Tips To Avoid Dumbbell Bench Press Shoulder Pain

shoulder pain

What’s up? This is THE stephane ANDRE ! I watched an Athlean-x’s video and there are tips to avoid dumbbell bench press shoulder pain.

I wrote an article to avoid pain when you do dumbbell press or overhead shoulder press. Click here to read the article . I have the same problem with the dumbbell bench press. I have pain when I do it, so I write this article to continue this exercise without pain.

The bench press is one of the fundamental exercises to build muscles but with this pain, I wondered if I should continue doing this exercise because it hurt.

Problem

The reason for this pain may be biceps tendonitis, a torn labrum, an inflammation or shoulder impingement (inflammation in the rotator cuff). All these problems create instability during this exercise while we know that stability (body’s stability and dumbbell’s stability) is very important to perform the movement properly.

In the case of a torn labrum, the labrum is tied to the biceps tendon or rather the biceps tendon is attached to the labrum. During the movement, it’s the tension of the biceps tendon that pulls on the torn labrum.

Solution

The solution is to change the elbows position. To do the classic bench press, the elbows are at between 45° and 90°, dumbbell held horizontally in the hands and you press up. To calm the pain, we’ll change the position. The technique is to tilt the dumbbells so that the dumbbell’s back is facing the ceiling.

Classic dumbbell bench press

dumbbell bench press

dumbbell bench press

dumbbell bench press

Variant dumbbell bench press

variant dumbbell bench press

variant dumbbell bench press

variant dumbbell bench press

Tilting the dumbbell’s back does 2 things :

  • This brings your arms closer to your body because you use a semi pronated grip. With this position your hands and arms make your shoulders have a neutral position. It’s the equivalent of barbell corner press which helps to reduce the pain caused by dumbbell press.

  • You use your triceps more than your biceps during the movement. With the classic position, you use your biceps to stabilize dumbbells than your triceps. With this position, you flex your elbows so you use more triceps to stabilize dumbbells than your biceps.

dumbbell bench press
Classic dumbbell bench press
variant dumbbell bench press
Variant dumbbell bench press

Using more triceps than your biceps will seriously reduce the pain or make it disappear because there is less tension through the biceps and it will less pull on the torn labrum. If you have biceps tendonitis or inflammation, this will seriously decrease the pain. Try this technique and you’ll see that it will be the first time you’ve been doing pain-free bench press for a long time.

When I had this pain during this exercise, I thought of 2 options :

  • Stop doing bench press because you can’t support the pain anymore

  • Use lightweight

Now that I know this technique :

  • I can continue to do bench press

  • I can keep the same weights and increase them

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-Steph

How To Do Sumo Deadlift

sumo deadlift

I read a Frederic Delavier’s book « Strength Training Anatomy » and I learned good stuff.

Standing with the barbell on the floor in front of you. Your legs spread with your feet outside (always in your knees axis) :

  • Bent your legs to have your thighs in horizontal. Your arms are straight, you take the barbell with a pronated grip. Your hands on the barbell are to your shoulders’ width. You have the possibility to have one hand with a supinated grip and the other with a pronated grip to prevent the barbell from rolling. And with this technique, you can lift an extremely heavy weight.

  • Inhale and block your breath. Arch slightly your back, squeeze your abs and you stretch your legs by straightening your torso to have a vertical position with your shoulder drawn back. Exhale at the end of the movement.

  • Put back the barbell on the floor by blocking your breath.

It’s important to keep your back straight during all the movement to avoid injury.

This exercise works especially quadriceps muscles and adductor muscles.

This exercise works less the back’s muscles than the classic deadlift because the back is less bent at the starting position.

Note

It’s important to lift the barbell in front of your shins at the beginning of the movement.

Do this exercise with light weights and high sets (maximum 10 sets) to strengthen the lumbar’s region by working thighs and gluteus.

If you do this exercise with heavy weight, you need to be careful to not trauma hips joints, adductors muscles, and lumbosacral junction.

The sumo deadlift is one of the 3 powerlifting’s movements.

Share this article if you think it can help someone you know. Thank you.

-Steph

Deadlift Correctly (Part 3)

deadlift

If you didn’t read the first parts, click Part 1 and Part 2 

I read a Nerd Fitness article and I learned good stuff.

Grip the barbell

deadlift grip

The strength of the grip is an important part of the deadlift. There are 2 types of grip:

  • Overhand grip => The palms of your hands are towards your body (pronated grip).

  • Over-under ou mixed grip => One palm of your hand is toward your body and the other towards the outside (one hand with a pronated grip and the other with a supinated grip).

