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Understanding Front Shoulder Pain During Bench Press: Causes and Solutions

Understanding Front Shoulder Pain During Bench Press Causes and Solutions

The bench press is a staple exercise in many strength training routines, targeting the chest, shoulders, and triceps. However, experiencing pain in the front of the shoulder during bench press can be a common and concerning issue for many lifters. In this blog post, we’ll explore the potential causes of front shoulder pain during bench press and discuss strategies to address and prevent it.

Incorrect Form

Improper bench press form is a common culprit behind front shoulder pain. When lifting with incorrect technique, such as flaring the elbows too wide or allowing the shoulders to roll forward, the front delts (anterior deltoids) bear excessive stress, leading to discomfort and potential injury.

When the elbows flare out excessively during the bench press, the angle between the upper arm and the torso decreases. This places more strain on the front delts, which are responsible for shoulder flexion. Additionally, allowing the shoulders to roll forward increases the risk of impingement and places undue stress on the rotator cuff muscles.


To address incorrect form, focus on the following:

– Keep the elbows tucked at a 45-degree angle relative to the torso.

– Retract the shoulder blades (squeeze them together) throughout the movement.

– Maintain a slight arch in the lower back to stabilize the spine.

By adhering to proper form cues, you can shift the emphasis away from the front delts and distribute the workload more evenly across the chest, shoulders, and triceps.

Shoulder Impingement

Shoulder Impingement

Shoulder impingement occurs when the tendons of the rotator cuff become compressed or pinched between the bones of the shoulder joint, resulting in pain and inflammation. Bench pressing with improper form or excessive weight can exacerbate this condition, leading to front shoulder pain.

Shoulder impingement can occur during the bench press if the humerus (upper arm bone) is not properly aligned within the shoulder socket. This misalignment can lead to compression of the rotator cuff tendons, particularly the supraspinatus tendon, as the arm moves overhead.


To alleviate shoulder impingement and reduce front shoulder pain:

– Avoid excessive weights that compromise form and exacerbate impingement.

– Incorporate exercises to strengthen the rotator cuff muscles, such as external rotations and scapular stabilization drills.

– Focus on maintaining proper scapulohumeral rhythm (the coordinated movement between the shoulder blade and upper arm) throughout the bench press movement.

Strengthening the rotator cuff muscles and promoting proper shoulder mechanics can help mitigate impingement and alleviate associated pain.

Muscle Imbalances

Muscle imbalances between the chest and shoulder muscles can contribute to front shoulder pain during bench press. Overdevelopment of the chest muscles relative to the shoulders can result in excessive strain on the front of the shoulder joint.

Muscle imbalances can develop over time due to a lack of balanced training or improper exercise selection. When the chest muscles overpower the shoulders, the front delts may become overworked and fatigued, leading to pain and discomfort during pressing movements like the bench press.


To address muscle imbalances and prevent front shoulder pain:

– Incorporate exercises that target the posterior deltoids and upper back muscles to balance out chest development.

– Focus on rowing variations, face pulls, and rear delt flyes to strengthen the muscles of the upper back and shoulders.

– Ensure that your training program includes a balanced mix of pushing and pulling exercises to promote overall shoulder health and function.

By addressing muscle imbalances and strengthening the muscles of the upper back and shoulders, you can alleviate strain on the front delts and reduce the likelihood of front shoulder pain during bench press.


Front shoulder pain during bench press can be a multifaceted issue, often stemming from incorrect form, shoulder impingement, muscle imbalances, or a combination of these factors. By understanding the underlying causes and implementing targeted solutions, you can alleviate discomfort, reduce the risk of injury, and optimize your bench press performance. Remember to prioritize proper form, gradually progress your training intensity, and listen to your body’s signals to ensure safe and effective workouts. If persistent pain persists despite corrective measures, consult with a qualified healthcare professional for further evaluation and guidance. With patience, diligence, and strategic intervention, you can overcome front shoulder pain and continue to pursue your strength and fitness goals with confidence.

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