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Rotator Cuff Bench Press

March 25, 2011 by  
Filed under Rotator Cuff

Of all the exercises that I see performed at the gym, day in and day out, it’s the bench press that, when performed improperly, often leads to severe rotator cuff problems. The reason being is that there is too much strain placed on the front of the shoulder capsule and anterior deltoids.

Weight lifting, even performed recreationally, is one of the most common activities that contribute to shoulder and rotator cuff injuries. The bench press in particular causes a lot of wear and tear on the ligaments, cartilage and rotator cuff simply due to the number of repetitions performed over time and how people increase the weight of the bar over time.  Another problem with the bench press exercise is that a lot of people bring the bar all the way down to the chest until it touches and then presses the weight back up.

To perform the bench/chest press properly all you need to do is simply stop the descent of the bar when your upper arm(where your bicep is) is parallel to the floor. Go past this point and you are increasing the likelihood of damaging your shoulder joint and even your pectoral(chest) muscle.

It’s also important to note that you should also be able to keep your entire back flat on the bench as you perform this exercise.  If you can’t, then the weight is too heavy for you.  If you use a chest press machine, the sit down or lye down versions, the same
rule applies.

But what about using dumbbells instead of the barbell?  Is it safer than performing a bench press?

The short answer is NO.  Dumbbells can be just or even more dangerous for causing rotator cuff injuries.  Here’s why.  When you use dumbbells, you have a larger range of motion and the angles that you arm can get down to can be extreme and beyond it’s normal range.  Irregardless of whether you are performing an incline or flat bench press using dumbbells, you can easily bring the dumbbell down much further than you can a barbell.

At the bottom of the motion, your bicep can go way past parallel to the floor.  When you do this, extreme strain and pressure is put on your anterior deltoids and shoulder capsule.  This is simply not a normal range of motion for the tendons, muscles and ligaments in your shoulder.  Overtime, one of the 4 muscles that make up the rotator cuff of your shoulder will simply tear and break under the strain.

If you are suffering from a rotator cuff injury, you may notice that you have shoulder pain rotating arm and even you may even have shoulder pain at night.

So what should you do if you have a rotator cuff injury?  What is the best type of rotator cuff treatment?

To be brutally honest, you don’t need to shell out hundreds of dollars of your hard earned cash on doctors or physio appointments.  Forget about taking cortisone injections that only give you short term relief.  Flush the anti-inflammatory pills down the toilet, as they really only mask the pain and do nothing to get to the root cause of your shoulder pain.

All it really takes to completely cure your rotator cuff injury are 4 simple, step-by-step techniques that you can do from the comfort of your own home while watching your favorite television show without any special exercise equipment or gadgets!

rotator cuff bench presses

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