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  1. #1
    I need about tree fiddy davisj3537's Avatar
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    Quit doing your own bench liftoffs!!!

    I've been in and out of numerous ortho offices the past 6 months trying to rehab a myriad of shoulder issues. A posterior labral tear being the root issue. I was unsure of the exact cause of the tear until I saw a surgeon that really understood bench form and how it relates to shoulder health. I learned more in 10 minutes than I did with all the previous ortho "specialists" combined.

    He explained how doing your own liftoff for bench can significantly increase your risk of a posterior labrum tear. The rack is far enough behind your "groove" (where the bar is during an actual press) that it is fairly rough on your shoulders.

    I used to think getting a liftoff was stupid. I had the mindset that if I can bench it then I can lift it off by myself. I was in the habit of lifting off anywhere from 350-425 on a weekly basis. I'm certainly paying for my ignorance now. I'll be having surgery in a week or so and the rehab is 6 months:/

    Obviously with lighter weights this isn't nearly the issue it is with heavy weights, but it isn't something to mess around with. I won't be doing it again and hopefully this will help to prevent some labrum tears in people reading this.

    How can this be avoided if you don’t have a training partner?

    1. Setup higher on the bench. Many people advise to setup with your eyes under the bar (really low.) If you setup with your chin under the bar you’ll drastically reduce the risk of injury. This will take some guess and check on your part. You’ll want to setup as high on the bench as possible but low enough that you don’t hit the rack on the way up.

    2. Using your legs to lift your butt as high as you can during liftoff. This rotates your upper body and slightly changes the directional forces on your shoulder. As you bring the weight over your chest you should lower your butt back to the bench. A combination of 1 & 2 is probably enough for most people to avoid injury.

    3. Floor pressing from the bottom position. With safety bars set at the right height you can load the bar up on them, slide under, arch and then bench without getting a liftoff at all.

    4. Use a monolift to bench.
    Last edited by davisj3537; 04-12-2015 at 12:24 PM.
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  2. #2
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    Agree, to some extent though I feel this is more dangerous with incline bench press. I don't know whether it's just the way the ones I use are set-up but the lift-off is difficult because of the distance you have to reach back. The angle of the lift-off for the Incline has always been a concern of mine and to the best of my ability, I will always have a spotter. As for flat bench, I don't feel like the distance or the pressure on the shoulder joint is too troublesome to warrant a spotter though I will agree that should you be lifting extremely heavy, it'd be a good idea. I never work with my bench press to such weights where I don't feel comfortable in lifting it off myself, but that's just my view.


    I'm sorry to hear about your shoulder issues, hope they sort you out soon enough.
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    Registered User magician27's Avatar
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    i hate unracking when i train heavy too . always there is a risk of snapcity. especially if you have short arms like me. i put the pins to lowest hole but still its quite some work . while shifting that heavy weight forward i never feel safe
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    Registered User KDG730's Avatar
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    Good looks. I always feel like I'm snapping some **** up when I un-rack a Seated Military Press too cause its like behind my shoulders. Its very awkward
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    Sucks about your surgery, hope it all goes well. personally I have stopped flat benching about 2 months ago because it was just hurting my left shoulder way to much, strictly doing DB bench and the shoulder is no longer hurting when I bench.
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    I need about tree fiddy davisj3537's Avatar
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    Well like I said it is just poor angle for your shoulder; probably much more so with incline (something I never do.), I'm glad you guys brought that up. I never felt uneasy or unsafe lifting off, I just didn't realize the kind of damage those heavy liftoffs were doing to me. Once you notice you have a problem it is too late...well at least it was for me.
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    you could move higher up on the bench

    on incline press you could move the seat up
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    Just trying to make it. Kcabo's Avatar
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    Originally Posted by mmafighter1294 View Post
    you could move higher up on the bench

    on incline press you could move the seat up
    Bar path can become an issue then, IMO.

    Or you could get a lift-off.

    Personally, I rarely lift off my own working sets for flat bench, I'll typically only lift-off my warm-up sets, which can be somewhat concerning since they're getting relatively heavy at this point as well.

    I actually aggravated my shoulder a bit lifting-off an incline set a few weeks ago (I used to lift these off myself). Since then I've moved towards incorporating more incline DB work so I don't have to.

    The only problem is that I find not everyone at the gym is competent enough to give a solid lift off. Then you have some people that touch the bar every rep too. Just gotta find the regulars and instruct them on exactly what you're looking for.

    Stay safe.
    Last edited by Kcabo; 03-20-2014 at 11:05 PM.
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  9. #9
    I need about tree fiddy davisj3537's Avatar
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    Originally Posted by Kcabo View Post
    The only problem is that I find not everyone at the gym is competent enough to give a solid lift off.
    This was my issue. When some turd only lifts off 50lbs, I might as well as had my GF do it instead, cuz she is better than that half azz $hit!
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  10. #10
    Registered User k9pit's Avatar
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    Depends on the bench. The benches at my local golds gym have the lift off bar hooks set lower than any where I've ever trained. When I started lifting I started at golds. I always had shoulder issues. I have long arms and in order to lift off, I'd basically have press up a bit, then bring the bar forward for the lift off. That press up is from a bad angle and puts a weird torque on my shoulder.

