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  1. #1
    Registered User Mike516's Avatar
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    Extremely weak shoulders holding my bench press back?

    I have EXTREMELY weak shoulders compared to the rest of my body.

    My barbell bench is probably around 230-235 (ill know for sure on thursday, but the last heavy set I did was 5x5 @ 85's (dumbells) )

    Today, seated military press, I failed to do 4 sets of 10 @ 35's (dumbells).

    How does everybody else's bench press compare to their seated overhead press /w dumbells? Could this be whats holding my bench press back? My other lifts are WAY higher
    (375 squat / 385 DL)

    I see kids in the gym who cant break 160 on the bench do more weight than me with a seated overhead press.
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  2. #2
    Flustered Fluster's Avatar
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    To be honest, I don't think 375/230/385 is that imbalanced at all raw. If anything, your DL needs a kick in the ass with that squat.

    As far as your actual question goes, you're comparing fairly different lifts - there is quite a lot of difference in the weights you can do overhead with DBs even when compared directly to BB OHP due to the extra control and stabilisation required.

    That being said, 35x4x10 does seem very low in comparison to the rest of your lifts and there is certainly a carryover to bench from OHP. You'll have to wait for some of the pros to chime in for any proper advice, but they'll need more information about your technique or vids.
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  3. #3
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    I bench 295 and I don't think I could do 4 sets of 10 with the 30s, lol.

    Determine where your sticking point is and evaluate what needs to be trained from there. Where are you getting stuck on the bench press? Where does the bar slow down?

    You know what though, I just remembered -- you bench 230ish. Everything needs a lot of work...don't worry about concentrating on just 1 sticking point. Get everything stronger.
    Last edited by ShutUpAndSquat; 12-08-2009 at 06:15 AM.
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  4. #4
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    How are your ticeps? I think triceps play a bigger part during flat bench press than shoulders. Shoulders plays a bigger part during incline press. Try doing some close grip bench presses to strengthen your tris and see if that helps. Good luck.
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  5. #5
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    230 is a pretty good bench press. Without seeing you bench, it's hard to say what your weakness is for bench. If you want to gain strength in your shoulders, I would forget about DBs and start doing standing overhead press with a bar.
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  6. #6
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    thats extremely low for shoulders, but you know that already which is why you made this post.

    if you think your shoulders are a weakpoint, which they are, there is a simple solution. train them harder, and focus on improving them. devote more assistance work to your shoulders to bring them up.

    hard work cures most deficiencies.

    and for me, shoulder strength absolutely aids in my competition bench, even benching with an arch
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  7. #7
    Banned nsxmatt's Avatar
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    If you want to improve the muscles that are weak during the bench press... bench press more. It's not anything that complicated. Sure you should incorporate shoulder and back workouts regardless but if you already do that, just bench more. Change it up, quit doing the 5x5 bullcrap everyone and their brother does and work up to 10 reps of a lower weight for a while and see if you make gains. Don't be afraid to mix it up rep and set wise and ignore the workout of the week that gets thrown around the forums.
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  8. #8
    Meow TrettinR's Avatar
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    Originally Posted by nsxmatt View Post
    If you want to improve the muscles that are weak during the bench press... bench press more. It's not anything that complicated. Sure you should incorporate shoulder and back workouts regardless but if you already do that, just bench more. Change it up, quit doing the 5x5 bullcrap everyone and their brother does and work up to 10 reps of a lower weight for a while and see if you make gains. Don't be afraid to mix it up rep and set wise and ignore the workout of the week that gets thrown around the forums.
    It's been workout of the week for the past several years.. maybe longer....

    I don't know how doing 10 reps will gain much strength. Of course you can gain strength, but not nearly as much as focusing on lower reps.
    There is no such thing as 'strong enough'
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  9. #9
    Official spoon curl champ misterwaterfall's Avatar
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    Originally Posted by nsxmatt View Post
    If you want to improve the muscles that are weak during the bench press... bench press more. It's not anything that complicated. Sure you should incorporate shoulder and back workouts regardless but if you already do that, just bench more. Change it up, quit doing the 5x5 bullcrap everyone and their brother does and work up to 10 reps of a lower weight for a while and see if you make gains. Don't be afraid to mix it up rep and set wise and ignore the workout of the week that gets thrown around the forums.
    I just put 30 pounds on my 5 rep max and probably more than that on my 1 rep in the last I weeks with 5x5 bullcrap. Yea I would say its pretty worthless
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  10. #10
    Meow TrettinR's Avatar
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    Originally Posted by misterwaterfall View Post
    I just put 30 pounds on my 5 rep max and probably more than that on my 1 rep in the last I weeks with 5x5 bullcrap. Yea I would say its pretty worthless
    So it works for you and thousands others... Sounds like bullcrap to me....
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  11. #11
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    I don't even see how that is possible with your other lifts. Do you do any barbell overhead work? Maybe you just have a form issue or something with the seated shoulder press. With a 230 bench 35s should feel very light.
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  12. #12
    Banned nsxmatt's Avatar
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    Originally Posted by TrettinR View Post
    It's been workout of the week for the past several years.. maybe longer....

