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Bench Press Without Pain The Charles Poliquin Way

Whilst the squat is the best way to add muscle mass to your frame, the most popular exercise would undoubtedly be the bench press. The bench press is popular with people of many training disciplines, including bodybuilders and those training for strength improvement. The unfortunate fact is that many people perform this exercise incorrectly, resulting in injury.

Common Ways That Bench Pressing Causes Injury

  • Improper form is a common reason for bench press related injury. These include lowering the barbell too fast and bouncing it off the chest, as well as using a grip that is too wide.
  • Excessive stress is placed on the rotator cuff muscles at the start of the movement where the bar is lifted off the supports. This can be overcome by using a training partner to help you at this important stage. As the shoulder blades are not permitted to move freely during the exercise, a significant amount of stress is placed on the joints. The more you train, and the more reps you perform, the greater your chance of developing shoulder problems associated with the Bench Press. High volume training generally requires a low loading.
  • One strategy that an American Powerlifting coach had to improve his team members’ lifts was to focus on the weakest part of each person's bench press, by using assistance exercises.
  • The Bigger Faster Stronger method of benching, particularly for high school students dictates that this exercise is completed year-round, but never more than once a week. Another technique to improve the bench press is to place a towel or pad on the chest, shortening the range of motion (so that you don’t let the bar touch your chest).
  • There’s even a standing variation of the bench press available in some gyms, where machines of this nature are installed. These are effective for reducing injury by allowing the shoulder blades to move freely during the complete exercise.

Charles Poliquin Method to Avoid Bench Press Injuries

  • Use a greater variety of exercises
  • Change your exercises every six workouts. Not only does this prevent plateaus, it reduces the potential for overuse injuries as well.

Causes of Shoulder Pain from Bench Pressing

  • Improper Muscle Balance. If structural balance, the strength ratio between two muscle groups is not equal, faulty alignment can occur. Weakness in the agonists (the muscles of the chest) as well as the antagonists (such as the muscles of the back) the brain may send signals to shut down the chest muscles. Interestingly, you can improve your bench press by using exercises to train your back.

  • Using an Overly Simplistic Training Programme. Stronger athletes need to use more complex programmes to achieve improvements in strength and development. For example the simple inclusion of a few rotator cuff exercises may be inadequate for and advanced lifter to discourage injury.

  • Adhesion (Connective Tissue) Buildup Occurs During Years of Weight Training. Adhesions develop as a result of the load used and the total volume of repetitions undertaken during training. Unfortunately the more sets and reps you do, the more likely you are todevelop these. These can occur within the muscle, between different muscle groups or even between nerve and muscle tissue. Pain associated from bench pressing is often a result from adhesions in the subscapular area. Fortunately soft tissue treatment can assist with the repair of this, rather than surgery, which some consider to the only appropriate solution.

  • Poor Flexibility. Without stretching regularly, you are more likely to develop injuries. Proprioceptive Neuromuscular Facilitation (PNF), has been demonstrated to be one effective technique to help overcome injury. Regular stretching of the shoulder area is important to keep your shoulders functional and in good health.

  • Poor Diet. Inadequate nutrition can encourage inflammation and discourage healthy maintenance of the muscles and connective tissues overall. Whilst good food is a great start, be aware that the degradation of the soil quality (and use of inadequate fertilisers), can mean that foods don’t necessarily provide the nutrients that it once did. In general, a clean diet with a variety of coloured vegetables and supplemented with multivitamin and fish oil supplements can help minimise free radical damage. Fish oil contains EPA, which broken down into resolvins, have demonstrated ability to reduce inflammation. Also consider a Joint Formula supplement for help reduce injuries to the shoulder which can impact on your bench pressing.

Minimise Chest Injuries & Grow

By taking the advice of this article, you can help minimise the risk of injury which can hold back your progress in improving your bench press lifts. It’s important that you use good form and eat and supplement correctly to ensure you make consistent progress with this popular exercise.

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