Unilateral elbow flare on the bench press Unilateral elbow flare on the bench press

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Thread: Unilateral elbow flare on the bench press

  1. #1
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    Jul 2019
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    Default Unilateral elbow flare on the bench press

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    So, I have a "client" (my girlfriend) who has a puzzling problem. Her right elbow flares out on her bench, especially as the weight gets heavier. It's been tricky to deal with. She reports not being able to voluntarily contract her right pectoral muscle in the same way as her left. She doesn't recall any injuries in that region though. Any tips on dealing with this? Should I dial the weight back and get her to focus on getting that right side correct? Does this sound like something that merits medical attention? Has anyone else encountered something like this?

  2. #2
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    Aug 2010
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    Quote Originally Posted by CommanderFun View Post
    So, I have a "client" (my girlfriend) who has a puzzling problem. Her right elbow flares out on her bench, especially as the weight gets heavier. It's been tricky to deal with. She reports not being able to voluntarily contract her right pectoral muscle in the same way as her left. She doesn't recall any injuries in that region though. Any tips on dealing with this? Should I dial the weight back and get her to focus on getting that right side correct? Does this sound like something that merits medical attention? Has anyone else encountered something like this?
    It is very unlikely she is unable to contract her right pectoral muscle in a reduced capacity compared to the left, especially with no pertinent injury history. It is more likely she just has poor bench technique, though I can't see her form from here. You do see unilateral elbow flare in individuals with chronic shoulder issues, though. This does not rise to the level of requiring medical attention, at this time, because what would a medical provider be able to do for this?

  3. #3
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    We've been tackling it as a form issue, and it's been getting better. Fatigue as the workout continues makes it start to appear again, but I try to cue her to fix it mid set and it usually works.

  4. #4
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    Quote Originally Posted by CommanderFun View Post
    We've been tackling it as a form issue, and it's been getting better. Fatigue as the workout continues makes it start to appear again, but I try to cue her to fix it mid set and it usually works.
    Reduce the in set volume and keep the sets to 2-3 heavier reps per set. Increase the number of sets several iterations prior to increasing the number of reps per set. This should keep fatigue in the middle of the set from being problematic.

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