Usually, while bench pressing, the most common complaint is back pain. Unfortunately, while more rarely, lifters can experience pain in their hips. I recently experienced this myself and set out to find out why this happens.
Put simply, pain in your hips while you’re bench pressing could be caused by a few things. These include:
- Not stretching enough
- Improper foot placement
- Bad back posture
- Pushing your feet against the ground
- You’re benching too much weight
While those might seem like simple problems, there are some caveats for treating them. Below, I’ll go over each one of these causes more in-depth, as well as helping you fix them. Keep reading!
You Aren’t Stretching Enough Before Bench Pressing
Stretching, or the lack of it, is by far the most common cause of injury in almost any sport, including weightlifting.
It might surprise you, but if your legs aren’t stretched enough, it can cause pain and injury all over your body. This is because every one of your body parts, muscles, and ligaments are connected in some way, even if they seem completely unrelated.
Not stretching your chest, upper body, and even your legs could cause pain in your hips. When you bench press, you use muscles, mostly in your upper body, but also your core and legs indirectly.
Because of this, it’s vital that you stretch before you workout. It’s best to warm up first, with a light jog, before stretching and then starting your workout.
You should stretch all of your major muscle groups, and especially the ones you plan to use during your workout. When you do this, it lowers your risk of pain or injury during any exercise you’re doing, not just the bench press.
You Have Improper Foot Placement
Your form is important for every workout, but more surprisingly, your foot placement is very important while you’re bench pressing. If you have improper foot placement, you could very well be causing pain in your hips during any workout, including the bench press.
If you have pain in your back, or anywhere while you’re bench pressing, go through these steps and make sure you have proper foot placement.
- Bend your knees at 90 degrees
- Keep your feet flat on the floor
- Make your shins perpendicular to the ground
Doing these 3 things will make sure that the proper muscles are activated during your bench press session, and that everything in your body is in and optimal position. This being said, this isn’t the only foot placement that will work, but it’s a good starting point for everyone.
Bad Back Posture on the Bench
Around 75% of Americans experience lower back pain. This back pain can cause your form to be bad during any workout, so if you experience it, it’s important that you put an emphasis on proper form. As I mentioned earlier, bad form in one part of your body can cause pain in a seemingly unrelated part of your body, including your hips. Here are some tips to fix your back posture.
While laying on the bench, arch your lower back. It’s important not to overarch it, which can cause additional injury, but you don’t want to bench with a flat back either. Benching with a flat back can cause pain and injury primarily in your shoulders, but all over your body as well. Don’t put your back in an unnatural position; your back should be arched in the same way it is while you’re standing up.
Pushing Too Hard on the Floor
While benching, it’s normal to push your legs into the ground. It gives your body more stability, as well as helping you drive up the weight and complete your lift. This being said, if you’re pushing too hard, it can cause pain in your hips, legs, back, shoulders, and pretty much anywhere else in your body.
One of the easiest steps to solving hip pain caused by bench pressing is to assess how hard you’re pushing against the floor. Next time you bench, try not pushing as hard with your legs against the ground. You might find that it solves your problem!
Bench Pressing Too Much Weight
Another possible cause for hip pain could be that you’re lifting too much weight. If you’re a powerlifter or any other type of strength lifter, it can be tough to balance progress with a safe weight for your body. Sometimes, while your muscles may be able to complete the lift, your body isn’t prepared for that much weight.
This is another easy solution. Try bench pressing with a much lower weight, and see if you’re still experiencing hip pain. If you still have hip pain, go try some of the other steps in this list, and/or talk to your doctor. If you aren’t still experiencing hip pain, start working your way up to heavier weights again, and stop when it starts to hurt. The weight should strain your muscles, but shouldn’t hurt your other body parts. When you balance these two things, you know you’re at the right weight for your bench press.
The Bottom Line
I’ve said this before in this article, but I’ll say it again. Every part of your body is connected. If you aren’t stretched enough in one area, it could cause pain in another, even if the two areas of your body seem unrelated. To combat hip pain, or any pain, from bench pressing, make sure your whole body is thoroughly stretched and warmed up.
If you have hip pain during bench press, go through every item on this list, and repeat until you no longer have any pain. If nothing works, go to your doctor, and they’ll help you out. In the end, I’m not a doctor and I don’t know you, so I can only do so much for helping each individual person’s problems over the internet.
How Do You Stretch Your Hip Flexors? Kneel on your right knee, put your left foot on the floor, and drive your hip forward. Hold this for 30 seconds, and repeat a few times, switching between your legs. Doing so will stretch out your hips and prevent injury. Source
What Is the Couch Stretch? The couch stress is a simple stretch that stretches your hip flexors and quad muscles. It’s called the couch stretch because all you need to do it, is a couch.
Should I Be Concerned About Hip Pain from Benching? Generally no, you shouldn’t be too concerned about hip pain while you’re benching. This being said, take what your body tells you seriously, and if you’re worried, see your doctor. When it comes to lifting, it’s always better to be safe than to be sorry.