    I don't know how doing 10 reps will gain much strength. Of course you can gain strength, but not nearly as much as focusing on lower reps.
    Well it's not working for him is it? Didn't work for me either. Hasn't worked for thousands either, why? Because no one workout works for EVERYONE. That was my point. You get to a stalling point, switch up your workout and do something different. Focus more on the muscle doing less weight and quality reps. When the reps go up, raise the weight, lower the reps. Get over the stopping point.

    Or you all can just be brainwashed to the same ol workout without a open mind. Whatever works for you.
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  13. #13
    Meow TrettinR's Avatar
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    Originally Posted by nsxmatt View Post
    Well it's not working for him is it? Didn't work for me either. Hasn't worked for thousands either, why? Because no one workout works for EVERYONE. That was my point. You get to a stalling point, switch up your workout and do something different. Focus more on the muscle doing less weight and quality reps. When the reps go up, raise the weight, lower the reps. Get over the stopping point.

    Or you all can just be brainwashed to the same ol workout without a open mind. Whatever works for you.
    First of all, that wasn't your point in your first post your point was 5x5 is bullcrap, and OP never mentioned he was running 5x5, he said he did 5 sets of 5 for DB press as accessory work, he said nothing of the program.

    Also I run a westside template so my workouts change as I change, and you're right, it does work for me. I have never even ran 5x5, but coming out and saying it's bullcrap IS pretty open minded of you.
    Last edited by TrettinR; 12-08-2009 at 01:10 PM.
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  14. #14
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    in powerlifting.. no muscle involved in benching can be too strong. there can only be lagging muscle groups.

    so by all means, train shoulders and get them as strong as you can, same with triceps, chest, back, traps, rotator cuff's, etc.




    the stronger your shoulders are, the stronger you will be off your chest, period.


    and strong shoulers will improve your lockout aswell, by building momentum at the bottom.
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    Seems a little odd to me but only when as as a reference to me...can't give you 1RM's but my 6RM's are currently

    275, 225, 335 (squat, bench, DL)...

    I'm guessing I'm out of the norm here?
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  16. #16
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    Originally Posted by babyslayer View Post
    in powerlifting.. no muscle involved in benching can be too strong. there can only be lagging muscle groups.

    so by all means, train shoulders and get them as strong as you can, same with triceps, chest, back, traps, rotator cuff's, etc.




    the stronger your shoulders are, the stronger you will be off your chest, period.


    and strong shoulers will improve your lockout aswell, by building momentum at the bottom.
    Well said. You are only as strong as your weakest link. Lately I've been putting a lot of time into strengthening my shoulders as well. I haven't seen a dramatic increase in my bench or anything yet. But like with anything else it takes time.
    There is no such thing as 'strong enough'
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  17. #17
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    Originally Posted by TrettinR View Post
    First of all, that wasn't your point in your first post your point was 5x5 is bullcrap, and OP never mentioned he was running 5x5, he said he did 5 sets of 5 for DB press as accessory work, he said nothing of the program.

    Also I run a westside template so my workouts change as I change, and you're right, it does work for me. I have never even ran 5x5, but coming out and saying it's bullcrap IS pretty open minded of you.
    Sorry, my intention was to group the different types like Westside, 5x5, and whatever other types into one group and recommend to try something else including higher reps. No plan is BS as every person is different, my point which could have been worded different is people tend to not deviate from a program in any shape or form and for some people that holds them back.

    I don't run any template, I listen to my body and do what I see results. I'll go as high as 12 reps on standard lift or as low as 5-6 for a final set. That's what I see results with so I open my ideas with other people having problems seeing results.
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  18. #18
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    Originally Posted by PaHulkster View Post
    I don't even see how that is possible with your other lifts. Do you do any barbell overhead work? Maybe you just have a form issue or something with the seated shoulder press. With a 230 bench 35s should feel very light.
    Yeah, I was DB shoulder pressing 35s for 3x10 when I started lifting with a 150 bench...
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    Originally Posted by poopoo333 View Post
    Yeah, I was DB shoulder pressing 35s for 3x10 when I started lifting with a 150 bench...
    Confirms my point.

