Tip: Bench Press With Shoulder-Saver Pad

Shoulders banged up? Take a tip from top powerlifters and use a pad to reduce the tricky part of the range of motion.

The Shoulder Saver pad makes the lift similar to board pressing, but it's a lot easier to execute if you train alone, without a training partner.

The pad reduces the range of motion and the amount of stress placed on your shoulders. It can be an extremely valuable tool for continued bench-pressing, without pain. The bottom portion in the bench press is the most stressful position for the shoulders. By placing a Shoulder Saver pad on the bar, you'll never reach this critical range in the lift.

Pressing from a reduced range of motion in a power rack (pin-press) is a similar variation you can use to reduce the range of motion. But the dead stop with "metal on metal" is more aggressive on the joints. I recommend the pad (and pressing from a board) over the pin-press variations.

Technique Notes

  • Use your regular bench press setup.
  • Keep your shoulder blades in a packed position – retracted and slightly depressed.
  • Don't let the pad sink into your chest or relax your upper body, and do not "bounce" from the chest. Treat the exercise like a regular bench press – either with a pause or a touch and go.
Eirik Sandvik is an innovative athletic-performance specialist. His profound experience with injuries fuels his passion for finding the best strategies and solutions for overcoming setbacks. Eirik works with elite athletes in a variety of sports, from MMA to Figure fitness.    Follow on Instagram