Meggy, i'm sorry, i could SHOW you the exercises, but explaining them in English in a way you could do them correctly afterwards is beyond me...
Search the internet, i know there are pages with illustrations on these exercises. Basically they all invole rotating (who would have guessed?) the upper arm in its axis against the resistance.
Okay, now i'll try explaining!
1. Lie on your side on a flat bench. Hold a light (!) weight, the lightest you can find, in your hand that is on the "up"-side, that means, when you lie on your left side, the right hand and vice versa. The upper arm lies on your side and stays there thoughout the whole movement. Then you start rotating the hand with the weight around the upper arm, until the forearm is vertical to the floor. Then you lower the arm slowy until it is hanging down again. Do slow and concentrated reps! Not more than 12.
2. Much the same as 1., but this time you sit on the bench, one foot on the bench besides you, and press your elbow into the knee. Your upper arm is parallel to the floor. You rotate the hand around the upper arm, in a way that it goes from hanging towards the floor to being raised vertical pointing up.
3. Same movement like 1., but standing and using a cable, you pull it from one side to the other.
That's for the beginning. Use VERY light weights, because when you use more, you'll probably not use the rotator cuff to move the arm.
I never had any problems with the 45* incline benches when I did them in the past. Also, I was doing incline flyes, which is one of my favorite exercises, and is something I'll probably start doing again soon. I was just wondering if you knew of any research of injuries from doing 45* bench presses, or have had a personal experience with injury from it
45° is still okay. It depends on the individual, of course, on the anatomy and one the conditioning. When you're used to it, it's not as likely that something will happen as when you do it the first time.
I recently hurt my shoulders when i did incline bench press at approx. 50° after having not done that exercise for ~10 weeks. I moved and in the gym i trained before the angle was ~40°. In the meantime i have gained strength on the flat bench and wanted to try my new strength on the inclined bench, but i injured way below my maximum lift.
I don't know research on this, but everyone i know agrees that the higher angle isn't so good for your shoulders. So i train incline bench 30-35° and vertical presses (and rotator cuff