Can bench press cause collar bone pain?

Fact Checked

Collar bone pain is known to occur among individuals who engage in bench pressing. The shoulder is comprised of 3 separate joints in which the collar bone or clavicle is a complex part. These joints are responsible for providing movement during bench press which aims to strengthen the chest and triceps muscles.

An individual who keeps his/her hands close together or rounding the shoulders places significant stress on the collar bone as well as other parts of the shoulder joint which results to injury.

Wide grip

Among those who experience collar bone pain, performing a bench press with a wider grip can reduce the strain on the AC joint. This position builds up the lateral pectoralis muscle.

Collar bone pain
You can apply an ice pack to minimize the swelling and inflammation.

Most of the work is performed by the pectoralis muscle which effectively isolates and targets the chest. Take note that the individual cannot utilize the triceps or other arm muscles to help lift the bar. One way to find the right position is to place the hands on the bar directly above the shoulders and then move them out 1-2 hand-widths outwards.

Narrow grip

The manner on how the bar is held can directly involve certain muscles and joints in the shoulder. When performing a narrow grip press, the hands are directly above the shoulders.

Pressing weight in this position puts significant stress on the AC joint. Even though a narrow grip press focuses on the inner part of the chest muscles, it places significant strain on the AC joint. If the individual continues to strain on the joint, degenerative arthritis of the AC joint and chronic shoulder pain can occur.

Correct form

The individual should avoid rounding the shoulders or performing the incorrect form since these increases the risk for injury. It is recommended to rest on the back with the feet flat on the floor and the bar above the eyes.

Pull the shoulders down and back, bringing the shoulder blades close together to create a connection with the bench. The back of the body such as the head, buttocks and shoulders as well as the feet must stay in contact with the bench and the floor during the exercise. If the individual lifts his/her shoulders off the bench while performing the press movements, it can result to injury to several ligaments or muscles in the shoulder.

Management of collar bone pain

Once the individual experiences collar bone pain while performing bench presses, he/she must stop the exercise or reduce the intensity. It is not advisable to push through the pain. In case the pain persists even while at rest, a doctor should be consulted.

You can apply an ice pack to minimize the swelling and inflammation. Exercises that worsen the collar bone pain must be avoided as well. A personal trainer can be consulted by the individual regarding alternatives to bench pressing as well as how to properly perform the exercise.

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