What Causes Shoulder Pain From Bench Pressing & How To Treat It

shoulder pain bench press treatment

Bench pressing is an unparalleled exercise, revered for sculpting a robust chest and shoulders, fostering both muscle growth and strength. However, this power-packed maneuver demands precision; a slight misstep can lead to the unwelcome companion of many weightlifters – shoulder pain. Let’s find out in this article as we discuss shoulder pain from bench press treatment options, as well as how it occurs.

What Causes Bench Press Shoulder Pain?

The discomfort that accompanies shoulder pain during bench pressing can be attributed to various factors, each requiring a nuanced understanding for effective treatment.

Poor Form

Shoulder pain often finds its roots in improper bench press technique. A misaligned grip, where hands are not evenly placed, can create torque on the shoulder joints. Excessive arching of the back and uneven distribution of weight further strain the delicate shoulder muscles and joints, leading to discomfort.

Overuse and Overtraining

The pursuit of pushing one’s limits in the gym, while admirable, can backfire when adequate recovery is neglected. Overuse injuries from relentless bench pressing without proper rest can manifest as shoulder pain. Finding the optimal equilibrium between challenging the muscles and providing ample time for recuperation is essential.

Muscle Imbalances

A prevalent mistake in weightlifting involves giving preference to specific muscle groups while neglecting others. Top of Form

Chest dominance, at the expense of neglecting shoulders and back, creates muscle imbalances. Overdeveloped chest muscles can pull the shoulder joint out of alignment, contributing to pain during bench pressing.


At the bottom phase of a bench press, the shoulder is susceptible to impingement, a condition where tendons or bursa get pinched between the bones. This pinching can lead to inflammation and discomfort, making each repetition a painful ordeal.

How Do You Treat an Injured Shoulder from Bench Press?

Addressing a shoulder injury from a bench press necessitates a comprehensive and thoughtful rehabilitation approach.

Rest and Recovery

The initial response to shoulder pain should involve a temporary halt to bench pressing. Allowing the shoulder to rest is paramount. Ice application and anti-inflammatory medications can complement the recovery process by reducing swelling.

Physical Therapy

Enlisting the guidance of a physical therapist is invaluable. Tailored exercises to strengthen the rotator cuff and surrounding muscles form the crux of rehabilitation. These workouts not only contribute to the healing process but also act as a preventive measure against future occurrences.

Corrective Exercises

Introducing corrective exercises into the routine is pivotal. Exercises that focus on scapular retraction and shoulder stabilization rectify imbalances and enhance overall shoulder mechanics, promoting a pain-free bench press experience.

Gradual Return to Bench Press

As the pain subsides, a gradual return to bench pressing is advisable. Starting with lighter weights and emphasizing impeccable form not only prevents relapses but also reinforces proper shoulder mechanics.

When Should to See A Doctor for Shoulder Pain?

While many instances of shoulder pain from bench pressing can be addressed through rest, rehabilitation, and modification of exercise routines, there are situations where seeking professional medical advice becomes imperative. Identifying the appropriate moments to seek medical advice guarantees prompt intervention and helps avert potential complications. Here are situations that necessitate consulting a healthcare professional:

Persistent or Intense Pain

If shoulder pain persists despite adequate rest, modification of exercises, and home remedies, it’s crucial to consult a doctor. Persistent and intense discomfort could signify an underlying problem, necessitating a medical assessment.

Limited Range of Motion

A noticeable restriction in the shoulder’s range of motion, especially if it hinders daily activities, should prompt a visit to a healthcare provider. Struggling to lift the arm, reach overhead, or complete everyday tasks could indicate an underlying issue

Accompanying Symptoms

If shoulder pain is accompanied by symptoms such as swelling, redness, or warmth around the joint, it could indicate inflammation or an infection. Seeking medical attention is vital to diagnose and address the root cause.

Numbness or Tingling

Feelings of numbness or tingling spreading down the arm or into the fingers may suggest nerve involvement.Top of Form A doctor’s evaluation is essential to determine the extent of nerve impingement or compression.

Traumatic Injury

In cases where shoulder pain results from a specific traumatic incident, such as a fall or impact, seeking medical attention is crucial. Traumatic injuries may involve fractures, dislocations, or soft tissue damage that requires professional assessment and care.

Worsening Symptoms

If the symptoms worsen over time or fail to improve with conservative measures, it’s advisable to consult a doctor. Delayed or inadequate treatment may contribute to chronic issues and prolonged discomfort.

Fever and Chills

The presence of systemic symptoms such as fever and chills alongside shoulder pain may signal an infectious or inflammatory process. It is crucial to seek medical advice to address the root cause of the condition.

History of Shoulder Conditions

Individuals with a history of shoulder conditions, such as previous surgeries, instability, or recurrent injuries, should be vigilant about any new onset of pain. Consulting a doctor ensures a comprehensive evaluation, considering the individual’s medical history.

Can You Still Do Bench Press When Your Shoulder Hurts?

The decision to continue bench pressing with shoulder pain is multifaceted and requires a thoughtful approach. During the acute phase, reducing the total load and adjusting the form are prudent measures. Using a narrower grip or altering the bar path can alleviate stress on the injured shoulder. Introducing variations in tempo and incorporating pauses during the bench press can mitigate strain, allowing for a therapeutic dose of the exercise without exacerbating the existing shoulder injury.

Additionally, temporarily substituting the bench press with shoulder-friendly exercises, such as dumbbell presses or machine presses, provides an avenue to maintain training momentum while allowing the injured shoulder to heal. This strategic modification allows individuals to navigate through their workout routines with adaptability, ensuring continued progress without compromising the recovery process.

What Can You Do to Prevent Bench Press Shoulder Injury?

Prevention is the cornerstone of long-term weightlifting success, and incorporating these measures can safeguard shoulders from bench press injuries.

Perfect Your Form

Mastery of proper bench press form is crucial. Emphasis on a balanced grip, controlled descent, and maintaining a stable shoulder position throughout the movement reduces the risk of strain and injury.

Balanced Training Program

A well-rounded training routine that addresses all major muscle groups is key. Balancing chest workouts with dedicated shoulder and back exercises prevents muscle imbalances, fostering overall shoulder health.

Warm-Up Adequately

A thorough warm-up is a prelude to successful bench pressing. Dynamic stretches, shoulder rotations, and light sets prepare the shoulders for the demands of the exercise, reducing the likelihood of injury.

Listen to Your Body

Tuning in to signals from the body is paramount. Persistent discomfort or pain should serve as a cue to reassess the training routine and, if necessary, seek professional advice. Disregarding these indications may result in prolonged problems.

It’s Important To Treat Shoulder Injury First

In the world of weightlifting, the saying “no pain, no gain” can be deceptive.Ignoring shoulder pain from bench pressing not only compromises your immediate training but also jeopardizes long-term shoulder health. Prioritizing the treatment of shoulder injuries is the linchpin of a resilient weightlifting journey. Embrace rest, seek professional guidance, and gradually reintegrate bench pressing with a newfound commitment to impeccable form. Remember, a pain-free bench press is not just a goal; it’s a non-negotiable prerequisite for sustainable gains and enduring strength.


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