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Not touching chest on bench

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    Not touching chest on bench


    So I went to the physical therapist today for a shoulder problem and talked to him about training. He said that on bench/incline bench you shouldn't touch your chest, that you should stop the bar at about 2 inches above your chest. He says that it damages your shoulders and weakens them when you bring it all the way to your chest. He said that while he was working at the university of Florida the lineman were having problems with their shoulders from touching their chest, so now in their training they don't let them touch their chests.

    According to everything I've read on the internet he's wrong, but he is also the president of the board of physical therapists and has a lot of experience. Anybody have any insight on this?

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    It's true. Puts a lot of stress on the shoulders when you break a certain point. Whenever I have athletes with shoulder problems I have them towel bench.
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    Bull****. Your form is incorrect if your are hurting your shoulders touching your chest.

    http://m.youtube.com/watch?v=vUcjOIZc80c

    With that said, there are some with shoulder issues that absolutely must adjust their form to accommodate the injury/issues. But if your shoulders are healthy, make you should be able to bench with full range of motion and keep things healthy.
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    He said that touching your chest on bench causes shoulder problems, rather than just causing problems for people with shoulder problems.
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    The problem is that most people don't know to bench properly and then exacerbate the issue by having a horrible imbalance of internal and external rotator work. If you're coming off a shoulder injury, then it's a good idea to start by limiting the ROM. However, doing so permanently can actually lead to tight pecs and further cause shoulder problems.

    The shoulder is such a complex joint that you can't use a broad brush and say that doing just one thing will keep the joint healthy. It requires constant upkeep.
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    This I'd also the voice of experience yes talking. Bench used to kill my shoulders. So much so that I avoided the exercise altogether for about a year. After it started feeling better, I came to my senses and realized that I must be doing something wrong especially with all the power lifters older than me benching considerably more than me. Sure enough, I had some things I was doing very wrong that were causing me issues. Since correcting, bench had never been an issue and I've put up higher numbers than ever before.
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    Dead stop bench like powerlifters
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    It is most likely going to make a reasonable difference if you have longer arms or possibly a longer humerus than a stockier shorter armed counter part. Compare Coan to Gillingham. A thick barrel chest helps some too, since it shortens the ROM. So IMO one size does not necessarily fit all.
    Tall guys have their elbows going quite a bit below the arm pits and you can impinge the cuff muscles that way, where shorter guys bottom out and the humerus is almost even with the ribs.
    It can be true with dips too.
    Also, loads/total weight is most likely going to factor in as well, since most people can flat BP from the start, more than they can press OH or other ways.

    If one is going to BP heavy, I think it is wise to use a steady diet of *L-flye and or cuff work "after" the w/o's, to aid those little cuff muscles at least some.
    * See also the 7 Minute Rotator Cuff Solution by: Horrigan
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    Not touching chest on bench


    Complete bull****. As usual the doctors don't know anything about sportsinjuries.

    Get your shoulderblades back and down, make sure all your four rotator cuff muscles are strong, and not too tight. Also biceps, triceps, lats, teres major and coraco brachialis should not be excessively tight.

    Technique is also important, but if the rotator cuff is strong. And nothing is too tight, even poor technique won't hurt you.

    Scapular issues are also common, but since the bench stabilizes the scapula for you, I won't write about that.
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    Quote Originally Posted by kjetil1234 View Post
    Complete bull****. As usual the doctors don't know anything about sportsinjuries. Get your shoulderblades back and down, make sure all your four rotator cuff muscles are strong, and not too tight. Also biceps, triceps, lats, teres major and coraco brachialis should not be excessively tight. Technique is also important, but if the rotator cuff is strong. And nothing is too tight, even poor technique won't hurt you. Scapular issues are also common, but since the bench stabilizes the scapula for you, I won't write about that.
    I agree here! Also not touching your chest, you are likely to develop tight pecs. When you use full ROM you stretch your pecs at the bottom of the movement!
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    Quote Originally Posted by magnetrude View Post
    So I went to the physical therapist today for a shoulder problem and talked to him about training. He said that on bench/incline bench you shouldn't touch your chest, that you should stop the bar at about 2 inches above your chest. He says that it damages your shoulders and weakens them when you bring it all the way to your chest. He said that while he was working at the university of Florida the lineman were having problems with their shoulders from touching their chest, so now in their training they don't let them touch their chests.

    According to everything I've read on the internet he's wrong, but he is also the president of the board of physical therapists and has a lot of experience. Anybody have any insight on this?

