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Old 06-10-2014, 12:02 PM   #1
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Default Bench pressing with a jacked up shoulder

Almost 5 years ago, I suffered a type III AC tear in my left shoulder. It healed a bit off, but it's not painful, and has not caused me much grief beyond the initial injury. The issue is with my bench press. Because it has thrown my body's symmetry off, my bench press has always felt a touch odd. I don't have pics from before the injury, but I was pretty well even on both sides.

First off, here are some pics of my shoulders to illustrate what I mean. They are 4 months old, but they should suffice for this discussion.

Both shoulders, relaxed, just standing there. As labeled in the pic, measurement A is 13% longer than measurement B, and measurement C is 18% longer than measurement D.


When I shrug forward, you can really see the left side pop up.


Here you can see what happens when I flex my traps.


Anyway, when benching, I'm slow off my chest on the right but quick on the left, and quick to lock out on the right but slow on the left. The left side of my chest is bigger than the right, and my right arm is bigger than the left. I've tried to balance this out with dumbbells, isolation work, varied grips, etc. but so far nothing seems to be helping.

Is this even something I should be worrying about? I'm still progressing in my bench, I just don't want the imbalances to get out of hand if it will cause problems later on.
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Old 06-10-2014, 03:25 PM   #2
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Everyone has imbalances with muscle size, an inch here, half an inch there. As long as theres no pain keep getting the reps in
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Old 06-10-2014, 04:05 PM   #3
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Ac Separation is not a muscle imbalance, I sprained mine last year and I just did inclines for a few months and no dips.


I would ask a doctor about this because my doctor told me that a type 1 sprain that I had wouldn't impede me in anyway as long as I let it heal, a type 3 tear is a completely different story. You may rip other parts of your shoulder due to the fact that it isn't fully connected anymore.

Talk to the Doctor, Doctor, Doctor man.
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Old 06-10-2014, 05:27 PM   #4
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You should definitely see a doctor in my opinion.
Later on down the line, you don't know what might happen.

And if it's solved, your issues in terms of muscle symmetry should even out I'd imagine.
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Old 06-10-2014, 07:37 PM   #5
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I have had AC issues in both my shoulders over the years and I think what you do really depends on the severity. For something minor like a Grade 1 strain, I just switched to inclines for a few months. No big deal.

However, for a more severe AC separation I had, I had to seriously adjust my programming with no low bar squats, NO bench pressing of any kind or angle, etc, etc. As you realize I am sure, time is the major factor. If you are benching pain free, progressing, and have not noticed a serious issue then keep it up. So long as you are proactive about shoulder health and don't over do benching, have at it.
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Old 06-11-2014, 07:55 AM   #6
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When it happened, I met with a surgeon who said it was technically type III, in that there were 3 distinct tears, but one of the ligaments was only 3/4 torn, not all the way, or something to that effect. He said it didn't require surgery, and that the surrounding muscle tissue would have to make up for the lack of support.

I just had my annual physical about a month back and asked my current doc about it. He said that I should be fine with pressing movements, as long as I progress slowly and really give the muscle tissue ample time to adapt, which I have been. (Side note, this doc is super supportive of lifting, and supports going as heavy as you can safely)

So, from a shoulder health standpoint, I'm comfortable with where that's at. I was just curious if I should make a focused effort on balancing strength between the two sides, or if my current physical state makes such a goal unobtainable.

Basically, try and fix it, or shut up and lift.
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Old 06-11-2014, 08:07 AM   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by melvin2345 View Post
When it happened, I met with a surgeon who said it was technically type III, in that there were 3 distinct tears, but one of the ligaments was only 3/4 torn, not all the way, or something to that effect. He said it didn't require surgery, and that the surrounding muscle tissue would have to make up for the lack of support.

I just had my annual physical about a month back and asked my current doc about it. He said that I should be fine with pressing movements, as long as I progress slowly and really give the muscle tissue ample time to adapt, which I have been. (Side note, this doc is super supportive of lifting, and supports going as heavy as you can safely)

So, from a shoulder health standpoint, I'm comfortable with where that's at. I was just curious if I should make a focused effort on balancing strength between the two sides, or if my current physical state makes such a goal unobtainable.

Basically, try and fix it, or shut up and lift.


Even if it's fine in terms of your health, is it possible to get it sorted out if you wanted?
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Old 06-11-2014, 08:21 AM   #8
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Originally Posted by LindenGarcia18 View Post
Even if it's fine in terms of your health, is it possible to get it sorted out if you wanted?
I was told I could get a surgery to fix the ligaments at any point in life (as an elective, which I couldn't afford in 3 lifetimes), but the recovery time is 6-8 weeks, and there is no guarantee it will improve my quality of life. It may even decrease the ROM in the shoulder.
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Old 06-11-2014, 10:01 AM   #9
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I was told I could get a surgery to fix the ligaments at any point in life (as an elective, which I couldn't afford in 3 lifetimes), but the recovery time is 6-8 weeks, and there is no guarantee it will improve my quality of life. It may even decrease the ROM in the shoulder.
Oh right I see.

Perhaps some uni-lateral work? You said you didn't notice anything with that method, but it may take more time than you think.

If your still progressing, and it doesn't bother you too much, I'd say just carry on.
It might actually even out over time, that's how it often works with strength imbalances.
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Old 06-11-2014, 01:54 PM   #10
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Originally Posted by LindenGarcia18 View Post
If your still progressing, and it doesn't bother you too much, I'd say just carry on.
It might actually even out over time, that's how it often works with strength imbalances.
I think is probably the best approach. I tend to over analyze, and just end up frustrated with a headache anyway.
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