Bench Press

Discussion in 'Health & Fitness' started by FastFreddy, Aug 25, 2008.

  1. x5150

    x5150 Rookie

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    Is dumbbell bench better in regards to safety, even muscle development, shoulder injury? I barbell bench'd 295 back in the day but it always seemed to hurt my left shoulder. So I just did dumbbell bench all the time, last rep at 120lbs on each side.

    Now I can barely do 45 lbs on the dumbbell bench cuz my left shoulder is hurts. It doesn't effect my tennis at all though. My chiropractor said to get mri, but I don't got $400 to burn and don't know if there's some other cheaper route I can go. Is there?
     
    #51
  2. heycal

    heycal Hall of Fame

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    Thanks. Wonder how many years I got until I may need one...

    As for lifting, it seems like every other poster in this thread has some sort of lifting-related shoulder problem. That's kind of scary. What is that telling us?
     
    #52
  3. Rickson

    Rickson G.O.A.T.

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    Remember the old doctor joke? Doc, it hurts when I do this and doc says, don't do that. Well that old joke holds a lot of truth when it comes to weight lifting. If your shoulder hurts when you bench press, whether it be the barbell or dumbbells, then don't do that. You can either stay away from that particular exercise until you heal properly or you can go lighter. I choose to do the latter so I find a weight that gives me zero pain and I'm off to the races. Pain is an indicator of something not being right, not a sign that you should fight through it. I used the no pain on weights strategy when my right shoulder was injured from serving and in a few weeks, I was dumbbell pressing at almost 100% pain free. I was using very light dumbbells on shoulder presses (25 lbs.), which is a far cry from my normal 65-80 lb. DB shoulder presses, but any dumbbell over 30 would cause this pinch in my right shoulder. Remember, lighten the load until you feel no pain at all or stay away from the exercise altogether.
     
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  4. chess9

    chess9 Hall of Fame

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    As Rickson noted, dumbbell press maxes are about 70-80% of your barbell press. Generally, they are better for building strength and mass, IMHO, because they activate more muscle fibers and work the smaller stabilizer muscles.

    Given the large disparity between your max bench and current bench with left arm, I'd guess you have an injury of some sort. You should consult a doctor, if you can afford it. Otherwise, vote for Obama. ;)

    -Robert
     
    #54
  5. chess9

    chess9 Hall of Fame

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    I had the same problem last year. I was barbell pressing 120 lbs, max. for a few months because of shoulder impingement near the bottom. I layed off for a few months and am now fine.

    -Robert
     
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  6. Rickson

    Rickson G.O.A.T.

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    Good for you, Robert! I'm glad to hear it and you know that you have another option. The zero pain workout is a combination of a workout and rehab so don't feel like you're not getting a true workout just because you're doing 1/3 of your usual weight, take it as a way to strengthen and rehabilitate that injured body part.
     
    #56
  7. chess9

    chess9 Hall of Fame

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    Lifting is mostly safe, Cal. Honestly. Even when I was lifting really heavy when I was younger I was rarely injured. (Got tendinitis in my left elbow a few times.) But, once you start doing MAX lifts, you are in danger of getting an injury. Which is why I don't do them at my age.

    If you stay fit, eat right, and have some luck, you shouldn't need T replacement therapy for awhile. :) Oh, and by 'luck', you know what I mean? ;)

    -Robert
     
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  8. chess9

    chess9 Hall of Fame

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    Absolutely! I never lift through pain. I differentiate pain from strain. :)

    -Robert
     
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  9. heycal

    heycal Hall of Fame

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    Good one!

    This seems pretty obvious to me. But then, I've ignored this advice on the tennis court, so who am I to judge?

    You got WHAT? Why, that's practically tennis elbow!

    I actually think years of picking up dumbbells and getting them into proper position to lift contributed big time to me developing TE when I started playing tennis regularly.


    Maybe I'll stay somewhat fit, but I'll probably never eat right.