    After getting my shoulders back healthy I trained at other gyms with benches that have higher lift off hooks on their benches and never had issues. I was at golds a few months ago with a friend and benched. Never again. Even with a warmup with only 1 and a quarter plates on the bar, that low lift off does a number on my shoulders and feels awkward as hell. I got this pain that radiated from my upper trap, shoulder, down to my forearm.
    Last edited by k9pit; 03-21-2014 at 04:35 AM.
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  11. #11
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    Originally Posted by KENKONG View Post
    not an option for home lifters
    Concentric bench/floor press.
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    This is why I'm still all about dumbbell fly and shoulder press.

    I suppose DB benching could be a suitable way to avoid the issue as well.

    Then again, neither of those solutions will work for anybody who wants to do any kind of powerlifting.
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  13. #13
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    Interesting post. I noticed that after a bunch of sets of incline db bench, sometimes when I go to flat bb bench and push to unrack I get a small pain in what I thought was my rear delt. I dont have a gym partner though. And it is with light weight, 185.

    The problem with dbs too though is it is still stressful on the shoulders getting into position. Even using methods in online vids like kicking up one at a time or rolling them back is still very difficult for me when I hit my 5 rep set.
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    It's food for thought. I don't bench real heavy, so it's probably not much of an issue for me. but at real weight, I can see it being an issue.
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    Originally Posted by KENKONG View Post
    not an option for home lifters
    I've been thinking that if you're using a power rack it might be possible to put the pins low and set up further under the bar to reduce stress, with your upper chest or shoulders under the pins. Might be weird to get used to at first but it's a much more manageable lever than reaching back over your forehead.
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    Originally Posted by davisj3537 View Post
    I've been in and out of numerous ortho offices the past 6 months trying to rehab a myriad of shoulder issues. A posterior labral tear being the root issue. I was unsure of the exact cause of the tear until I saw a surgeon that really understood bench form and how it relates to shoulder health. I learned more in 10 minutes than I did with all the previous ortho "specialists" combined.

    He explained how doing your own liftoff for bench can significantly increase your risk of a posterior labrum tear. The rack is far enough behind your "groove" (where the bar is during an actual press) that it is fairly rough on your shoulders.

    I used to think getting a liftoff was stupid. I had the mindset that if I can bench it then I can lift it off by myself. I was in the habit of lifting off anywhere from 350-425 on a weekly basis. I'm certainly paying for my ignorance now. I'll be having surgery in a week or so and the rehab is 6 months:/

    Obviously with lighter weights this isn't nearly the issue it is with heavy weights, but it isn't something to mess around with. I won't be doing it again and hopefully this will help to prevent some labrum tears in people reading this.
    That's why I always get a lift-off with my working sets. Even when it's easy stuff like just a few reps with 225, I ask for a lift-off, but I say, "Yeah, I just need a lift-off because I don't like unracking."
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    Originally Posted by unstrong View Post
    I've been thinking that if you're using a power rack it might be possible to put the pins low and set up further under the bar to reduce stress, with your upper chest or shoulders under the pins. Might be weird to get used to at first but it's a much more manageable lever than reaching back over your forehead.
    One of the reasons why I loathe horizontal pressing. I move my body towards the bar so it's directly over my shoulders. This prevents shoulder stress but then I always slam the bar against the pegs/J hooks on the way up. This is why I'm going to do bottom position presses from now on. Thanks, Davis.
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    If there is a pending shoulder issue developing, then back off.

    It's not a crime to reduce the weight and save your shoulder's long term health.
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    Originally Posted by Rayzor84 View Post

    The problem with dbs too though is it is still stressful on the shoulders getting into position. Even using methods in online vids like kicking up one at a time or rolling them back is still very difficult for me when I hit my 5 rep set.
    Set Dbs on upper thighs, lay back, slide Dbs to chest, rotate, press.

    This is how I do my flat bench, even with my top sets of 75-85s
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    I need about tree fiddy davisj3537's Avatar
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    All good posts really. I'm uncertain about my future in terms of competitive weight lifting, but I know "fur sure" that I'll be doing a lot more bottom up pressing like floor presses and DB presses. That and dips, cuz dips are the shiz. I say that, but when I started doing more dips instead of heavy pressing my shirted max dropped roughly 50lbs last time...

    I almost forgot to mention yesterday that catching and popping in your joints is a tell tale sign of a labrum issue. My hip does that when I do fire hydrants warming up...fuark me. It doesn't hurt at all. I'm gonna start hip labrum rehab exercises. Just seems like a good idea. I say "popping", but it doesn't make any noise. You get the idea.
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    For Incline Bench I have a spotter on anything over 135 because it just puts excess strain on my shoulders at liftoff. For flat bench I do sit further back on the bench, and liftoff isn't bad....but because of that occasionally I will get screwed over and hit the pegs at the top which can kill a set. On true 1-3 rep maxes I'll take a spot but not always a liftoff, but I am reconsidering this.
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    I completely understand why this was moved, but it is a shame since it won't reach 1/10 of the people in this section. If I didn't think it was something overlooked by a decent number of people I wouldn't have posted at all. Then again, maybe I'm just blowing it out of proportion.

