The bench press is one of the most common exercises in weight training, but it doesn’t mean this exercise is an easy one to perform. In fact, it is not only difficult but also dangerous for your joints including the elbows. Elbow pain will destroy your performance and strength one way or another. If you want to know how to prevent elbow pain from benching, here is the answer for you.
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Best 7 Tips To Prevent Elbow Pain From Benching
1. Check The Form
First, it is important to perform the lift in a proper way. In order to do that, you need to remember these following things:
- Upper Arms Tucked: Keep your upper arms slightly tucked in towards your body. This allows for better structural support of the bar and better clearance for the soft tissues inside and near your elbow joints
- Forearms Vertical: Make sure your forearms are vertical with the floor. Do not allow your forearms to drop backward and toward your shoulder when descending your bar. Or else, this will put more pressure on the connective tissues of your elbows, thus, causing elbow pain.
In my experiences, it’s necessary to ask someone to watch you while you’re benching. This way, you can know what is going on with your form.
2. Warm-up The Elbow PRIOR To Benching
You only think of a “warm up” for the bench press as a few light sets before getting into the working sets. But that is not enough to protect your elbows from benching heavy weights on a regular basis.
Here are some easy movements for you to get the blood flowing into your elbows and get your lower arms engaged in for heavy bench lifts.
- Take a light dumbbell in each hand and off-set the grip on the handle. Make sure your pinky finger and edge of your palm are against one head of the dumbbell.
- Hold your forearms parallel with the floor and rotate them back and forth 1 or 2 sets of 10 reps.
- A couple of light sets of this dumbbell curl variation will help bring blood into your lower arms.
- Have your hands supinated on the way up as usual.
- On the way down, turn your hands over into pronation so as to stimulate the muscles on the back of your forearm a little bit more intensely.
45-degree Reserve Curls:
- Hold with either barbell or dumbbells in the normal lowered position.
- Curl up the weights like a regular Reverse curl
- Elevate your upper arm about 45-degrees away from your body.
- Keep the upper arm at the angle for the rest of the set.
3. Use Elbow Compression Sleeves To Keep Heat In
After warming up your elbows, you need to keep them warm the entire time you bench. If you’re used to wearing a going shirtless or tank top while you’re training, you may have to re-think that. Wearing elbow compression sleeves or some sort of that can keep the elbow area warmer, therefore, preventing elbow pain.
Actually, the compression sleeve will keep the elbow areas covered and also keep the circulation in your arm. Therefore, using an elbow compression sleeve is not a bad idea to prevent elbow pain from benching.
4. Don’t Grip Too Close
I don’t know about you but so many guys out there have elbow pain from a close grip bench press. For me, this is just a supplemental exercise but many lifters use it as their core lift. Maybe they think that it helps utilize their triceps and therefore, initiating a good bench press.
Besides, rumor has it that the closer your hands are on the bar, the more emphasis you will place on your triceps. That’s why most of the people use very close grip which is less than 6 inches apart. To be honest, the only thing increases this kind of grip proves is the amount of stress on your elbow and wrist joints. Furthermore, a close grip may make it much more difficult for you to lift heavy and balance the bar.
In short, for this exercise, just spread your hands out along the bar if your grip is narrower than 6-7 inches.
5. Focus On The Bar Path
To prevent elbow pain, try to focus on the bar path, keep the levels aligned. You will need to have proper level alignment or in other words, lower the bar at or below the nipple line. For me, I always let the bar touch around of the rib cage.
6. Squeeze The Bar
I bet almost all of you don’t realize how important it is to squeeze the bar when benching. In fact, by doing this, you can create a chain reaction of contractions from your hands, through your arms, and into your shoulders and torso. It is called radiant tension, making your muscle more powerful, and more importantly, everything will be stable during your bench press.
7. Stretch The Triceps After The Bench Press
Stretching is essential for maintaining mobility and flexibility. Hence, don’t be lazy to stretch your triceps, pecs, and shoulders after a few heavy bench press sets. When you’re stretching those muscle groups, especially the triceps, you can tame the tight muscles.
Also, stretching allows for better freedom of movement, thus, preventing elbow pain from benching. That’s a reason why I never forget to do the Overhead Triceps Stretch when I’m done with the bench press.
Now, do you know how to prevent elbow pain from bench press yet? I hope you guys enjoyed my article and found my tips helpful to make your bench press an elbow-friendly exercise.