Scap Movement During Bench Press? Scap Movement During Bench Press?

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Thread: Scap Movement During Bench Press?

  1. #1
    Join Date
    Nov 2017
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    Default Scap Movement During Bench Press?

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    I didn't know where else to put this, so forgive me if it's the wrong place. I recently came upon a video of a guy who (as I understand it) coaches powerlifters. He explained that people are setting up for the bench press wrong and then suggests the "correct" way to do it. This was advise for everyone, not just powerlifters.

    He says we should be in scapular retraction at the bottom, but not at the top. When setting up for the bench press we're supposed to be arching the back 1st and then focusing on keeping our shoulders down, not together (to put it very simply). When the bar comes down, is when the scaps are supposed to pinch together. When the bar goes back up, the scaps go apart again. He says doing this allows you to get more out of the natural pec movement and thus a lot more benefit from the bench press. It also takes stress off the shoulders and biceps, according to him.

    When he gets the model to do it (who does look pretty darn strong), it SEEMS as though all the weight is on the tops of his shoulders and his scaps are floating free to move. But I tried this myself and they still don't move with max weights. Focusing on scap movement is REALLY awkward as well. My shoulders don't feel as stable for one thing, and my scaps either need to be together or apart during set up and I suspect the correct way is pinch together like everyone else does and then don't worry about it.

    Am I missing something about this whole thing? The reason I was even listening to someone about technique is because I'm an intermediate who had taken on the close grip bench press into my programming. I found I get really bad shoulder pain even with (according to coaches here and elsewhere) perfect technique. Now having experimented with it for a very short time and dropped it, I've got nagging pain that comes and goes randomly during my regular bench press.

    I know it could be just soreness that is taking a really long time to go away because I'm still hammering it with presses, but I want to make sure I'm not missing anything after this guy got me scratching my head.

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Jun 2014
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    1,424

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    Without watching the video and just going by your interpretation, it seems kinda silly that you'd want the scaps to move while benching given that they are the interface with the bench/base of support. Sounds like saying that you want to plantar flex at the top of the squat to get more natural calf movement.

    With regard to the close grip, it's rare I've heard of this pissing off the shoulder. It's usually the remedy for someone benching with a pissed off shoulder to begin with. We tend to take the grip inward. If you haven't yet, adjust the grip angle on the bar from the angled grip you'd normally take for standard width bench to less of an angle on the bar. It may allow you to keep the elbows tucked more on the close grip and alleviate the shoulder pain.

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Nov 2017
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    South Carolina
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    I didn't post the video because the rules state not to post links to things SS "has no interest in going to". But I did watch it again and that's actually what he's saying. The scaps have to move apart at the top of the movement and back together at the bottom. The model was a jacked powerlifter and the channel is geared towards that, so it seems legit. But I'll take your word (and what I see for myself) for it. I'm just going to ignore the video.

    As far as the close grip, I can try that but it seems like something so minor. I've tried all kinds of different grip widths, including just going in a few finger widths and floor presses, and everything jacks up that shoulder. That's how close to the edge I'm riding with the bench press. At this point I just pray before every regular bench press session (including light bench) it doesn't hurt.

    I can't do dips either so the only thing I've been left to use is Mark's version of the triceps extension, which I'm really thankful for discovering. What a valuable lift that NO ONE is doing!

    If I try your advise and it works you'll hear back from me. If not, you'll know it didn't work for me.

    Either way, thanks for responding!

  4. #4
    Join Date
    May 2019
    Posts
    446

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    Re: shoulder pain and close grip bench, it really depends on what's going on with your shoulder. I can't close grip bench at all, even the empty bar is immediately painful. At this point, I only bench once a week, and only with a two inch block. If I'm careful I can bench without the block with only moderate pain but I enjoy being able to sleep at night so I just don't. Not saying that's what you need to do, but I would wholeheartedly recommend a consult with one of the SS coaches who's also a PT. For whatever it's worth my shoulder problem was diagnosed as subscapularis tendinopathy and non-SLAP labrum injury.

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Jul 2007
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    North Texas
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    46,935

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    See page 165 fig. 5-22 in the blue book.

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