    whom is he?
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    I don't want to say a specific name, but he is the chairman of the board of physical therapists of washington state.
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    Quote Originally Posted by magnetrude View Post
    I don't want to say a specific name, but he is the chairman of the board of physical therapists of washington state.
    Lol and this is why you can't get any help in this world any more. Complete utter BS
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    Depends on ur particular issue, obviously its ok to go throughout the entire rom if healthy. In this case u are not, and in certain cases of instability I could see floor pressing as a good alternative
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    Quote Originally Posted by kjscatch View Post
    It's true. Puts a lot of stress on the shoulders when you break a certain point. Whenever I have athletes with shoulder problems I have them towel bench.
    I stand corrected. My bad. What I meant was If they have shoulder problems, benching is obviously not going to help them and they should avoid it until they get those smaller muscles stronger/healed. Basically, if it hurts, don't do it. I personally have never had trouble with my shoulder benching. Had a Slap tear repair in December of 2012 from throwing a dam dodgeball and started benching heavier in April. Just use the basic rotator cuff exercises. Shoulder blades back have really seemed to help too.
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    And lineman have lots of issues with posterior shoulder instability which is why benching can cause problems
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    Quote Originally Posted by braskibra View Post
    And lineman have lots of issues with posterior shoulder instability which is why benching can cause problems
    So if I train my posterior shoulder stability I should be good?
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    Quote Originally Posted by magnetrude View Post
    So if I train my posterior shoulder stability I should be good?
    We cant advise anything for you if we dont know your exact problem!
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    As far as my shoulder problem goes, I think I'm going to continue working with my physical therapist. But once I begin training again, how can I go about strengthening my posterior shoulder stability?
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    If this is an issue, he should be able to give u a better idea
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    Quote Originally Posted by magnetrude View Post
    As far as my shoulder problem goes, I think I'm going to continue working with my physical therapist. But once I begin training again, how can I go about strengthening my posterior shoulder stability?
    Did you have an MRI? If so, is something torn/inflamed? if so, what?

    Generally, for the bench press, you'll just need the rotator cuff firing correctly and strong enough, aswell as adequate shoulder mobility. Scapular function isn't so important because the bench will functionally stabilize it for you.

    However in any press where your scapula is free to move (pulling too, though not as problematic), it needs to articulate optimally to keep the humerus from impingement.
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    Quote Originally Posted by kjetil1234 View Post
    Did you have an MRI? If so, is something torn/inflamed? if so, what? Generally, for the bench press, you'll just need the rotator cuff firing correctly and strong enough, aswell as adequate shoulder mobility. Scapular function isn't so important because the bench will functionally stabilize it for you. However in any press where your scapula is free to move (pulling too, though not as problematic), it needs to articulate optimally to keep the humerus from impingement.
    My shoulder problem is pretty mild. My shoulder is rotated forward, which is causing problems with the bicep tendon and other areas of my shoulder. My lower trap and whatnot is weak which is causing it. It's pretty mild so I'm just more wondering how I can keep my shoulders healthy once I begin training again.
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    Quote Originally Posted by magnetrude View Post
    My shoulder problem is pretty mild. My shoulder is rotated forward, which is causing problems with the bicep tendon and other areas of my shoulder. My lower trap and whatnot is weak which is causing it. It's pretty mild so I'm just more wondering how I can keep my shoulders healthy once I begin training again.
    Usually due to heavy chest breathing, as it upregulates the pec minor heavily to assist with breathing. You should practise breathing into your low chest/stomach rather than shallow breathing.

    Symptom management will be stretching pec minor and scalenius, strengthening low trapz and serratus anterior. You can stretch your biceps and triceps too, won't hurt. Won't hurt to give some work to the rotator cuff either. Internal/external rotations and abductions (lateral raises)

    Hope this helps mate.
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    Quote Originally Posted by kjetil1234 View Post
    Usually due to heavy chest breathing, as it upregulates the pec minor heavily to assist with breathing. You should practise breathing into your low chest/stomach rather than shallow breathing.

    Symptom management will be stretching pec minor and scalenius, strengthening low trapz and serratus anterior. You can stretch your biceps and triceps too, won't hurt. Won't hurt to give some work to the rotator cuff either. Internal/external rotations and abductions (lateral raises)

    Hope this helps mate.
    Thanks for the tips
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    I always touch my chest when I bench and haven't had any problems with my shoulders. One issue could be if you are bringing the bar down too close to your neck so that your shoulders are at a very extreme angle.
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    Not touching chest on bench


    Quote Originally Posted by RAND0M1ZER View Post
    I always touch my chest when I bench and haven't had any problems with my shoulders. One issue could be if you are bringing the bar down too close to your neck so that your shoulders are at a very extreme angle.
    100% agree. Need a great humeral external rotation available for this big elbow flare. And that amount of ER is rarely (never?) seen in healthy shoulders, as it may indicate subscapularis inhibition (rotator cuff dysfunction).

    Restriction of ROM could be somewhat beneficial if the RC is not holding the humeral head properly in the socket, but I'd rather recommend fixing the cause (humeral glide due to instability) rather than recommending the client to so half reps and temporarily elude the symptoms.
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    I only dont touch my chest on the incline, I find it more comfortable. But flat bench i always pause for a very brief second... I have never had any problem by doing this.
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    Quote Originally Posted by grinnell27 View Post
    I only dont touch my chest on the incline, I find it more comfortable. But flat bench i always pause for a very brief second... I have never had any problem by doing this.

    Widen your grip a little on incline and to the chest will be very comfortable as well. Incline is the one chest press where most guys actually go too narrow. Anatomically, it favors a wider grip.
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    Thanks my man... I'll give that a go. And your right my grip is probably a bit narrow as I'm probably copying the same as flat.
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    If your chest and shoulders slouch then work your rear delt and upper back to help pull it back. As far as touching your chest I'm 6'3 with gorilla arms and I don't have shoulder issues. Form is key... Keeping your elbows in and don't allow them to flare out will save your shoulders... Lessen the weight, work on form and go from there.
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    Not only is it tough on your shoulders, going too low will take some of the tension off of the pecs as your shoulders rotate....Try this: Stand sideways to a mirror and move your arm back as if doing the negative part of a bench press. You will see how the shoulder will begin to rotate after about parallel. Now, everyone's body mechanics are slightly different, so there is variation...but I'm a big proponent of not ever doing traditional flat bench...unless you are a powerlifter of course
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