    The reason I'm bringing this up, is because of my recent gains.
    I know you guys might bash me or w/e, but I started my first structured workout with the conjugate method. It was because I just got to college, and a powerlifter posted a flyer looking for kids interested. I follow what he does, and its been working for my lower body lifts. Over my 2 month long winter break I'm switching to bill starrs 5x5, and returning to the conjugate method for spring semester after putting on some more mass.

    But anyways..

    First week of October :

    Bench - 225
    Squat - 315
    DL - 335

    Two months later:

    Bench - 235 if I'm lucky, my max effort moves like floor press / benching against / with bands / ect have stayed the same or gone up only 10 lbs. Maxing this on thursday
    Squat - 375
    DL - 385

    I don't see how I could have bad form on a DB shoulder press, I mean theres not much to do wrong.. movements are not slow but not fast, just controlled. I bring the DB's down to my shoulders, and press until my arms are straight and the DB's touch, with my back flat against the seat.

    My weak part of my bench press is explosiveness off my chest. My lockout is fine (to my knowledge), because everytime I've failed a set on the bench it has been coming off my chest and not failing at the lockout.


    I have never done much shoulder work besides side/front raises and incline bench stuff. Since we recently added seated military press into accessory work, I realized my shoulders are my weak point. For spring semester I will focus more on my shoulders for accessory moves, but after next tuesday I'm going to take a deload week and then start bill starrs 5x5. Is there any better workout program I could use for 8-12 weeks that has more emphasis on overhead presses?
    Last edited by Mike516; 12-08-2009 at 05:59 PM.
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    Originally Posted by nsxmatt View Post
    Sorry, my intention was to group the different types like Westside, 5x5, and whatever other types into one group and recommend to try something else including higher reps. No plan is BS as every person is different, my point which could have been worded different is people tend to not deviate from a program in any shape or form and for some people that holds them back.

    I don't run any template, I listen to my body and do what I see results. I'll go as high as 12 reps on standard lift or as low as 5-6 for a final set. That's what I see results with so I open my ideas with other people having problems seeing results.
    Westside isn't a program.... Westside includes higher reps... pretty much every workout I do sets of 10+ and sometimes go over 100reps in a set.

    Westside is designed so each person can tailor it to their specific needs...

    Not that westside is the end all method to getting stronger, but if you do it correctly anyone can make big gains on it
    There is no such thing as 'strong enough'
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    Originally Posted by TrettinR View Post
    Well said. You are only as strong as your weakest link. Lately I've been putting a lot of time into strengthening my shoulders as well. I haven't seen a dramatic increase in my bench or anything yet. But like with anything else it takes time.

    yeah shoulders play a large role in bench, but after a certain point, if your other muscles arent ahead of the game, or at least up to speed, then you wont make progress on bench from improving your shoulder strength.


    personally, i have been making decent gains on my shoulder work, but my bench is moving really slow, because my triceps have been loveing the cock, and i havent been working on them hard enough.
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    If you're weak off the chest the problem is most likely your lats/back in my opinion. If you have a strong lockout, your shoulders, while that seems weak, are probably not the problem. I think shoulders play a bigger role in the lockout than off the chest.
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    Originally Posted by Link815 View Post
    If you're weak off the chest the problem is most likely your lats/back in my opinion. If you have a strong lockout, your shoulders, while that seems weak, are probably not the problem. I think shoulders play a bigger role in the lockout than off the chest.
    your front delts are responsible for raising your arm up infront of you, i think everyone agrees on that.

    when you bench, your upper arm is parallel to the floor, as it goes from being parallel to the floor, to perpendicular to the floor, your front delt plays a large role in raising it. specifically at the bottom of the lift.


    now considering your front delts are the prime movers at the bottom of a shoulder press, (i dont think anyone disagree's with that) and that people have used well over 400lbs on shoulder press, its safe to say that your front delt's are capable of lifting extreme ammounts of weight, when benching.


    a person could have a back that cannot row 100lb dumbells, and still bench 400lbs. infact im sure there are many cases of that, probably some even worse than that.


    however, if a person doesnt have the shoulder strength to do front raises with 25lb dumbells, there is no way his back and triceps will make up for that weakness, and allow him to bench 400lbs. he would never be able to get the weight off his chest.



    the whole, train your back to get strong off your chest, thing, came from equipped lifting, having to pull the bar down to their chest, and having the shirt do the majority of the work at the bottom of the lift.


    but if you notice huge raw benchers, they all train shoulders, and allot of them have big shoulder presses. I can think of 7 600+ raw benchers who all do shoulder presses with 400+lbs, unfortunatley im bad with names so i cant think of all of them, but none the less.


    im not saying back strength isnt important off your chest, im just saying that when compared to shoulder strength, in order of importance for bottom end strength, the two muscle groups dont compare at all.


