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Hello. I'm in need of some insight. I do full body routine 3 times a week. Bench presses have been my chest move but my right shoulder constantly feels bad afterwards. For the past two weeks though I've done machine presses where you sit and push the handles out. I feel more in my chest and my shoulder has not bothered me at all.   I get the benefits of free weights but could some people just respond better to machines than free weights?
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My first guess would be that you either have a bench press form issue or a mobility issue that causes issues with bench press, but not the machine press (perhaps due to a different position or range of motion - can you think of any specific differences in how you move, such as your grip width?). Posting a video for a form check could help figure out if there are any issues. Additionally, what other upper body movements (and with what frequency and volume) are you doing as part of your routine?


As far as whether some people respond better to machine exercises: in general, free weights and bodyweight exercises are more beneficial for various reasons - they usually work stabiliser muscles and core, often engage your full body, and translate better to day-to-day activities that require strength. Sometimes machines can be helpful to work around injuries or other issues, or to isolate a specific muscle for accessory work. For example, if you can't hold a barbell due to a hand issue, you could still do leg presses. Some people might find free weight exercises more challenging due to things like limited mobility or hypermobility, though. I'm not a coach or trainer, but I'd guess that for most people, it's beneficial to troubleshoot those issues so they can use free weights. In your specific case, it's great that you've found a way to work your chest muscles without pain instead of entirely skipping that part of your routine, but I'd ultimately aim to move back to bench press or a similar exercise for the aforementioned benefits.


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