Latest posts

Forum Statistics

Latest Member
What's New?

Elbow pain and bench pressing

Mike Singletary

Mike Singletary

Sep 8, 2010
I have a nagging pain in my right elbow... if my palms were turned up, the pain would be mostly on the top and to the outside of my elbow.

The pain seems to flair up mostly when I do bench presses. I read long long ago in somewhere I cant remember that when you bench, you should draw the elbows inward, towards your sides, with your ring finger on the smooth "rings" in the middle of the rough of the bar (wide grip).

I've been thinking that, by doing this, I might be pulling my elbows out from under my wrists... giving a kind of torque motion on my arms (imagine a wide grip triceps down press) ... but then I'm not really sure. Its the best idea I could come up with. I notice when I do push ups that if I flair my elbows out so that they're directly over my wrists I tend not to have so many pain issues...

So anyway I tried this on benching. Instead of pulling my elbows in, I let them flair out, and brought the bar down to my lower chest / upper abs area. 2 things happened.

1. It was hard as hell to bench this way
2. LOT less elbow irritation.

Ok so now I'm a bit confused...

1. Am I not supposed to be drawing my elbows in? Thats the way I learned it 10 million years ago when I first started benching...

2. I guess everything else is contingent upon that first question, but if I am supposed to keep my elbows out, why is it so much harder to bench that way? Is it just because its unfamiliar to me and I have to learn how to bench all over again? Or is this method just plain wrong and THATS why its so hard?

I've tried looking in a mirror while doing both forms... really my elbows dont change that much... just a few inches, and both drawn-in and flaired-out LOOK like they're pretty much under my wrist! Ok so help me out.

Oh and also, when I go home I put ice on my elbow and the pain goes away pretty quick. Dont know if that helps you understand it... same spot hurts when I do pull ups. Strain? Inflamed nerve? Its been getting better lately but it seems I keep re-injuring it on this bench thing.


VIP Member
Dec 9, 2010
elbows in works the tri alot ive seen alot of guys keep the elbows in but have their palms to far out on the bar which will over load the wrist the most power made in the wrist/forearm area is when u use a hammer grip the forearm muscles are used to twist ur wrist/arm so when ur benching ur getting them locked into one path -not letting them go thru full movement drop the bench with a bar for awhile and do dumbell presses which will let you have full movement i never bench with elbows out can ruin ur rotor cuff


Senior Member
Dec 22, 2010
elbows out is a no no for me. As soon as i unrack the bar, my elbows are already slightly inwards.


Dec 15, 2010
Take a grip that is just outside your shoulder width. That will put the bar in a natural plane where your elbows are where they are supposed to be, 45 degrees from your body, and the bar is where it needs to be in relation to your chest.


Senior Member
Mar 14, 2011
U said yr elbows onky chabged a couple inches, thats all it takes to involve diff muscles and change the location of stress. I go elbows in especcialky when i go heavy. But i do feel more in my chest when i oulk elbows out a lil. Id change ur grip untill u find a comfortable place. ihand placement changes everything


Strength Pimp
Feb 27, 2011
If you tuck your elbows in you need to adjust the location of the bar as well... You want the bar coming down in line with your forearms if that makes sense. Therefore the bar will come down more towards your stomach. This will involve a lot of tricep.

I would suggest that you find a way to bench that feels natural for you. Find your grip width by getting in position to do a push up. Whatever width you just put your hands on the ground at is the width I would suggest for the bar.

I should mention that the above is not IMO... I got this from Dave Tate at EliteFTS...

As far as the shoulder pain when you are benching you should try a couple things. First, you should do wrist curls with a barbell with palms down. Sometimes an imbalance in the forearms will cause elbow pain. Second, try supplementing with something to help the joints. I have been using Super Cissus RX for a while now and other than the price I love it. I tend to feel more comfortable in the joints when I'm using creatine monohydrate. It could be in my head but I think retaining all of that water might help.
Last edited:


Bad Mother
Sep 27, 2010
Take a grip that is just outside your shoulder width. That will put the bar in a natural plane where your elbows are where they are supposed to be, 45 degrees from your body, and the bar is where it needs to be in relation to your chest.
Do this ^^^ but also(as much as I hate giving BrotherIron credit) try rubbing a capsaicin based joint cream on ur elbow and then covering them with a sleeve or even just a long sleeve shirt. I started doing this on my bench and the added heat on my joints along with proper form has hleped relieve most of the irritation and inflamation. My 2c...MAYO


TID Lady Member
May 29, 2011
You could also try rubbing Emu Oil on your joints...

And take anywhere from 6g-10g of Fish Oil DAILY...I am currently on 8g/day and if I run out, which, btw, I will NEVER do again, I KNOW IT...

Oh yeah, I tuck my elbows in too with my hands slightly outside of my shoulders...


Sep 8, 2010
You may want to stop thinking so 2 dimensionally and address the more likely of the culprits which is the forearm extensor muscles on that particular side, 99% of the time its the reason for elbow pain, NOT PRESSING.
Id be willing to be you can do pushups almost no pain in the motion, because your hand is open not closed and squeezed tight around a bar...just sayin.