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  1. #1
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    How important is it to pinch your shoulder blades together when benching?

    Wut exactly is the purpose of this? Some people say its better for your shoulders, but why is that so?

    and some people say it doesnt nothing but decrease ROM.

    How important is it because i dont think ive seen any pro bodybuilders do this?
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  2. #2
    Under Construction unity's Avatar
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    it helps you reduce the usage of your shoulders and place emphasis on the pecs and triceps. i don't see how you can tell if pro bodybuilders are pinching their shoulder blades together or not. i think you are confusing this with arching your back. best thing to do is try it out with some light weight and see what differences you notice.*
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  3. #3
    Registered User shredorded's Avatar
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    I'd say it vital to avoid over developed, tight, achey front delts in the future.
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    Pulling the shoulder blades back minimizes the involvement of the delts and places the stress on the pecs and triceps. It also helps prevent injury, a lot of shoulder injuries are caused by improper bench press technique.
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    Originally Posted by krokfelds View Post
    Wut exactly is the purpose of this? Some people say its better for your shoulders, but why is that so?

    and some people say it doesnt nothing but decrease ROM.

    How important is it because i dont think ive seen any pro bodybuilders do this?
    In the bench press, if done incorrectly it's very easy to injure your shoulder joint or rotator cuff. This is why it's very important to pinch your shoulder blades(scapulas). When you pinch your shoulder blades, you add stability to the shoulder joint and take the strain off the rotator cuff(subscapularis), and place it on the pecs.

    It's best to avoid bodybuilding style bench press and do powerlifting style bench press as there is less chance of injury or shoulder joint problems.
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    LIFT HEAVIER NEXT MONTH kanis999's Avatar
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    I've experienced the negative side effects of NOT pinching the shoulder blades together. It is not pretty. On top of the painful injury, I had to come to terms with the fact that my chest really wasn't as strong as I thought it was. Once I started pinching my shoulder blades, my bench was nowhere near as powerful for a while. Learn the proper technique early to develop the chest.
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  7. #7
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    Stabilization as well. Wavering around with that much weight on your arms isn't a fantastic idea.
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  8. #8
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    An interesting thing I have noticed in regards to retracted shoulder blades, take it with a grain of salt as it is just a casual observation.


    A lot of the gyms I have seen have benches that are quite narrow, and if you have even a medium sized frame your shoulders will likely be falling off the sides of the bench without retracting your shoulder blades. This will cause extra movement in your scapulas and increase chances of injury without taking precautions.

    Gyms that have serious benchers have benches that are wider, thus the need for squeezing your shoulders back really hard is reduced. Personally, I can't bench the same in competitions as I do in the gym, since I get massive cramping from squeezing my shoulders back on a wider bench.

    I would pull them back a little bit but you don't really have to exaggerate it.

    Just my .02
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  9. #9
    Bulk it and HULK it hulkinout's Avatar
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    Not keeping them pulled back is the reason why you see so many heavy benchers with big anterior/front delts and lackluster pec development.
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    Originally Posted by unity View Post
    it helps you reduce the usage of your shoulders and place emphasis on the pecs and triceps. i don't see how you can tell if pro bodybuilders are pinching their shoulder blades together or not. i think you are confusing this with arching your back. best thing to do is try it out with some light weight and see what differences you notice.*
    x2, and personally I feel it helps with the mind-muscle connection for pecs (helps you feel the chest doing more of the work). The main things are making sure it's comfortable and that it helps you feel the chest work more.
    Last edited by stealth_swimmer; 08-25-2011 at 04:08 PM.
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  11. #11
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    Originally Posted by hulkinout View Post
    Not keeping them pulled back is the reason why you see so many heavy benchers with big anterior/front delts and lackluster pec development.
    This is exactly me. My shoulders are very developed, and while my chest is growing, it should be larger.

    My problem is the friggin bench is too narrow and when I try to pinch my shoulders and push I lose my balance.

    Also I feel like when I'm pressing up my shoulders come slightly out of the pinched position.

    Damn annoying I tell ya.
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  12. #12
    Bulk it and HULK it hulkinout's Avatar
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    Try lowering the bar to the base of your neck (this works well on a Smith). Make sure you have a spotter so you don't guillotine yourself. When doing this, the angle of your upper arms is such that that delts and tris are seriously de-emphasized.

    Originally Posted by mikil100 View Post
    This is exactly me. My shoulders are very developed, and while my chest is growing, it should be larger.

    My problem is the friggin bench is too narrow and when I try to pinch my shoulders and push I lose my balance.

    Also I feel like when I'm pressing up my shoulders come slightly out of the pinched position.