    I actually don't know what you mean by have some "luck". Context suggests some sort of sexual connotation, but I can't put it all together.:confused:
     
    #59
  10. heycal

    heycal Hall of Fame

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    I know you hardcore lifters frown on most machines compared to BB's and DB's, but what do you think of this "Super Squat" machine that my gym has? Is it a safe and semi-reasonably effective substitution for free weight squats for us non-hard core types? (You can stand forwards or backwards in this one.)

    [​IMG]
     
    #60
  11. chess9

    chess9 Hall of Fame

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    Free squatting has some of the same advantages of using dumbbells, but the Smith Machine and their ilk are safer alternatives. Just do it!

    -Robert
     
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  12. heycal

    heycal Hall of Fame

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    But what of the machine I pointed out? What do we think of that one?
     
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  13. tbini87

    tbini87 Hall of Fame

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    i could put up 185 when i was weighing 155 as a senior in high school. haven't done too much power lifting or maxing since...
     
    #63
  14. Say Chi Sin Lo

    Say Chi Sin Lo Legend

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    I was told by my PT that when benching (bar or bells), I shouldn't bring my elbows behind my back. The proper form is to lower my arms so that my bent elbows line up with my back, and then explode upward.

    Any comments on that?

    I see a lot of people bouncing the bar off their chest or, ever so slightly lower the bar and call that a rep.
     
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  15. SlapShot

    SlapShot Hall of Fame

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    My best bench was a 245 max in college, with a bodyweight of 175. Now, I'm closer to 180 and am doing reps at 145-150. I have a tender shoulder, so I've cut the barbell bench and have gone to dumbell bench with 45-50 lb weights. Anything more, and I'm sore in my right shoulder.

    I agree 100% that lifting properly is very safe for most people, and actually can help to prevent injury. It's when you try and lift too heavy or too often than you can injure yourself.
     
    #65
  16. dcottrill

    dcottrill Rookie

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    Actually, I just pulled the 98th percentile figure out of the air. But, from personal observation at the gym, at the tennis courts, and on the street, I'd be willing to bet that only a very small percentage of men over the age of 60 can bench press their own body weight. There are exceptions, of course, but I suspect that they are few and far between. Anyway, your question prompted me to do some research.

    http://www.lifestyleschanges.com/onerep.html


    So, if an 89% of body weight one max rep bench press gets a 60+ year old into the 90th percentile, I bet your 106% (180 bench divided by 170 body weight) for reps would get you close to the 98th percentile.

    As I said before, pretty impressive.
     
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  17. Rickson

    Rickson G.O.A.T.

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    I've done pretty close to double my bodyweight. I was in the 180s with a 345 lb. flat bench press. All the other guys in the gym who could press 3 plates and up were all over 200 lbs..
     
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  18. cncretecwbo

    cncretecwbo Semi-Pro

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    can you back that up? as long as it feels fine, id say go all the way. your bench wont be as great, but the overall strength an flexibility will be as good or better imo

    whys that?
     
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  19. Sleepstream

    Sleepstream Semi-Pro

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    I avoid the barbell bench press. It aggravates my shoulders more than any other exercise.

    Upright rows, dips, anything else that supposedly is bad for the shoulders, all of those are fine. I haven't tried to figure out why, but it's not an important exercise to me, so I'm fine to exclude it from my routine.
     
    #69
  20. dcottrill

    dcottrill Rookie

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    If you were benching 2x your body weight, then you were in a pretty elite group. Probably a combination of good genetics and really hard work.

    This reminds me...I was at the Arnold Classic a couple of years ago, and while strolling through the trade show, came across a display where you could sign a waiver and take a crack at benching 225 pounds. There was this one guy who must have cranked out 20 or 25 reps. But, he was about 5' 6" tall and had the shortest arms I have ever seen. When he benched, the bar probably didn't move more than six inches. Not to take anything away from the guy, 'cause I couldn't bench 225 once, let alone 25 times. Still, I don't know if I could call the guy an athlete. Later, I saw him walking past the Marines booth. They had a pull-up bar and were giving guys the chance to crank out a few reps. Our bench pressing friend wouldn't go near it. I bet watching him try to do pull-ups would have been ugly.

