It seems so there are two camps of people online in regards to scapular retraction benchpress:

  1. Benching without scapualr retraction makes you much more injury prone, and retracting makes you stronger 1 , 2

  2. One should allow the natural protraciton when pushing so as to avoid injury , and this motion makes you strongest 1 , 2

Which is correct? I am completely confused!

  • I’m a bit confused by your second option about protraction, you linked the same short twice and it contains no information whatsoever. I’ve done a bit of googling and have found not a single person suggesting scapular protraction in the bench press is a good thing.
    – Thomas Markov
    Nov 5, 2023 at 9:55
  • 4
    You are way overthinking lifting.
    – JohnP
    Nov 5, 2023 at 19:58

1 Answer 1


I don't think I can answer if your goal is powerlifting oriented, but if your goal is hypertrophy, then I got some experience.

Keep them retracted, we do this to target the chest better.

And since you have mentioned the word 'forcefully', I'll say that;

Naturally the scapula can tend to protract if you push the bar up until your elbows are straight, or after passing some point up I guess. But you don't have to contract that much to the degree which causes your scapula to protract a lot (little protraction is fine), because pretty much any chest pressing exercises are stretch focused exercises, not contraction focused exercises such as chest flys.

This does not mean that you can not care about the contraction phase of reps in stretch focused exercises and baby rep them. All we got to do is, focus on the stretch, don't let the scapula protract a lot when pushing up, don't break form.

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