    Damn annoying I tell ya.
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    Originally Posted by hulkinout View Post
    Try lowering the bar to the base of your neck (this works well on a Smith). Make sure you have a spotter so you don't guillotine yourself. When doing this, the angle of your upper arms is such that that delts and tris are seriously de-emphasized.
    I'm fairly certain the general consensus is to get a good bench in you need to bring your elbows in, below the nipple-line, not up towards your neck. Unless I'm misunderstanding you.
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    Bulk it and HULK it hulkinout's Avatar
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    Originally Posted by mikil100 View Post
    I'm fairly certain the general consensus is to get a good bench in you need to bring your elbows in, below the nipple-line, not up towards your neck. Unless I'm misunderstanding you.
    Depends if you'e chasing hypertrophy or you're lifting for competition. If the former, all's fair...
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    Originally Posted by hulkinout View Post
    Depends if you'e chasing hypertrophy or you're lifting for competition. If the former, all's fair...
    its still benching on a smith machine, which is weak regardless.
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    I Am Teh Lolrus stealth_swimmer's Avatar
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    Originally Posted by mikil100 View Post
    I'm fairly certain the general consensus is to get a good bench in you need to bring your elbows in, below the nipple-line, not up towards your neck. Unless I'm misunderstanding you.
    Some folks can do the bench by the neck thing. I feel it hits the shoulders more (but it also emphasizes the upper chest some more). As for the shoulder blade thing, you pull them back on the negative of the lift. It's natural that they won't stay in that exact position during the concentric part of the lift because the function of the pecs is to pull the shoulder blades apart(hence why some folks like supersetting back and chest - while one is contracting, the other is stretching)

    edit - well, supersetting presses with rows anyways, lol
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    Originally Posted by stealth_swimmer View Post
    Some folks can do the bench by the neck thing. I feel it hits the shoulders more (but it also emphasizes the upper chest some more). As for the shoulder blade thing, you pull them back on the negative of the lift. It's natural that they won't stay in that exact position during the concentric part of the lift because the function of the pecs is to pull the shoulder blades apart(hence why some folks like supersetting back and chest - while one is contracting, the other is stretching)

    edit - well, supersetting presses with rows anyways, lol

    Yeah, it seems impossible to be pushing the weight up and have the shoulder blades pinched.. but repinching them on the way down every rep.. that seems a bit, hard?
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  18. #18
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    Originally Posted by mikil100 View Post
    Yeah, it seems impossible to be pushing the weight up and have the shoulder blades pinched.. but repinching them on the way down every rep.. that seems a bit, hard?
    It's not impossible, it's just very hard and weird to get used to. Instead of thinking shoulderblades back I think "chest out". Try to 'pop' your chest out as much as possible and you'll realize the only way is to place the shoulders back.

    Hulkinout is suggesting a guillotine press which is proven to give the best chest activation of any exercise by far but it places ridiculous amounts of stress on your shoulders. Try it with lighter weight and you'll see.
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    I Am Teh Lolrus stealth_swimmer's Avatar
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    Originally Posted by scarboro View Post
    It's not impossible, it's just very hard and weird to get used to. Instead of thinking shoulderblades back I think "chest out". Try to 'pop' your chest out as much as possible and you'll realize the only way is to place the shoulders back.

    Hulkinout is suggesting a guillotine press which is proven to give the best chest activation of any exercise by far but it places ridiculous amounts of stress on your shoulders. Try it with lighter weight and you'll see.
    ^^^What he said
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    The guillotine press (bench press to neck) is very hard on your shoulders. Does it work for everyone? For some, yes, it does, but it places too much stress on the weakest part of your delt complex and there are other, safer exercises to hit the upper pec region. Not worth it, IMHO...
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    Wow. This is funny. I've been benching with pinched shoulders and arched back since I started 7 months ago. Didn't realize until today's workout is to keep my shoulder blades inside the bench. Keeping them inside the bench is really hard but you can put them back in position on the negatives. Basically try to pull the bar apart and try to spread your pecs. Pushing the bar up is never been so "easier" and more stable that I added 10lbs on my bench by doing this. It felt like that it took out the shoulder involvement.I think I just solved the biggest mystery why I suck at benching. haha.
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    Originally Posted by scarboro View Post
    It's not impossible, it's just very hard and weird to get used to. Instead of thinking shoulderblades back I think "chest out". Try to 'pop' your chest out as much as possible and you'll realize the only way is to place the shoulders back.

    Hulkinout is suggesting a guillotine press which is proven to give the best chest activation of any exercise by far but it places ridiculous amounts of stress on your shoulders. Try it with lighter weight and you'll see.
    I'm not disregarding what he said, it seems to be a relatively popular lift, I know it's not for me because I already have shoulder problems. However, how does it actually hit the chest more if it has more shoulder activation as well? Just seems odd.

    I will continue to pinch my back, hopefully it works better with practice.
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    It's to prevent you from pushing your shoulders forward at the top of the movement. It's not so important that you exaggerate that you pinch the shoulders together, but that you keep your shoulders down. That requires activation of the upper back, thus the shoulder pinch.
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