    On another note, I'm glad to see nutrition at the top of the forum now. It is so deserving of it.
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    OP, i find it kind of curious that bench lift offs bother your shoulder but dips dont. most people with shoulder issues avoid dips like the plague.
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    Originally Posted by mmafighter1294 View Post
    OP, i find it kind of curious that bench lift offs bother your shoulder but dips dont. most people with shoulder issues avoid dips like the plague.
    If I could draw worth a $hit it would help a lot in explaining why. The tear is in the lower back portion of the joint. Imagine doing a liftoff and think about the angle your arm is pointed. The weight pushes the bone into the back of the joint at that angle. Since dips push the bone up and back it doesn't affect where my tear is. Does that make sense?
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    Originally Posted by davisj3537 View Post
    I've been in and out of numerous ortho offices the past 6 months trying to rehab a myriad of shoulder issues. A posterior labral tear being the root issue. I was unsure of the exact cause of the tear until I saw a surgeon that really understood bench form and how it relates to shoulder health. I learned more in 10 minutes than I did with all the previous ortho "specialists" combined.

    He explained how doing your own liftoff for bench can significantly increase your risk of a posterior labrum tear. The rack is far enough behind your "groove" (where the bar is during an actual press) that it is fairly rough on your shoulders.

    I used to think getting a liftoff was stupid. I had the mindset that if I can bench it then I can lift it off by myself. I was in the habit of lifting off anywhere from 350-425 on a weekly basis. I'm certainly paying for my ignorance now. I'll be having surgery in a week or so and the rehab is 6 months:/

    Obviously with lighter weights this isn't nearly the issue it is with heavy weights, but it isn't something to mess around with. I won't be doing it again and hopefully this will help to prevent some labrum tears in people reading this.
    Nice post man, I didn't know this. I suffered a posterior labrum tear in Nov '12 and got surgery on it 14 months ago. I tore it in a hockey game though form subluxing it (I definitely blame lifting for it 50% at least though lol) used to use smith machine for everthing, poor form, heavy overhead exercises, muscular imbalances, etc. (was extremely ignorant lol). So yeah good luck with the surgery man the best advice I can give you is to take the rehab very seriously and be patient (something I'm not). This is your best chances of getting to 100%, took me over a year before I finally felt "normal" even though the recovery is 4-6 months don't worry if you're not feeling perfect after that time, it was something that stressed me out all the time lol.

    Anyway I'm 100% now, except for the gross clicking and cracking lol I'm pain free though. I normally train 5x5 when it comes to benching and never get a lift off or spot, good post my man.
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    Very good info folks. I just re-injured both shoulders going heavy on the flat bench. Popped both bicep tendons out of the groove and a major strain. Back in 09 I had a minor labrum tear that kept me away from the weights for a year so I'm trying to figure out if it's my form, not enough stretching and warm up, or if a 50 year old should just stay under 225. Sounds like having some help with the lift off might reduce the strain.
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    Originally Posted by DirtyRod View Post
    Very good info folks. I just re-injured both shoulders going heavy on the flat bench. Popped both bicep tendons out of the groove and a major strain. Back in 09 I had a minor labrum tear that kept me away from the weights for a year so I'm trying to figure out if it's my form, not enough stretching and warm up, or if a 50 year old should just stay under 225. Sounds like having some help with the lift off might reduce the strain.
    Tucking elbows, getting liftoffs and lifting lighter would all help. You'll just have to find out which of them is an issue for you. Good luck to ya man.
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    Updating this with some photos from surgery.

    Edit: I just realized this is a sticky. I'm gonna beef this thread up with some editing tomorrow.
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    Originally Posted by Spanishdream View Post
    Agree, to some extent though I feel this is more dangerous with incline bench press. I don't know whether it's just the way the ones I use are set-up but the lift-off is difficult because of the distance you have to reach back. The angle of the lift-off for the Incline has always been a concern of mine and to the best of my ability
    This...

    2 weeks ago I injured my shoulder when unracking the bar on the incline bench, 110 KG which is a heavy weight for me..
    I heard a cracking sound and felt slight pain.. and continued my set of 5 reps..
    I went home and the pain kept increasing through the day..
    next day i couldn't move my shoulder, and the day after that.... then i started to regain range of motion... i'd say 95% now
    i rested for a week, and went back to the Gym... doing squats,deads,rows,facepulls,crunches... no trouble...
    I'm afraid to do any pressing though... because i still have pain on certain ranges of motion..

    anyone know if this is serious ? it couldn't be a tear, could it ?

    thanks in advance
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