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      09-03-2018, 11:06 PM   #1
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Bench/Pec Tendon question

Recently switched to powerlifting coming from Crossfit. I am not used to Benching this frequently and the last few weeks I have felt tightness on my outer right pec. The pain occurs at the very end of the eccentric portion of the movement when the bar touches my chest. I warm up the same way I have in Crossfit with plenty of mobility and body weight movements before even touching a weight. The majority of my upper body warm ups set me up for vertical pressing, not horizontal. I always include pushups in my bench warmup but I just brain fart on other horizontal pressing warmups.

Idk if this tightness is from a pec tendon issue or what but does anyone have any ideas to improve this?

Another bench question - I bench with my butt always on the pad. My feet are pulled back pretty much in line with my knees (I don’t do that super extended exorcism back like the instahoes do) and there is a gap between my lower back and bench. Once I go beyond 85-90% 1RM my lower back lights on fire and I feel lower back pain for several days. This is the only time i have back pain, I never have pain when deadlifting. Any ideas?
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      09-03-2018, 11:41 PM   #2
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You can strain the tendon fairly easy if your elbows are parallel with the bar. Try moving your elbows a bit forward (around 20-30 degrees) and see if that helps. Personally I find dumb bells to produce less strain on the tendon, but you will likely see a decrease in your 1RM.
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      09-03-2018, 11:50 PM   #3
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i have to deal with small tears from time to time. i've found the best thing to do is keep working out (other muscles) to increase blood flow throughout your body. stretch muscles when you're warmed up. on bench, i sometimes dial back the weight a bit and continue to work.
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      09-03-2018, 11:55 PM   #4
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Pig Farmer View Post
You can strain the tendon fairly easy if your elbows are parallel with the bar. Try moving your elbows a bit forward (around 20-30 degrees) and see if that helps. Personally I find dumb bells to produce less strain on the tendon, but you will likely see a decrease in your 1RM.
Forward as in bring them closer to my waist? Should my grip on the bar be adjusted or no?
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      09-03-2018, 11:59 PM   #5
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The program I am doing has tons of dips in it. Every bench day I do 50+ dips, should I scale this back for the time being?

Another bench question - I would prefer to bench without a spotter and use safety racks. Whenever I have tried this the bar hits the safety rack before it touches my chest and I lose tension. I have adjusted it lower but then the safety rack would serve no purpose if I dropped it, it would be on my neck. I always activate my lats and push my shoulder blades into the bench. I tried putting a mat on the bench to try to give me another half inch or so but no luck. Any ideas?
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      09-04-2018, 12:52 AM   #6
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Quote:
Originally Posted by DonaldPump View Post
Forward as in bring them closer to my waist? Should my grip on the bar be adjusted or no?
i use a sling shot on occasion. it keeps your elbows in and can help train different muscles, particularly triceps. even when i don't use it, i follow the form it trains me to use. i have made significant gains with it. you definitely don't want to have wide elbows as it can jack up your shoulders.
sometimes i use the slingshot, and sometimes i don't. it is just a training tool, and it does help you at the bottom of the lift. i use it to get more reps of the heavier weight with the lesser-used muscles.
the other day, i did ten reps of 315. i usually do four sets of six at 315, but it felt good, so i kept going. occasionally i'll throw in three reps at 365. haven't done a 405 i'm happy with yet (spotting).

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      09-04-2018, 12:57 AM   #7
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Originally Posted by roastbeef View Post
i use a sling shot on occasion. it keeps your elbows in and can help train different muscles, particularly triceps. even when i don't use it, i follow the form it trains me to use. i have made significant gains with it. you definitely don't want to have wide elbows as it can jack up your shoulders.
sometimes i use the slingshot, and sometimes i don't. it is just a training tool, and it does help you at the bottom of the lift. i use it to get more reps of the heavier weight with the lesser-used muscles.
the other day, i did ten reps of 315. i usually do four sets of six at 315, but it felt good, so i kept going. occasionally i'll throw in three reps at 365. haven't done a 405 i'm happy with yet (spotting).

