AC joint pain caused by benching (with video)
Weight: 192 lb
note: the video is not of the set that caused the injury.
About three weeks ago, I was benching for triples at 200 lb. It wasn't particularly heavy, and I had recently deloaded while switching to an experimental intermediate program. That evening, I noticed a pain near my left shoulder. I don't think it was a rotator cuff issue, and it felt a bit like a bruise and was tender when palpating the area. My guess is AC joint, since the affected region is about half an inch medial of the acromiom process. After about 3 days, the pain had subsided substantially, and I waited another 4 days to be safe before benching (so total of a week since injury). This time, I noticed the pain returning when warming up with 177 lb on the bar so I immediately stopped.
I rested another ten days before benching again, and then video taped myself benching with a light weight (133 lb) for three reps, to make sure that there weren't any glaring form issues. I may have had a bad rep during the bench session that initially caused this pain, but the form in this video is a good representation of my benching form.
April 15th 2017 Bench 133 X3 Check Better Angle 1 - YouTube
This set didn't hurt at all, so I bumped up the weight to 155. Here I felt a slight aggravation, so I stopped there, and noticed my shoulder slightly flare up the next day.
Since the initial injury, I have been able to press without any pain, and have continued pressing regularly. My press is currently at 155 lb for doubles.
My tentative plan is to reintroduce bench at a light weight, and gradually increase the weight while being strict about form, but I thought it wise to check in here for some guidance.
I just don't see anything here that screams "STOP THIS MAN IMMEDIATELY, OR SOMETHING BAD WILL HAPPEN!!!"
It does look like either your hands are a bit too close together, OR you're bringing the bar down at a slight slant towards your left side - which will change the loading of the left shoulder as it affects arm angle. Don't know. Maybe one of the other Staff will chime in.
Thanks Steve. Assuming it was a bad rep that caused the injury, would you say that very carefully reintroducing the bench with light weights and progressively increasing weight is a good idea?
Also, I came across this article by Eric Cressey, discussing AC impingement. Now, there were a few red flags that popped up (although I'd need to spend some time thinking about the mechanics to see whether his ideas hold water), but he did mention scapular instability as a potential culprit.
One thing I have struggled with in the bench is keeping my shoulder blades retracted. Perhaps failing to retract them contributed to my injury.
I think it's a logical way to proceed, but given the lack of a medical diagnosis, I can't be sure what's going on. How is your press? How's your deadlift? I can't see scapular instability begin a thing if you have giant, massive traps.
Originally Posted by spacediver
Press is 155 for doubles, deadlift is 358 for triples, and I row 272 for triples (and none of those movements cause any pain).
Originally Posted by Steve Hill
Perhaps scapular instability isn't the culprit, but rather the scapular position during my benching. I'll try super hard to focus on retracting the shoulder blades, and keeping them retracted throughout the movement.
If I learn anything, I'll report back in this thread if it's still open. And thanks again for taking the time Steve.
Sounds like a good idea. Good luck.
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