    EDIT: your shoulders play very little role in locking out, similar to a your glutes roll at the last couple inches of the top of a squat, in my opinion.

    if lockout isnt your problem, then the best way to improve your bench would be build strength off your chest, in order to get more momentum, to get to the point where you could lock it out. and that strength is going to come primarily from your shoulders, then chest, and then back.


    and yes, i put chest infront of back. because at the end of the day, your lats arent taking a damn thing from your chest to lockout, where as i can do pretty heavy strict fly's, isolating my chest. so when it comes to order of importance, chest strength comes before back strength, for strength off your chest.


    and to the people thinking- (thats not true, i dont do any specific chest work and i still have a strong bench.)

    that doesnt mean chest isnt important, because your chest is still doing a ****load of work to move the bar, whether you do exercises for it or not.

    and if you dont think so, try isolating/pre exhausting your chest before benching, and see how strong you are.
    youl no doubt be allot weaker.

    now try pre exhausting your back before you bench, chances are you arent any weaker at all. infact some so called, training guru's, advise to train back before benching, to weaken the antagonist muscle to help you lift more.
    I dont know if i agree with that, but i can tell you for sure youl be stronger on bench after training back, then you would pre exhausting your chest before hand.


    long post, but honestly, it seems everyone around here is talking about training back for strength off your chest. its like telling people to train their grip if they have a lockout weakness, sure it plays a role, but there is much more effective advice to give on the subject.
    Last edited by babyslayer; 12-08-2009 at 07:41 PM.
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    Originally Posted by babyslayer View Post
    Shoulders contribute to barbell movement, lats to barbell stabilisation
    This man speaks the truth.

    OP: What's your BB OHP and BB Flat Bench?
    Last edited by sheepyd; 12-08-2009 at 07:35 PM.
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    Originally Posted by babyslayer View Post
    the whole, train your back to get strong off your chest, thing, came from equipped lifting, having to pull the bar down to their chest, and having the shirt do the majority of the work at the bottom of the lift.
    Ehh I think Ed Coan would disagree with that... back strength is important Raw and Geared and should be trained regardless.

    Originally Posted by babyslayer View Post
    but if you notice huge raw benchers, they all train shoulders, and allot of them have big shoulder presses. I can think of 7 600+ raw benchers who all do shoulder presses with 400+lbs, unfortunatley im bad with names so i cant think of all of them, but none the less.
    Lots of geared lifters train shoulders directly as well. The Metal Militia boys incorporated ALOT of shoulder work and I doubt Mendy neglects his.

    Minor qualms though
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    facepaml.jpg at how long of a post that turned out to be.
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    Originally Posted by sheepyd View Post
    Ehh I think Ed Coan would disagree with that... back strength is important Raw and Geared and should be trained regardless.
    from the post:
    im not saying back strength isnt important off your chest, im just saying that when compared to shoulder strength, in order of importance for bottom end strength, the two muscle groups dont compare at all.

    im saying thats primarily where it came from, and obviously i wouldnt go as far as to say it isnt important for raw lifters, if for nothing other than to keep your upper body balanced and injury free, muchless aid in the lift.


    Lots of geared lifters train shoulders directly as well. The Metal Militia boys incorporated ALOT of shoulder work and I doubt Mendy neglects his.

    Minor qualms though

    obviously, its just not nearly as important for equipped lifting as it is raw.
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    Originally Posted by babyslayer View Post
    from the post:
    im not saying back strength isnt important off your chest, im just saying that when compared to shoulder strength, in order of importance for bottom end strength, the two muscle groups dont compare at all.

    im saying thats primarily where it came from, and obviously i wouldnt go as far as to say it isnt important for raw lifters, if for nothing other than to keep your upper body balanced and injury free, muchless aid in the lift.

    obviously, its just not nearly as important for equipped lifting as it is raw.
    Oh I completely misread you. Training your back for strength of the chest is entirely a geared concept. Total agreement there.

    And all your posts turn out hyoooge hahaha.
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    Originally Posted by sheepyd View Post
    Oh I completely misread you. Training your back for strength of the chest is entirely a geared concept. Total agreement there.

    And all your posts turn out hyoooge hahaha.
    i dont thhink its entirley, as a tight back will better translate leg drive to the bar, and i do believe it gives you a very very small initial umph, for me, its due to having my triceps flex up against my lats at the bottom of the lift. but your lats just dont hold up at all, when compared to shoulders, for bottom end strength.



    and yeah, for some reason all my posts end up super long. i suppose i just get really board sometimes, and get caught up in posts.
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    Yeah a tight back is a huge boon, but the lats physically can't contract to push the bar against gravity lol.

    This a quite a mega agreement sesh.

    Bahaha, do you work?
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