    Anyway, I think the bench press is one (but only one) good measure of an athlete's strength. Personally, I'd rather be a good decathlete than hold the world bench pressing record. But...to each his own. :)
     
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  21. Rickson

    Rickson G.O.A.T.

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    It sounds like the guy was doing partial reps. Maybe his partial reps gave him the illusion of having super short arms.
     
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  22. FastFreddy

    FastFreddy Semi-Pro

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    In the old days when you benched you had to touch your chest and wreck your shoulder if you had long arms. If you look at top bench press guys thay have a barrel chest and short arms they never break parallel the bar moves maybe 5-8 inches tops. When you go past parallel your shoulder is in its weakest position now you have to change the direction with the bar and that when most guys hurt their shoulder. I even saw a big guy rip his pec off pretty gross with only 275 going deep not worth the risk. I hear guys say they go for the stretch I wouldn't like to stretch my muscles and tedons with all that weight, stratch before and after you workout.
    I been a trainer and strength coach for the past 17 years. I learned that from many years os school and experience and my own lifting.
     
    #72
  23. chess9

    chess9 Hall of Fame

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    Thanks for that site! I've bookmarked it. I suspect two MAIN reasons for such substantial dropoffs with age:

    1. Functional decline, such as less lifting, and less activity. I see this all the time and can agree with you that most guys over 60 have trouble taking out the garbage! It's just too sad. There is no need to get so fat and out of shape. It ISN'T inevitable that you have to lose so much in your 50's and 60's. You will lose a small amount even if you train hard, but Bill Phillips is still pushing some heavy iron after all these years.

    2. Lowered testosterone due to 1 above, poor diet, and age.

    Something comparable is running. Before my back injury I was taking my youngest brother out on training runs. I would be jogging along at an easy 10 mpm pace and he would be red faced, huffing and puffing and having a near death experience. He's almost 10 years younger than me and only weighs about 175. I see this sort of thing on the tennis court all the time, which is why so few older guys play singles. At triathlons it's a very similar situation. The average sprint triathlon might get 5 guys over the age of 65 out for the race, whereas the 30-35 age group has 30-50 guys.

    Anyway, coming back to benching, the guys who've been doing it for a long time, have stayed healthy and fit, are going to bench a lot more than your average guy. Frankly I don't think I know any other 60 year old tennis players who could bench over 150. At least not at my courts. Heck, I can't get but a couple of them to go to the gym with me. I took one guy and he wouldn't go back. "Too hard." LOL. And I started him on almost nothing. Just too sad. It's like they've had a sex change by that age.

    -Robert
     
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  24. chess9

    chess9 Hall of Fame

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    You are an animal. :) How old are you? How much do you bench now?

    I may have benched 280 when I was younger, but frankly I tossed all my old power lifting notebooks, so I don't recall. I never was much of a bencher.


    -Robert
     
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  25. chess9

    chess9 Hall of Fame

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    Which is why I do dips, and rarely bench more than 170 to 180. Why take the risk at my age? It does nothing for my tennis or my swimming. I don't know why any tennis player should be benching their bodyweight or more very often. Can anyone describe the physiological benefit of doing it?

    -Robert
     
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  26. power_play21

    power_play21 Semi-Pro

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    strengthen quick twich fibers. a lot of weight, few repetitions. also helps to build muscle mass if you're under-muscled for any reason. not needed however, tennis players should benefit more from aerobic training, practicing and playing, and specific exercises to help maintain top performance, such as strenghening rotator cuff muscles, which requires almost no weight.

    so yea, physiological benefits are minimal. the chances of getting hurt doing this stuff is high. usually reserved for some football players (need the muscle), bodybuilders (need the appearance) or people taking steroids.
     
    Last edited: Aug 28, 2008
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  27. Rickson

    Rickson G.O.A.T.

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    Robert, I'm not a young man anymore, but I can still bench around 275 and that's without having benched in a long time. I know this because even after a 2 year complete layoff from the weights, I was able to bench 225 on my first attempt. I wasn't doing anything at all on my comeback trail, but these days, I do dips and pullups at a BW of around 191. 315 isn't out of the question if I practiced benching again for a few weeks. The last time I got back to 315 on the bench, it took me 3 and 1/2 weeks.
     
