I have been working out for 1.5 years now.

For chest bench press(with a barbell), I do


I feel quite a pain in my front delts while doing and for 2 days after.

In contrast, if I do the it with a chest machine as shown in the picture, I can lift more weight also (can go around 70-80 kg for 3rd set) and I don't feel any pain(soreness) in delts later.

So, can I continue doing it with machine itself?

What's wrong with my barbell bench press?

enter image description here

  • You didn't say what you've been doing for 1.5 yrs. Perhaps you simply have weak deltoids relative to triceps and chest after 1.5 yrs of machine-constrained transverse presses that don't require frontal stabilization?
    – Affe
    Commented Jun 16, 2014 at 17:07
  • @Affe from start of my workout career, I did bench press in barbell itself. Recently when I tried with a machine, I got to know the thing.
    – Braj
    Commented Jun 17, 2014 at 7:24

2 Answers 2


Without seeing your form, it's difficult to provide an answer. However, from what you described, I would guess that when doing barbell bench press, you lower the bar closer to your neck instead of closer to your sternum. That would put added pressure on your deltoids. Machines typically make it impossible to perform an exercise with bad from. I would also recommend you have someone watch your form from the side and provide advice.

  • Thanks for the advice. I am quite sure about my form. I lower the bar to sternum not to neck.
    – Braj
    Commented Jun 16, 2014 at 12:45
  • Then, I would ask someone to watch the arc of your elbows. They should be somewhat perpendicular to your body during the lift.
    – rrirower
    Commented Jun 16, 2014 at 12:46
  • @Braj: Arched back, feet on the ground, elbows at your sides, scapulae retracted throughout the whole movement? There's a hell of a lot one can do wrong, which is why most bodybuilding/powerlifting forums have a form-check-subforum, where one can post videos of themselves. Maybe you want to try that, just to make sure. In case you don't have a access to a trainer, that is.
    – user8119
    Commented Jun 16, 2014 at 12:48
  • @LarissaGodzilla will try the video. Thanks.
    – Braj
    Commented Jun 16, 2014 at 12:53
  • Elbows should never be perpendicular for bench presses, they should be angled forward. Doing bench presses with the arms perpendicular to the torso puts great strain on the glenohumeral joint; it is not a position that the joint is suited for. Commented Jun 16, 2014 at 13:59

Be more clear about the pain you experience. Is it dull pain that persists throughout the day? If so, it is just DOMS, which is what you get when you don't work out for a week or longer and then work out again.

If it is a sharp, it has to do with your joints and/or tendons. But from what you have described, you don't get pain when you do the machine press. So I would assume the machine does not work out your deltoids as much.

  • It does not pain while doing... its so called soreness in front shoulder for at least 1 day after workout which I dont feel if done with a machine... and with a machine, even I can lift 20-30% more weight...
    – Braj
    Commented Jun 17, 2014 at 6:05
  • More weight =/= not usually better. It's all about your goals - leg pressing 500lbs will not necessarily help me squat 135lbs, believe it or not, they are not the same movement.
    – Don Larynx
    Commented Jun 21, 2014 at 20:36
  • I agree with less weight strategy. My concern is, with machine I can lift more weight that too with more comfort but y not with a barbell... Anyway, I have decided to go with machine itself.
    – Braj
    Commented Jun 23, 2014 at 6:03

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