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  • Writer's pictureLorenzo Basso

How to Bench Press Without Shoulder Pain

Updated: Aug 25, 2023

Pain in the front of the shoulder when doing the bench press exercise is one of the most common complaints among gym goers. In this article, we talk about the causes of this discomfort and how to lift pain-free.

man bench press exercise

What causes shoulder pain during the bench press?

Shoulder pain when bench pressing is often due to rotator cuff and/or biceps tendinitis. These muscles attach to the front and side of your shoulder, and can be injured in the event of excessive training volume or poor technique. Usually, the most painful angle is when the barbell is close to your chest.

Thing to do to facilitate healing and reduce pain:

  1. Temporary limit the movement to a pain free angle using safety pins. You can also use a yoga block on your chest to prevent the barbell from going close to your chest.

  2. Try switching to dumbbell press, as it provides more freedom of movement to your shoulders.

  3. Use a narrow grip so that your elbows will be closer to your body as you descend.

  4. Make sure that your shoulders are retracted. Imagine that one want to pinch your shoulder blades together and maintain that position throughout the movement.

  5. Temporary reduce the weight to a comfortable amount, and periodize your training so that your muscles have time to recover.

  6. Work on strengthening your rotator cuff muscles. This will help to increase stability and resilience in your shoulder joint.


Shoulder pain when lifting is often due to overtraining. Reducing the training volume and making some changes to your technique can be helpful to recover faster and prevent flare ups. If you are not sure on how to treat your shoulder pain, seek guidance from a professional.

Lorenzo Basso physiotherapist

Stride Fitness & Clinic

Telephone/WhatsApp +65 8882 4325

Address: 3 Shenton Way, #12-08 Shenton House, Singapore 068805

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