markbellslingshot.com
Been following Mark Bell for a long time and that’s a great reminder that I need to get one. When I was a novice lifter I benched/did push ups with the ugly flared out elbows but it’s so much more comfortable now tucked in at the sides. Your bench is insanely strong. What is your squat/DL?
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      09-04-2018, 01:15 AM   #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by DonaldPump View Post
Been following Mark Bell for a long time and that’s a great reminder that I need to get one. When I was a novice lifter I benched/did push ups with the ugly flared out elbows but it’s so much more comfortable now tucked in at the sides. Your bench is insanely strong. What is your squat/DL?
to be 100% honest, i neglect my legs, but they aren't chicken legs, they are somehow to scale with the rest of my body.
i had a hip injury about five years ago that required surgery and the joint is just not the same. i try not to mess with it too much. i do want to invest in a hex bar and experiment with it to see if it is more comfortable. i'll occasionally us a leg press, but nothing significant.

get a sling shot, i use the yellow one and it is the perfect amount of resistance. i attribute most of my significant strides in strength to it. the first time i used it, i did extra sets and extra reps. my lower triceps were very sore. my shoulders also aren't sore anymore because of the way it has trained my form.
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      09-04-2018, 08:22 AM   #9
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      09-04-2018, 10:27 AM   #10
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Not that I really do much bench any more, because my shoulders hurt so much.

BUTT, I learned early on from low back pain to lift my legs off the floor and put them on the bench below my legs. FIRMLY press the low back into the bench. At least no more back pain.
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      09-06-2018, 08:08 AM   #11
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Originally Posted by UncleWede View Post
Not that I really do much bench any more, because my shoulders hurt so much.

BUTT, I learned early on from low back pain to lift my legs off the floor and put them on the bench below my legs. FIRMLY press the low back into the bench. At least no more back pain.
try decline and keeping your elbows tucked in towards your body.
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      09-06-2018, 07:13 PM   #12
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Was supposed to do sets of 3 this week @ 80/85/90% but decided to go off program and scale back both volume and weight. Going to skip testing week next week and just do light weight, moderate volume. Feels much less irritated.
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      09-19-2018, 12:06 PM   #13
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dips can cause issues if not doing them right, and so can benching with bad form, which is what it seems to be what your main issue is.

your lower back shouldnt be strained that much to be on fire. best thing i can recommend without seeing what you are doing, is watch a bunch of bench form videos and figure out what is the most comfortable. Everyones body is different and one form doesnt fit all.

same goes for grip and elbow placement. I have found suicide grip causes less shoulder pain for myself, but it has led to some wrist/hand issues so you gotta figure out what works best.

final piece of advice is to do dumbbell bench until you get the motion, muscles, and tendons working correctly. dumbbell bench allows more mobility of the arm/chest so you arent placed into a position that is going to hurt right off the bat. and dont train bench too frequently. 1-2 times a week is plenty starting out.
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      09-19-2018, 12:09 PM   #14
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Quote:
Originally Posted by TheWatchGuy View Post
dips can cause issues if not doing them right, and so can benching with bad form, which is what it seems to be what your main issue is.

your lower back shouldnt be strained that much to be on fire. best thing i can recommend without seeing what you are doing, is watch a bunch of bench form videos and figure out what is the most comfortable. Everyones body is different and one form doesnt fit all.

same goes for grip and elbow placement. I have found suicide grip causes less shoulder pain for myself, but it has led to some wrist/hand issues so you gotta figure out what works best.

final piece of advice is to do dumbbell bench until you get the motion, muscles, and tendons working correctly. dumbbell bench allows more mobility of the arm/chest so you arent placed into a position that is going to hurt right off the bat. and dont train bench too frequently. 1-2 times a week is plenty starting out.
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Turns out the lower back issues stemmed from a L5/S1 injury that was recently revealed on an X-ray. Also have a 12mm difference between the top of my left hip and right. Pec tendon issues are most likely coming from the imbalance in my shoulders due to the hip/spine issue.
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      09-19-2018, 12:12 PM   #15
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Quote:
Originally Posted by DonaldPump View Post
The program I am doing has tons of dips in it. Every bench day I do 50+ dips, should I scale this back for the time being?