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  28. chess9

    chess9 Hall of Fame

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    Great points!

    -Robert
     
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  29. chrisdaniel

    chrisdaniel Semi-Pro

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    ...

    Im 26, I weigh about 120 and Im 5 foot 6. I bench about 190 max. But I usually just do 3 sets of ten with about 140.
     
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  30. dcottrill

    dcottrill Rookie

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    Here is an interesting site that claims to predict what your one rep max would be from doing reps with a lighter weight. Using your example, 10 reps at 140 pounds would equal a 187 pound one rep max. So, it would seem to be fairly accurate.

    http://www.exrx.net/Calculators/OneRepMax.html
     
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  31. chess9

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  32. Nellie

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    Off Topic, but I don't do bench presses anymore because I consider the bench press to be a vanity excercise - you do it to show off at the gym. As a former college football player, I have done a lot of benching (never did a mix, but I did sets of 10 at 315 lbs). There are rare moments in life where you need to press. If you want to improve your health, fitness, and tennis, work on your hips and core. These days, I do a lot of olympic lifts - clean and jerk/ snatch because I work and don't have time to lift more than 30 minutes, a couple times per week, and these excercises help me work arms, kegs, and core with a single excercise.
     
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  33. basil J

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    I used to do an annual strength test every 4th of july weekend. My personal best was at the age of 39. I benched 225 for 18 reps, squatted 225 for 30 reps, 14 wide pull ups and ran 3 miles in 21 minutes at a body weight of 205#. Now at 47, I only do dumbell presses and never go over 70# for chest work, never go over 40# for overhead presses and focus primarily on core work keeping my lower back, shoulders, abs and achilles tendons healthly. I just had my annual physical and my doctor told me that he wished that his 30 year olds kept their fitness up as well as I do. I now do weights twice a week for1 hour, cardio sprint work twice a week and try to squeeze in tennis twice a week. It's not easy to find the time, but let me tell you, when I am out on the court playing singles against 30 year olds and they are the ones huffing and puffing, it makes it all worth it!
     
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  34. FastFreddy

    FastFreddy Semi-Pro

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    If you play tennis you don't have to do a bench press its not a sport specific exerise for tennis. It's just a fun exerise to do and to compare your strength to your friends. The first thing someone in the gym will ask you is how much you bench then squat?For tennis players I would have them do some rear delt work, flys, overhead shoulder press,upper traps, and for the legs legpress or squat depending which one you like, step ups, lunges, clean and press and deadlifts. And mix in some 100- 200 meter sprints and some cycling and jumprope.
     
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  35. r2473

    r2473 Legend

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    #85
  36. chess9

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    Those are good, though they aren't age adjusted. :( On the other hand, once you get married, have kids, a job, a mortgage, and two car payments your bench press numbers look inconsequential. ;)

    After all the excitement of this thread I decided to do a serious bench set today at the gym. I got on the Smith Machine (yeah, that's a little cheating) with some high school kids. I warmed up first on the Vertical Press Machine, hitting 170 x 12 at the third set. Then I benched with the 'boys' on the Smith Machine. One set at 200 x 4, then one attempted set at 215, which resulted in failure. I re-set after about 5 minutes of rest and cranked out two reps at 215. I thought for sure I was going to blow out my 'iffy' right shoulder on the third rep attempt, but I quickly quit on it. :) Rested, with a more abbreviated warmup-I did a 5 set warmup-I might hit 225.

    Not bad though for an old skinny guy. I hope my Team Tennis team doesn't make me play #1 doubles tomorrow! ;) I'm sore already....

    -Robert
     
    #86
  37. onehandbh

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    Wow, that's impressive for a guy your age, even if it is on a smith
    machine.
     
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  38. Rickson

    Rickson G.O.A.T.

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    Robert is in phenomenal shape. Robert's secret to being in good shape is that he's thin. My grandma passed away at 97 and she stayed thin most of her life. Keep the weight down when you're up in age. It'll keep you alive longer and that's a fact.
     
