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How to Fix Shoulder Pain During Bench Press: Know the Strategy

To address shoulder pain during bench pressing, focus on proper form and technique, ensuring your shoulder blades are retracted and depressed.

Strengthen supporting muscles, including the rotator cuff and upper back, to enhance stability. Consider alternative exercises like dumbbell presses or machine presses. 

Prioritize warm-up and cool-down routines, and if pain persists, consult a fitness professional or healthcare provider to identify and remedy the issue effectively.

In this guide, we will discuss the various reasons behind shoulder pain during bench pressing and provide actionable strategies to fix and prevent this issue. 

Why Does the Shoulder Pain Occur while Bench Pressing?

Why Does the Shoulder Pain Occur while Bench Pressing?

Over time, you may feel a bench press in the shoulder, right? Shoulder pain during bench pressing can occur for various reasons, often stemming from improper form, underlying shoulder issues, or muscle imbalances. 

Some common reasons for shoulder pain during bench pressing include:

Incorrect Form

Poor bench press form is a leading cause of shoulder pain. If your shoulders are not properly positioned and stabilized, excess stress can be placed on the shoulder joint. 

Make sure you have a proper setup with your shoulder blades retracted and depressed, and your feet planted firmly on the ground.

Lack of Warm-Up

Not properly warming up the shoulder muscles before engaging in heavy bench pressing can lead to discomfort or pain. 

Warming up helps increase blood flow to the muscles, improve joint mobility, and reduce the risk of injury.

Muscle Imbalances

Imbalances between the chest, shoulder, and back muscles can lead to improper movement patterns during bench pressing, causing strain on the shoulder joint. 

It’s important to have a balanced workout routine that targets all major muscle groups.

Rotator Cuff Weakness or Injury

The rotator cuff muscles help stabilize the shoulder joint. 

If these muscles are weak or injured, they may not provide adequate support during the bench press, leading to pain.

Overtraining or Overuse

Excessive bench pressing without proper rest and recovery can lead to overuse injuries. Muscles and joints need time to recover between intense workouts.

Shoulder Impingement

This occurs when the space between the acromion (part of the shoulder blade) and the humerus (upper arm bone) narrows, causing the rotator cuff tendons to become compressed. 

Bench pressing with poor form can exacerbate shoulder impingement.

Inadequate Mobility

Limited shoulder mobility can contribute to pain during bench pressing. If you have a restricted range of motion in your shoulders, the exercise can place extra stress on the joint.

Inflammation or Tendonitis

Inflammation of the tendons around the shoulder joint, known as tendonitis, can cause pain during bench pressing. 

This could be due to repetitive stress or improper technique.

This Is How You Can Handle Shoulder Pain during Bench Press

Handle Shoulder Pain during Bench Press

Assess and Identify the Cause: Start by identifying the specific cause of your shoulder pain. Is it due to poor form, muscle imbalances, an underlying injury, or something else? Understanding the root cause will help you address it more effectively.

Correct Your Form

Ensure your bench press form is correct. This includes retracting and depressing your shoulder blades, maintaining a natural arch in your lower back, and having a proper grip width. If you’re unsure, consider seeking guidance from a knowledgeable fitness trainer.

Warm-Up Properly

Prioritize a thorough warm-up before any workout. Incorporate dynamic stretches and movements that target your shoulders, chest, and upper back to increase blood flow and improve joint mobility.

Strengthen Weak Muscles

Address any muscle imbalances by incorporating exercises that target the rotator cuff muscles and the muscles of the upper back, such as face pulls, band pull-aparts, and external rotations.

Modify Your Grip

Adjust your grip width when necessary. A wider grip can sometimes alleviate shoulder discomfort by reducing the stress on the shoulder joint.

Reduce Weight and Volume

Temporarily reduce the weight you’re lifting and the overall volume (sets and reps) to give your shoulders a chance to recover. Focus on maintaining good form with lighter weights.

Incorporate Mobility Exercises

Work on improving shoulder mobility through stretches and exercises that focus on increasing the range of motion in the shoulder joint. This can help prevent impingement and discomfort.

Rest and Recovery

Allow adequate time for rest and recovery between bench press sessions. Overtraining can exacerbate shoulder pain, so prioritize proper recovery.

Ice and Anti-Inflammatory Measures

Applying ice to the affected area after your workout can reduce swelling if there is inflammation. In addition, over-the-counter anti-inflammatory medications might provide short-term relief, but consult a healthcare professional before taking any medication.

Consult a Professional

For severe shoulder pain, it’s best to consider seeking advice from a healthcare professional or a qualified physical therapist. 

They can assess your condition, provide specific recommendations, and potentially design a tailored rehabilitation program.

Explore Alternatives

Consider incorporating alternative chest exercises that do not aggravate your shoulder if bench pressing still causes you pain. For example, dumbbell presses, incline presses, or machine presses might be more comfortable.

