So is flat bench good for anything besides injury?

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    So is flat bench good for anything besides injury?


    As far as bodybuilding goes - not powerlifting, of course!

    I trained a lot last winter and included flat bench in my chest routine. As I went heavier and heavier, my shoulder pain got worse and worse.

    After some time off this summer, I am back in the gym, but so far I have avoided the flat bench, and I have no shoulder pain! I am doing incline Smith press, decline barbell bench, pec deck flys, and dips with absolutely no pain.

    So I am wondering: for what reason should I add the flat bench back into my routine? Maybe I could go lighter and avoid injury?

    Which gets me back to my original question: is the flat bench good for anything besides injury?

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    I like it cause its easier to get out from under if pinned than say decline, and you can plant your feet and push so flat should be the heaviest of the 3 degrees. But I noticed doing decline bench and only sitting military presses is less painful and more beneficial than flat and incline bench, and other shoulder work.

    As far as shoulder pain goes, anyways.
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    Like most things, YMMV. Personally, I hate flat bench. If there were a better word than hate, I would use it. 7 pulls and 2 tears later, I finally figured that out and have successfully avoided it since. And voila, no more injuries.
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    I would prefer to see a free weight exercise vs. smith machine press, but overall you don't absolutely have to do flat benches. I think it would be OK to try and add them back in slowly (the key here is to start very light and work back slowly). I would also re-evaluate your flat bench technique. Poor technique will put undue stress on the shoulders. Do an internet search for "So you think you can bench" video series by Dave Tate. It will cover every aspect of bench technique to maximize strength and safety. If you do all this and get your technique near perfect and your shoulder pain comes back, then you may consider dumping flat bench permanently.
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    Quote Originally Posted by DGA3 View Post
    As far as bodybuilding goes - not powerlifting, of course!

    I trained a lot last winter and included flat bench in my chest routine. As I went heavier and heavier, my shoulder pain got worse and worse.

    After some time off this summer, I am back in the gym, but so far I have avoided the flat bench, and I have no shoulder pain! I am doing incline Smith press, decline barbell bench, pec deck flys, and dips with absolutely no pain.

    So I am wondering: for what reason should I add the flat bench back into my routine? Maybe I could go lighter and avoid injury?

    Which gets me back to my original question: is the flat bench good for anything besides injury?

    Double check your form. I used to feel tension on my shoulders until I realized my elbows were flared out to wide and brought the bar down too high on my chest. Now I only feel it in my chest and a little in my tris.

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    There's good pain and bad pain. If it's hurting you take it out. Replace it with Dumbell Presses. Flat bench press is probably the worst exercise for your shoulders.
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    Great answers, everyone. Just what I was looking for.

    Thank you so much!
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    Quote Originally Posted by SRS2000 View Post
    I would prefer to see a free weight exercise vs. smith machine press, but overall you don't absolutely have to do flat benches. I think it would be OK to try and add them back in slowly (the key here is to start very light and work back slowly). I would also re-evaluate your flat bench technique. Poor technique will put undue stress on the shoulders. Do an internet search for "So you think you can bench" video series by Dave Tate. It will cover every aspect of bench technique to maximize strength and safety. If you do all this and get your technique near perfect and your shoulder pain comes back, then you may consider dumping flat bench permanently.
    Great post.

    I couldn't live without benching but of course I use powerlifting form.
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    Quote Originally Posted by SRS2000 View Post
    I would prefer to see a free weight exercise vs. smith machine press, but overall you don't absolutely have to do flat benches. I think it would be OK to try and add them back in slowly (the key here is to start very light and work back slowly). I would also re-evaluate your flat bench technique. Poor technique will put undue stress on the shoulders. Do an internet search for "So you think you can bench" video series by Dave Tate. It will cover every aspect of bench technique to maximize strength and safety. If you do all this and get your technique near perfect and your shoulder pain comes back, then you may consider dumping flat bench permanently.
    That's a great series! Taught me a lot I thought I knew.
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    You know what's been my saving grace with flat bench? I don't go below parallel. As long as my elbows don't dip below my torso, my shoulders continue to feel good! I had the same issue before. Always hurting my shoulders on flat bench. Started this about 15 months ago, still feelin good.
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    I have to bring the bar down to my xyphoid process to keep the strain off of my shoulders because I have really long arms for my frame.

    Also (and I can't stress this enough), PRE-HAB!!!!
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    I agree with those touting form. Letting your elbows drift around and flare is a great way to screw up joints. I've had a bad left shoulder and a clicky left knee since high school. Squats and bench, with a huge emphasis on form, have strengthened both quite a bit, to the point where they are hardly even issues now.

    When I bench, I tuck my shoulders back as far as I can and arch my upper back, then keep it there the whole time. I make sure the weight is directly over my wrists and not im my hands to avoid wrist pain. When I lower the weight, I feel like I'm halfway between tucking my elbows and letting them flare out, to make sure the chest and triceps are working together and undue strain isn't being placed on any tendons in my shoulder.

    I've had a bit of muscular pain in my left outer pec, but I haven't had a single shoulder or knee issue while doing these movements.
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    Quote Originally Posted by Rahl View Post
    That's a great series! Taught me a lot I thought I knew.
    I started watching those videos.

    Good stuff - thanks for the suggestion.
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