    #88
  39. onehandbh

    onehandbh Hall of Fame

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    The average US male (20 - 74) in...
    1960: 5' 8", 166 lbs.
    2002: 5' 9.5", 191 lbs.

    For women:
    1960: 5' 3", 140 lbs.
    2002: 5' 4", 164 lbs.

    We're getting fatter... unless the extra 25 lbs are pure muscle or increase
    in bone density.
     
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  40. heycal

    heycal Hall of Fame

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    Rickson and others: What do you think of this super squat machine my gym has, in terms of effectiveness and safety compared to traditonal free weight squats for those of us who are not hard core and just want to build a little strength and muscle mass?

     
    #90
  41. Rickson

    Rickson G.O.A.T.

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    That looks like a hack squat. It's ok I suppose, but nothing beats the real thing for glutes and quads. Remember to position the bar along your traps on real squats and not on your neck, that's if you decide to do real squatsf.
     
    #91
  42. heycal

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    I'll play around with both and see which feels best for me. The trainer who showed me around was dismissive of several of the machines in the gym and preferred free weights, as most serious guys do, but one of the machines he liked was this 'super squat' machine and said he uses it himself.
     
    #92
  43. heycal

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    I've already forgotten: are squats good for hamstrings too, or it really a quad and glutes exercise?
     
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  44. onehandbh

    onehandbh Hall of Fame

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    ^^^ I feel it in my hamstrings if I go to where my thighs are at least
    parallel to the ground. A little less if I don't go as far down.

    My max is 650, at weight of 170 and a height of 4'3". Only pressed it a half
    inch due to my short arms.
    j/k. A few years ago I tried a max and did 230 or 235. I probably could do
    much less now. I only go to the gym about once a week now b/c I'm
    trying to play more tennis and do yoga instead with my free time. Out of
    habit, there are certain things I always do though, like, I always walk up
    stairways two steps at a time and sometimes I run up them 2 at a time.
    I used to bound up 3 at a time but I stopped b/c I figured it was just matter of
    time b4 I bit it one day and it would probably end badly...
     
    Last edited: Aug 29, 2008
    #94
  45. chess9

    chess9 Hall of Fame

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    LOL! This reminds me of the Olympic Sprint Cyclist from the 1950's who didn't have much time to train because he was a full-time plumber in Chicago. So, he would carry his 50 pound tool box up the stairs of the high rise buildings instead of taking the elevators. :) He won the gold.

    -Robert
     
    #95
  46. Trasher

    Trasher Banned

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    Pain

    Hey, I was curious about this one thing. Say I have a pain in my shoulder or on any other part in my arms, but only when I do a specific motion or stretch it/move it in a certain way (close my arms like showing off my biceps muscles then or something like that), so if I have that pain, but then when I do dips, chinups or pullups, if it doesn't bother me there, should I go ahead and do the exercise? Would it be safe then.

    Because right now I feel slight pains/discomforts when I close my arm like I said, and some pain on my shoulder, but if I do dips or any of the other exercises I mentioned, I don't feel anything and it doesn't bother me at all. What do you think?
     
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  47. Rickson

    Rickson G.O.A.T.

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    That's a tough call, Trash. Sometimes you do more harm than good by doing certain exercises. You definitely put yourself at risk of further injury when you feel pain during an exercise so that's something you don't want to do. Personally, I don't skip the exercise altogether, I simply lower the weight until I feel no pain as I mentioned in the previous post. As a general rule, and remember it's only a general rule, you can do exercises that cause you no discomfort.
     
    #97
  48. chess9

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    Don't listen to Rickson! If an exercise isn't causing pain, you haven't done enough of them! Throw in an extra 100 reps! Raise the weight an extra 200 lbs. With any luck, injury will quickly follow.

    We can't have anyone posting here who isn't injured from overdoing it.
    :)

    -Robert
     
    #98
  49. Rickson

    Rickson G.O.A.T.

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    You know what they say: Those who don't listen to Rickson, hurt themselves.
     
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  50. heycal

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    I didn't listen to Rickson who diagnosed my mild groin strain as a "sports hernia" six months ago.:) Might have missed the whole summer of groin-pain free tennis if I had.
     

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