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Should Wrestlers Bench Press?


All wrestlers should bench press.

Kind of. There should be some sort of “heavy” press.

The Bench Press is one of the most demanding upper body lift. The problem is that it can do some damage to the shoulders if the athletes are not ready for it.

Test the range of motion and slowly add weight, if it feels good, then it’s probably fine, kind of that simple. Retest week after week, just don’t marry the exercise.

If one week your shoulder isn’t feeling great for whatever reason, scale it down and choose a different exercise. If it hurts, scaling the position for a better range of motion is necessary for finding the best pressing movement.

If the bench press doesn’t work then try these variations.

Floor Press-Hooklying DB Bench Press-Wall Reference Push-Up

All of these exercises are friendlier on the shoulders.

The floor press is a great way to move heavy weight. The range of motion is cut short so the shoulders aren’t exposed to the bottom position which seems to be most vulnerable. Pair this exercise with others that will help to restore range of motion.

The hooklying DB bench press helps put the shoulder blades in a better position to move. This is a great way to be able to add strength in the areas where you are weak. Low back flat, butt off the bench, and arms reaching for the ceiling. When the back is arched, the whole body becomes stiffer and more rigid. Possibly good for moving heavy weight, but it might not be neccessary to train this if you are already stiff and rigid.

Wall Referenced push-ups are my favorite bodyweight movement for shoulder health. Just like the hooklying position, this movement will have the abs and armpit muscles (serratus) on fire, and all you need is a wall. Pushing the heels into the wall can help line up the hips and shoulders which will have the shoulder blades moving more freely. Proper shoulder blade movement will usually help with the pain and put us on the right track.

So while the bench press may be the one of the best upper body lifts, but it’s not worth it if it causes pain. Try other options and build strength in your weak areas.

Pressing is necessary, don’t avoid it.

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