  • Hook grip => Your thumb is under your fingers

For beginners, the double overhand grip is the best to have a safe grip.

Use the mixed grip when you have more experience and you lift heavy because there are disadvantages. Stress on the shoulders is uneven and can create problems or injuries in the biceps whose palm is outside. As the stress on the shoulders is uneven, it’s easier to lift heavy weights.

When you begin deadlift, your grip’s strength is powerful enough to lift the barbell because your back’s strength is correct. The day of your back’s strength is more powerful than your grip’s strength (your hands slips slowly), that’s when you need to think about improving your grip.

If you don’t like the mixed grip, you can use the hook grip.

Wrist straps

Straps can help you lift heavier because your grip is assisted by a strap that is wrapped to the barbell and is hooked to your wrist.

I advise you to use wrist straps only when you lift very very heavy. This is not a thing to use all the time otherwise you’ll lose the natural strength of your grip.

Gloves

The truth is that the gloves don’t improve the grip. Gloves create a space between your hands and the barbell, this increases the diameter of the barbell and make the barbell harder to hold. Gloves prevent you from having a secure grip, I advise you to use them only if you have ripped callus to your hands.

With this video , you’ll learn to take care of your hands to avoid having this type of injury.

Belt

Many people in gyms use the belt in the wrong way, but you’re a smart one. The belt is useful only when you’re lifting very heavy weights and it’s not only for your lumbar. With this article , you’ll learn how to use the belt in an effective way.

Note

Use a mixed grip and a belt isn’t necessary to lift very heavy. Watch this video of Anthony Mychan  who do a deadlift at 249.47kg (550lbs) at a Nerd Fitness Camp with a double overhand with no belt.

Common mistakes

common mistakes

Rounded back

Having the back rounded throughout the movement may cause injuries. It’s necessary to have your spine in a neutral position.

Note => there are some powerlifters that purposefully round theirs upper back to decrease the range of motion, but this is a sport specific move, still a fault, and something you should not consider as a beginner.

Head raised and look up

To have a raised head create a hyperextension to your neck. This can cause injuries. Keep your head in a neutral position like your spine.

Hyperextending at the top

In fitness competitions, exaggerate the top of the deadlift has become popular for quickly show the judges that hip and knees locking is done.

Use the squat position

Deadlift is not squat. Deadlift doesn’t have the same start and end position as the squat. Deadlift is a different movement than squat.

Barbell makes a forward movement

It’s necessary that the barbell stays above your shoe’s laces and the barbell needs to be lifted vertically all along your body.

Barbell’s movements towards the front are to be avoided.

Your torso rises after your butt

We call it the « stripper deadlift ».

It’s important that your torso guides the movement and that your body moves in the same rhythm upwards.

Bend your arms

Often people bend their arms to lift the barbell more quickly. Unfortunately, this is a bad tactic because this can tear biceps muscle. Keep your arms straight during the movement.

Share this article if you think it can help someone you know. Thank you.

-Steph

How To Do Front Squat

front squat

I read a Frederic Delavier’s book « Strength Training Anatomy » and I learned good stuff.

Standing with your feet apart at about the shoulder’s width. You take the barbell with a pronated grip and you put the barbell on your upper chest and your anterior deltoid :

  • Inhale deeply to maintain intrathoracic pressure that prevents your torso from sagging forward. Arch slightly your back. Squeeze your abs and bends your thighs to bring them to the horizontal.

  • Return to the starting position and exhale at the end of the movement.

To prevent the barbell from slipping forward, pull out your chest and raise your elbows as high as possible.

As the barbell placed anteriorly, your chest will not bend forward and your back will always be straight. You have the possibility to put a wedge under your heels to ease the movement of execution.

Front squat is an exercise to do with weights less heavy than the classic squat.

This exercise works the quadriceps, glutes, hamstrings, abs and erector spinae.

Front squat is an exercise used in weightlifting training because the movement corresponds perfectly to the work performed by thighs during snatch and clean and jerk.

front squat

With a specific machine, you can do the same work on quadriceps as the front squat by wedging your legs and bending your thighs.

Share this article if you think it can help someone you know.Thank you.

-Steph

How To Do Squat

squat

I read a Frederic Delavier’s book « Strength Training Anatomy » and I learned good stuff.

Squat is the #1 exercise for bodybuilding because it works a lot of the muscular system and is great for the cardiovascular system. Squat allows to have a good thoracic expansion and a good respiratory capacity.

  • Standing in front of the barbell resting on the support. Put yourself under the barbell and place the barbell on your trapezius a little higher that the posterior deltoids. Take the barbell with a pronated grip. The spread of the hands is variable according to the morphology. Pull your elbows backwards.

