I know you're supposed to pinch your shoulder blades on flat bench - it feels proper.

It used to feel fine on incline as well but the twice in the past two weeks (attempting PRs) I've felt something just under my left shoulder blade "pull" as I'm pressing and result in some weird tingling throughout my left shoulder/arm and a bit of neck pain when I turn my head.

The first time it resulted in some weird residual pain in my shoulder area that would hurt only when I coughed. That went away today, so I decided to try again but the same thing happened - pulled the same thing under my left shoulder blade, same weird sensation going down my arm, a bit of neck pain when I turn my head.

The weight is reasonable - I'm not straining myself too much and maintain steady form while pressing.

Do you pinch your blades on incline? What could be causing this?

1 Answer 1


We usually refrain from offering diagnoses here, for obvious reasons, but you touch on something important: Bench press prep. So I'll touch on it too.

I would caution against doing the exact same prep on incline as you do on flat.

On a flat bench, we covet the arched back and pinched shoulderblades, because the weight is loaded on arms that are perpendicular to the spine.

When you arch your back on the incline bench, and you load the weight, your spine is like a twig. I'm not talking strength-wise, but take a twig, stand it straight up, and put weight on top of it. What happens? It will arch. And the more weight to put on it, the more it will arch.

For a spine, this can be catastrophic.

So I'll call it likely that you've had some sort of compression injury. I'm not going to outright blame the incline bench. I think the pain you have there is a symptom of an injury gained elsewhere.

Since you describe the feeling as going down your arm, this sounds like a prolapse. Google "thoracic prolapse" (AKA herniated disc) for a bit more info, but the bottom line is you need to see a doctor. Any "diagnosis" here is pure speculation, based on very little information. A good diagnosis would ideally be based on an MRI as well.

  • My deductible is too high to get things checked out unless they're crippling. I'll likely just wait it out and replace the exercise if it happens again. Thank you for the answer.
    – SB2055
    Commented Jan 12, 2018 at 21:25
  • Yeah, I wouldn't go to the doctor for every little thing, but if the sensation goes down your arm as you say, I'd definitely get it checked out before anything more serious develops.
    – Alec
    Commented Jan 12, 2018 at 22:07
  • It got worse and I went to urgent care. MRI revealed exactly what you theorized. Prescribed PT and low physical exertion for four weeks. Thought you'd appreciate knowing you were spot-on - thanks again for the help.
    – SB2055
    Commented Jan 26, 2018 at 22:25
  • @SB2055 - Oh wow. Bit of good news and bad news there. I'd have liked to NOT be right about that, but I'm glad you ended up at the hospital and got proper help. Best of luck with your recovery!
    – Alec
    Commented Jan 27, 2018 at 14:04

Your Answer

By clicking “Post Your Answer”, you agree to our terms of service and acknowledge you have read our privacy policy.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.