Wrists buckle on Bench

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Polo Tomasi
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Wrists buckle on Bench

Post by Polo Tomasi » Fri Oct 28, 2016 12:17 am

A few months ago I was warming up on the bench w/ 225#, when both of my wrists buckled (flexed), dropping the bar on my chest. I lift at home in a rack, but due to the spacing of the holes, the pins in the bottom position put the bar a couple of inches below the level of my chest. I'd never worried about it before, thinking that my main concern was to not get stuck under a weight that was too heavy. I couldn't tell you what phase of the lift it occurred in. I crawled out from underneath and made my way in to get an EKG/CXR. All was good--no fracture/hematoma/arrhythmia, but I was in pain for quite awhile. It took couple of weeks to just be able to use 95#. No pain in the wrists at all. Gradually I was able to do more and more movements pain free. Now I'm back to baseline. Whenever I bench I consciously try to grip tightly and keep wrists slightly hyperextended.
I figured this was a freak incident, but took precautions anyway. I now have straps looped over the chin bar on the rack that put the bar just barely in contact w/ my chest at the bottom. It also serves to ensure an even lowering of the bar. No other incidents like it; until today. With 295# (not a huge weight for me) I was in the beginning of the concentric phase and it happened again. Both suddenly buckled, painlessly, and the bar landed in the straps--no injury. I put the bar back and kept on.
It seems that when I'm pressing, I instinctively want to flex--or straighten--the wrists in order to "push away" the bar. Although I don't train grip right now, it's not an issue.
My question is: has this happened to anyone? And if so, what cues do you use to keep it from recurring? Verbal/mental? Equipment? It's annoying as hell, but at least I didn't get hurt. i'm mostly concerned about the times when I bench elsewhere and don't have the same protective measures in place.
Also: I strongly urge everyone to be aware of this. It could've killed me.

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Shafpocalypse Now
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Re: Wrists buckle on Bench

Post by Shafpocalypse Now » Fri Oct 28, 2016 1:10 am

Do you put wrist wraps on? Sounds like a neurological thing, like your wrists are getting a signal to just go limp

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Re: Wrists buckle on Bench

Post by nafod » Fri Oct 28, 2016 10:55 am

No advice on benching, but I'd be wary about trusting the straps, especially if they are not stretchy. You can generate incredible force with even a short fall. Rock climbers use things called screamers to limit max loads on anchors.
http://yatesgear.com/climbing/screamer/
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Polo Tomasi
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Re: Wrists buckle on Bench

Post by Polo Tomasi » Fri Oct 28, 2016 1:05 pm

I don't wear straps. Rather than going limp, it's as if the forearm flexors are activated and then the wrists straighten to the point of no return.
BTW: I always use a thumbs around the bar grip.

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Shafpocalypse Now
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Re: Wrists buckle on Bench

Post by Shafpocalypse Now » Fri Oct 28, 2016 2:06 pm

So it's dropping off the palm and not rolling over the fingers. Weird as fuck.

One thing I've heard, that seems to take some kind of pressure off the shoulders, is to use wrist straps...as in the kind you'd use to pull heavily, etc, on the bench. At least things would be secured. Other than that, and the safety precautions you've taken, I can't thing of anything else to help.

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Re: Wrists buckle on Bench

Post by Testiclaw » Fri Oct 28, 2016 5:50 pm

Make sure your bar isn't bent.
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Re: Wrists buckle on Bench

Post by Really Big Strong Guy » Fri Oct 28, 2016 7:50 pm

are you consciously squeezing the bar, and engaging the forearms, when benching? I assume so. This is odd.
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Re: Wrists buckle on Bench

Post by TerryB » Sat Oct 29, 2016 1:29 am

I have no idea really, but a few things jump out at me. You bench with your wrists "slightly hyperextended," and them straightening out on you is the problem?? That seems backwards. Shouldn't you be benching with the bar slightly at an angle in your hand so the weight is pressed against the outer part of your hand, with the bar directly above the forearm bones??

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Re: Wrists buckle on Bench

Post by Thud » Sat Oct 29, 2016 3:54 am

Polo Tomasi wrote:but due to the spacing of the holes, the pins in the bottom position put the bar a couple of inches below the level of my chest.
Sounds like you've mostly rectified this with the straps, but another option is to put the pins in the higher set of holes and raise the bench on wood (plywood, 2x4's, whatever is the right thickness) to the proper height below.

Good luck with your grip, I got nothing to offer there. Might want to check with a neurologist.
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Polo Tomasi
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Re: Wrists buckle on Bench

Post by Polo Tomasi » Sat Oct 29, 2016 4:10 am

Really Big Strong Guy wrote:are you consciously squeezing the bar, and engaging the forearms, when benching? I assume so. This is odd.
Yes. Imagine throwing a heavy medicine ball to someone. You'd do basically a bench press like maneuver as you push it away, and just as you let it go, your hands/wrists flex to give it a bit of oomph. That's what my wrists are doing. Not every time, mind you. But once is enough, believe me.
Thanks for everyone's input.

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Re: Wrists buckle on Bench

Post by Holland Oates » Sat Oct 29, 2016 4:49 am

It's cancer. Sorry bro.

And NAFOD not those kind of straps.
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Re: Wrists buckle on Bench

Post by TerryB » Sun Oct 30, 2016 12:52 am

Are you trying to bend the bar? If you are, I don't think your wrists would want to naturally do the little motion at the end, like when throwing something.
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Re: Wrists buckle on Bench

Post by Polo Tomasi » Mon Oct 31, 2016 11:45 pm

Bending the bar: this is good. And straps. These are the type of cues I was looking for.
And Holland O: it may be cancer. I assume you want to do the DRE? No thanks. I have a Dr. already.

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