Bench pressing is a unique exercise given the way it stresses the AC joint of the shoulder. In the bottom position of the bench press (as the bar touches the chest) the stress on the AC joint increases. This bottom position creates distraction forces which pulls the joint apart slightly. I've seen this joint get sprained during heavy bench press and well as weighted dips.
What generally happens from years of bench pressing is wear and tear of the AC joint. This is known as distal clavicle osteolysis. People end up with pain in the front of the shoulder (right over the AC joint) during deep dips, bench press and flyes. People also will generally complain of pain when they reach across their body and with end range overhead motion (flexion).
Besides treating the joint directly with physical therapy techniques we can also modify the movement to create less stress on the joint. I've created a video below to help you understand what elements of the bench press we can change to reduce stress on the AC joint and some exercise modifications we can choose for individuals with AC joint pain.
Want to learn more about how shoulder injuries occur and how to help prevent them? Check out Dan and Dave's latest digital product:
PEAK Shoulder Performance
The Ultimate Guide to Getting Out of Pain and Back to High Level Fitness
Just a few things covered in the course...
I really think you're going to learn a ton from this course. Dave and I are both super pumped at the outcome and think you'll enjoy it.
Here's to happy shoulders,
Dan Pope DPT, OCS, CSCS, CF L1
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The Best Exercises To Get Out of Shoulder Pain and Back to Training
5 Pro Tips For Reducing Shoulder Pain During Bench Press
The Ultimate Guide to Getting Out of Shoulder Pain and Back to Bench Press, Overhead Press and Olympic Lifts
Breaking Down the Dip (Mobility, Performance, Shoulder Pain)
Causes of Pain in the Front of the Shoulder When Pressing and How to Fix It
How to Vary Bench Press Implements for Healthy Pressing
4 Easy Ways to Modify Bench Press and Overhead Press in Athletes With Shoulder Pain
How Bench Press, Dips and Push-ups Cause Shoulder Pain