last time I had a pulled muscle.......ARGH! This bites!
Last edited by Chris_A on Thu Jun 05, 2008 7:44 pm, edited 2 times in total.


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Post by pdellorto » Thu May 01, 2008 9:02 pm

Can you do unilateral work for the other side without bothering it?

Side presses, one-arm snatches, DB cleans, DB swings maybe...? You can always do one-arm DB rows, one of my favorite exercises. And one of my friends got a neck injury and couldn't use his left arm, so he did one-arm pushups against a wall with his good arm, adding more and more of an incline each time to give it more resistance.

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Re: Injuries

Post by KPj » Fri May 02, 2008 4:30 am

Chris_A wrote: Anyone else work through a “push” type muscle sprain/pull and continue to train the antagonistic muscles (ie Pull in this case) or unrelated muscles (Legs). Yeah, I know it's probably not a good idea....but......but......
In that case, it'll probably be a good thing. Can honestly say i've never met anyone who lifts and actually trains their back enough when compared to chest and shoulders... So I say - do whatever you can get away with as long as it's pain free.

Legs aren't really unrelated. You'll probably find back squats hurt but DL variations are likely to be fine... But it depends on the injury.

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Post by Chris_A » Fri May 02, 2008 8:51 pm

I couldn't reist the call of the iron and worked back today. Surprisingly, the pain in my shoulder is nearly gone. Must have been a sprain instead of a pull. I worked back as hard as usual, and even added weight on the Bentover Row.

Sttill, I think I'm going to modify Push day a bit. I'll start with triceps first to fatigue them before super-setting with the Benchpress, while also dropping BP weight by 40% for a few weeks and up the reps to 15-18. Two weeks of that should allow the shoulder to heal while also giving me some extra tri work. I'll also go lighter on the BB raises.....or maybe leave them out for a little while.

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Post by TimD » Sat May 03, 2008 6:34 am

Sounds interesting Chris. Might I suggest something though. I've had some shoulder injuries on and off over the years, and i've found that for the BP, if I sub in semi supinated DB benches (palms facing) I have no pain whatsoever. Just seems, for me anyway, to be a more natural movement. Surprisingly a lot of prep cycles in the Javorek programs I dabble with use a lot of that type of pre0exhaustion, and then reverse the order in the power stages.
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Post by Chris_A » Sun May 04, 2008 8:26 pm

Supinated Benchpress????? Interesting! I might have to try that. What a new angle of hitting the muscles. Thanks Tim!

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Post by TimD » Sun May 04, 2008 9:06 pm

Before you come after me with a cleaver or shotgun, that's SEMI supinated, Chris. Palms facing.
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Post by Chris_A » Thu Jun 05, 2008 7:49 pm

Well, it’s been over a month, and the shoulder is pretty much back to normal, although I’m careful with it. I had to switch to Decline Bench Presses at first to avoid aggravating my shoulder. After two weeks of that I tried Flat Bench again and the shoulder started hurting, so I went back to Decline Bench.

Even though there is some controversy about what part of the Pecs the Decline hits, I could tell my lower Pecs were progressing faster than mid and upper fibers. It was 3 weeks in and I was worried that, if I can’t do Flat Bench, then perhaps I could alternate between Decline and Incline bench for a more balanced chest workout.

Then I got serious with myself and took a hard look at my flat bench and what was different in the Decline and Incline positions. As much as I hated to admit it, it was the elbow position.

For years I’ve been doing the Flat Bench with the bodybuilding position of elbows flared out so that the upper arm is perpendicular to the chest. I’ve read a lot that this position is bad for the shoulders, but I didn’t want to believe it.

I got on the bench with a light weight on the bar and tried the Decline position and watched my elbows. Sure enough, they were in at a 45 degree angle rather than flared out to 90. So I adjusted the bench to Flat and tried again. Immediately my arms flared out to 90. I tried consciously to force my arms in to 45 but couldn’t. I was getting frustrated.

Then it hit me. On Decline, the bar comes down to my lower Pecs and not the middle of my pecs. So I tried lowering the bar the way Powerlifters do so that it came to my lower pecs and presto, my arms drifted in to 45 degrees! I loaded the bar with a heavy weight and tried it again. Low and behold, benching to my lower pecs didn’t hurt my shoulders.

So, as much as I hated to admit it, Powerlifters are right about how to bench!

The bodybuilding way of flaring the elbows out can put more stress on your pecs, but it puts a lot more stress on your shoulders as well. If you hurt your shoulders, then you can’t bench at all which means NO stress on your pecs. So, I’m now committed to lowering the bar to the lower pecs and keeping the elbows in at 45 degrees. It feels better, it’s safer, and I can keep on benching.

I was doing this.

http://www.exrx.net/WeightExercises/Pec ... Press.html

Now I do this.

http://www.exrx.net/WeightExercises/Pec ... rLift.html

If you have shoulder pain in the bench, check your elbow position and where you’re lowering the bar to on your chest. I didn’t have pain in my shoulders for years…..but it eventually caught up with me. If you look in the magazines and videos, Pro Bodybuilders are benching with elbows out. Maybe they’re gifted and will never have shoulder problems. Or maybe their shoulders are getting ready to give. It’s something to think about if you’re in the iron game for the long run. Elbows out might not hurt right now, but it might catch up with you one day.