Gradual Return to Bench Press

Once your shoulder pain has subsided and you’ve addressed the underlying issues, gradually reintroduce bench pressing.

Start with lighter weights and focus on maintaining proper form and technique.

Tips for Fixing Post-Workout Shoulder Pain

Experiencing post-workout sharp shoulder pain when bench pressing can be concerning, but there are several steps you can take to alleviate and prevent it in the future. 

Here are some tips to help you address and fix post-workout shoulder pain:

Rest and Recovery

Give your shoulders adequate time to recover after a workout. Overtraining and insufficient rest can contribute to muscle soreness and discomfort.

Ice and Heat Therapy

Apply ice to the sore area for about 15-20 minutes after your workout to help reduce inflammation. After the first 48 hours, you can use heat to relax tense muscles and promote blood flow.

Gentle Stretches

Perform gentle stretches to improve shoulder flexibility and relieve muscle tension. Focus on stretches that target the chest, shoulders, and upper back.

Foam Rolling

Use a foam roller to gently release tension in the muscles around the shoulders and upper back. Be cautious not to roll directly over any painful areas.

Massage or Myofascial Release

Consider getting a massage or using self-massage tools to help release knots and tension in the shoulder muscles.

Anti-Inflammatory Measures

If the pain is caused by inflammation, you can take over-the-counter anti-inflammatory medications (like ibuprofen) as directed, but consult a healthcare professional first.

Proper Nutrition and Hydration

Adequate hydration and a balanced diet rich in nutrients can aid in muscle recovery and reduce muscle soreness.

Review Your Workout Routine

Assess your workout routine to ensure you’re not overloading your shoulders with too much volume or weight. 

Gradually increase the intensity and volume of your exercises to prevent excessive strain.

Focus on Technique

Ensure that your exercise form is correct to minimize unnecessary stress on the shoulder joints. Incorrect forms can contribute to post-workout pain.

Warm-Up and Cool-Down

Prioritize a thorough warm-up before exercising to increase blood flow to the muscles and prepare them for the workout. 

Similarly, cool down after your workout with gentle stretches to aid in recovery.

Address Muscle Imbalances

Work on strengthening the muscles that support the shoulder joint and correcting any muscle imbalances. Strengthening the rotator cuff and upper back muscles can provide better stability and reduce strain on the shoulders.

Consider Alternative Exercises

When shoulder pain persists during the bench press, it’s a good idea to consider alternative exercises that reduce stress on the shoulders while still targeting the chest muscles. 

Can Fixing Shoulder Pain During Bench Press Improve the Benefits for Females?

Can fixing shoulder pain during bench press improve the benefits of bench press for females? Shoulder pain can be a common issue for females during bench press exercises. However, addressing and correcting shoulder pain can lead to various benefits of bench press for females. By relieving pain, females can perform bench presses more comfortably, leading to better form, increased strength, and enhanced muscle development. Proper technique can also prevent injuries and promote long-term progress in their fitness journey. Thus, fixing shoulder pain during bench press can undoubtedly improve the benefits of bench press for females.


Q1: How Long Does Shoulder Pain From Bench Press Last?

The duration of shoulder pain from bench pressing varies based on the cause and severity of the issue. 
Minor discomfort might last a few days, while more significant issues could persist for weeks. If the pain is persistent or worsening, seek professional guidance for accurate diagnosis and treatment.

Q2: Why Does Your Front Shoulder Hurt When You Bench Press?

Front shoulder pain during bench pressing can result from improper form, excessive load, or muscle imbalances. 
It might also be due to shoulder impingement, where tendons become compressed. Addressing form, strengthening supporting muscles, and consulting a professional can help manage and prevent this pain.

Q3: Why Do Shoulder Pain When Benching But Not Pressing?

Shoulder pain during bench pressing but not during overhead pressing could stem from different muscle engagement and mechanics. 
Bench pressing might involve more chest and front shoulder activation, while overhead pressing could engage different muscle groups. 
Improving bench press form, addressing muscle imbalances, and consulting experts can help differentiate and manage these issues.

Q4: How Do You Relieve Front Shoulder Pain?

To alleviate front shoulder pain, try gentle stretches that target the front deltoids and chest muscles. 
Apply ice for 15-20 minutes to reduce inflammation. Modify or avoid exercises that exacerbate the pain. For a proper diagnosis and treatment plan, consult a healthcare professional.


Addressing shoulder pain during bench pressing is essential for a safe and effective workout routine. 

By understanding the root causes of the pain, you can implement targeted strategies to alleviate discomfort and prevent future injuries.

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About Ben Adler

I'm Ben, a passionate fitness enthusiast on a mission to help you achieve your fitness goals. With a love for lifting and building a well-rounded physique, I founded Swole Class to provide beginners with the guidance and knowledge they need to navigate the gym and embrace a healthier lifestyle. Join me on this journey as we unlock our potential and inspire greatness together. Learn more about me

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