Another bench question - I would prefer to bench without a spotter and use safety racks. Whenever I have tried this the bar hits the safety rack before it touches my chest and I lose tension. I have adjusted it lower but then the safety rack would serve no purpose if I dropped it, it would be on my neck. I always activate my lats and push my shoulder blades into the bench. I tried putting a mat on the bench to try to give me another half inch or so but no luck. Any ideas?
i never use safety racks mainly for the fact that if you use them correctly, you dont get a full range rep.

learn how to safely get out from under the bar, or stick to 3rep/2rep maxes and know your body. there have been many times im going for a 2 rep max and after the 1st rep, you just know you arent going to get the 2nd. no shame in dropping down a few lbs to finish out the set.
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      09-19-2018, 12:13 PM   #16
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Quote:
Originally Posted by DonaldPump View Post
Appreciate it.

Turns out the lower back issues stemmed from a L5/S1 injury that was recently revealed on an X-ray. Also have a 12mm difference between the top of my left hip and right. Pec tendon issues are most likely coming from the imbalance in my shoulders due to the hip/spine issue.
thatll do it. ive had similar issues in the past.

to keep training bench, feet up on bench with flat back, until its back to full strength.
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      09-19-2018, 12:21 PM   #17
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Quote:
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thatll do it. ive had similar issues in the past.

to keep training bench, feet up on bench with flat back, until its back to full strength.
I’m gonna try feet up for a while. Recently been enjoying removing all squats, dead’s, and presses above 75% and just adding in a ton more volume to focus on hypertrophy.
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      09-19-2018, 02:02 PM   #18
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This exact reason and a couple others, is why I switched to dumbbells only. I use resistance bands to stretch and warm up the tendon you're referring to. Mine was so bad at one point, it hurt doing curls. Also, take a tennis ball or lacrosse ball and roll it very hard in your muscles after working them out. It helps break up the muscle and relieve the soreness.

One reason I use dumbbells is you can tuck your elbows more and use the range of motion thats most comfortable to you. There is no 1 way to bench, just general rules. I like keeping my elbows slightly tucked to take the tension off my shoulders as using the straight bar put a TON of strain on my shoulders. Also, I feel I can get great contraction with dumbbells that I couldn't train myself to get with straight bar. There is mixed thoughts on which is "better" but to me, the one that doesn't hurt and gives great gains is the better for me. And because you're able to do the movement with out any pain or being uncomfortable, it allows you to load more weight. Lastly, I started doing medium/heavy weight at high reps. So, my max on dumbbells, not really max but the weight I can get a few reps is 120lbs. So I start with a warm up of say 65lbs x 20 reps, then jump to 85 x 15 reps, 90 x15 reps, 95 x12 reps and 100 x8-10 reps. This has yielded me much better gains compared to a lot of the other things Ive tried over the last 8 years. Point is, continually try new workouts, rep count, supersets to get your comfort zone. One thing I learned is take peoples advice and fit it to what benefits you.

One more note, give yourself 2 weeks off from using that motion, so do really light chest and shoulder days while you let the tendon heal. And use a foam roller, definitely helps
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      09-19-2018, 08:35 PM   #19
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Roastbeef - what gym are you at? I rarely see anyone with 3 plates let alone 365 for reps.
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      09-21-2018, 04:20 PM   #20
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Quote:
Originally Posted by PoorLurker View Post
Roastbeef - what gym are you at? I rarely see anyone with 3 plates let alone 365 for reps.
The yellow slingshot he said he uses has this for it's information "Allows you to press approximately 10-20% more weight than your max". So his 315 is closer to 265 unassisted, just fyi.
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