Oh, and don’t use a Monkey Grip either. I was looking at Flex today and a pro was benching 405 with a Monkey Grip (aka False Grip or Thumbless Grip). It’s just not a good idea.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=cSJCDcAKShA

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Post by KPj » Fri Jun 06, 2008 3:52 am

That's good to hear. Good post too. I thought I would share some of my own experience...

First, as a kind of compensation, you could work on a tight arch and getting some leg drive in there so you can use more weight - might make up for the pecs being activated less.

When I started training, it was purely BB focuses, not with aspirations to compete, just to get bigger, 'look good nekid' etc. I started training with my older brother (in law), who also has the same goals. He had been training for nearly 15 years, had never been injured, although benched with arms flared and gave no thought to balance or anything in his training.

Anyway, I was under my brothers wing, he wrote my programs and trained with me as much as he could. I was always very strict with form, so never done anything foolish like that...

After 18 months, i was out the game with beat up shoulders. The left shoulder was the one that was 'injured' but the right was beat up as well, evident in the dysfunction, although it was symptomless. This really pi$$ed me off. Why is my brother still training pain free doing the same stuff I was doing, and even to this day he's fine and i'm the one left with problems I need to 'keep at bay' and be weary off for the rest of my training career?

Eric Cressey talks/writes about a 'threshold' and this is really explained things for me. My 'threshold' is just a lot lower than my brothers, who clearly has still to meet his. Apparently some people, despite dysfunction will never reach threshold. I can tell just watching my brother walk that there is plenty of dysfunction there. Whether he will ever meet his threshold I guess is purely down to genetics, lifestyle and training. I may sound a little bitter towards him, but i'm not, I hope he doesn't reach threshold. He was the guy that got me doing this properly, and to stick to it, and train hard, so i'm always grateful.

I think that same logic explains why some people just seem to get injured very easily where as others seemingly get away with everything.

Also, in terms of competitive body builders, being the genetic freaks that they are, they will most likely have Type 1 Acromions too, which can handle a lot more abuse than type 2 and especially type 3...

KPj

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Post by robertscott » Fri Jun 06, 2008 7:38 am

ah-ha! Now this is advice I can use, referring back to my shoulder pain post (i still don't know how to post links...) of a few days ago i think switching to the powerlifter style after my shoulder's stopped hurting could be the way forward.

it's a bit frustrating in that i want to try it NOW, but I'll be sensible and wait til the pain goes away.

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Post by Chris_A » Fri Jun 06, 2008 10:30 am

Great post KPj. The idea of thresholds makes perfect sense! What did you do to compensate for your shoulders?

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Post by Chris_A » Fri Jun 06, 2008 10:35 am

robertscott wrote:ah-ha! Now this is advice I can use, referring back to my shoulder pain post (i still don't know how to post links...) of a few days ago i think switching to the powerlifter style after my shoulder's stopped hurting could be the way forward.

it's a bit frustrating in that i want to try it NOW, but I'll be sensible and wait til the pain goes away.
I know what you mean about wanting it NOW! :grin:

When you're ready, definitely give it a shot. The powerlifting style is much more shoulder friendly and can save you some heartache and injury in the long run. Also, always remember to squeeze your shoulder blades together and keep them squeezed together as you bench.

When you do get ready to bench again, start light, and do a bunch of warm-up sets where you pyramid the weight up and lower the reps as you approach your working weight. This helped me as my shoulder was healing. Not only does it warm everything up, but at the lighter weights you can easily take your time and watch your form.

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Post by KPj » Fri Jun 06, 2008 11:01 am

Chris_A wrote:Great post KPj. The idea of thresholds makes perfect sense! What did you do to compensate for your shoulders?
I'm not sure if your asking about the below statement in my last post, or asking how I fixed or worked round the shoulder problems. I'll assume it's what I said below,
KPj wrote:First, as a kind of compensation, you could work on a tight arch and getting some leg drive in there so you can use more weight - might make up for the pecs being activated less.
I fail to see any advantage in BB style benching over PL style. I should note that I hate comparing types of training i.e. BB v PL, but it's much easier to explain things...

Firstly, BB style, arms flared benching - The advantage is that there is more of a pec emphasis than PL style benching. However, in PL style benching you SHOULD use more weight.

The disadvantage of BB style is added shoulder stress and less weight. The disadvantage of PL style is less emphasis on the pecs.

We know that weight is a big factor (although obviously there are many factors) in muscle growth. With PL style you use more weight, and you save your shoulders...

With the compensation thing, I just meant that since you were changing to PL style benching with the elbows tucked, you could compensate for the loss of pec activation by setting up like a powerlifters and getting some leg drive in there in order to lift the most amount of weight possible... So the compensation was "yeah, my pecs aren't emphasised as much but i'm lifting more", If that makes sense.

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Post by Chris_A » Fri Jun 06, 2008 11:09 am

Actaully, I was wondering what you personally did about your shoulders. :grin:

I take it that you too switched to PL benching?

Since we're talking about PL benching, what is the deal with getting drive from your legs? I've read about it before, but never researched it to figure out how it works. I can't quite wrap my head around how pushing with your legs on the floor translates to getting the bar off your chest?

Another thing about PL benching is that it is said your Lats come into play. I had a hard time with that one until I read an article that showed that the Lats do get activated at the start of the press as you come out of the hole. The Lats don't do a lot of work, but it has been shown they do activate just at the start of the lift.

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Post by scs217 » Fri Jun 06, 2008 11:21 am

Mark Rippetoe goes over this on the crossfit website.
http://media.crossfit.com/cf-video/Cros ... chFeet.mov


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