  • Inhale deeply (to maintain an intrathoracic pressure that will prevent your torso from sagging forward). Arch you back slightly, squeeze your abs, look forward and take off the barbell.

  • Back 1 or 2 steps. Stop with your feet parallel (or slightly outward). Your feet are about your shoulders width. Squat down by tilting your back forward (the flexion axis passing through the hip joint). Control the descent without rounding your back to avoid injury.

  • When your femurs arrive horizontally, do an extension of your legs by straightening your torso to return to the starting position. Exhale at the end of the movement.

Squat works mainly quadriceps, glutes, adducteurs, erector spinae, abs and hamstring.

Note

Squat is one of the best moves to develop the gluteal curve.

2 ways to place the barbell

squat barbell posiiton

  1. On trapezius

  1. On deltoids and trapezius like powerlifters

Variants

  1. People with stiff ankles or long femurs can place a wedge under the heels to avoid too much torso inclinaison. This allows to postpone a part of the effort on quadriceps.

  2. The barbell’s position may be on the back (on the posterior deltoids). This reduce the cantilever by increasing the lifting power of the back which allows to take heavier weights. This is a technique used by powerlifters.

  3. It’s possible to do squat with the Smith machine, which makes it possible to avoid the torso inclinaison and to locate the effort on quadriceps.

How to place the feet

The feet position is important during the execution of the classic squat (feet apart at about the shoulders width). Feet should be in parallel or slightly outward. What is most important is to respect the person’s morphology and to place the feet in the physiological axis of the knees. For example, if you walk with your feet out, squat with your feet out.

Different torso’s inclinaison according to the morphologies

squat morpology

  1. Short legs, long torso : slightly inclined torso, weak cantilever

  1. Long legs, short torso : very inclined torso, important cantilever

Good position

squat good position

During the squat, the back should be as straight as possible throughout the movement. According of the morphologies (long/short legs, stiff/flexible ankles) and the different execution’s technique (feet’s position, use of compensated sole, barbell in up/down position), the torso could be very inclined or slightly inclined because flexion is done at the hip joint.

Bad position

squat bad position

It’s necessary not to round the back while performing the squat because this can create injuries in the lumbar region and spinal disc herniation.

Note

To really feel the work of the glutes, it’s necessary to have the thighs horizontally.

1-2-3 : negatives phase

4: full squat

squat full

 

It’s possible to have thighs lower than horizontal to better feel the glutes work but this technique can be done only by people who have short femurs or flexible ankles. It’s necessary to be very careful with the full squat because it is really easy to round the back.

Attention

For all exercises done with very heavy weight, it’s necessary to perform a « blocking » :

  1. Take a deep breath and block the breathing to fill the lungs like a balloon. This stiffens the ribcage and prevents the top of the torso form tilting forward.

  2. Squeeze abs stiffens the belly, This increases the intra-abdominal pressure and prevents the torse form sagging forward.

  3. By slightly arching the lower back with lumbar squeeze, this allows to have the spine’s bottom in extension.

These 3 simultaneous actions is what we call « blocking ». This « blocking » has the function of avoiding the rounding or bending of the spine because with very heavy weights, it can create disc herniations .

 

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-Steph

Machine Shrugs

machine shrugs

I read a Frederic Delavier’s book « Strength Training Anatomy » and I learned good stuff.

Standing in front of the machine with a pronated grip. You hands are a little larger than your shoulder’s width. Some machine allow you to have a semi pronated grip with you palms face to face :

  • Your head and your back are straight. You shrug your shoulders.

machine shrugs

This exercise works the upper part of the trapezius and levator scapulae.

This machine is excellent to do set with high reps.

Note

It’s funny because the clavicles and the shoulder blades are hung by the trapezius like the deck of a bridge suspended by metal cables.

Share this article if you think it can help someone you know. Thank you.

-Steph

How To Do Barbell Shrugs

barbell shrugs

I read a Frederic Delavier’s book « Strength Training Anatomy » and I learned good stuff.

Stand with your legs slightly apart. You’re in front of the barbell which is on the floor or on a support :

  • Take the barbell with a pronated grip or a over-under grip if the weight is heavy. The spacing of your hands is your shoulder’s width.

  • Your arms are relaxed with you back straight and your abs squeezed. Shrug your shoulders.

This exercise works the upper trapezius and a little bit deltoids.

Note

When you lift heavy with a over-under grip, it’s advisable to change the hand grip to each set to balance the trapezius. Do a set with the right hand with a pronated grip and the left hand with a supinated grip and the next set the right hand with a supinated grip and the left hand with a pronated grip.

Share this article if you think it can help someone you know. Thank you.

-Steph