Sore Shoulders After Chest Day—What is Going Awry?

By September 6, 2017Health & Fitness

If your shoulders are sore following chest day at the gym, this could be a sign you’re doing something wrong. Here are a few fixes:

The Right Way to do 3 Popular Chest Exercises

1. Dumbbell Fly

  • Why It’s Good: this movement can strengthen your pectoral muscles as well as the front of your shoulders. Watch this video for some pointers.
  • When It’s Bad: You can hurt your biceps muscles if you use too much weight, extend your arms too far, or keep your elbows locked out.
  • Quick Fix: Keep a slight bend in your elbows and only lower your arms until you just start to feel a stretch in your chest.

You May Also Like: 5 Exercises Commonly Performed With Bad Form

2. Barbell Chest Press

  • Why It’s Good: benching is the best exercise for getting maximal power and strength out of your chest, bar none (pun intended). Watch this video for a how-to.
  • When It’s Bad: If you let your elbows wing out at the bottom of the rep (i.e., the upper part of your arms stay perpendicular to your torso), then you’re putting yourself at serious risk of shoulder impingement and/or rotator cuff injury.
  • Quick Fix: When the bar reaches your chest, don’t let your upper arms wing out or touch your torso. Instead, tuck your elbows in so your forearms are perpendicular to the ground.

3. Dip


  • Why It’s Good: This is a compound, and challenging body weight movement is a great way to target your triceps and chest. To focus on the latter, use a slightly wider grip, as explained in this video.
  • When It’s Bad: Like the bench press, the dip exercise can hurt your shoulders if you let your elbows wing out too much. Dipping too low at the bottom can also be damaging.
  • Quick Fix: Go deep enough until your shoulders are just below your elbows. Think about aiming your elbows back, but avoid keeping your arms right next to your body.


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